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Glasgow School of Art

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale)
  • Application deadlines: March 15 for fall or full year; October 1 for spring
  • Program advisor: Kendall Hook
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Program Snapshot

Hallo agus fàilte! We’re so excited that you’re preparing to study abroad on an IFSA-Butler program and have chosen the Glasgow School of Art as your destination. Glasgow is a vibrant city with great arts and entertainment, and lots of friendly faces. We’re sure you’re going to love studying there!


What the Glasgow School of Art has to offer

  • Leading-edge art study in an inspiring city
  • Recognized for its international role in educating artists, designers and architects
  • Programs in fine art, design and architecture
  • Each department is fully equipped with studios and workshops
  • An active students association offers clubs and societies for social, cultural and athletic interests, including an innovative Drama Club and Film Society
  • An annual fashion show that all students can work on
  • Want to know what it's really like in Glasgow? Click here to read A Wednesday Abroad by IFSA-Butler student Gabrielle Hakes


  • Housing is in student residences less than five minutes from campus with individual rooms and shared living areas and cooking facilities
  • Students in all housing purchase or prepare their own meals


  • Students acquire artistic skills, develop vision and imagination, and learn communication skills
  • Students spend 30 to 35 hours a week in the studio working on independent projects
  • Students in both fine arts and design enroll in the studio program and Forum for Critical Inquiry class per term
  • Studies in architecture are based on studio work and are strongly biased toward design

We look forward to working with you! You can learn more about the Glasgow School of Art by visiting their website.


Academic Structure

The way the Glasgow School of Art instructs students is probably very different than what you are accustomed to at your U.S. University. It is important that you understand these differences before filling out the school/department preference form.

Academic differences
Most U.S. students who apply to the Glasgow School of Art are at liberal arts universities rather than art schools and are typically accustomed to lecture environments and technique instructions from art professors. As a studio art school, Glasgow School of Art is based on a tutorial system, which is generally unfamiliar and confusing to U.S. students.

U.S. students who find themselves accepted in second and third-year levels of study can be a bit lost. By the second and third year, Glasgow School of Art expects students to have already learned basic techniques and theories. At this level, students are expected to work independently and in groups on assignments that are often very broad and allow for much creativity, imagination and self-direction. Guidance from instructors is always available, but students must go to initiate contact with their advisors at the GSA. Students will also greatly benefit from group critiques and discussions of their work. If the idea of spending most of your time working independently on projects with little direct supervision appeals to you, then the GSA will be an excellent fit!

Aside from independent studio work, students can expect the following learning methods while at the GSA:

  • Lectures
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Presentations
  • Studio-based projects
  • Project briefing
  • Discussion groups
  • Practical workshops
  • Demonstrations
  • Critical writing
  • Screenings
  • Work-based learning
  • Practice-based learning

What is the Scottish educational system like?
Students in the Scottish educational system study at university for three years. Students in the U.K. begin studying their major subject or medium at age 16 and have extensive knowledge of their area by the time they enter the university system. All students at the Glasgow School of Art, regardless of their year or department, are thus expected to possess a significant level of skill and knowledge in art, even during the first year of study. Students who come to the GSA from a traditional U.S. college or university must adjust to being in a traditional art school where academics are very different.

Academic life at the Glasgow School of Art
Centrally located in the city of Glasgow, the Glasgow School of Art offers three different schools: The School of Fine Art, the School of Design  and the Rennie Mackintosh School of Architecture. First-year students spend their time following a general program in the department of first-year studies. This enables students to confirm or revise their choices of specialization for the following three years. Students at the Glasgow School of Art do not choose courses or seminars; rather, every school and department has a set syllabus for each of the three years of specialization.

Will I take classes at the Glasgow School of Art?
Students at the Glasgow School of Art do not choose courses or seminars; rather, every school and department has a set syllabus for each of the three years of specialization following the first year of general studies. You will be admitted to a specific school and department, and are expected to undertake the projects that are assigned for that year or semester of study at the GSA.

