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Top 10 Art Universities and Schools in the United States

Art is a broad field of study, encompassing visual arts, sound arts and performing arts. Hundreds of schools and universities across the nation offer educational programs in these disciplines. Although ranking may vary, depending upon the area of study and the level of degree, the following schools are generally thought to be some of the best art schools in the country.

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Top U.S. Art Schools

1. Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI

The Cranbrook Academy of Art is a small private college near Detroit that takes an artistic community approach to its education, through students sharing their work in the school's gallery. It serves approximately 150 students every year, making it a very small school. It is highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, placing fourth in the 2008 fine arts schools rankings. It has the highest-ranked fiber arts program in the nation and the second-highest-ranked graphic design and ceramics programs in the nation. In addition to these programs, Cranbrook offers master's degrees in architecture, metalsmithing, painting, photography, print media and sculpturing through a studio teaching setting.

2. Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island

The Rhode Island School of Design is a 4-year private college serving over 2,400 students in Providence, Rhode Island. The school was ranked the number one fine arts school in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report and number one in a number of specific programs, including interior design, graphic design and glass art. Students at Rhode Island School of Design can pursue several degrees, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in a variety of other art and design fields, including apparel design, art history, ceramics, film and video, illustration, industrial design, painting, photography and sculpture.

3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is another nationally renowned art school. This 4-year private school was ranked number three in U.S. News and World Report's 2008 list of the best fine arts colleges. Approximately 3,200 students attend SAIC, which offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate art programs through a credit/no-credit system. These programs include art education, fashion design, fiber and material studies, historical preservation, art and technology studies, performance art, print media, sound arts and art therapy.

List of Ten Good Art Schools in the U.S.

School Name Distinction Location
Art Center College of Design Public programs such as Art Center at Night or Saturday High Pasadena, CA
California Institute of the Arts The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) Valencia, CA
Carnegie Mellon University The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) Pittsburgh, PA
Columbia University The new School of the Arts' Global Programs New York, NY
Cranbrook Academy of Art Community artistic approach to teaching and learning Bloomfield Hills, MI
Maryland Institute College of Art The Business of Art and Design Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program Baltimore, MD
Rhode Island School of Design The Graduate IN FOcus information programs Providence, RI
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Process-based grading system Chicago, IL
University of California - Los Angeles The Center for Intercultural Performance (CIP) Los Angeles, CA
Virginia Commonwealth University The Virginia Commonwealth University fine arts program in Qatar Richmond, VA
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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA - Fine Art
        • BFA in Art Education
        • BFA in Undeclared
        • BFA in Art Education - Painting
        • BFA in Art Education - Sculpture
        • BFA in Fine Art - Painting
    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate in 3D Animation - Pre-Production
        • Certificate in 3D Animation - Character Animation

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (8)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Kentucky (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (5)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (2)

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • New York (2 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
        • Ceramics
        • Painting
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video

Popular Schools

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