2017 Best Colleges for Art in America

The Best Colleges for Art majors ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. The ranking compares the top art schools in the U.S.
See how this ranking was calculated
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Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 2

    Cooper Union

    • New York, NY
    • 75 reviews
    College Junior:The Cooper Union is unique in that it is comprised of a small student body relative to other schools, so there is a close knit relationship among the students and faculty. Cooper used to offer all students free tuition, but has recently changed due to an unfortunate financial climate. However, the experiences with students and professors is still invaluable and the reputation gained after graduating from this school is invaluable.
    More about Cooper Union
  2. 3

    University of Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 1,106 reviews
    Graduate Student:Like any colleges, Penn has both pros and cons. As a graduate student in the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn (Master's of Social Work), I find that the biggest strength of Penn is its wide reach of professional network, research, etc.

    The amount of resources/networking opportunities available for developing insight, experience, and others is unimaginable here at Penn. Having deep connections with all three sectors of the non-profit, for-profit, and governmental world brings its students enormous opportunities and information/knowledge to learn and grow from.

    The cons, however, is that Penn as a whole seems a bit lacking in terms of student activism and engagement. There are clubs to join. But, I rarely see them out in the quad or the walkway outreaching or being vocal about a variety of issues students are concerned with in this age and time.
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  3. 4

    Washington University in St. Louis

    • Saint Louis, MO
    • 1,323 reviews
    Freshman:WUSTL is a fantastic university! I first came here because of the prestigious pre-med program, comfy dorms, yummy food, beautiful campus, and great FA. I found all of those here to be true. My experience truly has been an excellent one. Although the academics are undoubtedly challenging, it is equally rewarding.
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  4. 5

    University of Southern California

    • Los Angeles, CA
    • 3,320 reviews
    Sophomore:I love attending the University of Southern California! The school has high caliber academics, a competitive yet fun environment for students of all majors, and a gorgeous campus. USC is a bit expensive however, hardworking students can come in with large scholarships to defray this cost. I definitely think that this experience is worth the cost of living and expenses out here and will truly pay off in the end. I have definitely met life long friends and have made unforgettable memories throughout my time here!
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  5. 6

    Brown University

    • Providence, RI
    • 917 reviews
    College Freshman:Professors, even in large lecture classes, are always approachable and friendly. They are open to extensions when asked and even small talk. However, with the amount of time you have with each professor (this also depends on the size of the class) it's unlikely for you to become very friendly with any teachers throughout college unless you take initiative.

    Classes can range from 7 people to 200. There are a variety of options, usually intro classes are big while seminars, language classes, and specific topic classes are smaller. With large classes there is an immense amount of TAs that are always available to help. They also run review/discussion sections to allow students to ask specific questions and get advice from experts who already aced the class.

    Most classes, in the humanities, make you do a lot of reading, have a smaller discussion section, and then 2-4 big assignments like midterms, finals, essays, take home exams, etc.

    The variety of courses speaks for itself. There are too many choices and they are all interesting!
    More about Brown University
  6. 7

    California Institute of the Arts

    • Valencia, CA
    • 239 reviews
    Sophomore:CalArts is a welcoming and empowering environment for aspiring artists. They make sure that the students have the tools that they need to create and collaborate with other artists. They have students coming from all over the world---a great way to connect with people coming from different backgrounds and culture. Furthermore, CalArts provides the students with the knowledge that they need to succeed in their chosen metier. However, they do lack in traditional academic classes so the option to have an academic minor is quite limited. Other than that, I think CalArts is a wonderful place for artists like me to grow and learn.
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  7. 8

    Cornell University

    • Ithaca, NY
    • 1,723 reviews
    College Junior:My experience at Cornell had been a whirlwind of endless opportunities. It has absolutely had it's ups and downs, with times where the stress and fast pace of classes seems to be unbearable, but usually when that happens a break was right around the corner and there was time to catch up. All the students at this school, from the engineers to the Hotelies, are used to being the top of their class in high school. It takes some getting used to learn that not everyone can be the best at this university.

