Best Art And Design Colleges in the U.S.

Best Universities Badge

Why a degree in arts and design?

Art & Design is tough. Really tough. It is a constant competition to design something better. It is "thinking outside the box" so many times you've decided to forget the box altogether. Not to mention you will become a master at thriving with little to no sleep and develop thick skin from enduring brutal critiques.

How to prepare for an arts and design degrees

So, why put yourself through this? Passion. When you put everything into a project and it’s ripped apart, you get more coffee, improve the design, and come back with an even greater masterpiece.

But if passion alone isn’t enough, how about this. Median salaries for the top 10 design careers surpassed $50,000*. Art & design jobs are also expected to increase by 7% over the next eight years*. With higher salaries than most majors and plenty of career avenues, art & design graduates are cashing in on their passions. Graduating from an art & design program is a difficult and competitive feat. But if you can do it, you will create a growing career where your computer battery is your only limit.

*PayScale Salary Survey data
*Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best Art And Design Colleges in the U.S. for 2018

Rank School Name Location Description   Rating
1 Yale University New Haven, CT

Yale University offers 24 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 304 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 211 Master's degrees, 47 Bachelor's degrees, 37 Certificates degrees, and 9 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 12 Reviews
2 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY

Columbia University in the City of New York offers 21 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 277 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 189 Master's degrees, 69 Bachelor's degrees, 15 Doctoral degrees, and 4 Certificates degrees.

Based on 20 Reviews
3 Northwestern University Evanston, IL

Northwestern University offers 90 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a small city. In 2015, 372 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 207 Bachelor's degrees, 115 Master's degrees, 28 Doctoral degrees, and 22 Certificates degrees.

Based on 40 Reviews
4 Harvard University Cambridge, MA

Harvard University offers 13 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 95 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 42 Master's degrees, 23 Certificates degrees, 21 Bachelor's degrees, and 9 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 44 Reviews
5 Stanford University Stanford, CA

Stanford University offers 15 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large suburb. In 2015, 63 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 28 Bachelor's degrees, 27 Master's degrees, and 8 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 64 Reviews
6 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA

Whoever came up with the saying “location, location, location” must have been talking about USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, the university is near the corporate offices and production facilities of major motion picture, television, and interactive companies. This proximity helps to connect you to awesome internships and allows industry notables to drop in on classes. The school also is notorious for its help-a-fellow-Trojan mindset, allowing students remarkable access to alumni working in the area. Brian Grazer, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Judd Apatow, and Will Ferrell are just a few of the well-known graduates. Though it has the distinction of being the oldest film school in the nation (it was founded in 1929 in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), USC’s School of Cinematic Arts is a mecca of state-of-the-art facilities that support the philosophy that people learn best by doing. Undergraduate programs include animation and digital arts, interactive entertainment, media arts and practice, writing for screen and television, film and television production, and critical studies. The school also awards a variety of master’s degrees and doctorates.

Based on 52 Reviews
7 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University offers 24 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 68 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 68 Bachelor's degrees.

Based on 28 Reviews
8 Rice University Houston, TX

Rice University offers 23 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a large city. In 2015, 112 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 62 Master's degrees, 47 Bachelor's degrees, and 3 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 4 Reviews
9 Brown University Providence, RI

Brown University offers 18 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a mid sized city. In 2015, 66 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 41 Bachelor's degrees, 23 Master's degrees, and 2 Doctoral degrees.

Based on 12 Reviews
10 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania offers 15 Art And Design Degree programs. It's a large private university in a large city. In 2015, 93 students graduated in the study area of Art And Design with students earning 66 Bachelor's degrees, 21 Master's degrees, 5 Doctoral degrees, and 1 Certificates degree.

Based on 56 Reviews

List of all Art And Design Colleges in the U.S.

Filter:
Degree Levels
  • Associate's
  • Bachelor's
  • Certificates
  • Doctoral
  • Master's
Program Length
  • Less than 2 years (below associate)
  • At least 2 but less than 4 years
  • Four or more years
Control Type
  • Private for-profit
  • Private not-for-profit
  • Public
School Logo School Name Average tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Yale University Yale University New Haven, CT
5/5
5 : 1 12,385
Columbia University in the City of New York Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
5/5
7 : 1 28,086
Northwestern University Northwestern University Evanston, IL
5/5
10 : 1 21,655
Harvard University Harvard University Cambridge, MA
5/5
14 : 1 29,652
Stanford University Stanford University Stanford, CA
5/5
6 : 1 16,980
University of Southern California University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
5/5
16 : 1 43,401
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
5/5
4 : 1 12,567
Rice University Rice University Houston, TX
5/5
10 : 1 6,719
Brown University Brown University Providence, RI
5/5
12 : 1 9,458
University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
5/5
12 : 1 24,876
Cornell University Cornell University Ithaca, NY
5/5
12 : 1 21,904
Duke University Duke University Durham, NC
5/5
5 : 1 15,984
Washington University in St Louis Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
5/5
9 : 1 14,688
University of Chicago University of Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
7 : 1 15,391
University of California-Los Angeles University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
3/5
12 : 1 41,908
Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
5/5
11 : 1 12,963
University of California-Berkeley University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
3/5
21 : 1 38,189
New York University New York University New York, NY
5/5
8 : 1 50,027
Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
5/5
6 : 1 22,686
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
3/5
7 : 1 43,651
Brandeis University Brandeis University Waltham, MA
5/5
14 : 1 5,752
Rhode Island School of Design Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI
5/5
10 : 1 2,481
Boston University Boston University Boston, MA
5/5
11 : 1 32,158
University of Miami University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
5/5
11 : 1 16,825
Berklee College of Music Berklee College of Music Boston, MA
5/5
14 : 1 5,289

