If you want to earn your living through your creativity, a career in graphic design is a good path to take. Because of social media and e-commerce, we now see a huge demand for visual artists who can effectively communicate ideas that inspire and inform. These jobs often come with hefty paychecks, too.

Pursuing a graphic design degree is an ideal start to a creative career. It polishes the artistic skills you already have and trains you in translating your ideas into captivating designs for different media. It also teaches you to use the latest software that makes designing easier. On top of that, it explores design theories and conducts research, all to help you understand the craft deeper.

Studying for a creative degree can be expensive. Aside from books and other traditional learning materials, you will also need to buy design equipment, like laptops, tablets, and creative software. Having personal hard drives and cameras can also be helpful.

You can cut down on your expenses by enrolling in tuition-free schools for graphic design. There are plenty of options around the world, but here are some free graphic design schools worth considering.

Free Graphic Design Schools

1. Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is well-known for its science-based programs, but it has established itself as a center for excellence in arts too. Most students here are from Norway, but the school has placed significant efforts in putting a more international focus on its programs. As a result, NTNU rapidly became a top destination for international students. A total of 42,000 undergraduates and postgraduates study at NTNU each year.

NTNU is a free graphic design school and offers a 3-year BA in Graphic Design. This program concentrates on designing for print media, digital media, and signages. It explores both traditional and modern design techniques. The language of instruction is Norwegian, so the school requires language proficiency tests if you are an international student.

Like most universities in Norway, NTNU is publicly -funded. Tuition is free for citizens and international students alike. Documentation of financial ability will be required from international students to be granted a study visa.

2. University of Southern Denmark

The University of Southern Denmark (SDU) ranks highly among global universities. With 29,000 students every year, it is also one of the highest-populated schools in the country.

Aspiring graphic designers take up Design Studies at SDU, available at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. It recognizes design as a broad field and explores each nook – from physical products, service design, and immaterial design. All courses are delivered in the Danish language.

Students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland can study at SDU for free. Only international students pay tuition fees. Do remember to pay it in full months before the start of the semester, as it is a requirement for the processing of your student visa. If you wish to enroll in the Master’s program, an additional fee of EUR 100 must be paid before you submit your application.

3. Aalto University

  • Free Tuition Fee Link
  • Free to: Students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, students who study in Finnish or Swedish, all Ph.D. students

Aalto University, a free graphic design school, has been the leader in arts education in Finland for over 138 years. It supports a unique collaboration of art, science, and business to cultivate a well-rounded and multi-disciplinary education. Through the efforts of students and researchers, Aalto dreams of leading the world to a sustainable future.

Design programs are very prestigious at Aalto. The Bachelor’s program in Design helps students find their unique style as they conceptualize and realize creative work for different mediums. Postgraduate programs are also available in a wide variety of specializations.

Tuition at Aalto is free for students from EU/EEA member countries. If you are an international student, you may study in the Finnish and Swedish languages to qualify for tuition exemption. For those who opt to study in the English language, the tuition fees you need to pay range from EUR 12,000 to EUR 15,000.

4. University of Applied Arts Vienna

Another school strongly rooted in the arts is the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Located in the capital of Austria, it offers a broad spectrum of artistic programs that focuses on how creativity can contribute to solutions to global issues. It is a highly selective school, home to a student population of only 2,000. Teachers also go through a thorough selection process to ensure the delivery of high-quality education for all students.

Graphic Design is available at the university as a diploma program that lasts 8 semesters. Teachers aim to train responsible designers who can do work in current and future media. Aside from workshops and classroom lectures, students are also given the opportunity to work on commissioned projects to experience working in a professional capacity.

Tuition is free at the university for students from EU/EEA countries & Switzerland. You will only need to pay the Austrian National Union of Students fee amounting to EUR 20.70. International students pay tuition fees amounting to EUR 748 each semester.

5. University of Ljubljana

  • Free Tuition Fee Link
  • Free to: Students from EU/EEA countries, Switzerland, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

The University of Ljubljana (UL) is the largest educational institution in Slovenia, with an annual student population of 39,000. As the oldest university in the country, it has an undeniable track record in providing first-rate education in the disciplines of arts, sciences, and technology.

The 3-year BA in Visual Communication Design covers education in graphic design, illustration, and photography. As you go through the study period, professors will guide you in choosing a specialization for a more in-depth exploration of the area that interests you most.

UL is a free graphic design school and offers tuition-free education to students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland. It extends the same offer to students from countries that Slovenia has a bilateral agreement with, including Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. International students must pay tuition and administrative fees before the start of their studies.


I hope this article on free graphic design schools was informative and helpful. To know more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students!