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A Guide to Studying Lighting Design in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in Lighting Design at a top-ranked European university? Best of all, it's taught entirely in English and costs less than 1 year of tuition at a US college.
Lighting Design

What are my options?

European Bachelor's programs taught entirely in English.
European Master's programs taught entirely in English.

About this area of study.

Lighting design is one of those professions that combine engineering and "soft" skills, and so is worth a look if you're technically minded with a creative streak. Some of the tasks lighting designers might face in their work are:

  • Illuminating a monument or famous building so it appears dignified and doesn't change its appearance at night.
  • Arranging and calibrating floodlights for a sports field so all parts are equally illuminated and TV cameras can work correctly.
  • Designing an office lighting system to optimize employee productivity, one for a restaurant to attract more customers, or at a museum to display exhibits at their best.
  • Setting up lights for a video shoot or theater performance according to (possibly vague) instructions from the director.

The challenges involved in lighting design work can range from trivial to overwhelming. In the latter case, projects are generally left to qualified architects and engineers who've taken a master's degree in lighting design. This supplements their existing knowledge of physics, electrical systems, and design with an impressive laundry list of other subjects: human psychology and physiology, the social and cultural norms surrounding lighting, visual arts, and power conservation among others.

Bachelor's degrees in lighting design, which are what about two-thirds of people in the profession have, typically do not dwell too much on the scientific aspects of the work. Instead, they often have considerable overlap with theater courses and prepare students for employment in that field. Architectural lighting is also covered, though. At both American and European universities, a large portion of the course consists of practical "learning by doing", so be prepared to get your hands dirty. It's also best if you don't have a fear of heights.

Careers options in this area of study.

Lighting designers may work for or with architectural firms, municipal authorities, public venues like museums and theaters, electricians, companies that manufacture lighting fixtures, and so on. Though someone with advanced education in the field and considerable experience can earn much more, the average salary for lighting design is around $60,000.

Admissions information.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport. Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

How to study in Europe.

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to find English-taught degrees.

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs and get started on your journey to Europe today.

Travel the world while you get your degree.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

Find the college in Europe that fits you best.

Jump on the unique opportunity to find a degree from a top-ranking European university while still being able to study in English.

Beyond the States matches you with your ideal English-taught college in Europe.

Beyond the States provides access to 11,400+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
3400+
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
8000+
English-taught master's programs in our database.
550
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
870
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
€293,558
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
€55,098
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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