The Best Art Schools You Want to Learn from in the US

With graduation season around the corner, it is time to think about your artistic future. What are the best schools to get your fine art degree in? We’ve narrowed down over hundreds of art schools to provide you with a list of the best.

Yale University


Yale University offers a wide range of art disciplines such as graphic design, painting and printmaking, photography, sculpture, and film and video. Students be able to allow their creative sides to flourish at this university with chances to present their own personal artwork.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

RISD_resize  Photo Credit to DanielPenfield

Founded in 1887, Rhode Island School of Design still ranks on top as one of the best fine arts and design colleges in the US. Students can choose from over 15 art programs from apparel design to textiles. RISD’s campus is contiguous with the Brown University campus allowing to students to benefit the social and academic resources from both schools. Those applying to RISA are required to complete the RISD’s two drawing “hometest”, where one will have to create their own artistic version of the RISD bike.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)


Over 3000 students attend the School of Art Institute of Chicago, which offers a wide range of programs for undergraduates, graduates, and certificate programs. SAIC prepares students seeking to be a writer, artist, designer, scholar, educator, creative leader, or a combination of each. Students looking to enter the school will need to complete the necessary application requirements including providing a portfolio of their best and most recent work.

University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA)


Los Angeles is considered to be a global city full of diversity and culture. It’s no surprise UCLA offers a variety of art courses in painting, and drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, art theory, and new genres (including performance art, video, installation, and nonstudio work). The art major program at UCLA is a designated capstone major ensuring students will have an ability to develop and present a body of work that will show their proficiency.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)


Virginia Commonwealth University offers 16 Art programs for over 3,000 students. Most of the faculty at VCUarts are working artists who can provide students with realistic guidance. With more students looking to attend VCUarts every year, more than 300 new freshmen and current students scholarships are provided for those who need it.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

calarts Photo Credit to: Lawrence K. Ho/ LA Times

At CatArts, they have six Art schools where students can earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees focusing on Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. The Institute was first envisioned by Walt Disney to encompass a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange amongst artists. S

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)


Carnegie Mellon University is one of the few schools that provides a 24 hour access to their start of the art facilities for students. Here students can choose to focus on architecture, art, design, drama, and music. Students will be learning from faculty members who are practicing artists or scholars. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to contribute regular to CMU and Pittsburgh’s creative communities.

Cranbrook Academy of Art


Over in Michigan, the Cranbrook Academy of Art is a great graduate degree-granting institution that offers an intense studio-based experience where artists-in-residence mentor students in art, architecture and design. Art students here blossom at Cranbrook where students can work, live, and play. The community feel at this school gives students a good, creative environment.

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)


MICA was founded in 1826 and since then grown into a massive school offering 14 undergraduate studio majors, 2 liberal arts majors, 13 studio concentrations, 5 liberal arts minors, and a wide range of dual degree and 5th year capstone masters programs. The various art options are perfect for creative student looking to find his or her niche in art as well as expanding the creative potential in others. Graduate programs, professional and continuing, and international programs are also offered at MICA.

Columbia University


At Columbia University, they offer a Visual Arts program for undergraduates. Those looking to continue their art education will want to enroll at this university’s Masters’ program for film, theatre, visual arts, and writing. Sound Arts, one of the most unique Columbia programs, is an interdepartmental program that combines the master’s visual arts program with the department of music and computer music center. The Arts Initiative at Columbia University allows Columbia students, faculty, and staff to attend cultural events throughout New York City.

What are the Most Popular Art Careers

With over 200 possible careers, an Art degree can provide you with various occupation options of your choosing.

Interior Designer


Interior Design focuses on the not just the inside of homes but also offices, restaurants, and more. For the last few years, the annual pay average for an interior designer is $52,920 with a job growth of 19%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Animators are skilled in combining with their artistic abilities with technical and computer skills to create two and three-dimensional models. With an average salary of $69,560, animation employment will continue to increase as the demand for exciting and realistic visual effects and animations in video games, movies, and now on mobile phones.

Fashion Designer

From GAP to Chanel, major fashion companies look for fashion designers with a degree, strong portfolios, and industry experience. Those with fashion design degrees can choose between creating clothing, accessories, footwear. The average annual pay of a fashion designer is about $72,620.

Film Director

More universities are expanding their fine arts department by offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in film directing. The focus of film directing is the ability for one to bring a film script to life on the big screen. With various film experience, film directors average $92,390 a year with future job growth at 11%.

Art Director


Art directors are known for the visual style and images in print media to movie and television productions. With an average of $80,630 per year, being able to create overall designs and direct others is no easy task. Those looking to be art directors find positions in advertising firms, newspaper and magazine publishers, and motion pictures industries.


Being an Art Major does not have to be about you becoming the next great artist but expands to others forms of art in television, movies, video games, and magazines. Most art degrees can take only four years to complete but students in art programs with studio programs may have to stay longer. At least with an art degree, graduates will be able to secure a career of their dreams and abilities.


Cost of a Graphic Design Degree

If you are artistic and have a great imagination, the field of graphic design may be for you. There are many opportunities open and you can start sooner than you expect with only a two-year associates degree from an accrediated art school.

Types of Graphic Design Degrees

You can receive a graphic design accreditation from a diploma through a doctoral degree. Those with a master’s degree may hold a heavy interest in art and design theory.

Costs of a Graphic Design Program

Rhode Island School of Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The bachelors degree is offered through a four-year program, while the masters can be completed in two or three years. Their undergraduate and graduate tuition both are $42,932. Other fees vary between the program such as housing and personal expenses. Information on program costs and total student enrollment can be found at Campus Decision and many other art degree statistics.

The Academy of Art University has on-site and online programs. Undergraduate students can expect to pay $21,440 for onsite classes and $18,840 for online classes per academic year. Their undergraduate program, they offer the Associate of Arts (AA) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Their graduate degree is the Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

Yale University School of Art is a top ranking university. They offer the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) graphic design degree. Their tuition and living expenses equate to $55,000 per academic year.

Included in the tuition costs are more than just the classroom experience. Top universities such as these are sought out by employers. They host their own art shows and exhibits and have much public exposure. Being hired is only a matter of time in this well paid profession.

Salary and Job Prospects For Graphic Design Degree Holders

Graphic design degree holders can work in a variety of fields including newspapers, public relations, and computer systems design. You will always be gainfully employed in these fields. You can become an Art Director, Broadcast Designer, Logo Designer, Multimedia Developer, or Web Designer. Many who have studied graphic design are freelance artists, creating their own schedules.

The job outlook is promising and expected to increase 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, with the majority increase in computer system designs. In 2010, the median annual wage for a graphic designer was 43,500. Those in the top 10-percentile earned over $76,910.