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Glasgow School Of Art Application Essay

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognised as one of Europe's leading university-level institutions for architecture, design and fine art, with a proven history of producing some of the world’s most influential practitioners. The GSA’s studio-based specialist education draws talented individuals with a passion for visual culture from all over the world.

Entry Requirements

  • All applications for full-time undergraduate degree programmes are made through UCAS.
  • Some programmes are offered jointly with the University of Glasgow, in which case their UCAS code must be used.
  • Entry requirements are specific to individual programmes; please refer to GSA website for details.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Teaching Methods

  • Teaching is studio-based, with 1-on-1 and group tutorials, seminars, lectures and live projects.
  • Coursework, essays and practical projects are assessed throughout each year. Formal written examinations form assessment for certain programmes such as Architecture.
  • Formative assessments take place at key points throughout the year with summative assessments at the end of each academic year.

Course Flexibility

  • In first year, students participate in group projects, independent studio practice, lectures and seminars in historical and critical aspects of art, design and architecture, and in some cases, cross-school projects.
  • In later years, students have the opportunity to take part in an exchange at one of the GSA's 75 international partner institutions.

Student Services and Facilities

  • The school's Technical Support Department provides facilities and expertise to support specialist areas of study, and offers the opportunity to access resources outside of the conventional discipline boundaries.
  • The school's library gives students access to specialist books, journals, filmed material and other resources, as well as computer suites and learning support.

Disability Services

  • The GSA's Student Support service offers support to students with disabilities including specific learning differences such as dyslexia, social/communication impairments, physical or sensory impairments, long term medical conditions, and mental health issues.
  • The service works with students to explore how disability might impact learning and to ensure students get the support they need.
  • If students suspect they have a learning disability that has not yet been diagnosed, Student Support also provide an assessment service to ascertain what their specific learning needs are.

Students' Union

  • The Glasgow School of Art Students' Association is run by students for students from its own dedicated building in the centre of Glasgow.
  • The Students' Association is a well-known club and venue, as well as having a café and bar used by both students and members of the public.
  • Students have access to project spaces within the building for exhibitions and events, and all profits from the venue and club are reinvested in student initiatives.

Availability of Part-Time Work

  • With a successful tourism industry and thriving shopping and dining scenes, there is no shortage of part-time work in Glasgow.
  • GSA's Careers Service is available to help students find work both while at the GSA and after graduation.
  • GSA Enterprises employs students as tour guides and recruits a number of times per year.

Careers Guidance

  • The GSA offers a range of employability opportunities within the curriculum, including live projects and participation in national and international competitions.
  • The GSA's Careers Service offers a wide range of career guidance and advice including 1-to-1 guidance appointments, professional practice seminars and specific career resources.
  • Students can access the Careers Service while studying at the GSA and after graduation.

Student Mix

Student population

Level of study

  • Undergraduate 74%
  • Postgraduate 26%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 94%
  • Part Time 6%

Where students come from

Student gender


  • Founded in 1845 as a Government School of Design, The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) was originally based at various locations around the city until, in 1885, it moved into a new building on Renfrew Street, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Since then the history of the school has been inextricably linked with Mackintosh.
  • The school's role has continually evolved and redefined to reflect the needs of the communities we are part of, embracing fine art and architecture education in the late 19th century, and digital technology today.
  • The school continues to be pioneering with new developments such as the opening of the Reid Building in 2014, the launch of the School of Visualisation and Simulation in 2017, the establishment of campuses in Singapore and the Highlands and Islands, and the Mackintosh Campus Project.

Notable Alumni

  • Peter Capaldi – actor, Oscar-winning director.
  • David Shrigley – artist.
  • Pam Hogg – fashion designer, musician.
  • Douglas Gordon – artist, one of 5 GSA alumni to win the Turner Prize.
  • Janice Kirkpatrick – founder, Graven Images.
  • Alasdair Gray – writer, artist.
  • Jonathan Saunders – fashion designer.
  • Jenny Saville – artist.
  • Gareth Hoskins – architect.
  • Liz Lochhead – playwright, poet.

Further Details

How to apply for postgraduate research study

Before submitting an application for postgraduate research study, please refer to our Entry Requirements.

You may wish to consult the research pages of the School or Subject Area to which you propose to apply and make informal contact with the relevant Postgraduate Convener or individual staff members whose research interests closely match your own, but do bear in mind that a formal offer can only be made after a complete application is submitted and processed.

To submit an application for postgraduate research study, please visit How to apply for a research degree and follow the five step process.

As part of your application you will be required to upload the following documentation:

  • a transcript of your degree results 
  • two references
  • your CV
  • a research proposal of around 1000 words‌,‎ having made reference to our Guidelines for Research Proposals 
  • a sample of your academic writing (e.g. an essay or a chapter from a thesis, etc)