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3D Art School and College Program Information

The field of three-dimensional art is wide and varied. Students seeking a college program in 3D art have numerous options and specializations to consider at many colleges throughout the country. Read on to learn more about 3D art programs.

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The following majors or concentrations offer suitable courses of study for students interested in 3D art: 3D studio, computer or digital arts, graphics, animation, and visual communications and media arts. Certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs are available to students wishing to continue their education.

Ten Schools with Fine Arts Programs

These schools are a sampling of institutions that offer fine arts programs with 3D art options. Tuition estimates are based on the 2015-2016 school year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered* Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $43,986 (Undergraduate); $43,986 (Graduate)
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $50,665 (Undergraduate); $41,371 (Graduate)
Columbia University-New York New York, NY private, not-for-profit, 4 year Master's $44,176 (Graduate)
Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI private, not-for-profit, 4 year Master's $35,886 (Graduate)
Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate Certificate, Master's $43,870 (Undergraduate); $43,870 (Graduate)
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI private, not-for-profit, 4 year Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $45,840 (Undergraduate); $45,840 (Graduate)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL private, not-for-profit, 4 year Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $43,960 (Undergraduate); $46,630 (Graduate)
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA public, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $12,763 (In-state undergraduate); $37,471 (Out-of-state undergraduate); $12,629 (In-state graduate); $27,731 (Out-of-state graduate)
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA public, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,772 (In-state undergraduate); $31,464 (Out-of-state undergraduate); $12,779 (In-state graduate); $24,002 (Out-of-state graduate)
Yale University New Haven, CT private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $47,600 (Undergraduate); $38,700 (Graduate)

*Sources: NCES, school websites

School Selection Criteria

Since options are wide and varied, students should consider several factors when choosing a well-suited program.

  • Evaluate potential areas of specialization. Options include animators for television and film, product and packaging designers, video game designers, web designers, special effects artists, architectural artists and sculptors.
  • Students seeking an eventual Master of Fine Arts should choose an undergraduate school with a Bachelor of Fine Arts program related to their concentration.
  • Assess the schools' facilities, laboratories and software platforms to ensure they complement needs.
  • Schools offering internship opportunities may help add to a student's portfolio.

Certificate Programs in 3D Art

A certificate program in the digital arts can be completed in one to one and a half years. Students are introduced to the basic concepts in computer-assisted visual design.

Associate's Degree in 3D Art

An associate's degree program in art with a concentration in 3D animation will provide a basic educational foundation in the field. An associate's degree can be a path to an entry-level computer artist career or a stepping stone to a BFA degree and beyond.

Bachelor's Degree in 3D Art

BFA programs, which are often a prerequisite for master's programs, explore materials and processes in sculpture, ceramics, drawing, painting and photography. Students complete research and thesis projects and display their works for critical review. Since these programs are competitive and selective, students should have a strong portfolio of work to show for admissions.

Various arts and fine arts degree options can offer a solid grounding in 3D art study, with most offerings available at the undergraduate or master's level. Students may explore concentration opportunities in general arts programs and may also consider each individual school's resources for art students.

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