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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: Prior Coursework as Required by Subject Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

The Glasgow School of At
BGA Logo
The Glasgow School of Art, founded in 1845, is one of the very few remaining independent art schools in the United Kingdom. Towards the end of the 19th century, the study and practice of the fine arts and architecture became part of the curriculum, and since then the School has blossomed and flourished, creating a unique identity with over 1,600 students. Two major galleries are used extensively as teaching and learning resources because the school believes in the educational value of students engaging in the exhibition of "live" objects. The newly extended library is well-stocked with books, slides and periodicals dedicated to art, design and architecture. Students also have access to the library at the University of Glasgow.
For additional information, visit the Glasgow School of Art website
The City of Glasgow

Glasgow is a finely preserved Victorian city situated near the Scottish highlands. Although its origins pre-date the building of the city’s cathedral in the 1100s, what most visitors find interesting is not the city’s medieval heritage, but the city’s Victorian legacy of ornate buildings of cream and pink hues. Glasgow boasts excellent art galleries in the city showing works of established artists as well as of young talent, some of whom were trained at the Glasgow School of Art. The city has a population of about 650,000 inhabitants.

Did you know…?

In 1888, an umbrella manufacturer based in Glasgow constructed the then-largest umbrella in the world. It measured 21 feet in diameter and was used to provide shade for an African King and 30 of his guests. 



The program at the Glasgow School of Art is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: No previous study required.
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Prior coursework as required by subject.  


Language of Instruction



Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

The School of Design is committed to the development of design education, practice and research, which takes place in the highly creative environment of the Glasgow School of Art. All courses are studio-based and are complemented by a program of Historical and Critical Studies. The development of digital design is an overall strategic aim of the School of Design and an evolving area of its research. Departments include: Fashion & Textiles, Interior Design, Product Design, Silversmithing & Jewelry, Visual Communication (consists of Illustration, Graphic Design & Graphic Photography) and Product Design Engineering. After the first year, studies take place within specialty departments of Historical and Critical Studies, however there are regular cross-school seminars and opportunities for joint, inter-departmental projects, such as the international workshops held annually in various European venues. Formative (i.e. advisory) assessments take place at key points throughout the year; summative (final graded) assessments take place at the end of each academic year. Within the School of Design students may choose to study in Term 1, Terms 2 & 3, or the full year.

The School of Fine Art (SoFA) has three specialist departments offering Painting & Printmaking, Sculpture and Environmental Art, and Fine Art Photography. Study in the Studio component comprises 80% of the program and 20% by the Historical and Critical Studies. SoFA offers students a balanced and intensive education which will enable them to apply their knowledge and skills with confidence as artists and creative people and to contribute to the cultural wealth of society. It promotes teaching and learning as an active exchange of intellectual and technical expertise and strives to provide an academic environment in which this can be achieved. Group projects are organized for students from across the subject areas and at times, across the various study-years. Seminars, artist talks and group critiques (critical feedback sessions) enable students to develop a language to talk about their own work and that of others, and to position their work in relation to the wider world of contemporary art practice. One to one tutorials support students to manage their progress in relation to their course, and their professional and personal development as artists and individuals. Within the School of Fine Art students may choose to study in Term 1, Terms 2 & 3, or the full year.

The Mackintosh School of Architecture is the Glasgow School of Art's only academic school concerned with a single discipline, yet similar to our other Schools, the Mac is a diverse international community of creative people. The School's teaching staffs have a wide variety of backgrounds and specialist subject areas and are all active in research and teaching development. The courses include design construction, structures, environmental science, history, sociology, economics, law and management, as well as skills in hand drawing, computer-aided drawing, three dimensional visualization, model-making and workshop techniques, photography, audiovisual and verbal presentation, and core skills including problem solving and working with other people. Architecture students must apply for the whole academic year.

Glasgow School of Art Academic Calendar
Glasgow School of Art Course Catalog
Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Special Features

BGA Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by the Glasgow School of Art prior to the start of each semester. More information on the Glasgow School of Art’s orientation activities can be found here.

Student Associations

The Students' Association is the social hub of the Glasgow School of Art and plays a vital role in strengthening the GSA's reputation as a hotbed of creative activity by bringing together students from all parts of the school to share ideas and views. In addition to being the home to many societies, it also hosts numerous gigs and club nights, often featuring international artists as well as local bands. The Students' Association (known simply as 'The Art School') has become one of Glasgow's most well-known venues and is legendary for nurturing such groups as Belle and Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand. 


BGA CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

The Glasgow School of Art offers new undergraduate students accommodation in one of two purpose-built halls of residence: Blythswood House and Margaret Macdonald House. Both sites are located in the city centre, close to amenities and travel links, and within five minutes’ walk of the main GSA Garnethill campus. All GSA halls are secure and fully-furnished.

For students who are interested in finding a private flat or a room, sharing with other students, the Student Welfare Department can assist with information on how you go about finding your own accommodation within the city.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

AASAP/UK Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship: Merit-based scholarship awarded to the applicant who demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience and who agrees to share how the scholarship helped to fulfil their academic and personal ambitions. The award is £500 for a semester abroad or £1,000 for a full year.

BUTEX offers eight scholarships to North American students studying at a university in the United Kingdom. The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university. Interested students should contact the appropriate Global Programs Manager in the Penn Abroad office.

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Glasgow, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.