Visual Arts Schools

The Best Visual Art Schools in the Us 2018

Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh, and Georgia O’Keeffe all have something in common… they are all visual artists, and rank among the most influential visual artists of all time.  That said, all fine art, including sculpture, paintings, drawings, printmaking, graphic art, architecture, book illustration, and calligraphy, and are also visual arts, along with their own influential artists, like Andy Warhol, and M. C. Escher. And, as visual art is an umbrella term for a very board category of art that includes many artistic disciplines from a number of sub-categories, photography, collage, animation, graffiti art, stained glass, and tattoo art must also be categorized as visual art.  In other words, visual art is creations we can look at. 

Visual art schools provide students with a forum for self-expression, exploration, imagination, and creativity.  Typically, coursework provides practical experience in painting, drawing, digital imagining, modeling, sculpture, and more, while emphasizing the fundamentals of composition, color, value, shape, line, and form.  A major in the visual arts prepares students for further training as an artist, architect or teacher, and for careers in advertising, design, publishing, etc.  The best visual arts schools have first-class professors who are or were artists themselves, a proven record of graduate success with alumni practicing in all areas of the visual arts, exceptional value, and high academic standards. On this page, we provide a list of the nation’s best visual art schools, along with guides and links to additional resources for students seeking education or training in a specific area of focus.

  • 01

    Rhode Island School of Design

    2 College St, Providence, RI 02903

    Nestled amidst the picturesque New England seaboard, Rhode Island School of Design has long been one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious colleges offering rigorous art programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,481
    • img Visit School Website
  • 02

    School of Visual Arts

    209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

    Founded in 197, SVA is a for-profit art and design educational institution located in New York offering 11 bachelor’s programs & 22 graduate options. SVA emphasizes excellence in expression and responsible industry participation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,408
    • img Visit School Website
  • 03

    Maryland Institute College of Art

    1300 W Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217

    Founded in Baltimore in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is one of the oldest art colleges in the U.S. For undergraduate education in the fine arts and its MFA programs, U.S. News & World Report has ranked MICA as one of the top colleges in the nation. Parade Magazine has ranked it in the Top 2 Studio Arts Programs in the U.S.; and The Princeton Review consistently names it a “Best Northeastern College.”

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,197
    • img Visit School Website
  • 04

    Ringling College of Art and Design

    2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234

    Founded in 1931, Ringling College excels in propelling students into the real world of art through substantive internships, national competitions, cutting-edge technology, and client projects (to name a few).

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1262
    • img Visit School Website
  • 05

    College for Creative Studies

    201 East Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202

    Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
    • img Visit School Website
  • 06

    Savannah College of Art & Design

    342 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

    Embracing a forward-looking approach to artistic academia, SCAD is a student-centered institution determined to provide educational excellence within the context of a positive learning environment. Students learn to create art, as well as live creatively artistic lives.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 11,861
    • img Visit School Website
  • 07

    California College of the Arts

    5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

    With 22 undergraduate degree programs, 12 graduate programs and international study options; California College of the Arts successfully balances tradition with innovation and theory with practice. Students enjoy an 8:1 student/teacher ratio and class sizes averaging 13 students.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,975
    • img Visit School Website
  • 08

    Moore College of Art and Design

    20th and the Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-1179

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 439
    • img Visit School Website
  • 09

    Cleveland Institute of Art

    11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106

    Celebrating over 130 years of educating students in the field of art; the Cleveland Institute of Art was established in 1882 and enjoys international recognition as a source of excellence and innovation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 606
    • img Visit School Website
  • 10

    USC - Roski School of Art and Design

    University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089

    Hailing as the oldest school of art in Southern California, USC’s Roski was established in 1883. It grants two undergraduate degrees and three master’s degrees ( BA, BFA, MA, MFA, MPAS).

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 43,401
    • img Visit School Website

SEARCH OUR PROGRAM DATABASE

Explore art and design programes with our comprehensive list of NASAD accredited colleges and universities. Search by degree level, program type, or state location.