If I don’t take classes at the GSA, then how are grades assigned?
All work is project-based, and each project is assessed individually. Students are awarded U.S. semester credit hours based on time spent working on each project that is part of that semester/year’s syllabus.

What will my days be like at GSA?
Glasgow School of Art students typically devote four days a week to studio or workshop practice and one day to a course in Forum for Critical Inquiry. Each school and department has a Forum for Critical Inquiry syllabus that reflects the material methods and technology of the subject, as well as the knowledge, expertise and creative interests of the tutors.

What is the Forum for Critical Inquiry class?
All GSA students are required to take a Forum for Critical Inquiry class, which typically takes up one day each week. Each school and department has a Forum for Critical Inquiry syllabus that reflects the material methods and technology of the subject, as well as the knowledge, expertise and creative interests of the tutors. Here are some titles of Forum for Critical Inquiry courses that were offered in the past:

  • Performance Art
  • Restless Natives: Scottish Art 1970-Now
  • Screening Gender
  • Brushes with Literature
  • Artists & Designers in Education
  • Artists' Films
  • Cinema by Design
  • The Fashion System

Though these exact courses may not be offered while you are abroad, this list should give you a general idea of the many directions a Forum for Critical Inquiry course can take.

What year of study should I apply for at the GSA?
The staff at the Glasgow School of Art will review your application and portfolio and assign you to a year of study. Most IFSA-Butler students are admitted into year two studies at the Glasgow School of Art. Students who demonstrate extensive background in their chosen medium may be admitted into year three studies.

What does it take to succeed at the Glasgow School of Art?
Independence and flexibility are two of the most important characteristics U.S. students must have in order to successfully study at the Glasgow School of Art. Students must be willing to substitute the frequent assessments usually found at U.S. universities for a less structured and more self-directed environment. Students who attend the Glasgow School of Art should expect to spend 30 to 35 hours a week working in a studio with little direct supervision. Applicants should also have taken at least three college-level art courses before applying to the Glasgow School of Art.


Where can I find a list of courses that the university offers?
You can find the Glasgow School of Art's online course catalog here.

  • Course descriptions give you an overview of the degree programs offered at the Glasgow School of Art. Traditional “classes” are not offered at the Glasgow School of Art. You will enroll in a specific year of study (1-3) in a department within one of the three schools at the Glasgow School of Art. You’ll then follow a set syllabus of projects that are assigned to students in that year of study.
  • To learn more about what is taught in each year of study in the various departments at the Glasgow School of Art, click on one of the many different degrees offered by the school (i.e. BA (hons) Design Textiles), then click on the "Study Guide" PDF on the right side of the page, next to the Programme Overview.

What if I need to take a required course?
Please be aware that IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that your host university will offer a particular course, or that you will be allowed to take that particular course. However, if you need to take a required course, you may indicate that it is required on your course preference form. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor will communicate your needs to your host university.

What courses am I eligible to take?
As an IFSA-Butler student, you are entitled to enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and in which space is available. Course descriptions in the online course catalog (see above) include prerequisites you must fulfill in order to enroll in each course.


How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
IFSA-Butler requires students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution. The number of courses you take depends on the credit value of the courses you select.

At the Glasgow School of Art, a full courseload is 15 U.S. semester credit hours for semester and 30 U.S. semester credit hours for the year.


The School/Department Preference form is not a registration form. Students are required to choose one school and follow the assigned projects for that semester or year of study in a specific department within that school, rather than choosing individual courses. Please see the Course Form Guidelines tab for more information. Students are also required to take a Forum for Critical Inquiry class..

What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full Glasgow School of Art course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.


What do I need to know about exams?
Students should expect to complete all assessments in Glasgow and as scheduled. Each student will have a series of critiques with their course tutor, scheduled throughout the semester, in lieu of traditional exams.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit you earned at the Glasgow School of Art. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.

