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Study design abroad

An in-depth guide to studying design as an international student.

Design degrees abroad

A design degree will encompass a huge number of areas, offering a broad curriculum that encourages you to identify and develop your own focus. Most programs cover design across different materials, including ceramics, metal and textiles, and you’ll be able to work in creative studios using the latest technology.

Design is a way of understanding and engaging with the world through making and doing, and is an ideal subject if you have a practical and artist mind. You’ll get to explore the role of design within society and culture, and think innovatively about its future.

Studying design abroad opens up many great opportunities. You have the chance to study in locations that can inspire you, for example studying animation in Japan, or fashion in Italy. Design degree programs are available all over the world, so you won’t be short of options.

Design program structure

All design programs will have their on unique structure and curriculum. Many programs start by covering a broad base of design subjects, before allowing you to specialize in an area you’re most interested in and best suits your aspirations.

There are a wide range of design specializations you can choose to focus on, including graphic design, fashion design, interior design, furniture design or illustration. You could choose to study a program that covers these areas specifically, or study a more general design course that allows you to specialize.

Design is offered at a range of degree levels, including foundation, bachelor’s and master’s. A bachelor’s in design is offered as a BA, and will usually take three to four years to complete depending on where you study.

At postgraduate level you can study design as an MA, or some programs like building design or product design are offered as an MSc. Most master’s will take between one and two years to study full time.

Design programs are usually very practical, and will involve a lot of time spent in studios and working on your portfolio. You will also spend some time in lectures, seminars, tutorials and on placements. You’ll be assessed through written assignments, portfolios, projects and your dissertation.

The main subjects and areas that you will study on a design degree program include:

  • Introduction to design
  • Art and design history
  • Contemporary practices in design
  • Materials tools and processes
  • Communication design
  • Fashion and textile design
  • Three dimensional design
  • Professional practice
  • Design project / dissertation
Design program structure

All design programs will have their on unique structure and curriculum. Many programs start by covering a broad base of design subjects, before allowing you to specialize in an area you’re most interested in and best suits your aspirations.

There are a wide range of design specializations you can choose to focus on, including graphic design, fashion design, interior design, furniture design or illustration. You could choose to study a program that covers these areas specifically, or study a more general design course that allows you to specialize.

Design is offered at a range of degree levels, including foundation, bachelor’s and master’s. A bachelor’s in design is offered as a BA, and will usually take three to four years to complete depending on where you study.

At postgraduate level you can study design as an MA, or some programs like building design or product design are offered as an MSc. Most master’s will take between one and two years to study full time.

Design programs are usually very practical, and will involve a lot of time spent in studios and working on your portfolio. You will also spend some time in lectures, seminars, tutorials and on placements. You’ll be assessed through written assignments, portfolios, projects and your dissertation.

The main subjects and areas that you will study on a design degree program include:

  • Introduction to design
  • Art and design history
  • Contemporary practices in design
  • Materials tools and processes
  • Communication design
  • Fashion and textile design
  • Three dimensional design
  • Professional practice
  • Design project / dissertation

Types of design degrees

How to study design abroad

  1. University & program search

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations
  2. Application guidance

    We'll get you to the right place to start your application
  3. Visa & travel advice

    Get help after application, all the way to your first day at university

Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
Our services are 100% free for students like you because we're funded by universities.

Design study abroad programs

Design undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in design

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    Interior Architecture & Design (Add-On) - BA (Hons) Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    12,494 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 10,500 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Interior Architecture & Design (Add-On)
  • false

    Apparel Design - BA Seattle Pacific University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,604 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,604 USD

    Start date
    August, January
    Show program overview about Apparel Design
  • false

    Theatre Design and Technology - BFA Baylor University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,544 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,544 USD

    Start date
    -
    Show program overview about Theatre Design and Technology
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    Theatre - Design / Technology - BFA Auburn University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    32,220 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 32,220 USD

    Start date
    January, August, May
    Show program overview about Theatre - Design / Technology
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    Craft and Design Textiles - BA (Hons) Sheridan College, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,601 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 19,621 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Craft and Design Textiles
See all bachelor's degrees in design

Associate in design

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    Apparel Design and Merchandising - AA College of Alameda, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    January, June, August
    Show program overview about Apparel Design and Merchandising
  • false

    Art: Design - AA Seattle Central College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    9,687 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,687 USD

    Start date
    June, September, April, January
    Show program overview about Art: Design
  • false

    Forest Renewable Materials/Art and Design - ASc Southwestern Oregon Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    10,791 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 10,791 USD

    Start date
    June, March, January, September
    Show program overview about Forest Renewable Materials/Art and Design
  • false

    Interior Decoration and Design - AA RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,656 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 29,760 AUD

    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Interior Decoration and Design
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    Engineering Graphics & Design Technology - AASc North Seattle College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    9,687 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,687 USD

    Start date
    January, September, June, April
    Show program overview about Engineering Graphics & Design Technology
See all associate degrees in design

Diploma in design

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    Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering Design), Advanced - AdvDip RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    13,703 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,000 AUD

    Start date
    July, February
    Show program overview about Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering Design), Advanced
  • false

    Communication Design: Interactive Media - UGDip North Island College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    11,168 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,045 CAD

    Start date
    July, September, May, January
    Show program overview about Communication Design: Interactive Media
  • false

    Digital Design - Dip Bow Valley College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    16 months
    Annual tuition fee
    37,438 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 47,084 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Digital Design
  • false

