Undergraduate Individual Study Abroad Course


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

If you are ready to step away from the mainstream art school experience, then welcome to the Burren College of Art.

Studying abroad helps you develop new perspectives on who you are as an artist, and to see your art and yourself through new eyes.  BCA offers a transformative experience for the emerging artist, stripping away the noise, clutter and distraction of everyday urban life to allow for a greater exploration of creativity.

Our maximum college capacity during the academic year is 40, which includes a combination of Study Abroad undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and several artists-in-residence from all over the world. This intimate community creates an exciting platform for discussion, artistic collaboration and cross-disciplinary exchanges.

Students are assigned a large studio space for the duration of their programme, to which they have 24/7 access. Our courses are delivered both in-studio, on a tutorial basis or as group courses. Tutorial courses are taught through scheduled 1-to-1 contact in students own studio, supplemented by regular scheduled group presentations, discussions and critiques. Group courses are taught as a unified class, with all students present with the tutor at the same time, along with individual advising sessions.

Students normally take 5 courses during the semester, each carrying 3 credits. There is a diverse array of courses from which to choose in the areas of Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Photography, as well as adjunct courses such as Mixed Media, Art in Context and Live Art.  We also offer non-studio courses in Art History, Creative Writing and Irish Studies; an essential element of a semester abroad in this part of the world.  Courses are available at Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced and Independent level and a full description of the range of courses is available in our Study Abroad Prospectus and in the adjacent online tabs.

A weekly visiting artist programme, regular trips to galleries in Dublin, London and Berlin as well as local galleries and visual art festivals in the West of Ireland ensure students are exposed to the best of European contemporary art.

Students at Richard Long installation, Doolin, Ireland

©Burren College of Art

Modes of Study

Burren College of Art is often described as being at the confluence of cultures. Our undergraduate programme marries the best of the European and American traditions of art education. Like other art schools in Europe our students work throughout the week in dedicated studio space (available 24/7) with tutorial support, leaving the studios only for group teaching. Also, like art programmes in America, the learning experience is organized as a number of distinct courses. Therefore, we offer two modes |of undergraduate study. Our courses are taught either as a Tutorial Course or as a Group Course

Tutorial Courses are taught through scheduled one on one contact within each student’s dedicated studio space, supplemented by regular scheduled group presentations, discussions and critiques. Some intermediate and all advanced and independent courses are Tutorial Courses.

Group Courses are taught as a unified class with all students present with the tutor at the one time. Group courses also include some one-on-one contact teaching. All introductory and liberal arts courses and some adjunct studio courses are Group Courses.

Level of Study

All courses assume students have had prior education in an art subject (including creative writing) at degree level. We do not provide any courses for absolute beginners. 

Introductory Level

We describe a course as introductory when it is assumed that students have not studied the subject previously, but that they have studied some other art courses previously. These courses are suitable for students who wish to extend the range of their art studies by taking a new specialism. For example, Introductory Photography would be appropriate to Painting or Sculpture Majors who have not previously had the opportunity to extend their artistic interests through photography. Introductory courses are Group Courses.

Intermediate Level 

We describe a course as intermediate when it is assumed that students have previously taken an introductory course but have not yet developed the knowledge, experience and ability to work on their own with the support of one on one tutorial. Often there are set assignments at this level. Intermediate courses are either Tutorial or Group Courses and the proportion of group activities, such as slide shows, discussion and critiques are normally greater than in advanced and independent level courses.

Advanced Level 

We describe a course as advanced when it is assumed that students have previously taken an intermediate course and no longer require the continuous close support and attention of faculty. Typically, advanced students negotiate their projects and work-plans with faculty and meet one on one with faculty in the studio, on a scheduled plan, with some scheduled group activities such as slide shows, discussions and critiques. All Advanced courses are Tutorial Courses.

Independent Level

We describe a course as independent when it is assumed that students have previously taken an advanced course and are capable of working autonomously with faculty support as necessary. Typically, students in independent courses negotiate their projects with faculty at the beginning of the semester and sign up to meet with faculty when advice or other support is required. Independent students may participate in group activities such as slide shows, discussions and critiques. All Independent courses are Tutorial Courses.

Declaring an Emphasis

Students studying advanced or independent level courses in Drawing, Painting, Photography and Sculpture may elect to declare an emphasis or theme that will be reflected in the title of the course on the student’s transcript. This means that students studying the same subject at the same level – alongside each other in the studios – normally engage in a wide diversity of projects, and may be awarded different course titles on their transcripts. For example, three intermediate painters may work alongside each other, each with academic support from the same tutor, yet be awarded the following entries on their transcripts:

  • Student A:
    Intermediate Painting
  • Student B:
    Intermediate Painting: Narrative Painting
  • Student C:
    Intermediate Painting: Landscape Painting

The declaration of emphasis is restricted to advanced and independent courses. The declaration of emphases enables students to have more than one advanced or independent course identified on their transcript. Emphases may not be declared in Group Courses. We have identified emphases that have proved popular, and these are listed in the relevant subject areas. Additionally, students may propose an emphasis on faculty approval.

Ella McVeagh, Study Abroad Undergraduate, 2017

©Burren College of Art


We are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2021 semester, with a priority deadline of October 31, 2020.  In response to the changing situation related to the coronavirus pandemic, should there be any restrictions which would prevent students from travelling to Ireland in January, we are also able to extend our refund policy to be able to give full refunds up to two weeks before the start of the semester.  We are also able to defer any acceptances to the Fall 2021 semester if needed.

Admission Documents

Applicants should submit the following materials:

  • Online Application Form
  • Images of recent work (10-15 jpegs or maximum 2 video pieces in Quick Time format)
  • Artist Statement (approximately 200 words)
  • Statement of Purpose (between 500-1000 words explaining your purpose in undertaking study at BCA. Include your education objective, career plans and your reasons for choosing to study in Ireland)
  • Official Transcript (s) (A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required)
  • Copy of your Passport
  • 2 Letters of recommendation submitted by email or physical mail by your referees
  • €50 non-refundable application fee payable online

Note: We request official hard copies of transcripts to be sent to Admissions, Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland, or sent by the university/college via password-protected email. Portfolio images can be submitted electronically via GoogleDocs or www.wetransfer.com. All other application materials can be emailed to the Director of Admissions, Lisa Newman, at lisa@burrencollege.ie

Tuition and Fees

  • General
    • €8,690 per semester
    • €17,380 per academic year 2020/21
  • Housing Fee per semester
    • Single ensuite room – €3,045
    • Twin ensuite room – €2,250
  • Programme Fee: €495 per semester
  • Activity Fee: €195 per semester
  • Optional Faculty-Led Trip to London (Fall) or Berlin (Spring): €700

Irish Studies field trip with Gordon D'Arcy

©Burren College of Art

Accreditation and Academic Credits

The Burren College of Art is approved by the Department of Education in Ireland.

Undergraduate courses at Burren College of Art meet the requirements of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) of which the college is an International Affiliate. Students may receive 15 -17 credit hours each semester.

Art schools and colleges in the U.S. accept undergraduate credit directly from Burren College of Art. Member schools of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) have a consortium agreement with Burren College of Art facilitating the easy transfer of students.

Graduate programmes at Burren College of Art are accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Last updated Sep 2020

About the School

To be a hothouse for artists, led by artists – reflective and challenging; remote and connected; at the confluence of cultures.

To be a hothouse for artists, led by artists – reflective and challenging; remote and connected; at the confluence of cultures. Read less