School Name Program Name Details
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Certificate in Advertising Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Advertising Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Fine Arts - Advertising Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Studio Production for Advertising and Design Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Visual Development Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Development Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Arts - Visual Development Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Development Request Information
Appalachian State University 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608 Bachelor of Arts - Art and Visual Culture Request Information
Arizona State University (SPPA) 810 S. Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91107 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Request Information
Azusa Pacific University 901 East Alosta Avenue, Azusa, CA 91702 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Azusa Pacific University 901 East Alosta Avenue, Azusa, CA 91702 Master of Fine Arts - Fine Arts - Visual Art (Low Residency) Request Information
Ball State University 2000 University, Muncie, IN 47306 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Belmont University 1900 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37212 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Design Communications Request Information
Boise State University 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Boise State University 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Boise State University 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Boston University 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 2215 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Bradley University 1501 W Bradley Ave, Peoria, IL 61625 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Brigham Young University Harris Fine Arts Center, A 501, Provo, UT 84602 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Brookhaven College 3939 Valley View Lane, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 Associate of Applied Visual Communication Request Information
Broward College - A Hugh Adam Central Campus 3501 Southwest Davie Road, Davie, FL 33314 Associate of Arts - Visual Art and Design Request Information
Buffalo State, State University of New York 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Buffalo State, State University of New York 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Master of Arts - Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Master of Arts/ Fine Arts - Visual and Critical Studies and Fine Arts Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Master of Arts/ Fine Arts - Visual and Critical Studies and Writing Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Master of Arts/ Arts - Visual and Critical Studies and Curatorial Practice Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Master of Arts/ Fine Arts - Visual and Critical Studies and Design Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
California State University, Northridge 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
California State University, Northridge 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Cleveland Institute of Art 11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Biomedial Art Request Information
Cleveland Institute of Art 11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
College for Creative Studies 201 East Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202-4034 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Design Request Information
College International 454 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011 Master of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Columbus College of Art and Design 60 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
East Tennessee State University 1276 Gilbreath Dr, Jefferson City, TN 37614 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Eastern Michigan University 900 Oakwood St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Education Request Information
Eastern Michigan University 900 Oakwood St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Master of Arts - Visual Arts Education Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Associate of Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Associate of Arts (Professional Designation) - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Orange County 17590 Gillette Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614 Associate of Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Diego 350 Tenth Avenue, Third Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 Associate of Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco 55 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 Associate of Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco 55 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 Associate of Arts (Professional Designation) - Visual Communications Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Associate of Communication Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design Request Information
Fayetteville State University 1200 Murchinson Road, Fayetteville, NC 28301 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Florida International University 11200 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami, FL 33199 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Florida International University 11200 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami, FL 33199 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Florida International University 11200 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami, FL 33199 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Florida International University 11200 Southwest Eighth Street, Miami, FL 33199 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Francis Marion University 4822 E Palmetto St, Florence, SC 29506 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Georgia State University P.O. Box 4107, Atlanta, GA 30302-3965 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Hartford Art School 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 6117 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Hartford Art School 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 6117 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Herron School of Art and Design Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis 735 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Illinois State University 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Illinois State University 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761 Master of Arts - Visual Culture Request Information
Illinois State University 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Indiana University - Purdue University, Fort Wayne 2101 East Coliseum Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN 46805 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication and Design Request Information
Iowa State University 100 Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2018 Master of Fine Arts - Integrated Visual Arts Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Central Indiana 50 West Fall Creek Parkway North Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46208 Associate of Arts in Applied Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Central Indiana 50 West Fall Creek Parkway North Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46208 Associate of Arts in Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Columbus 4475 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47203 Associate of Arts in Applied Visual Communication Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Columbus 4475 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47203 Associate of Arts in Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, North Central 220 Dean Johnson Boulevard, South Bend, IN 46601 Associate of Arts in Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, North Central 220 Dean Johnson Boulevard, South Bend, IN 46601 Associate of Arts in Fine Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, North Central 220 Dean Johnson Boulevard, South Bend, IN 46601 Certificate in Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, North Central 220 Dean Johnson Boulevard, South Bend, IN 46601 Associate of Arts in Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Southern Indiana 8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg, IN 47172 Technical Certificate - Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Southern Indiana 8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg, IN 47172 Associate of Arts in Applied Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Southern Indiana 8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg, IN 47172 Associate of Applied Science (Vocational) - Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Southern Indiana 8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg, IN 47172 Associate of Science (Transfer) - Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Wabash Valley 8000 South Education Drive, Terre Haute, IN 47802 Associate of Applied Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Wabash Valley 8000 South Education Drive, Terre Haute, IN 47802 Technical Certificate - Visual Communications Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Wabash Valley 8000 South Education Drive, Terre Haute, IN 47802 Associate of Visual Communications Request Information
Jacksonville State University 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, AL 26265 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kansas City Art Institute 4415 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111-1874 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Certificate in Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Master of Arts - Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
Kent State University 800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kent State University 800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240 Bachelor of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kent State University 800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kent State University 800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240 Master of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kent State University 800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania 15200 Kutztown Rd, Kutztown, PA 19530 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania 15200 Kutztown Rd, Kutztown, PA 19530 Master of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Lander University 320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, SC 29649-2099 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Lander University 320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, SC 29649-2099 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Maine College of Art 522 Congress Street, Portland, ME 4101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Marywood University 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-5882 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Miami University 501 East High Street, Oxford, OH 45056 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Miami University 501 East High Street, Oxford, OH 45056 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design 273 East Erie Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
Minnesota State University Moorhead 1104 Seventh Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56563 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Montana State University - Bozeman Campus 211 Montana Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Manchester Campus 148 Concord Street, Manchester, NH 3104 Certificate in Printmaking Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Peterborough Campus 30 Grove Street, Peterborough, NH 3458 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts (Low Residency) Request Information
