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Scholarships to Study at the Top Art & Design Schools in 2020

By Chloe Lane

Updated April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021

If you’re looking to study at one of the top 10 art and design schools in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, you might be concerned about how much tuition fees will set you back.

If this is you, don’t worry: there are plenty of scholarships available at each of the world’s top art and design schools

Read on as we reveal the cost of tuition at each of the top 10 art design universities, as well as the scholarships on offer at each school.

10. Pratt Institute 

Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute places tenth in the art school ranking this year. The Pratt institute is a private institution located in the Brooklyn area of New York City in the US. Their art and design programs combine studio thinking with learning theories and current research in the field.

The tuition fee for undergraduate art students is currently US$53,570 per year. If you’re studying a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), it is US$57,360.

There are a range of merit-based and need-based scholarships for undergraduate students, as well as restricted or endowed scholarships. International students can apply for the international merit-based scholarships but will not be eligible for need-based scholarships.

All accepted applicants of the institute’s graduate departments are considered for merit-based scholarships, and the awards range from US$100 to US$1,000 for the academic year. Find out more about graduate scholarships here.

9. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)

Located in downtown Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the largest independent schools of art and design in the country, with around 3,650 students. Tuition fees for SAIC are currently US$52,200 per year, with the school estimating total expenses of US$66,850 to study at SAIC.

Luckily, a variety of merit and need-based scholarships are available, with more than US$46 million in financial assistance awarded in the 2018-19 academic year. International students aren’t eligible for need-based financial aid from the US government but can apply for SAIC’s merit-based awards.

8. Glasgow School of Art (GSA)

Glasgow School of Art (GSA)

The UK’s Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognized as one of Europe’s leading higher education institutions for visual creative disciplines.

For undergraduate courses, Scottish and EU students will pay £1,820 (approx. US$2280) per year and the rest of the UK will pay £9,250 per year (approx. US$11,570). International undergraduate students will pay £18,960 per year (approx. US$23,710). For postgraduate courses, students in Scotland, the UK and the EU will pay £7,920 (approx. US$9,900) and international students will pay £19,980 (approx. US$24990). 

There are a range of scholarships available for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Students can apply for a maximum of two scholarships per application.

7. Aalto University       

Aalto University

In seventh place is Finland’s Aalto University, located in capital city Helsinki. It was founded in 2010 from the merger of three institutions, including the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

While students from the EU/EEA study for free, if you’re not from the EU or EEA and want to study in English you’ll need to pay tuition fees. At Aalto University these are €12,000 (~US$13,110) per year for bachelor’s degrees and €15,000 (~US$18,500) per year for master’s programs. International double degree programs have their own tuition fees and scholarship schemes, which you can find out more about here

Merit-based scholarships are available for non-EU/EEA students, which award 50 or 100 percent of the cost of tuition. If you want to study a bachelor’s in art and design, this is only available in English.

6. Politecnico di Milano

Politecnico di Milano

Politecnico di Milano is the largest technical university in Italy. Tuition fees for laurea magistrale programs  in the school of design range from €895-3898 (~US$980-4,265) per year for EU students, with non-EU students paying €3,898 (~US$4250) per year.

The university offers merit-based scholarships for talented international students admitted to its laurea magistrale programs. Students who obtain a scholarship will have their fees waived and will receive a set amount of money (depending on the type of scholarship received). Students need to pay an administrative fee of €200 (~US$219) to apply for these scholarships.

The university also offers need-based DSU scholarships  which are available for all students, including international students. 

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) considers the arts a fundamental aspect of the core curriculum and research community.

Tuition fees currently stand at US$55,450 per year for all undergraduate and graduate programs - which includes basic health insurance - plus a mandatory Student Life fee of US$368. Financial aid is available in the form of federal grants and state grants, as well as private scholarships and grants. Means-based MIT scholarships are also on offer, which averaged US$47,593 in 2018-2019.

MIT is need-blind to all students, both domestic and international, meaning students are considered entirely on their own merits and not by their ability to pay, and MIT meets the full demonstrated need of undergraduate students for all four years of their degree.  

4. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private university, located in the state capital, Providence. Ranking fourth for art and design this year, RISD offers a wide range of art and design programs in fields of study such as architecture, ceramics, film/animation/video, graphic design, illustration, photography, painting, printmaking and more.

RISD charges tuition fees of US$53,820 per year for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. RISD scholarships are on offer, which are awarded based on financial need. Special scholarships of US$10,000 are awarded to outstanding first-year students who show outstanding academic and artistic achievement.

3.Parsons School of Design at The New School

Parsons School of Design at The New School

Image credit: Ted Simpson (Flickr)

Located in Greenwich Village in New York City is Parsons School of Design at The New School. The area is known for its thriving arts scene and bohemian atmosphere. One of the five colleges of The New School, Parsons is known for its distinguished alumni, having educated numerous prominent fashion designers, photographers, designers, illustrators and artists.

Undergraduate degrees at Parsons cost US$48,760 per year plus fees. Scholarships available include the John L. Tishman Scholarship, awarded to students who show an interest and commitment to sustainable development, design, and construction, and the William Randolph Hearst Scholarship, awarded to students engaged in socially responsible art or design projects.

 2. University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London

The second-best art and design school in the world, according to the subject ranking this year, is the University of the Arts London (UAL). Famous alumni of UAL’s six renowned colleges include painter and printmaker Howard Hodgkin, illustrator Quentin Blake, fashion designer Stella McCartney, and painter Lucian Freud.

Fees total £9,250 (~US$11,600) per year for undergraduate home/EU students, while international non-EU students commencing their studies in 2020 paid £22,920 (~US$28,762).

International students can apply for UAL’s Study Abroad Awards of £1,500 each (~US$1870), which require students to submit a visual project encapsulating the spirit of your home institution. UK or EU students enrolled a postgraduate course can apply for a variety of scholarships at UAL, which you can find more information about here.

1. Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art

Image credit: Vicky Teinaki (Flickr)

The UK’s Royal College of Art (RCA) is the top ranked art and design school once again this year. The school is located in the South Kensington and Battersea areas of London.

Tuition fees at RCA vary depending on the level of study and your country of origin. Domestic/EU students pay £12,650 (US$15,850) per year for the college’s MRes programs, while non-EU students have to pay £33,500 (US$45,500).

Domestic and EU students can apply for postgraduate loans from the UK government, and RCA offers its own competitive pre-entry scholarships, awarded based on the strength of your application and portfolio, your financial need and your perceived academic potential.

This article was originally published in April 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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