    That being said, Cornell can offer you the change to truly impact the world in whatever field you pursue. Your plant science degree with lead to cutting edge research, your business major with give you connections others need years to build and your engineering degree will give you your choice of career straight out of college. But that diploma does not come easy, you will have to work relentlessly for four years to earn it (five years if you're studying architecture!).

    Looking back to choosing this university my senior year of high school, I wouldn't change a thing. My experience has been far from perfect: I've experienced failure just like the rest of my peers. I'm not, however, the same person I was in high school and this is a good thing. Cornell has changed me for the better and I highly recommend you let it do the same to you!
    More about Cornell University
  8. 9

    Rice University

    • Houston, TX
    • 969 reviews
    Sophomore:Rice is incredible. The people are so friendly and collaborative, and the residential college system gives you an automatic support system and built-in friends/family. While people are smart, the atmosphere is close-knit and not cutthroat, which I've come to realize is hugely important when I hear my friends at other top universities talk about the pressure and competition they suffer through. The academics aren't easy- especially the STEM programs, which are structured to be some of the most rigorous in the country, but that's why we have such a good reputation and ease with post-graduation placements. Compared to other colleges, there's a lot of freedom with social life/partying and distribution requirements. Overall, the campus is beautiful and quality of life (dorms/food/area) very high. I love Rice and wouldn't go anywhere else!
    More about Rice University
  9. 10

    Pratt Institute

    • Brooklyn, NY
    • 729 reviews
    Niche User:I went for a campus tour, and the experience was great! The reception was very nice, got us on a tour very fast. Two tour guides (students studying at Pratt) took us on a 2-hour tour, answering our questions while giving great information about the institution. The campus is beautiful, definitely a calm getaway from the busyness of New York city, with inspiring sculptures around a very green area. The studios looked very professional, and the security system is very fast and trustworthy.
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  10. 11

    University of California - Los Angeles

    • Los Angeles, CA
    • 4,408 reviews
    Freshman:The first thing that comes to mind is the housing here at UCLA. I was lucky enough to receive one of the better, newer buildings, so my experience here has been great. The study and social lounges are equipped with new, comfortable furniture and lights that turn on and off depending on the amount of activity in the room it reads. The food is great. We have restaurants similar to Panda Express and Chipotle, and they are right below my building so it's not much of a walk at all!
    Additionally, there are resources all around campus that are noticeably accessible to me, such as math tutoring from fraternities/sororities, counseling programs, clubs and activities that offer social circles, essay reviewers, and so on.
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  11. 12

    College for Creative Studies

    • Detroit, MI
    • 501 reviews
    Senior:I love this school even though it can kind of be awful. The resources are fantastic, the technology, the wood shop, metal shop, foundry, ceramic studio, glass shop, just so many great things! It is a very challenging institution, particularly during the freshman year. It is a small school, so it is easy to form a bond with a lot of the students, especially since the students tend to be quite like-minded. The school can kind of stink depending on what major the student chooses. It is a great design school, fantastic for product designers, but the majors that are not so design based kind of get the short end of the stick. I have lived in the student housing for 4 years. They are improving it and renovating it, but unfortunately I have had to live in the construction. The campus is safe, the professors are great (usually), and it is a very inspiring place to be.
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  12. 13

    University of California - Berkeley

    • Berkeley, CA
    • 3,638 reviews
    Senior:My experience at UC Berkeley has been amazing. The professors are my favorite part. They are so knowledgeable, and some are even famous, in their field of study. The best part? They genuinely care about our, the students, growth! UC Berkeley professors are not just looking for a pay check, they are looking to share knowledge with students that they believe are important. My least favorite part of Cal, housing. Ugh! Good housing is not only hard to come by, but its inflated! I hope UC Berkeley looks into creating more affordable and comfortable student housing.
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  13. 14