New Hampshire Institute of Art - Sharon Campus 457 Route 123, Sharon, NH 3458 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts (Low Residency) Request Information
New Jersey City University 2039 Kennedy Memorial Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 7305 Bachelor of Arts - Communication Design Request Information
New Jersey City University 2039 Kennedy Memorial Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 7305 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
New World School of the Arts 300 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132 Associate of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
New World School of the Arts 300 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
New World School of the Arts 300 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132 Associate of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
North Dakota State University 1340 Administration Ave, Fargo, ND 58105 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Art Request Information
North Dakota State University 1340 Administration Ave, Fargo, ND 58105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
North Dakota State University 1340 Administration Ave, Fargo, ND 58105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Ohio State University 128 N Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Ohio State University 128 N Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 Master of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Old Dominion University 5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23529 Master of Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Master of Fine Arts - Data Visualization Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Professional Studies - Communication Design Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design 204 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17608-0059 Associate of Arts - Communication Art Request Information
Pennsylvania State University - Altoona Campus 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, PA 16601 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Art Studies Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communications Design Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Master of Fine Arts - Communications Design Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Master of Fine Arts - Communications Design Request Information
Purchase College, State University of New York 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Purchase College, State University of New York 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Purchase College, State University of New York 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Purdue University 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Purdue University 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Purdue University 552 West Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communications Design Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Ringling College of Art and Design 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234-5895 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Design Request Information
Ringling College of Art and Design 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234-5895 Bachelor of Arts - Critical and Visual Studies Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603 Master of Fine Arts - Imaging Arts Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology, National Technical Institute For The Deaf 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623 Associate of Arts - Applied Arts and Imaging Studies Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology, National Technical Institute For The Deaf 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623 Associate of Arts - Occupational Studies - Arts and Imaging Studies Request Information
Rowan University 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 8028 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Biomedical Art and Visualization Request Information
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey Mason Gross School of the Arts 33 Livingston Avenue, Suite 124, New Brunswick, NJ 8901 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey Mason Gross School of the Arts 33 Livingston Avenue, Suite 124, New Brunswick, NJ 8901 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
San Francisco Art Institute 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
San Francisco Art Institute 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
San Francisco State University 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 Bachelor of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 37 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 37 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603 Master of Arts - Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual and Critical Studies Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Master of Fine ARts - Interaction Design Request Information
School of Visual Arts 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Narrative Request Information
Sinclair Community College 444 West Third Street, Dayton, OH 45402 Associate of Arts in Visual Communications Request Information
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 1100 South Normal Avenue, Carbondale, IL 62901 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 1100 South Normal Avenue, Carbondale, IL 62901 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
State University of New York, Fredonia 280 Central Ave, Fredonia, NY 14063 Bachelor's in Art - Visual Arts and New Media Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Art Video Request Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Syracuse University 323 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244 Master of Fine Arts - Art Video Request Information
Texas A&M University - Commerce 2200 Campbell St, Commerce, TX 75428 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Texas A&M University - Commerce 2200 Campbell St, Commerce, TX 75428 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communications Request Information
Texas Tech University 2500 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79409 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Texas Tech University 2500 Broadway, Lubbock, TX 79409 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
The College of New Jersey 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 8628 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
The College of New Jersey 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ 8628 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Alabama in Huntsville 301 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Central Oklahoma 100 North University Drive, Edmond, OH 73034 Bachelor's of Arts - Global Art and Visual Culture Request Information
University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati Campus 2624 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45221 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati Campus 2624 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45221 Bachelor's of Science in Design - Communication Design Request Information
University of Dayton 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-2923 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of Florida 101 Fine Arts Bldg A, Gainesville, FL 32611 Bachelor's of Arts - General Visual Art Studies Request Information
University of Florida 101 Fine Arts Bldg A, Gainesville, FL 32611 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Indianapolis 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227 Bachelor of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
University of Indianapolis 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
University of Indianapolis 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
University of Kansas 1465 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Art Request Information
University of Kansas 1465 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
University of Kansas 1465 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Design Request Information
University of Kansas 1465 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS 66045 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
University of Louisiana at Lafayette 104 East University Avenue, Lafayette, LA 70504 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Design Request Information
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Design Request Information
University of North Dakota 3350 Campus Rd, Stop 7099, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of North Dakota 3350 Campus Rd, Stop 7099, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of North Dakota 3350 Campus Rd, Stop 7099, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of North Dakota 3350 Campus Rd, Stop 7099, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
University of North Texas 1155 Union Cir, Denton, TX 76203 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
University of North Texas 1155 Union Cir, Denton, TX 76203 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Studies Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Intermedia Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Studies Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Studies (Low Residency) Request Information
University of Oregon 1585 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97403 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of South Dakota 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
University of Texas at Arlington 502 South Cooper Street #335, Arlington, TX 76019 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Communication Request Information
University of Texas at Austin 2406 Robert Dedman Drive Stop E3100, Austin, TX 78712 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art Studies Request Information
University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 Master of Fine Arts - Book Arts/Printmaking Request Information
University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Design Request Information
University of Toledo 2801 West Bancroft, Toledo, OH 43606 Bachelor of Arts - Education - Visual Arts Education Request Information
University of Toledo 2801 West Bancroft, Toledo, OH 43606 Bachelor's of Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Utah State University 4000 Old Main Hall, Logan, UT 84322 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Vermont College of Fine Arts 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 5602 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art (Low Residency) Request Information
Virginia Commonwealth University - Richmond Campus 325 North Harrison Street, Richmond, VA 23284 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Painting and Printmaking Request Information
Virginia State University 1 Hayden St, Petersburg, VA 23806 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Arts Request Information
Washington University in St. Louis One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Communication Design Request Information
Washington University in St. Louis One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art Request Information
Watkins College of Art, Design and Film 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37228 Master of Fine Arts - Visual Art (Low Residency) Request Information
West Virginia University 1 Fine Arts Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
West Virginia University 1 Fine Arts Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506 Master of Fine Arts - Printmaking Request Information
Youngstown State University One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555 Master of Fine Arts - Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Request Information