Find Local Colleges with Art And Design Majors in the U.S.

Top Schools offering Art And Design Degrees in the U.S.

Questions About Art And Design Degrees

What are the different degrees I can get in Art and Design?

Many undergrads pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Most credits in this degree program come from core classes in art and design as well as specialized study in a chosen discipline, such as sculpture or illustration. Other students choose a Bachelor of Arts degree. This still gives students plenty of fundamental preparation for artistic careers and a strong background in their area of interest. However, liberal arts classes play a greater role in the overall experience than in BFA programs. Some of the more technical artistic fields, such as industrial design and architecture, may award a Bachelor of Science degree.

Master’s programs in art and design typically take one to three years to complete. Students build on their previous experience to become even better artists and designers. They also may delve deeper into the history of their discipline, work towards establishing their own style, and focus on specific skills needed for employment. People interested in art education may opt to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) rather than a Master of Fine Arts degree or a Master of Arts degree.

What are some of the skills and experiences I will gain through Art and Design?

Devoting so much time to practicing your craft can’t help but increase your competency and help you discover your artistic voice. You’ll also learn how to critique others and offer constructive criticism, which will come in handy when working with a team and in management roles. Interested in industrial design? You’ll likely become quite the expert at everything from InDesign to laser cutting. Graphic design more your thing? Be prepared for a capstone project that puts what you’ve learned about typography and design into practice. You may walk away with a website or a visual ad campaign to show prospective employers. And illustration majors, you’ll take courses related to virtually every professional application imaginable, from the artwork in children’s books to creating 3D imagery for computer gaming.

What are Art and Design programs seeking in their applicants?

A strong portfolio will catch the eye of those on the admission committee. Wow them with the most impressive examples of your work. Showing some breadth also can help. They’ll know you paid close attention to the various techniques taught in the art classes listed on your high school transcript. To learn more about what each program expects from its applicants, attend an event sponsored by the National Portfolio Day Association. Held in major cities on various dates, reps from art and design colleges and university art departments offer aspiring artists constructive feedback about their works. And be sure to let your passion shine through. Whether you’ve been in love with drawing since your first box of 64 Crayolas or became fascinated by Photoshop while working on the high school yearbook, tell your story.

Should I study Art and Design online or on a campus?

Most art and design students enroll in traditional on-campus studies, with access to studio space and equipment being a big draw. Imagine being a printmaking major at Rhode Island School of Design and being able to use its five lithography presses, copper and zinc etching areas, silkscreen studio, and Japanese paper-making tools. Likewise, the presence of likeminded classmates and instructors provides a sense of community. Still, online study remains an option at some schools and for some fields. With leading institutions like Parsons offering credit and noncredit online courses in areas such as strategic design and fashion, other schools likely will follow suit.

What are some cutting edge careers in this industry?

Consider putting your design skills to use as a web designer. Attractive, user-friendly sites are in demand from just about any company that wants to be found online. Make sure you’re familiar with mobile and responsive design too. With the growing popularity of mobile devices, design layouts will need to fit different screen sizes. Multimedia/animation may be another area to consider. As the success of the movie Jurassic World and the videogame Batman: Arkham Knight show, 21st-century audiences crave spectacular visuals.

How do you work your way to the top in the Art and Design industry?

The course of action depends highly on what you want to achieve. Take being an art director, a position with a median annual salary of more than $85,000. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree (graduate one preferred), five years or more of on-the-job experience, the ability to oversee a team of artists and designers, and skill at handling clients and budgets. For others, success might mean being a self-employed artist who creates paintings or sculptures for purchase. Their top concerns might be perfecting their works and learning how to market themselves to possible buyers.

Are there scholarships or grants available to people looking to study art and design?

Be sure to check out the opportunities available at your educational institution. Nationally, consider entering your best work in the Student Scholarship Competition held annually by the Society of Illustrators. It has awarded over $1.5 million to deserving students over the last 30 years. Students interested in visual or design arts may want to check out the National YoungArts Foundation. Its program awards cash prizes up to $10,000 and helps winners gain access to various college scholarships.

You've Started Your List