In recent years there has been considerable discussion of practice-led research and how the work of creative practitioners can be reconciled with the metrics of the University system. There has been much less consideration and reflection on the undergraduate degree and the impact of the University framework has had on the formative years of art school students. This paper examines the relationship between undergraduate art education and the institution of the University within an Australian context. It focuses on the realities, tensions and possibilities of art education as embedded within a University. It asks what value is there in art schools being part of an educational institution that was not originally designed for artists? What are the tensions and elisions with other traditional disciplines? The paper argues that we are at a watershed moment in the history of art education and that art education in the 21st century requires new parameters and ways of thinking.