How to Choose a Visual Arts School

Choosing a school among the hundreds of accredited colleges and universities, as well as private art schools in the US can be a daunting, anxiety-filled experience.  The fact that colleges that offer degree programs in the visual arts are more selective than even a few years ago has increased students’ concerns.  Am I a good enough artist?  How many schools do I need to apply to before I am accepted? The fact too that costs for a college education are rising, and more and more employers require candidates to hold a degree to be considered for a job, means finding the ‘right’ visual arts school (or a school with a visual arts program) that meets your needs and is in line with your career goals is more important than ever before. But, how do you know you’ve found the right school? 

Private vs. Public School Programs

Visual arts schools are typically either specialized institutions (private art colleges) or have programs embedded within a liberal arts college or university curriculum. Of course, there are also community and technical colleges that offer classes in the arts for students who are not yet decided if they want a career in the visual arts, or who will use the knowledge learned as a stepping stone into a bachelor’s program.  But, which schools offer students’ the best opportunities after graduation?  The quick answer is both. 

Private visual arts colleges are an appropriate choice for students seeking a highly-specialized learning environment.  Some institutions offer curriculum exclusive to only a few mediums, such as painting or photography, but many offer an ensemble of visual arts classes.

For those who are entering a visual arts program, the most common degree offered by private art colleges is a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), which requires the majority of students’ experience be in their arts major, and only a portion spent in general education courses.  This allows for a much more intense and focused education and well-connected alumni networks that support current students or recent graduates. 

Students attending a private art college usually also know in what direction they are heading upon graduation and what medium they wish to specialize in.  Private art colleges typically have smaller campuses, class sizes, and student-to-faculty ratio, which can often mean closer ties to classmates and faculty. While all true, costs to attend a private art school can be much higher than costs to attend a liberal arts college.  Do you know your career goals and which visual art program you are most interested in pursuing? If not, you may want to take a few classes first, or attend community college and earn your associate degree before you take the leap into a private school. However, if you have a passion for one type of visual art and are sure of your career goals, a private school that is focused on or related to your singular pursuit, is best. 