    Bowdoin College

    • Brunswick, ME
    • 640 reviews
    Freshman:Whether its the Outing Club, the Literary Magazine, the Film Society, or an a Capella group, there is always something for every kind of person to get involved in. Also, people here are incredibly friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you. Bowdoin's size, with 1700 students, really enables this sense of community. If I could change one thing about Bowdoin, I would offer class credit for laboratory time. Also , this is just my wish , but I think Bowdoin should advertise more to the outside world. I grew up overseas, so most of my other friends had not heard of Bowdoin, or Brunswick for that matter. I can understand that I was surprised that not many people in United States knew about this school either. The social scene is great on the weekends, but for the most part exists only on the weekends as people work very hard during the week. As for food, you can guess exactly how delicious it is from just taking a peek at the NYtimes article and the college rankings.
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  14. 15

    New York University

    • New York, NY
    • 4,765 reviews
    Freshman:Through the Global Liberal Studies program's Core Program I spent my first year abroad in Florence, Italy living on a bequeathed estate! I was accepted to this program because I showed an interest in the Humanities, and checked the box on the application rating my preferences for the global academic sites which also include Paris, London, & Washington DC. The best things I love about the campus is the Office of Student Life staff who are peppy (especially Jillian) and super helpful whenever you have a question. In addition, they also host all-expense paid trips all over Italy, so I highly recommend. Lastly, the campus has La Pietra Dialogues which hosts leading minds across a wide array of topics. Last semester I was able to meet the US diplomat to Italy, the head of Bloomberg News, and Angela Davis! Need I say more?
    More about New York University
  15. 16
    Alum:UNC Chapel Hill - the name rings familiarity across the nation. A part of one of the biggest college basketball rivals, a leader in NC healthcare, and known for the specificity of "Carolina blue," UNC is a treasure. Nostalgia hits me every time I return: the campus is beautiful, the students are all on their way to achieving greatness, and the professors genuinely care about what goes on in their the students' minds. Diversity is not that high - as probably 60% of the students want to become doctors and nurses. The racial diversity is representative of the statistics in America. The culture diversity, however, is rather high and incorporating of all activities that I can think of. Overall, a fantastic institution!
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  16. 17

    Savannah College of Art & Design

    • Savannah, GA
    • 2,789 reviews
    Alum:SCAD is a dynamic school in a beautiful and unique city. I valued my undergrad education there. It retained a small-school feel of community despite its growth during my time there (2005-2009). Make sure to take a close look at the curriculum for each selected program, and compare it to the curriculum of other schools. Some classmates felt the foundations requirements were too unrelated to their program of study. Pay attention to current rankings, as there have been some changes in recent years. Look at acceptance vs. retention rates for patterns in certain programs as well!
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  17. 18

    Art Center College of Design

    • Pasadena, CA
    • 273 reviews
    College Freshman:Given the average class size is 5 students to 1 teachers makes it far easier to communicate and get your point across during lesson time. It also provides one-on-one teaching which is effective if the student is a quite one like myself. The resources available to students, especially in the art studios, is unbelievable as this allows the students the opportunity to explore and create which broadens the creative horizons of the art students.
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  18. 19
    College Senior:MassArt has many quirks, some that make it better and some that can deter from the learning experience. The people at MassArt are eclectic, passionate, fun-loving, and creative. My teachers have made the experience what it is for me; I am learning and gaining experience from working professionals in my field, and that experience is beyond valuable. Many people here are devoted to and serious about their work, but some tend to care less about it, which is extremely frustrating to those who work incredibly hard and get the same amount of recognition as those who slack off.
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  19. 20

    Otis College of Art & Design

    • Los Angeles, CA
    • 590 reviews
    Freshman:This school was better than I had hoped for, it was surprising to me how little people knew about this school. The school is well connected to the art world, and I have already been in contact with people in my desired field. The teachers here are all working currently in the art field. They go from work to teaching the students. Every class I have taken, although tough, has significantly improved my art and I look forward to seeing more improvement in the future. The school holds many events on the student behalf such as dog distress day to take care and reward their students. The environment at the school is so open and free and has such sweet and caring people. It is a friendly community of students and teachers who support a help each other. The school also has great credibility in the art world, so I know that getting a job will be easier
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  20. 21

