HKU University of the Arts Utrecht

mission statement

Mission Statement

HKU University of the Arts Utrecht

HKU is a public institution for higher arts education that aims to train talented students as well as possible in free, performing and applied arts and media disciplines and their related educational, technological and economic fields.

An HKU degree certificate, both graduate and postgraduate, qualifies students for known or new professional roles in the cultural sector, media and education, and/or other professions in the creative industries. An HKU degree programme also provides added value by concentrating on artistic professional competence coupled with experience in dealing with interdisciplinary opportunities and innovative and multidisciplinary project practices.

HKU concentrates on the future and on innovation and believes in the importance of forging links between the artistic and creative processes and other professions, disciplines and hybrid professional fields. HKU wants to provide its students and staff with a stimulating and supportive learning environment. Gaining research and entrepreneurial experience in challenging practical situations is regarded as an essential ingredient in this mix.

Through the training of competent, innovative young professionals as well as the research that it initiates and conducts, HKU wants to contribute to the development of known, new and innovative professional practices within and at the cutting edge of the arts.

international role

The Utrecht School of the Arts’ Faculty of Visual Art & Design is internationally oriented and involved in numerous international programmes and projects. The faculty has signed bilateral agreements with well over 80 international partner institutions for the purpose of exchanging students, lecturers and projects. The faculty is actively involved in international networks like Cumulus, Paradox, PRE-Design, EARN and the Art Education Network, and has been (co-) founder of many of these networks. As part of Utrecht School of the Arts, the Faculty of Visual Art and Design also cooperates in some major international networks like ELIA, Utrecht Network, MAUI, AEN, ISEP and EAIE.

national role

On a national scale, HKU is regarded as one of the major, leading higher education institutions. The Dutch government earmarked the Creative Industry as one of its top sectors. This is a clear indication that creativity, design, imagination and expression are regarded as important success factors in innovation and economic competitiveness. This is what HKU wants to respond to in its teaching, research and projects with external parties, so that the knowledge and experience of its graduates will dovetail with current professional practice.

In addition, HKU forms part of the cultural, knowledge and educational infrastructure of the city and district of Utrecht. This means that HKU (within the boundaries of its educational mission) plays an important local and regional role as a social factor and as an economic and innovative partner.

HKU is following the trend towards searching for and supporting cooperation in the triple helix form (between business, knowledge institutions and the government).

main focus

HKU University of the Arts Utrecht is at the heart of Utrecht’s cultural and student life. With around 4000 students, HKU is one of the largest schools of art in Europe. We offer preparatory courses, bachelor and master programmes and research degrees in fine art, design, media, games and interaction, music, theatre and arts management.

Over the years, HKU has established a reputation as an enterprising university of applied sciences.

HKU is characterised by its continual interest in innovative perspectives on arts education and on new, creative professional practices.

The HKU profile is based on three pillars:

  • the arts (fine arts and design, music and theatre)
  • media (technology and creative and design processes in media in the widest sense of the word)
  • an eye for existing and emerging professional practices in the creative industry, in which artistic musical, theatrical, design and media competences play a role.

HKU has a wide range of degree programmes divided over eight schools: Fine Art, Design, Media, Music and Technology, Games and Interaction, Utrecht Conservatorium, Theatre, and Art and Economics.

HKU is a university of the arts, with its roots in the domain of artistic practices, traditions and current trends. The heart of its/her approach is excellence in a specialised aspect of a specific arts discipline.

In addition, through its differentiated range of degree programmes, HKU wants to nourish the specific talents and opportunities of every individual student within the wide range of career prospects in the creative industry.

Based on this profile, HKU wants to stand out in particular with and invest in the following spearheads:

  • art education
  • research and innovation in the arts
  • interaction, games, music and design technology in new fields of application
  • the development and gathering together of knowledge about the creative industry and its application in new forms of creative entrepreneurship.

HKU intends to develop further as a network organisation which, with the arts and art practices as its basis, forges new links with society and develops innovative applications for social challenges.

In order to express this, HKU adopted the motto

The art of HKU, new practices, new solutions.

faculties and departments

Faculty of Visual Art and Design Utrecht School of Fine Art Utrecht School of Design - Graphic design - Photography - Illustration - 3D design - Industrial design - Intelligent product design - Fashion design - Interior architecture - Urban interior architecture Utrecht School of Visual Art and Education Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design - Fine art - Editorial design - Fashion design - Interior design - Public space design

bachelor level programs

Bachelor of Arts programmes (4 years)

HKU Fine art

-      Fine Art

-      Fine Art and Design in Education

HKU Design

-      Product Design

-      Fashion Design

-      Spatial Design

HKU Media

-      Animation

-      Audiovisual Media

-      Graphic Design

-      Illustration

-      Image and Media Technology

-      Photography

HKU Games and Interaction

-      Game Design

-      Game Development

-      Interaction Design

-      Game Art

HKU Art and Economics

-      Art and Economics

HKU Music and Technology

-      Audio Design

-      Sound Design

-      Composition Electronic Music

-      Composition for the Media

-      Composition and Music Production

-      Music Design for Games and Interaction

HKU Conservatorium

-      Classical Music

-      Historical Instruments

-      Musician 3.0

-      Jazz & Pop

-      Music in Education

HKU Theatre

-      Acting

-      Theatre in Education

-      Interactive Performance Design

-      Theatre Design

-      Writing for Performance

master level programs

Master of Arts programmes

MA Fine Art (English, 1 year fulltime)

MA Interior Architecture (Dutch, 2 years fulltime)

MFA Scenography (English, 2 years fulltime)

MA of Music (English, 2 years fulltime)

-      pathway Performance

-      pathway Music Design

Master of Education in Arts (Dutch, 2 years parttime)

research activity and main areas

Readership Artistic research Co-founder of PRE-Design network Focus: Integration of theory in practice The reflective designer

subject areas for exchange students

Fine Art, Design, Art & Education

application deadlines

1 May (for Autumn semester) 1 October (for Spring semester)

teaching languages

Dutch or English

semester dates

Autumn semester: September-December Spring semester: January-June

cost of living per month (studying and living)


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