Public colleges and universities are also an appealing option for many visual arts students. Many liberal arts colleges offer the same degrees as private art colleges, although the focus on gen ed curriculum is greater.  A Bachelor of Fine Art consists of more practical studio work and less traditional lecture or discussion classes.  For instance, a BFA program will have students spending 2/3 of their time in fine or visual arts courses and only 1/3 of their time in general education or elective classes. Conversely, a Bachelor of Art (the most common undergraduate degree) means that students take more general education classes with less time spent in art class.  Most liberal arts colleges, and those with visual arts programs embedded into their curriculum, offer an amazing education, engaging student communities, and superb preparation for the future, at a lower cost than at a private school, generally. Unlike most private schools, liberal arts colleges also offer financial aid, housing, heath care, a food program, and many student organizations and clubs for students who wish to be actively involved.  You will also receive a more well-rounded education at a liberal arts college, and they tend to better prepare students for graduate school upon graduation. Are you more interested in a well-rounded education, or more intense and focused curriculum?  Is cost an issue?  Do you like smaller class sizes, or do larger studio classes provide a better opportunity to learn and share ideas?  Does the school you are interested in attending offer classes in the area of visual art you wish to pursue?

What to Expect

Choose a Discipline

As the field of visual arts is so broad, choosing a discipline right up front is important. Do you wish to become a painter and display your artwork in galleries around the world, or instead design buildings as an architect? If you’re uncertain, attending a college that offers a variety of classes in the visual arts may be best. That way, you are more likely to find a medium that becomes a passion or switch to a medium that intrigues you or gives you a direction for your future. It’s estimated that between 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as undecided, and about 75 percent of all students change their major at least once prior to graduation.  This is the same for visual arts students. 

Course Curriculum

Curriculum varies from program to program and from school to school, but visual art students choosing to earn a BFA can expect to take the majority of courses in studio art.  Most programs place a strong emphasis on traditional areas of art, creative development, experimental learning, and analytical thinking – pushing students to explore new directions in the world or art.  Coursework will also typically include art history, drawing, painting, sculpture, writing, and visual computing.   Some classes will be more specific, such as modern art or contemporary art, or study of the masters. Today, many schools have added digital and video art and popular culture as part of their visual arts curriculum also. Students who choose to attend a liberal arts college as a communications or art student (assuming the school does not have a specific program in visual art) will take a range of courses in the visual arts, along with general courses in English, math, science, etc.  Liberal arts colleges that offer a major in visual arts have a much more immersive program, which combines color theory, video, drawing, art appreciation classes, and much more.  Ask yourself if the curriculum offers you the opportunity to take a range of art courses?  Are there areas of focus, such as contemporary printmaking or 3D digital art? Does the program offer students internship opportunities and hands-on experience in the area of visual art? 

Reputation of School and Faculty

It may be true that attending an Ivy League university or private art school might look better on your resume and impress recruiters. But, you can get a great education at a liberal arts college as well, and applying yourself to your studies and doing well is probably more important than the college you attend.  However, there are a few things to look for when researching colleges, especially since there is a great deal of competition in the art world, and choosing a highly-regarded school where a degree will provide you an advantage over other applicants is smart. Are the professors trained in the area you wish to pursue? What do alumni say about their experiences? Is the student body motivated to learn? Are they high achievers?  Besides highly-valued academics, professors are paramount to a school’s overall reputation. Do you feel they will motivate you to learn and experiment with new technologies and techniques?  The connection you make with your professors can also define your time on campus. Professors become mentors, and in many ways, help you make connections and advise you on career options after graduation. And, although having a close relationship with your professors and faculty does not always mean you’ll be at the top of the class, students that do establish a student-professor bond typically perform better in school.  In addition to professors, it is smart to review the quality of the visual arts program in general.  Does the program offer great opportunities to learn and gain experience, or does it have a mediocre reputation? Look at graduation and freshman retention rates. If you plan to attend graduate or professional school, find out what percentage of graduates pursue an advanced degree.  Are the courses you want to take available or are they limited to only a small number of people?

More Factors to Consider

Other things to take into account are opportunities to study abroad, if that’s something you have considered. Studying abroad is a great opportunity that only a handful of students experience, so if that’s something you are considering, find out how many programs are offered, and what countries are included for your particular program.

Review each school’s accreditation, because very often, students who attend unaccredited schools find out they are not eligible for financial aid. Most larger colleges and universities are accredited, but some smaller colleges and online schools are not.

If you’re a social butterfly and want an active student life, look for schools that have a high percentage of on-campus living, and that there’s availability in the dorms or in housing close-by the campus.  Does joining sororities or frat houses sound appealing?  Then search for a campus with sororities and fraternities that have good reputations.

And, ask yourself where you want to live. Out-of-state? In-state? Close to home or on the other side of the world.  Do you prefer a small campus or a large city? Do you want to take the bus or train to school, or walk?  Also, be aware of the opportunities for internships or apprenticeships or jobs outside of school that will give you valuable experience.  In smaller towns, these opportunities are limited.

Helpful Resources