Art Colleges and Design Schools
“If school teaches you anything, it should be that you
learn on your own.”
There are two kinds of college art programs: art departments in liberal arts schools, and professional art schools as relatively free-standing entities or as parts of universities. The difference is the balance of credits between academics and courses in the art major. Art departments offer the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the Arts. A professional art program offers both the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees, typically with the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Arts (MA) graduate degrees as well. Though state requirements dictate credit hours earned for any degree, professional art schools vary in their academic expectations and emphasis. The challenge for students who are considering entering art education (and their parents) is finding the correct fit of artistic intensity and expectation, academic excellence, and general lifestyle.
The MillerWhite School of Design is modeled after the freshman foundations coursework required at professional art schools. This freshman year experience is a series of courses covering two– and three–dimensional design, drawing, color theory, photography, and art history. Liberal arts coursework (English, history, mathematics, and hard and soft sciences) rounds out the freshman year. The freshman foundations program prepares students to understand the commonalities in all visual arts, to discover their natural interests, and to begin to make informed decisions about their major. The MillerWhite School of Design offers the design component of a professional art school’s freshman foundations design program.
Our Top 15 Design Schools
Below is a list of art colleges with links to their Web sites and admissions information. These schools are not affilliated with the MillerWhite School of Design nor have they paid a fee to appear here. This is an ever-growing resource for you, the potential art student.
Art Center College of Design
Art Center College of Design has been a leader in art and design education for nearly 75 years. The College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of disciplines, as well as Public Programs offering design education to all ages and levels of experience. Fundamental to Art Center’s core curricula is a commitment to social and cultural engagement and giving students the tools and skills with which to effect change and address real-world issues. Art Center is located in Pasadena, California, with classes held at its Hillside Campus and new South Campus in downtown Pasadena.
California College of the Arts
San Francisco, CA
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is the largest regionally accredited, independent, nonprofit school of art and design in the western United States. CCA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER). CCA educates students to shape culture through the practice and critical study of the arts. The college prepares its students for lifelong creative work and service to their communities through a curriculum in fine art, architecture, design, and writing.
The Cooper Union
New York City, NY
Through outstanding academic programs in architecture, art and engineering, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art prepares talented students to make enlightened contributions to society. The College admits undergraduates solely on merit and awards full scholarships to all enrolled students. The institution provides close contact with a distinguished, creative faculty and fosters rigorous, humanistic learning that is enhanced by the process of design and augmented by the urban setting. Founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, industrialist and philanthropist, The Cooper Union offers public programs for the civic, cultural and practicable enrichment of New York City.
Hartford Art School, The University of Hartford
Okay, so… we are small, but we have a lot to offer including a diverse faculty teaching in nine disciplines. We are not an art factory. You will get the individual attention you need because of our small class sizes and a faculty focused on teaching. You will be equipped with the technical and conceptual skills you need to survive and thrive in the world. Because of our placement within the context of a small liberal arts university, you will be exposed to opportunities in many fields beyond your studio art pursuits; something we call “educating the whole artist.” These courses are certain to give new perspectives, strategies, and invaluable skills to assist you in your post-graduate careers. We have been doing this since our founding in 1877, and if you haven’t heard of us, it’s because we’ve been quiet about our success.
Kansas City Art Institute
Kansas City, MO
The mission of Kansas City Art Institute is to be a leader in visual arts and design education by preparing gifted students for lifelong creativity through intensive interaction with preeminent faculty and facilities and by stimulating active public awareness, support, and participation in the visual arts and design. As someone who understand’s your student’s passion for art and design, you share their search for a college that will best prepare them as a student, an artist and a person. The school that will best serve your student is one that realizes theimportance of a well-rounded, complete education; that speaks to the left brain as well as the right. It integrates intensive studio experiences with extensive exposure to the liberal arts. It offers an environment for your student to realize dreams; it balances passion with practicality, education with inspiration; intellect with imagination.
Maine College of Art
Maine College of Art (MECA) is a dynamic college of art and design where nationally recognized faculty, interdisciplinary programs, and state-of-the-art facilities create an educational experience that gives fresh vision to Maine’s extraordinary legacy in the visual arts. Founded in 1882 and fully accredited, MECA educates artists at all stages of their creative careers, offering both the Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees as well as a wide range of professional institutes and continuing studies classes for individuals of all ages.
The College gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, has been hailed as one of the finest art spaces in the Northeast for the exhibition of leading edge contemporary art.
