University Name

National College of Art and Design


The National College of Art and Design occupies a unique position in art and design education in Ireland, offering the widest range of art and design degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Many of the most important Irish artists, designers and art teachers have studied or taught in the College. It has long been the central and most important art and design educational institution in Ireland.

The origins of the College date from 1746 when Robert West had a private drawing school in George's Lane, Dublin, which was taken over by the Dublin Society (later the RDS). Throughout the eighteenth century, the college was home to three schools: Figure Drawing, Landscape and Ornamental Drawing and Architectural Drawing. The School of Modelling was added in 1811. From 1854 the institution was controlled by the Department of Science and Art, London. In 1877 it was renamed The Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. The Department of Education took control in 1924, and twelve years later it became the National College of Art. In 1971 the National College of Art and Design was established by an act of an Oireachtas and is now governed by a board (An Bord) appointed by the Minister for Education and Science.

The College's campus is situated in Thomas Street, in the historic Liberties area of Dublin. In 1998 the College opened its new wing, the School of Design for Industry, and now houses all of its activities on the Thomas Street campus or nearby.

The College has conferred honorary associateships on Sybil Connolly, Dr. James White, Patrick Scott, Jan de Fouw, Sonja Landweer, Conor Fallon, Dr. Seamus Buachalla, Leonora Curry, Paul Costelloe, Prof. Anne Crookshank, Charles J. Haughey, Dr. Patrick Moriarty, Dr. Edward Walsh, Professor George Dawson, Michael Farrell, Paul Hogan, William Walsh, Mealla C. Gibbons, Bro. Joseph McNally, Juan O'Callahan and Anthony Cronin.

The College has 1,000 full-time students and a further six hundred students who are taking evening courses. Those who know the College, and those who have attended the Open Day, the annual exhibitions and fashion show, will be aware of the very high standards that are achieved.

The College has four Schools; Design, Education, Fine Art and Visual Culture.

A tutorial system operates throughout the College and many of the courses are project-based. Students' progress is monitored at the end of projects, and by examination at the end of each year.

From its beginnings, the College has been as equally concerned with fine art as with design.

The School of Fine Art teaching combines the traditional disciplines such as drawing and painting with an open experimental approach which allows individuals to realise their ideas in a wide range of media. The Department of Applied Materials in the School offers opportunities for students to develop a deep understanding and engagement with textiles, ceramics and glass. Through contact with teachers who are practising artists, students become familiar with the activities and the ideas of artists working in society today. Students also become familiar with the fundamentally questioning nature of contemporary art and of the variety and expanding range of practices which make up the field. It is an intensely creative education, not only for artists but for others who may build careers in the media and the arts.

The School of Design is the largest in the College and comprises jewellery and objects, fashion design, industrial and product design, textile design and visual communication. In design, the emphasis is on solving specific problems set by the project. While students are expected to master the relevant technologies, the aesthetic design factor is stressed equally. There are many links with industry and students often work on competitions sponsored by commercial firms. The College aims to promote a broad education in design which can be the basis for a variety of careers either as part of a team in industry or by working individually in a studio or small business.

The School of Visual Culture interacts with other schools in providing the visual culture elements of all NCAD degrees.  In both the fine art and design courses, the element of history and theory of art and design is essential in assisting artists and designers to place themselves within a larger historical, intellectual, social and stylistic context. Within contemporary fine art practice, the theory has become increasingly important. The Joint Course BA degree makes special provision for the student who wishes to explore art history and studio practice in art and design to an equal extent. For all students, there is a requirement to attend regular lectures and submit written papers culminating in a thesis in the final year. The well-stocked College Library is a central resource for all courses.

The School of Visual Culture also offers an undergraduate degree in Visual Culture as well as a number of postgraduate taught and research degrees (PhD). This offers the student the opportunity to study the theory and practice of art and design in a creative art school setting.

The School of Education provides for the education of teachers of art, craft and design in second-level schools. There are two modes available: the four-year joint honours degree in Design or Fine Art and Education, and the two-year Professional Master of Education in Art & Design. The School also provide a two-year Professional Master in Socially Engaged Art (part-time mode). The Centre for Continuing Education in Art and Design is part of the School of Education and offers a range of part-time courses including certificate courses.

Artists and designers of international repute are invited to teach or give special lectures in the College. Exchange programmes with colleges and universities in Europe and the United States take place annually. Individual staff members are linked to numerous professional organisations at home and abroad. The College is a member of the European League of the Institute of the Arts.

