Europe is well-known for its rich cultural heritage and artistic legacy dating back centuries, encompassing renowned artistic movements, influential artists, and iconic masterpieces that continue to inspire and shape the global art landscape.
From renowned art academies to vibrant creative communities, European organizations offers a broad range of options for students seeking to pursue their artistic passions. In this article, we present its top 10 art schools, providing insights into their rankings, educational offerings, tuition fees, and admission requirements.
Whether you have a specific artistic specialisation in mind or are looking for a comprehensive art education, this guide will help you navigate the world of art schools in Europe.
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Based on the QS World Ranking for Art and Design, here are the best art schools in 2023:
|Rank in Europe||University||Country|
|1||Royal College of Art||United Kingdom|
|2||University of the Arts London||United Kingdom|
|4||Politecnico di Milano||Italy|
|5||Design Academy Eindhoven||Netherlands|
|6||The Glasgow School of Art||United Kingdom|
|7||Delft University of Technology||Netherlands|
|8||Goldsmiths, University of London||United Kingdom|
|9||The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK)||Denmark|
|10||Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design||Sweden|
Keep in mind that rankings can differ based on specific artistic disciplines. A school may excel in photography degrees but not rank highly overall. To make an informed decision, when you are interested in a particular specialisation, you should consider both general and subject-specific rankings. This ensures selecting an art school that offers a strong overall program and excels in the specific field of study aligned with your artistic goals.
Additionally, depending on your desired career path, you might want to look at accreditations.
When considering art education, it is important to understand the differences between art schools and universities.
Depending on your preferences and career goals, you can choose between the two options while ensuring that the curriculum aligns with your aspirations.
While exploring art schools, it is helpful to look at the importance of accreditation in choosing the right institution.
If an art school is externally accredited this means it likely offers a good level of teaching quality and adheres to educational standards. In the field of art, it can be particularly relevant in areas such as art education or art therapy, where professional certification and licenses may be required.
To give you some guidance, here are a few prestigious art schools in Europe that do hold accreditation or have their programs accredited by relevant governing bodies:
Royal College of Art (United Kingdom): Accredited by the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, which grants it the power to award its own degrees.
University of the Arts London (United Kingdom): A recognised institution by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK.
Politecnico di Milano (Italy): Accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research (MIUR) and is a member of the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER).
The Glasgow School of Art (United Kingdom): A recognised institution by the QAA and a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Denmark): Accredited by the Danish Accreditation Institution (EVA) and follows the Danish higher education quality assurance system.
On average, Bachelor's degrees in art schools range from €2,000 to €18,000 per year, while Master's degrees are between €4,000 to €20,000. However, note that tuition fees for art degrees in Europe vary depending on the institution, country, and level of study.
At private universities and at the most competitive public institutions, tuition fees can go up to €30,000 or more. For example, at the Royal College of Art (RCA), you can expect fees of around €38,000 per year.
If your budget is limited, it's also worth exploring tuition-free or low-cost options available in countries like Germany or Austria, particularly for EU/EEA citizens. However, keep in mind that getting admited to tuition-free art programs can be highly competitive.
On top, it is essential to consider the cost of living, especially in cities known for their artistic hubs, such as London, Milan, and Copenhagen.
Study.eu Tip: Look up if there are scholarships or discounts available for students in your preferred country, join student groups (Facebook, WhatsApp, Discord) to ask for tips, or reach out to the university if you are unsure how to estimate the costs (many institutions have this information available on their website).
Admission requirements for art schools can vary depending on the institution and specific program. Here are some common requirements that art schools may typically have:
While a portfolio is not always required, it can significantly enhance your application and showcase your artistic abilities. Additionally it is also helpful for finding jobs or side gigs while still at university or promoting yourself on social media for future job opportunities.
English language proficiency is often necessary when courses are taught in English. Commonly accepted language tests include IELTS or TOEFL iBT, although some universities may also accept Duolingo English Tests, Cambridge Certificates, or university-specific English tests.
Remember that the exact admission requirements can differ among art schools and programs, so it’s important to carefully review the university application process to make sure what documents you need to gather.
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It's important to note that not all art schools or programs may seek accreditation. Some renowned art schools, particularly those with a focus on fine arts and creative disciplines, may prioritise artistic innovation and alternative approaches to education over formal accreditation.
In such cases, it might be helpful to evaluate the career paths and achievements of alumni, which can provide valuable insights into the school's influence and reputation within the art industry.
To do so, you can look up the schools you are considering on LinkedIn and browse through the alums. If you see someone with a similar career path that you’d like for yourself, it might be the first sign that the education they got at that university has proven helpful. You can even reach out to them and chat briefly about their experience with this particular institution. As a bonus, you might get some invaluable insider tips on how to increase your chances to get accepted at your dream institution. Remember to be polite and clear about why you are reaching out to them (e.g. you’re inspired by their achievements, you read their research, etc.).
Europe offers a plethora of exceptional art schools that can ignite your creativity, hone your skills, and provide a solid foundation for a successful artistic career.
Whether you choose a renowned institution with a long-standing reputation or a lesser-known gem with a unique artistic approach, the opportunity to immerse yourself in Europe's rich art history and cultural diversity will undoubtedly enrich your artistic journey. Good luck!
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