Our Architectural and Stained Glass degree at Swansea College of Art UWTSD will give you the specialist skills you need to work with glass, from traditional techniques through to a host of digital skills and new technologies. You will be supported to develop your creative ideas and achieve your ambitions.
The course introduces you to the wealth of possibilities offered by a career in architectural glass. The programme is delivered through workshops, tutorials, projects, live briefs and competitions, giving you experience of working with architects, glass studios and private clients, preparing you for your future. We’re proud to boast that many of the leading architectural glass artists and designers working today are graduates of the glass course.
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Information on our postgraduate Glass course can be found here Glass MA
How to apply
All applications to study for a full-time undergraduate degree programme are made through UCAS - Swansea College of Art UWTSD is part of University of Wales Trinity Saint David
All our course come under the institution code T80
Visit the University's How to apply section to find out more
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5 reasons to study this course
- Explore your passion for glass, colour, light and space.
- Develop professional practical workshop skills and experience
- Discover ways to develop and sustain a career in architectural glass.
- Enjoy your own desk space in a lively creative studio
- Make an impact on the world around you.
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What you will learn
Our architectural and stained glass course is designed to give the students the opportunity to work with glass in an architectural context in established and innovative ways.
This is delivered through workshops and projects that cover stained glass and surface decoration techniques such as acid etching, sandblasting, screen-printing and glass painting. It also introduces digital technologies such as water jet cutting and laser engraving.
One of the key challenges that the course sets out to investigate is the use of glass as an applied art in architecture and the relationship between light, space and environment. This is explored through design briefs, live project experience, site visits and professional development
With a history of over 80 years, the Department draws upon an internationally-recognised reputation of excellence and innovation. Our research-active staff will introduce you to current innovations in materials and processes to ensure you have the most up to date skills and knowledge.
Our hands-on material-based course draws together the best traditions of hand working with the latest creative technologies. You can study traditional techniques such as hand painting, acid etching and sandblasting alongside contemporary practice including warm glass, screen printing, digital printing and cutting, all underpinned by solid craft skills, including drawing, design and making.
First year modules are designed to establish a core platform of essential skills for all students and encourage the development of design and making in glass:
Visual Studies through drawing and making to deepen the studies drawing and visual literacy.
Visual Studies through drawing and making to deepen the studies drawing and visual literacy.
Modules in glass processes including bench-work to build the student’s skills in working with glass and materials.
- Visual Studies through drawing and making to deepen the studies drawing and visual literacy.
- Modules in glass processes including bench-work to build the student’s skills in working with glass and materials.
- Design and material knowledge to provide understanding of design in glass.
- Contextual Practices to develop and enrich the student’s knowledge of glass.
Second year students develop skills and knowledge through advanced material modules and develop practical abilities and creativity to undertake design and glass artefact realisation through live project briefs and competitions.
Third year modules are designed to allow students to formulate their own individual career direction and aspirations as a glass graduate. Students select and manage their own personal and external projects with the support of the staff team so that they can demonstrate their core skills and experience and develop:
- Advanced knowledge of contemporary glass, thinking and practice.
- A personal design philosophy to underpin their current and future practice.
- Advanced awareness of the value of their intellectual and creative ability and a well-defined strategy for personal brand and career development.
Third year students prepare for their launch into the graduate marketplace with the support from the universities Research, Innovation and Enterprise Services.
Year four modules (level 7 MDes only) are designed to encourage advanced practice and entrepreneurial thinking. In particular, students studying at this level are encouraged to display resourcefulness, entrepreneurial skills, and the capacity to establish new and innovative enterprises. Level 7 provides an advanced understanding of research tools that can be implemented within a range of contexts and extend critical and creative thinking. Students are encouraged to extend their professional standing in their chosen field through either developing existing assets generated at undergraduate level or exploring collaborative opportunities with commercial partners, public sector or social enterprises: or may seek to develop a new business start-up.
(The MDes allows you to study on a four-year course that allows you to achieve a Master’s award within a single fee structure)
Each year of the course has a value of 120 credits spread over the following subject areas.
- Contextual Practices
- Drawing for 3D
- Making for 3D
- Decorative Glass Processes
- Stained Glass Practice
- Professional Practices
- Design and Make 3
- Design and Make 4
- Applied Glass Practice
- Architectural Glass Construction
- Architectural Glass Practice
- Professional Practice
- Advanced Creative Enquiry
- Individual Major Project
- Professional Promotion
- Research Methods and communication
- The Thought Experiment
- Creative Enterprise and Practice
- Creative Venture
The three main modes of assessment used on this programme are:
Studio Projects – work undertaken to fulfil the demands of a given or student generated brief. Projects are set to examine the student’s abilities to master the integration of new design principles and skills to his / her design practice. Studio projects may be set and take place in a variety of forms and over a range of durations, and include activity within the glass workshops, CAD studios as well as traditional design studios. Students may be required to present a variety of types of work for assessment such as; portfolios, sketchbooks and project journals, presentation boards, three-dimensional models, glass samples and artefacts.
Written Assignments – work undertaken by the student in his/her own time. Written assignments may take the form of an illustrated paper or report. In both cases the student is expected to demonstrate critical insight and proficiency in articulating the results of a practice or research based assignment.