The College has been a recognised college of the National University of Ireland since 1996, in 2011 it became a Recognised College of University College Dublin (UCD).

The College welcomes all applicants who are committed to art and design and who also have the necessary talent and academic ability.

A degree course at NCAD is an enriching and challenging experience. It is a preparation for life in both a professional and a broad educational sense.


General information for International Undergraduate Applicants from outside the EU or EFTA

NCAD welcomes applications from qualified applicants from all over the world and each application will be considered on an individual basis.

Entry to studio programmes is based on meeting minimum academic requirements as well as the submission of a portfolio. (Exception: Applications to AD215 BA Visual Culture do not require a portfolio).

Students from outside Ireland / EU who wish to apply to degree courses at NCAD must have a High School Qualification from their home country which is the equivalent to the Irish School Leaving Certificate. If you wish to apply with other qualifications (Third Level courses, etc.) these will also be considered.

International applicants are required to submit certified transcripts of their second-level or equivalent examinations. You will need to submit a certified English translation of your transcripts as well as the original language version.

Taught Masters Entry Requirements

An approved Bachelor degree at a minimum level of 2nd class honours.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements may be considered on the basis of prior work or learning experience. Candidates may be required to pass a qualifying examination set by the relevant department before being accepted to a Masters degree programme. Attendance at selected undergraduate lecture courses at NCAD, together with related written work may be prescribed.

1. A Statement of Interest - 300-500 words framing your reasons for applying to the programme

2. A recent CV

3. Certified transcripts of previous programmes followed

4. Certified copies of degree/ certificates and/or other appropriate third-level qualifications bearing the official stamp of the institution.

5. Reference 1 (Academic - Head of School/Department preferred)

6. Reference 2 (Tutor or Current/Recent Employer)

Note: Please supply the reference. Some referees prefer to submit the reference directly to the college. If this is the case, please instruct your referee to email a standard reference for the attention of Fiona Cleary to [email protected]

Please make sure all references contain the letterhead and the institution contact email address for the referee.

7. A sample of written work - essay, published article or other relevant text.

English Language Requirements

All programmes in NCAD are taught through English. International Applicants are asked to provide proof of their English Language Proficiency.

Student Life

Studying at NCAD is about excellence in art and design. We encourage diversity and difference in our students in an environment that will challenge your creativity and talent. Our goal is that you will graduate with the skills, knowledge, and ambition to flourish in your chosen career.

Studying at NCAD is also about your journey as a student which we hope will be full of delight and discovery.  We hope you will be enriched by the experience of working within a creative community, exploring your own creative response to the world around you and being actively engaged socially and culturally with your peers and the wider world.

There are many reasons to choose NCAD…

  • You will gain a university degree from University College Dublin ( UCD) which is ranked in the top 1% of world universities.
  • The National College of Art and Design has been the most significant provider of Art & Design Education in Ireland for over 250 years.
  • Our Thomas Street location has all the energy and excitement of a university campus with a full academic and student life as well as easy access to the dynamic urban and cultural environment of the city. We've been described as "a mecca of arts and design study" by The Irish Times.
  • Our campus facilities include individual studio space for all studio-based students, the NCAD Library, the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL), the NCAD Gallery, the student concourse and Student’s  Union area, the Luncheonette Café, the student gallery and a garden and outdoor area for sunny days.
  • NCAD is a single discipline College, our focus is excellence in art, design and visual culture at undergraduate and postgraduate level and in research.
  • You will gain a University degree, NCAD is a Recognised College of University College Dublin.
  • You will be taught by a committed staff who are themselves experienced and practising visual artists, theorists and designers.
  • NCAD provides a learning experience based on practical studio work combined with a theoretical context, you will be challenged intellectually and creatively.
  • In NCAD you will experience small learning groups in studio, tutorials and seminars, we believe you learn as much from your peers as from your tutors and lecturers and that the creative process is not an individual solitary activity.
  • All Students participate in end-of-year and degree exhibitions or the Fashion Show. Students are also encouraged to engage in other student or staff-led initiatives and opportunities to enter competitions and exhibit.
  • Our goal is that our students graduate with the skills and knowledge to flourish in their chosen career and to contribute to the economy, to culture and to society. NCAD graduates have the potential to be catalysts of progress by engaging with the world and creating a culture of change.
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  • 07/10/2022 8:55 am local time

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