Best Art and Design colleges in the U.S.

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 2021

New York University
New York, NY

Since 1965, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has been educating artists and scholars alike on cinema studies, television, dance, drama, photography and more. NYU undoubtedly attracts talented student artists from around the world. The learning opportunities that Tisch provides to budding artists goes beyond New York City. In addition to the school’s six New York City locations—including 721 Broadway, 111 Second Avenue, and 194 Mercer—Tisch has expanded its reach around the globe. In 2007, Tisch School of the Arts Asia opened in Singapore with an inaugural film master’s degree program. Since that time, Tisch Asia has added animation and digital arts, dramatic writing, and international media producing programs. In addition, through the NYU Global Network, students in London, Prague, and Shanghai can enroll in Tisch courses. In 2012, Tisch opened the NYU Game Center to give students interested in becoming game developers, designers, and even critics, the education they need to reach their career goals. Through its bachelor’s and master’s game design program, the Center teaches students how to integrate animation, writing, and audio to create games that can be used for education or entertainment. In addition, NYU hosts the Game Center Student Show, where students show off the projects they created during their studies. Some exhibited projects include 3D animations, multiplayer games, surrealist game art, and card and board games.

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.

The New School
New York, NY

The New School offers 55 Art and Design degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 1,238 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 749 Bachelor's degrees, 259 Master's degrees, 183 Associate's degrees, and 47 Certificates.

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Full Sail University
Winter Park, FL

Full Sail University offers 65 Art and Design degree programs. It's a very large, private for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2019, 2,607 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 1,786 Bachelor's degrees, 476 Master's degrees, and 345 Associate's degrees.

Berklee College of Music offers 31 Art and Design degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 1,134 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 936 Bachelor's degrees, 186 Master's degrees, and 12 Certificates.

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Northwestern University offers 53 Art and Design degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2019, 490 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 247 Master's degrees, 217 Bachelor's degrees, and 26 Doctoral degrees.

Fashion Institute of Technology offers 25 Art and Design degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 1,332 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 771 Associate's degrees, 529 Bachelor's degrees, 20 Master's degrees, and 12 Certificates.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus offers 71 Art and Design degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 199 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 135 Bachelor's degrees, 46 Master's degrees, and 18 Doctoral degrees.

Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

Temple University offers 60 Art and Design degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2019, 574 Art and Design students graduated with students earning 434 Bachelor's degrees, 100 Master's degrees, 22 Certificates, and 18 Doctoral degrees.

If music is your forte, make your debut at UNT’s College of Music. You’ll learn from distinguished faculty members who have received international recognition and Grammy awards, like professor and professional opera singer Molly Filmore. Students who want to build their repertoire can take their talents to the stage and the community. For example, if you’re planning to become a music educator, you can put your teaching skills to the test by giving lessons to kids at local schools or helping out with Instrument Petting Zoo. No ponies or alpacas here! This event is all about introducing kids to instruments by showing them how to strum guitars and toot tubas. Dreaming to play for live audiences someday? Nail an audition for one of the 70 ensembles like the UNT Symphony Orchestra and you could perform for hundreds at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. UNT also offers degrees in composition, conducting, history, and theory, so you have lots of ways to orchestrate your ideal music career.

List of all Art and Design colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
New York University Logo New York University New York, NY
5/5
17 : 1 52,885
University of Southern California Logo University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
5/5
22 : 1 48,321
The New School Logo The New School New York, NY
5/5
24 : 1 10,432
Full Sail University Logo Full Sail University Winter Park, FL
5/5
29 : 1 21,666
Berklee College of Music Logo Berklee College of Music Boston, MA
5/5
20 : 1 6,999
New York Film Academy Logo New York Film Academy Burbank, CA
5/5
13 : 1 1,892
Academy of Art University Logo Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA
4/5
45 : 1 9,812
Northwestern University Logo Northwestern University Evanston, IL
5/5
15 : 1 22,448
Fashion Institute of Technology Logo Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY
2/5
39 : 1 8,726
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Logo University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
3/5
23 : 1 47,576
Temple University Logo Temple University Philadelphia, PA
4/5
24 : 1 38,794
University of North Texas Logo University of North Texas Denton, TX
3/5
34 : 1 39,336
Savannah College of Art and Design Logo Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
5/5
24 : 1 14,840
The Juilliard School Logo The Juilliard School New York, NY
5/5
7 : 1 960
Boston University Logo Boston University Boston, MA
5/5
18 : 1 33,720
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Logo University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
3/5
28 : 1 39,263
University of Miami Logo University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
5/5
16 : 1 17,811
Columbia College Chicago Logo Columbia College Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
27 : 1 6,947
Florida State University Logo Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
2/5
27 : 1 42,450
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Logo School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
5/5
21 : 1 3,682