Alternative Routes to the GSA
Not all of the new students on our 4-year undergraduate degree programmes come straight from secondary school or begin their studies in Year 1. We accept a range of qualifications and many of our entrants come with advanced entry – meaning they begin their studies in second or third year. In the text below you can read about some of the other qualifications students study before joining us at the GSA.
Year 1 Entry
Many new students join us following their final year of secondary school after achieving Highers, A-Levels or completing similar qualifications like International Baccalaureates or high school diplomas. We also welcome new students from a range of other qualifications and life experiences.
NQ, NC, UAL, BTEC Level 3 Diploma and PortfolioPreparation courses are a great way to prepare for art school. Many students join Year 1 at GSA from these and other SCQF Level 6 college qualifications in art or design-related disciplines. For NC/NQs and most Portfolio Preps, you will need to meet Year 1 entry requirements with Highers or other qualifications you already hold.
HNC students and, less commonly, HND students, may also be offered a place in Year 1 if the GSA admissions team agrees that study at Year 1 would be beneficial and/or the applicant's previous study wasn't directly related to the GSA degree. This is common in Architecture where the majority of students begin in the first year of the degree.
Year 2 Entry
The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design or Diploma in Art & Design: Foundation Studies (awarded by UAL, BTEC, WJEC, ABC, and others) is one of the most common entry routes to the GSA for UK applicants studying in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and overseas. In Scotland, the UAL Foundation is offered at Edinburgh College and Overseas students are eligible for the International Foundation taught on the GSA campus in Glasgow. Most applicants from a Foundation are considered for Year 2 entry although some maybe offered Year 1. Although Foundation students usually explore a range of subjects, successful entrants will show potential and ability in the subject they apply to.
Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) students studying creative subjects are also eligible for Year 2 entry and make up the majority of our entrants from Scottish colleges.
Other second year entrants include those who began their studies at another university or art school - usually in the same or a related subject. Sometimes they've studied a portfolio preparation course prior to application and this experience, coupled with their previous HE qualifications, make them eligible for advanced entry.
Year 3 Entry
HND graduates from Scottish colleges are the most common direct entrants to Year 3. Successful entrants from this route evidence advanced knowledge and skills in their subject within their portfolio and interview. Other Year 3 entrants include those who have studied the subject for two or more years at another university and/or can demonstrate relevant professional experience.
Advice and Guidance
What level should I apply to?
Before applying for further study, think seriously about what you hope to gain from degree-level study. This should help inform the level you ultimately apply to. The programme team considering your application may move your application to the level they think is most appropriate and you may be considered at that level regardless of which year you applied to. There should be an opportunity to discuss this with the department before making a final decision.
Whatever you decide, it is important to indicate the level you wish to be considered for as your Entry Point on your UCAS form. Please don't apply for two different years of the same programme.
Making an Application
The Admissions Process is the same for all undergraduate applicants regardless of year of entry. Each programme has slightly different criteria and processes, so make sure you fully understand them by reading through the information available on the relevant pages which can be found here.
Please note that Architecture is not planning to interview applicants for 2024 entry. Applications to Product Design Engineering are through the University of Glasgow and do not include portfolio uploads or interviews.
It is really important that the information you include on your UCAS application is clear and correct. If you're studying a two-year HND, make sure it's clear which year of your HND you're in.
If you're still at college, put the qualification you're currently studying in the 'Not yet completed' section of your application, but also mention its name in your statement. If you're studying at another university, have studied at another university or hold past qualifications, include this information in the Qualifications section and consider writing about it in your UCAS statement.
For many of the students who join us through non-school routes, the route to art school is a complicated one including employment, caring responsibilities, studying other subjects and more. Some choose to go straight to college after secondary school while others find their way to college or a portfolio preparation course later in life. The GSA welcomes the diversity this group brings to our student cohorts.
If successful and firmly accepting their GSA offer, Scottish-domiciled direct entrants are invited to attend transition activities that usually include a visit to the GSA Degree Show.
The GSA works with a number of Scottish colleges to support and encourage progression and articulation. We work formally and informally with a number of Scottish colleges to support such routes.
Associate Student Schemes
Currently, we have two articulation agreements which include Associate Student Schemes. This means that the students registered on the Scheme participate in additional engagement activities to support them to progress to the GSA after they complete their college course. Although they have been largely successful at gaining places at the GSA, Associate Students are not guaranteed an offer and must complete the stages of the Admissions process like other undergraduate applicants.
Forth Valley College Associate Student Scheme
Each year, the Glasgow School of Art works with students on the HND Sound Production at the Stirling campus of Forth Valley College on an Associate Student Scheme. This Scheme is delivered by the GSA to encourage and support Year 3 entry to the BDes (Hons) Sound for the Moving Image in the School of Innovation & Technology.
The Associate Student Scheme offers a programme of engagement to participants that helps prepare them for admission and progression to the GSA while they study their HND at the College. Associate Students are not guaranteed a place at the GSA.
It’s worth noting that the BDes (Hons) Sound for the Moving Image at the GSA begins in Year 3, so most of the entrants come from HND courses. To find out more about the programme go to our programme page here. For more information on the HND Sound Production, visit the Forth Valley College website here. All applications should be made directly to the College, not to the GSA through UCAS.
For more information on the BDes (Hons) Sound for the Moving Image at the GSA go to our programme page here. For more information on the HND Sound Production, visit the Forth Valley College website here. All applications should be made directly to the College, not to the GSA through UCAS.
Glasgow Clyde College Associate Student Scheme
Our unique articulation agreement between the GSA and Glasgow Clyde College has been running for many years now. This agreement provides eligible students on the HNC Art & Design at the Langside campus of Glasgow Clyde College the opportunity to participate in an Associate Student Scheme delivered by the GSA to encourage and support Year 2 entry to undergraduate programmes in the School of Fine Art, the School of Innovation & Technology (Product Design only) and the School of Design (all programmes except Interaction Design and Product Design Engineering).
This Associate Student Scheme offers a programme of engagement to participants that helps prepare them for admission to and progression to the GSA while they study their HNC at the College. Eligible students will be resident in Scotland and may be required to meet other criteria. Numbers on the Scheme are capped, and priority is given to students who come from groups that are under-represented at the GSA including those meeting Widening Participation eligibility criteria. Associate Students are not guaranteed a place at the GSA.
For more information on the HNC Art & Design, visit the Glasgow Clyde College website. All applications for the HNC should be made directly to the College, not to the GSA through UCAS.
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