    School of Visual Arts

    • New York, NY
    • 436 reviews
    College Freshman:The variety in courses is phenomenal! Aside from the basic courses that you are required to complete, which all still seem very interesting, there are many different elective courses that are available, expending on into different subject such as history and even science. Seeing different courses that focus on different methods and styles of art only makes me wish that I could be able to apply for all of them! Finding the right professor, however, is not easy, sometimes you'll end up with a teacher that has a sort of teaching style that doesn't help you at all, and the only way you can get a good idea on who the right professor is for you is to rely on other's opinions.
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  21. 22

    Maryland Institute College of Art

    • Baltimore, MD
    • 477 reviews
    College Senior:MICA has a lot to offer. Every major is very specialized and different. As a sculpture major, I have access to successful artist that commute from NYC. The teachers will challenge your preconceived notions of art. This can be a laborious and emotional process, but it is necessary to understand the current art world. There is a great D-Fab lab that allows students to integrate 3-D printing and lazor cutting into their artistic practice. The only problem is that there is too much to explore in 4 years!

    I would recommend new students to carefully pick their academic teachers. Some academic teachers are great and actively publish in their field, and other teachers are a bit boring. Make sure to talk to your advisor before signing up for academic classes to ensure that you avoid the less interesting classes.

    Students can also take courses at John Hopkins if they want more rigorous academic courses.
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  22. 23

    Williams College

    • Williamstown, MA
    • 251 reviews
    College Freshman:I really enjoy being at my college. It is academically challenging while being engaging. The professors love teaching their subjects, and I have learned the value of a liberal arts education by taking classes in many different areas of study, which are helping me become a well-rounded scholar. I really like it here! The relatively small class sizes allow me to get to know my professors and classmates, which helps me learn better, as I can approach my professors comfortably during office hours and form study groups with my fellow classmates. I would choose my school again if I could do it all over because it has everything I want and need: small classes, passionate professors, engaging courses, welcoming atmosphere, beautiful location, and the list can go on!
    More about Williams College
  23. 24

    Boston University

    • Boston, MA
    • 3,048 reviews
    College Freshman:Boston University is an institution that within one semester has taught me the value of balance, friendships and motivation. What makes Boston University so unique is the students' ability to be bot intellectual yet socially and culturally aware, well socialized and happy. Yes, towards finals week things may get more stressful and the work is very challenging but through it you get to know a lot about yourself, what you can handle and what you can do to prepare yourself best for a successful experience at the University. Another thing that makes Boston U unique is the fact that there are so many resources on and off of campus that can make your experience more dynamic than just going to another great school in the Northeast. Research labs, internships, corporations and the notable alumni and professors all act as accessible tools to help cultivate and enrich your experience beyond the books.

    If I had the option I would choose Boston University again. Despite this being my first semester at the University, I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. The culture, the overall vibe, the people and the appreciation and longing for academic and cultural enrichment cannot be matched! If you are looking for a University where you can meet the smartest yet most interesting people ever- Boston University is the place. Go Terriers!
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  24. 25

    Kansas City Art Institute

    • Kansas City, MO
    • 286 reviews
    College Sophomore:The Kansas City Art Institute is a great private institution for those like me: open-minded, understanding, artsy, fun-loving, caring, and free-spirited individuals. The amount of art courses offered are immense and diverse, including even liberal arts courses like Art History and Creative Writing. The professors are well-experienced, intelligible, and strive to make amazing artists out of their students. The class sizes are typically small, ranging from 15-25 students per class. Depending on your chosen course, classes can be mostly hands-on; usually, liberal arts classes are the only classes that are textbook, notes and lecture-only. Classes span from 2-D arts, such as Illustration and Painting, to 3-D arts, like Ceramics, and media-based arts, such as Animation and Film.
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