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Spatial Design

A Guide to Studying Spatial Design in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in Spatial 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.

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.

Several thousand years ago, somebody came up with the idea of walls and a roof. For the most part, humanity hasn't looked back. We've also realized that our interaction with artificial spaces is a two-way street.

We can and should design and alter the interiors of our buildings to better suit our needs. If we don't, the environment will negatively affect our energy levels, productivity, mood, and outlook.

One aspect of spatial design is simply practical. If a kitchen is laid out with the fridge in one corner, the sink in another, and the stove in a third, the cook will spend a lot of their time walking back and forth instead of doing something useful. This kind of effect is often much more subtle: in an office building where different departments' personnel are normally isolated from each other, communication will suffer even if nobody is aware of the problem.

The visual impact of a space is also important. Color psychology, for instance, is a real thing: the hues people see while working, socializing, or relaxing have a measurable effect on their feelings. Spatial designers use various techniques to "stage" spaces so that, for example, a doctor's office seems less intimidating or an office layout doesn't distract cubicle dwellers from their work.

Spatial design is a relatively modern field of study. This is because it is really a fusion of interior design, architecture, landscape design, sustainability, visual arts, urban planning, and psychology. You could say that it's the modern, scientifically-backed version of feng shui: organizing spaces so that the "flow" of people, actions, and connections is optimized.

The space being designed may be as small as a room or as large as a town - many of the same principles apply in either case, or anything in between. For this reason, subjects studied in a spatial design course usually include art, lighting design, graphic design, and anthropology with a focus on the use of interior spaces. These "micro-space" subjects are rounded out by courses in surveying, computer-aided design, and geographical information systems; all useful at larger scales. The syllabi of different universities don't all have the same emphasis, so keep your career goals in mind when selecting one.

Successful spatial design students are able to weave all of these threads, plus their knowledge of human sensory experience, into constructive proposals for improving the human and functional aspects of any kind of space. Training at most universities includes plenty of studio work. 

Several times during their course of study, students are given a walkthrough of some space and expected to come up with their own innovative mock-up designs for it. Theoretical knowledge and creativity by themselves are not enough. If you want to make a career out of spatial design, you have to be hands-on, solution-orientated, and able to explain why your approach is better than the alternatives.

Careers options in this area of study.

Few people have "spatial designer" as their formal job title. Instead, a bachelor's degree equips you for a varied range of opportunities, including:

  • Restaurant, hospitality, and retail space design
  • Exhibit and event design
  • Residential interior decoration
  • Office and workspace design
  • Museum and art exhibition design
  • Furniture design
  • Theater and film set design

With an additional qualification, usually a master's degree, spatial design graduates can also become architects and urban planners. With so many different roles to choose from and remuneration being highly dependent on demonstrable expertise, it's difficult to give a meaningful average figure for salaries. $83,500 is roughly the median, though.

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.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn't be! We're here to help in any way we can... and if it means running extensive searches and using our best judgement to lead the way, we're all for that too.

We get that choosing a program feels like committing to a major early on, but in reality it is more of a general direction. A Best Fit List gives you a unique list of 3 to 5 programs tailored to your needs, helping you take the headache – and heartache – out of choosing a program.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ 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.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
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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