If you are an aspiring art student and you have started to think about how to get into an art school? Then you are probably ready to begin or proceed with the process and doing more research than usual. However, making a decision on which art school is the best option for you is a big deal. That’s why it’s important you do thorough research to help you understand the various type of art study programs that’s available and which is the right choice for you - whether it's fashion design or photography.

Art Programs You Will Find in Nigeria

Art can be expressed through these three categories: visual arts, performing arts, and literature. It won’t be a surprise to you that these three categories share a lot of interwoven artistic features if you have read a comic book or seen a play. That being said, this article will expatiate more on visual arts and performing arts.

preparing for art study
Understand the various type of art study programs available and know which is right for you. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Fine Arts

It’s easier to find a needle in a haystack than it is to give an all-encompassing definition of fine arts. This is a common flaw that’s often encountered due to the broad nature of fine arts as it covers an endless number of subjects. Fine arts can include everything from lecture-based, classes in ceramics, to art theory courses.

To pursue a bachelor degree or masters degree in fine arts can be very rewarding because of its immense diversity. Some common courses you will likely study at your potential school of art are:

  • Interior Design
  • Printmaking
  • Graphic Design
  • Drawing and Painting
  • Studio arts
  • Fashion Design
  • Photography

If your choice is to study one or more specific subjects thoroughly, then lucky you! There are many art schools you can apply to and specialize in a particular type of art. For instance, if fashion is your main interest, it’s possible for you to find an art school that has a design program. This will be very beneficial to students who are interested in getting scholarships because being focused on a career goal can give your application a boost.

You can take the best art classes near me here.

Film School

Film is one aspect that a lot of young artists find themselves interested in. However, to find a university in Nigeria that’s solely focused on film is not feasible, but you can find some fine arts academy or film that is solely dedicated to film. whether you want to acquire a technical skill in editing, become a scriptwriter or make animations – finding the right fine arts program you are interested in is possible.

Here are some fine arts program you will likely find in a film school:

  • Computer animation
  • Film and television production
  • Photography
  • Game art

Art history

Not all those who study art are interested in creating art or artwork themselves. Some are just highly interested in the history of art. A lot of students whose art study is focused on visual art are mostly inspired either work of earlier artists or modern artists. While some are just interested in knowing about art galleries, museums, auctions, and studying the history of art.

The good news is, art history courses can be studied in many universities without you going to an art academy or an art institute. You should keep in mind that there are many types of art history programs you will encounter at your prospective university, but the one you will choose will be determined by the movement of art you are highly interested in. perhaps, you want to know more about having a career as a curator or in selling art or preserving masterpieces of artworks, art history is a course you should go for.

How to Build your Portfolio

Not only can building a portfolio be a very difficult task to accomplish, but it can also be rewarding as well. Not to worry, taking these three simple steps to build your portfolio will be very useful in your application process, down to the interview stage.

What kind of Artwork Have You Created?

Before you submit compile your portfolio for application, first, you should understand the kind of artwork you have put together. On one hand, most experienced artists will already have a working portfolio from their art classes or courses. On the other hand, student works are often artwork in progress. As a matter of fact, many artwork portfolios also contain work that in is progress, and this is because of the struggle that comes with completing an artwork. Even art educators can attest to this. It is regarded as an artwork in progress because it shows the direction of the candidate’s yet to be completed artwork and the initiative shown to start it.

Asking your art teacher, or alums for some advice on the kind of artworks that are appropriate for submission in a portfolio and the best way to put them together might be helpful to you.

creative art work
The artwork in your portfolio should be clear enough for strangers to understand. Photo Credit: Unsplash


This second step is not just the hardest part of compiling your portfolio, it is also the most important part of it – that is, organizing your artwork.

Whether your work has made it to an exhibition in galleries or you have run art workshops in your neighbourhood, organization always remain the most difficult part of your work. So, if you make use of art studio or digital media for your work, here are some accepted rules you can apply to organize your work in your portfolio:

Be selective: even though all your artwork can be an indication of your progression as an artist, what people reviewing your work will only be interested in is looking for a narrative

Cherry Pick: your artwork can be arranged in chronological order. Each piece shows how your skills have evolved on each specific project, even if you are yet to complete them.

