The history and background of the Maastricht Institute of Arts can also be sketched through the unique achievements of its alumni over the centuries. This list is almost endless, when you think in terms of the reputation forged by these former students. Whether they built that reputation thanks to, or in spite of the programme itself is open to debate, but this can be said of any programme in the fine and applied arts and industrial art. Few criteria are as objective as prizes awarded. From the early 19th century, it was mainly medals that were presented, on behalf of the king. The Drawing School always had to apply, and pay for these itself. Brothers Théodore and Alexander Schaepkens each received one of these medals. Then there was the competition leading to the award of the Prix de Rome, gold or silver medal, for which students on the advanced programme at the Rijksacademie Amsterdam were eligible. There are a number of Limburgers on that list, but not all of them studied in Maastricht. Henri Goovaerts, for instance, began his studies in Mechelen, Charles Vos in Roermond and Antwerp, and Charles Eyck went straight to Amsterdam. However, Jan Hul (gold) and Jef Scheffers (silver) were graduates of Maastricht's Kunstnijverheidsschool. Alumni regularly scooped awards in the Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst, the royal prize for painting. Pieter Defesche, Jef Diederen (1947) and Marijke Stultiens-Thunnissen (1953, 1954 and 1955) were among the first prizewinners. One of the last was Vera Gulikers (2017).
Since the late 1980s, the academy has also presented its own prizes as an incentive to talented students, including the Henriëtte Hustinx Prize, Gilbert de Bontridder Prize and Mique Eggermont Prize. Recently, awards such as the Scriptiekunst.org prize have put the spotlight on theoretical concepts.