Course Form Guidelines

Instructions for completing the School/Department preference form
Students are required to choose one school and follow the assigned projects for that semester or year of study in a specific department within that school. The schools are:

  • School of Fine Art
  • School of Design
  • Rennie Mackintosh School of Architecture

If you are applying to the School of Design or the School of Fine Art, a department must also be selected. The departments are:

School of Fine Art

  • Environmental Art
  • Painting and Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Sculpture

School of Design

  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interior Design
  • Silversmithing & Jewellery
  • Textile Design

*Departments not listed here are not available to study abroad students

Departmental Information
Remember that you must have a significant background in the subject area you wish to study while at the Glasgow School of Art. The specific department information and learning objectives for each department can be found on the Glasgow School of Art website. It is strongly recommended that you look through the information provided to fully understand what you will be studying while at the Glasgow School of Art.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
The following housing options are available during your semester or year abroad.

Glasgow School of Art students are housed at the Margaret Macdonald House or Blytheswood House.

  • Margaret Macdonald House accommodates students in dorm-style flats shared by 6-8 students. Each flat contains single-study bedrooms, either a shared or an ensuite (attached) bathroom, and communal kitchen/living area. Margaret Macdonald House is a five-minute walk from the main GSA campus.
  • Blytheswood House is also just a short walk from the main GSA campus. Like Margaret Macdonald House, students live in flats shared by 6-8 students. At Blytheswood, however, all of the flats are ensuite and contain queen beds. Blytheswood also offers a private exhibition space, a small cinema and games room. 

Students will have the opportunity to buy pillows, a duvet and other linens upon arrival; these items will not be provided in GSA housing.


Meals are self-catered on the Glasgow School of Art program. There are no meal plans available.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals (whether a meal plan or self-catered) and any commuting costs you may incur. Some university housing requires students to move out during winter and spring breaks. If you wish to remain in residence during the vacation period(s), you must notify the university housing office upon arrival to make necessary arrangements. Staying in residence during university breaks may incur additional costs not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee.

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Scotland for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via e-mail when it is released by the university.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

Location Info

Population: 650,000
Location:  Clyde Valley, in western Scotland

City features

  • An energetic and hip atmosphere, center of the Scottish cultural renaissance
  • A stellar arts scene and home to the national Scottish companies of ballet, opera, orchestra and chorus
  • Offers two repertory theatres, the Glasgow Film Theatre, galleries and museums
  • Nightlife that ranks among the best in Scotland
  • Selected to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the world's second largest sporting event

Do more!

  • Head just outside the city to beautiful areas for camping, hiking and backpacking
  • Travel north into the beautiful Scottish Highlands
  • Catch a train to Edinburgh (one hour) or London (4.5 hours)

See Glasgow
Visit Glasgow
Glasgow A to Z
Scottish Highlands

Welcome to Glasgow
Glasgow News

Dates & Fees

Glasgow School of Art Dates

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Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Scotland, exams are taken under formal examination conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. 

Glasgow School of Art Fees

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What's included in our Scotland program fees
Expense calculator

Academic Year and Fall Payments Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due:
November 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services and housing. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.

The housing component of our program fee is based on the average cost of local student self-catering accommodation, usually a shared room in a regular dormitory, apartment or house without any extra features.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. Rates are current as of 12/9/2016.

They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out.  If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate.  If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

*Student Visa: U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) do not need to apply for a visa, but can instead enter the country as a student visitor at no cost. Student visitors are allowed to remain in the U.K. for up to six months but are not allowed to undertake any paid work or unpaid volunteer activities. Citizens of some countries may be required to obtain a student visa. If this applies to you, your IFSA-Butler program advisor will notify you. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.

Academic year students also have to pay a healthcare surcharge of £150 in addition to visa costs.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Scotland:


kendallProgram Advisor Kendall Hook assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Kendall studied abroad twice during her undergraduate career, in Florence, Italy for a summer term, and London, England for a semester internship program. In addition, she has personally traveled all over Europe and the U.K. She graduated from Baylor University and completed a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University, specifically concentrating on International Education Policy Management. She is very excited to help students find their fit, plan their own study abroad adventures and help them step outside of their comfort zone. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4205.

altStudent Accounts Coordinator Angelita Shaffer assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Angelita can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4221.




altStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of four college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office in Edinburgh. Click here to read more about Resident Director Ruth Casey.

abbyAcademic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.