Maryland Institute College of Art
MICA’s undergraduate and graduate programs have consistently been ranked among the nation’s top programs in visual arts and design. Founded in 1826, MICA is the oldest fully accredited, degree-granting college of art in the country. This page offers a quick glimpse at key facts about the College, its history, leadership, and structure.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts College of Art + Design is a public, independent college of art and design. The college’s professional baccalaureate and graduate programs prepare students to participate in the creative economy as fine artists, designers, and art educators, and to engage in the well being of their society. As a national leader in visual art and design education, the college influences contemporary culture through the accomplishments of its alumni/ae and the creative activities of its faculty and staff. We provide rigorous professional programs in the visual arts, grounded in the broader context of liberal learning and designed to encourage individual creativity. We challenge students to develop their talents to their highest potential, questioning the traditional boundaries of disciplines. We work to build diversity and inclusiveness in our faculty, staff, and student body. We foster community-building both inside and outside the college. We educate students to examine critically the form and content of art, both their own and others’, to understand it in historical, social, and global contexts. We choose faculty who are practicing professionals in their disciplines and whose work reflects the level of excellence we promote for our students. We seek students with excellent potential, regardless of limitations in their opportunities for preparation. We nurture the development of students as artists and as individuals, through services which meet their academic, personal, and social needs. We embrace new technologies as opportunities to advance the creative potentials of our disciplines, and we promote innovative and responsible uses of technology in the realization of artistic concepts. We recognize that artists and individuals educate themselves over a lifetime and are dedicated to serving that need.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) has been creating art on the cutting edge for well over a century. With the highest accreditation level possible for an art and design college, MCAD provides students the instruction they need to grow—along with the freedom critical to fostering their individual creativity. MCAD’s faculty, comprised exclusively of working artists and designers, is renowned for its ingenuity and expertise. Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative approaches, MCAD offers majors in advertising, animation, comic art, drawing, filmmaking, fine arts studio, graphic design, furniture design, illustration, painting, photography, print paper book, sculpture and Web and multimedia environments. Located in south Minneapolis next to two of the Twin Cities’ cultural gems – The Children’s Theatre Company and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts – MCAD offers students an ideal mix of support and challenge. The community is able to be part of the arts at MCAD through continuing studies and youth programs, exhibitions, lectures and special events.
Parsons, The New School for Design
New York, NY
Parsons focuses on creating engaged citizens and outstanding artists, designers, scholars and business leaders through a design-based professional and liberal education.
Parsons students learn to rise to the challenges of living, working and creative decision making in a world where human experience is increasingly designed. The school embraces curricular innovation, pioneering uses of technology, collaborative methods and global perspectives on the future of design.
The mission of Pratt Institute is to educate artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society.
Pratt seeks to instill in all graduates aesthetic judgment, professional knowledge, collaborative skills, and technical expertise.
With a firm grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, a Pratt education blends theory with creative application in preparing graduates to become leaders in their professions.
Pratt enrolls a diverse group of highly talented and dedicated students, challenging them to achieve their full potential.
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
The Rhode Island School of Design, founded in 1877 in Providence, RI, is a vibrant community of artists and designers that includes 2,200 students from around the world, approximately 350 faculty and curators, and 400 staff members. Each year more than 200 prominent artists, critics, authors and philosophers visit our historic College Hill campus.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Savannah College of Art and Design offers degrees in more than 38 program areas, organized into seven distinct schools. Most majors have a corresponding undergraduate minor.
The School of Visual Arts
New York City, NY
SVA offers undergraduate programs in Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Film & Video, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, and Visual and Critical Studies. The undergraduate program is a four-year, full-time Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program with courses offered throughout the day and evening. Identifying which college will prepare an aspiring artist to meet the demands and challenges that await tomorrow’s professionals can be a difficult task. The outcome will vary for each individual, based on his or her interests, needs, abilities and focus. Students who choose SVA are often attracted by the breadth and professional standing of our faculty, the passion of our student body, the rigors of our curriculum, the industry standards within our studio facilities, and the energy and excitement that is New York City.
The University of the Arts
At UArts, creativity in all its forms overlaps and converges—like colors combining to form more vibrant hues. Musicians mingle with media makers. Photographers work with designers. Writers collaborate with performers. For over 130 years we have defined creativity. The University of the Arts in Philadelphia is the first and only university in the United States solely dedicated to educating creative individuals in the visual, performing and communication arts. Our 2,300 students and 500 faculty members are all doing what they love. Our campus in Center City Philadelphia stretches for six block along the Avenue of the Arts from Walnut Street to South Street. Here, faculty mentors guide aspiring student artists and communicators from over 30 countries to become well-prepared professionals.