Top Ten Design Schools in the United States

See which top-ranked schools have design programs. Get information about program options and rankings at two profiled schools; keep reading for a list of colleges and universities that also offer similar programs.

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School Information

Design encompasses a broad range of creative fields that are often closely related to the visual arts. Common areas of study include graphic design, multimedia design, industrial design and interior design. Design programs are typically enrolled at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Two top schools with undergraduate and graduate design program options include the University of California - Los Angeles and Drexel University in Pennsylvania. Read on for additional details.

Top U.S. Institutions with Design School Programs

1. University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA), a 4-year public school, is the highest-ranked school to offer a design program in the United States. UCLA ranked 24th overall among U.S. News and World Report's list of best colleges in 2010. The School of the Arts and Architecture offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Design and Media Arts and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Design and Media Arts.

2. Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

U.S. News and World Report ranked Drexel University, a 4-year private institution, 88th in a list of best colleges in 2010. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design offers majors in design and merchandising, fashion design, graphic design, interior design, product design and digital media. Graduate programs are also offered in interior architecture and design, digital media and fashion design.

List of Popular Colleges and Universities with Design School Programs

College/University Name Student Population Address Phone Number
Arizona State University University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts operates the Innovation Space, a research lab bringing together design and the fields of engineering and business to create new products Tempe, AZ
Carnegie Mellon University A variety of design program options are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level, including a professional doctoral program that can be completed mostly online Pittsburgh, PA
Drexel University Summer programs in interior design, architecture and merchandising and fashion design are offered for high school students Philadelphia, PA
Howard University Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs in design offered with areas of focus in fashion design, interior design and communication and digital media design; MFA program in design also available Washington, DC
The New School The Parsons design school has 27 programs across the undergraduate and graduate levels through five schools; undergraduate programs also offered at the Parsons Paris campus New York, NY
Savannah College of Art and Design School has over 40 major options with degree offerings at the bachelor's and master's levels Savannah, GA
University of California, Los Angeles UCLA is one of the most populated schools in the nation to offer a reputable design program; 38,220 students enrolled annually Los Angeles, CA
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design has bachelor's degree programs in graphic design and industrial design Chicago, IL
University of Kentucky Students in architecture and interior design can get hands-on experience working with design firms across the U.S. and around the world for one-week or two-week sessions Lexington, KY
Virginia Commonwealth University Students can work on real-world projects with interdisciplinary teams bringing together design, technology, business and entrepreneurship through the university's Creative Disruption Lab Richmond, VA
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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video

Popular Schools

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