    Engineering Design Technology - UGDip Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,799 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,612 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Engineering Design Technology
  • false

    Graphic and Digital Design - Dip (Des) University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,028 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,900 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Graphic and Digital Design
See all undergraduate diplomas in design

Certificate in design

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    Network Design - Cert (Arts) St. Charles Community College, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    5,520 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 5,520 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Network Design
  • false

    Apparel Design and Merchandising - Cert College of Alameda, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,950 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 7,950 USD

    Start date
    January, June, August
    Show program overview about Apparel Design and Merchandising
  • false

    Art and Design Fundamentals - OCCert Centennial College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    13,144 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,531 CAD

    Start date
    July, January
    Show program overview about Art and Design Fundamentals
  • false

    Design Foundation - Cert Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    12,255 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,412 CAD

    Start date
    January
    Show program overview about Design Foundation
  • false

    Design Foundations - OCCert Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Undergraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    12,789 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,084 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Design Foundations
See all undergraduate certificates in design

Pathway in design

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    Art, Design and Media - FD Arts University Bournemouth, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,201 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,250 GBP

    Start date
    October, February
    Show program overview about Art, Design and Media
  • false

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design - FD Bath Spa University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    20,468 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,900 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • false

    Games Design (Foundation) - FD Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,973 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 10,900 GBP

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Games Design (Foundation)
  • false

    International Year - Communication and Design - UGP Lynn University, USA

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    6 months
    Annual tuition fee
    18,340 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,340 USD

    Start date
    -
    Show program overview about International Year - Communication and Design
See all undergraduate pathways in design

Design graduate programs

Master's in design

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    3D Design & Technologies - MSc York St John University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    17,514 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,750 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about 3D Design & Technologies
  • false

    Advanced Design & Manufacturing with Placement Year - MSc University of Northampton, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    18,888 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,750 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Advanced Design & Manufacturing with Placement Year
  • false

    Design Thinking - MDes Cranfield University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    28,160 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 20,500 GBP

    Start date
    October
    Show program overview about Design Thinking
  • false

    Applied Craft + Design - MFA Pacific Northwest College of Art, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    39,225 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 39,225 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Applied Craft + Design
  • false

    Digital Art & Design: Fine Arts & Technology - MFA New York Institute of Technology, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    25,000 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 25,000 USD

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Digital Art & Design: Fine Arts & Technology
See all master's degrees in design

Doctorate in design

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    Design - PhD RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,772 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 36,480 AUD

    Start date
    July, February
    Show program overview about Design
  • false

    Art, Design and Performance - PhD University of Portsmouth, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    22,391 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,300 GBP

    Start date
    February, October
    Show program overview about Art, Design and Performance
  • false

    Design - PhD University of Gloucestershire, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,575 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,250 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Design
  • false

    Engineering and Design - PhD University of Chichester, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,163 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,950 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Engineering and Design
  • false

    Learning, Design, and Technology - PhD University of Wyoming, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    15,500 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,500 USD

    Start date
    May, September
    Show program overview about Learning, Design, and Technology
See all doctorates in design

Diploma in design

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    Fine Art and Design - PGDip University of Tasmania, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    23,993 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,516 AUD

    Start date
    July, February
    Show program overview about Fine Art and Design
  • false

    Interactive Media Design - OCDip Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    14 months
    Annual tuition fee
    13,220 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,626 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Interactive Media Design
  • false

    International Hotel & Design Management - PDip IHTTI School of Hotel & Design Management, Switzerland

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    38,643 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 35,700 CHF

    Start date
    February
    Show program overview about International Hotel & Design Management
  • false

    Mechanical Engineering Technician – Design - OCDip Centennial College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    13,144 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,531 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Mechanical Engineering Technician – Design
See all postgraduate diplomas in design

Certificate in design

  • false

    Applied Mechanical Design - OCGCert Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    13,220 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,626 CAD

    Start date
    January, September, May
    Show program overview about Applied Mechanical Design
  • false

    Fine Art and Design - PGCert University of Tasmania, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    6 months
    Annual tuition fee
    11,996 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,758 AUD

    Start date
    July, February
    Show program overview about Fine Art and Design
  • false

    Game Level Design - PGCert Sheridan College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    21,167 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 26,621 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Game Level Design
  • false

    Kitchen and Bath Design Post-Diploma - GradCert Bow Valley College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    15,721 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 19,772 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Kitchen and Bath Design Post-Diploma
  • false

    Secondary Design and Technology - PGCert Bath Spa University, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    18,270 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,300 GBP

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Secondary Design and Technology
See all postgraduate certificates in design

Pathway in design

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    Art, Design and Media, Pre-Master’s - PGP University of Brighton, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    21,237 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,460 GBP

    Start date
    August, September, January, July
    Show program overview about Art, Design and Media, Pre-Master’s
  • false

    Communication and Design, Pre-master's Program - PGP Lynn University, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    16,380 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,380 USD

    Start date
    -
    Show program overview about Communication and Design, Pre-master's Program
See all postgraduate pathways in design

Future design careers

Most students with design degrees will look to find employment in the creative and cultural industries, and many even set up their own business and work freelance. Here’s some of the most popular roles for design graduates:

  • Creative director
  • Print maker
  • Fashion designer
  • Art director
  • Graphic designer
  • Interior designer
  • Production designer
  • Game designer
  • UX designer

Which role and area you choose to go into will depend on the program you choose and what specialization you pursue. Therefore, if you know what design career you want, make sure the program you choose to study covers that area.