The OCA offers higher education distance learning courses in the following areas: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Textiles, Art History, Photography, Creative Writing, Garden Design, Interior Design, and Composing Music.
The Open College of the Arts offers a full BA Hons degree in Creative Arts.
OCA was founded by Michael Young, Lord Young of Dartington, to offer distance learning courses in the visual arts, filling what he considered a 'serious gap' in the home-study market. Lord Young was responsible for the original idea of the Open University and was disappointed that it didn't include arts courses. "It was thought impossible to run distance learning arts courses at higher education level". But the OCA has proved that this is not the case. It has a network of some 300 tutors nationwide offering postal and face-to-face tuition.
Its original art and design courses became so popular that bigger premises became essential and in 1989 it moved to Barnsley, and introduced new subjects such as garden design, photography, creative writing and music.
The OCA is an open access college. No formal qualifications are required and there are no age limits. You can enrol at any time of the year. Since its inception it has enrolled more than 50,000 students worldwide.