Seminar Presentations – this form of assessment requires the student to demonstrate conceptual understanding and evaluate the rigour and validity of published research. Seminars may take the form of individual and/or group presentations to peers and other professional groups.
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We are interested in creative people that demonstrate a strong commitment to art and/or design and therefore we welcome applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. To assess student suitability for their chosen course we arrange interviews for all applicants at which your skills, achievements and life experience will be considered as well as your portfolio of work.
Our standard offer for a degree course is 120 UCAS tariff points. We expect applicants to have a grade C or above in English Language (or Welsh) at GCSE level, together with passes in another four subjects. Plus we accept a range of Level 3 qualifications including:
- Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, plus one GCE A-Level in a relevant academic subject
- Three GCE A-Levels or equivalent
- BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject, with minimum grades of Merit
- International Baccalaureate score of 32
- Other relevant qualifications can be considered on an individual basis
Entry for our Cert HE course is 32 UCAS tariff points
Qualifications are important, however our offers are not solely based on academic results. If you don’t have the required UCAS points then please contact the courses admissions tutor or email email@example.com as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.
See our Interview Guide for more information.
Unchanged from existing content on MDes Arch Glass page
Swansea glass department has a long and successful record of producing graduates of the highest professional calibre in the field of architectural and stained glass.
Possible career pathways have included:
- Establishing yourself as an artist, designer or maker.
- Setting up a studio as a sole supplier or in a partnership with others
- Employed in specialist glass studios
- Engaging in freelance work on architectural and interiors projects
- Designing for industry or working in the glass industry.
- Working on private and public commissions
- Working on art projects and community projects
- Other opportunities include arts administration, curating, teaching and mentoring, community work and arts editorial.
- Continuation of studies to postgraduate level on our MA programme.
- Further academic research leading to MPhil, or PhD is available.
Graduates may naturally be involved in a broad range of these opportunities and increasingly graduates enter employment in the wider creative industries sector where the design thinking and project management skills developed on the course come to the fore. The Professional Development module is designed to enable final year students to develop their external profile and prepare for professional practice.
Swansea Glass Department exhibit student work annually in major graduate design and recruitment exhibitions, showing at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea and at new Designers in London as a launch pad for early design career.
Student’s benefit from opportunities to work on live commissions through the Architectural Glass Centre (AGC). The AGC is the commercial arm of the department and allows students to gain experience, designing for live commissions as part of, or in addition to their coursework. Students are chosen on merit, via competitions, to work on live commissions that further demonstrate the high standards achieved.
Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities.
However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs to extend their investigation of their personal practice. For example, purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining in optional study trips, and printing.
Students are expected to bring their own personal art and design equipment with them when they commence the course. We can advise on the correct equipment needed for your programme of studies and signpost appropriate suppliers if you wish to purchase essential items before or during your studies.
A basic ‘art and design kit’ will cost approximately £100 but you may well already have much of the equipment required so check with us first. Also, although we have extensive dedicated digital design studios (PC and MAC) for you to undertake your coursework student-generated you may wish to bring your own digital devices, again check with us first before making a purchase.
"Swansea changed my life in a way I didn't know was possible. I love my job and every day I wake up, that makes me happy. The course gave me the building blocks needed to take the next step in my career, from initial glazing skills to traditional style of painting. Every aspect of my job has been informed by Swansea in one way or another, from the history of stained glass to the designing and making of new commissions."
"As I rattle around in my glass studio these days, I can't help but miss the life and soul I experienced at the glass department in Swansea for the duration of my studies. It's like no other place I've visited since a true gem amongst stones and my only regret is not staying on longer to complete my MA when I had the chance. I would highly recommend the degree course to anyone interested in the art of stained glass."
"The course felt like home to me, the environment was comfortable and all the staff worked together like a family. Everyone was welcoming and inclusive. it was a fun lively enriching atmosphere to be a part of. Students were from all ages and walks of life, the teachers were so passionate about glass there was a free flow of ideas and sharing of information. As a mature student, I had no art background but the teachers showed me how to unlock my potential.
The glass course gave me a strong foundation of knowledge that I have built my career upon. I had not previously thought about working in stained glass conservation but have since found that I can use new techniques and materials within this traditional craft, both sides of which (modern and traditional) I was taught."
Elisabeth Voss Sinnerud, Trondheim, Norway.
"I attended the Glass course in Swansea and spent three years falling in love with the designing and making of stained glass. With amazing tutors, lovely fellow students and truly inspiring materials to work with, I found myself looking forward to going to University every day. And these days, I’m looking forward to going to work each day. I work in the stained glass workshop at Nidaros Cathedral in Norway, where we’re restoring the stained glass of both our beautiful cathedral and take on external projects from all over Norway. Restoration of stained glass means you get to work with all the different techniques of traditional stained glass, and you also get to be challenged every day.
I can honestly say that I never thought of stained glass as a profession before I found the Architectural Glass course by a coincident. I am so glad I did, and I would recommend both the course and a profession within architectural glass wholeheartedly!"
Stacey Poultney, Architectural Glass Centre, Swansea
“Gaining my degree in Architectural Glass has enabled me to pursue a career in both traditional and Contemporary stained glass design and fabrication. My experience has made it possible for me to work with some of the leading artists and studios in Great Britain and internationally”
You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.
During your time with us, you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.