BA in industrial design, in Scotland, Ireland or Sweden

I’m looking for a good, balanced bachelor’s degree program, preferably in Scotland, Ireland or Sweden.

With balanced I mean a program that teaches both the artsy aspects as well as the practical (how does it work) aspects well. I consider myself very logical however, so I can probably make up for it even if the program tends a bit more towards art (?).

The reason for limiting myself to Scotland, Ireland and Sweden, is that as a non-UK EU citizen (im Finnish) SAAS ( pays the scottish fees, in Ireland the “Free Fees Initiative” should include me, and in Sweden there is no tuition.

School’s im considering:

Edinburgh College of Art (
Pro’s: Seems strong on design, overall nice alternative. Con’s: Unsure if I’d get to continue to the product design programme after the general art & design first year. Maybe a bit focused on furniture.

Glasgow School of Art: (
Might be a bit too artsy? glasgow not as nice a city as edinbourgh…(?)
Decent showcase i think

Heard some (prospective?) students with high hope, but not impressed with showcase (

Ireland (dublin):
The National college of Art & Design (
Heard both some good and bad.

Sweden: (i speak swedish by the way)
Umeå Institute of Design (
World Top 10 in some lists can’tbe bad…

Konstfack (in Stockholm) Quite nice bachelor showcase
Lund university (some bachelor’s work in yearbook.) Seems decent.

So, if you have anything to comment, know something about a school or a city mentioned, or about any other school that seems relevant, please post.

The choice is obvious, go for Sweden if you have the money.

Although Sweden is very expensive to live in, it is not much more expensive than Ireland and Scotland. I study in Dublin myself, but not in National College of Art and Design (NCAD). I find that Dublin is very expensive, and getting a place to live is nearly impossible there nowadays. NCAD doesn’t provide an on-campus accommodation, you have to go and look for it yourself.

Ireland does not have much experience with design-school education. However, what you can do there is study a related subject like engineering or history of art in a university, and do design-related short courses in NCAD. The short courses would last only a few days or weeks, but that’s all you need IMO. It probably sounds great, but if you want to have a trouble-free educational experience, definitely go for Sweden.

Thanks for your comments. To be honest, I consider scotland / ireland mainly because sweden feels a bit close to home, even though i’ve never lived there for any longer period.

Any opinions on Scottish design education please?

To me this is a no brainer the Sweedish schools you have listed beat hands down Irish or Scottish schools. You would be shooting yourself in the foot going anywhere else. Napier is alright propably your best alternative, everynow and again I hear they churn out a few good students, but in the last few months having interviewed alongside people UMEA there students were extremely impressive.

Dont forget though its what you make of the course.

What you can do is study in Sweden and do one years’ foreign exchange in a university in Scotland or Ireland. However, you will be missing out on the good Swedish education during that time. You will be a lot better off getting a work placement in these countries rather than studying there.

A foreign exchange year is very much an option if i study in scandinavia (also started considering norwegian or danish schools, maybe even finnish, though I’d prefer to study in some other language). However, if i went on a foreign exchange year, i’d probably apply mainly at northumbria, brunel or some other of the english top universities.

Thanks for your comments Sketchme and experiMental.

It doesn’t matter that much where you go its the student who does the great work not the institution. So go visit them, talk to the tutors/students have a look around the town and pick one where you feel most happy.

I disagree slightly, some colleges actually prevent students from creating good work, because of poor organization, or poor course management. Institution is just as responsible for the final work as the student.

I currently study in Ireland in NCAD (National College of Art and Design) Dublin and would seriously NOT recommend it.
Located in the Dublin city center the NCAD campus is excellent and most courses seem to be extremely well run and consistently spill out success stories,particularly in fashion and the fine art departments- Industrial Design is not one of these courses.
Ireland is and has always been very far behind in design teaching and NCAD is unfortunately one of the only places in Ireland to study the subject,if I could afford it I would 100% move abroad to study industrial design.

The course seriously lacks any form of organisation or order,students have little or no help from a handful of tutors,most of which after one year do not know many students names or where our desks are and have serious attitude problems-last week a tutor replied “is there really a point…” when asking for the result from a previous project.

The facilities are good and it has up to date machinery and rapid prototyping and cnc etc. in the workshop but thats only when the workshop is open on time- a rare occurrence.

The course is basically entirely team work based,which is good practice for working in design after college but unfortunately marks are not given for things such as creativity/innovation/recording work etc (what I think are the key requirements for a good designer) and you are not marked separately from your partner meaning the entire 4 year course could be spent getting somebody else a college degree.

I would seriously not recommend this course for Erasmus or for a degree.If anyone has any questions about the course feel free to contact me