Top Ten Design Schools in the United States

See which top-ranked schools have design programs. Get information about program options and rankings at three profiled schools; then, view highlights 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.

1. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: UCLA formally shifted its Design program to the Design and Media Arts program in 2000.

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 tied for 23rd overall among U.S. News and World Report's list of best colleges in 2015. 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

School Highlight: Summer programs in interior design, architecture and merchandising and fashion design are offered for high school students.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Drexel University, a 4-year private institution, tied for 95th in a list of best colleges in 2015. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design offers majors in design and merchandising, fashion design, graphic design, interior design, product design and interactive digital media. Graduate programs are also offered in interior architecture and design, digital media and fashion design.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Top Design School Programs

College/University Name Student Population Address
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
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 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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