Build a Narrative: this final step is what you should include doing all through the course of building your portfolio. It’s also what will distinct an average portfolio from an advanced one – irrespective of whether you are applying to art schools, trying to get into an art exhibition or be an artist in residence.

Below are some widely accepted rules for establishing a narrative:

Be unique: it’s very easy to do this when you put it into practice. The kind of artwork that motivates you and interests you will naturally be distinct from anyone else’s. Put in more effort into what you like best about your artwork and what you aim to achieve with it in the future.

Motivation: this is what pops the question “why do you study or create art”?  so, while people study or create art for different reasons, your answer to this question should be unique.

Establish a storyline: when people are reviewing or going through your portfolio, it should be clear and easy to understand why you have chosen the works included in your portfolio. Though you can understand the storyline of your artwork, it may not be the same to complete strangers. You have to communicate your narrative to strangers perusing your work. So, spend ample time to reflect on yourself, your artwork and what it communicates to the world.

organize your portfolio
Think of your portfolio as a CV. Photo Credit: Unsplash

It is also important to note that portfolio requirements are sometimes dependent on the type of undergraduate degrees or for an international applicant. Your portfolio is somewhat like a CV so you have to treat it like one, and as well make it flexible enough to adapt it to as many programs and art schools you intend applying to.

Requirements for Your Application

Applying to art programs in a Nigerian university or an art academy in Nigeria, the process of applying to any of these two are quite different. While a Nigerian university will require its prospective students to take the UTME, which is the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and perhaps a portfolio to boost your chances of admission, an art school such as an art academy do not require a UTME. However, it can require your portfolio.

So, whichever of the art program, you chose to enrol in, below are some things you will need to do:

Find a Course

This is the first step that will determine your choice of study in the art school you have chosen. The UTME has a system that allows you to browse through as many courses under art programs or any other discipline and in which university they are being offered.

Alternatively, if you intend to apply to an art academy in Nigeria, you don’t need to go through the UTME system. All you need do is resort to online research on where to find these art schools and go through their courses. Once you find a school and a program you fit into, then you can proceed with the next step of the application.

Find a University

Like we said earlier, your choice of course or art program will determine the choice of the university that suits your artistic ability and addresses your financial concerns. Make sure you take enough time to do thorough research to help you find the right university offering your choice of program.

If it’s an art academy, you have to take your research online in order to find the one that best suits the kind of art you are passionate about. whether it's photography, fashion design, interior design or even graphic design

Fill Out your Applications

Now that you found what school and program you will be pursuing, then it’s time to fill in the required data in the application. The UTME system in Nigeria allows you to apply to 6 different institutions in the same or similar program or to two different programs in the same university.

For an art academy in Nigeria, you can apply directly and get an application form once you have found an art program that suits your interest.


Whether you’ve found a school or are still in the process of finding the right art schools – tuition is always an important factor. While there are some government grants, bursaries and scholarships for students in art and design, be sure to check out your university’s website to see if they have any financial aid, especially for students participating in extracurricular activities like sports.


This process is very straight forward, so long you have been admitted for your choice of study. that’s when you start with the registration of the courses you will be taking.

Expectations From Your Art Courses

Once you’ve completed your UTME application, or submitted your portfolio to an art school, and you have been interviewed – the next thing is what you will expect from your art classes or your arts degree.

At the end of the day, your school of fine arts or design, whether you’re pursuing a master or bachelor of fine arts, will prepare you for a wide array of careers available in arts.  Some of the jobs you will be able to apply for once you graduate include:

  • Curator
  • Graphic designer
  • Organizer at a centre for the arts
  • Teacher at an art college
  • Film director




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Olaoluwa is knowledgable on subject matters like toddler nutrition, travel, fitness and digital marketing. Passionate about learning and reading: diverse cultures, fiction, languages, environment and healthy foods. Big fan of Indie Rock!