Art Classes in Los Angeles with Degree Program Information

Feb 27, 2019

There are at least 10 schools within 10 miles of Los Angeles that have art degree programs. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which is the right one for you.

Los Angeles Schools with Art Programs

Art programs can be found at many public and private schools in the Los Angeles area. This article looks at three schools within a 25-minute drive of the city center. All offer art degrees at several levels and in many areas of specialization. A table comparing various aspects, including types of schools, tuition and the graduation rates, is later followed by a brief paragraph of information about four other schools that offer degrees in art.

  • California State University - Los Angeles is a public school that provides a wide range of bachelor's and master's degree programs in art. It is about seven miles from downtown.
  • Another public school, the University of California - Los Angeles, is about nine miles from the center of the city. It also offers a diverse mix of programs at both the master's and bachelor's degree levels.
  • The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit university with the oldest art school in Southern California; bachelor's and master's degree programs are offered here. It is about two miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Comparison of Schools

Prospective art students will want to consider a variety of factors when choosing a school. The following table makes that process easier by offering a side-by-side comparison in various categories, including enrollment and tuition.

California State University - Los Angeles University of California - Los Angeles University of Southern California
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 28,531* 44,027* 45,687*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $6,639 in-state; $18,519 out-of-state* $13,261 in-state; $41,275 out-of-state* $54,259*
% of Full-Time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 91%* 65%* 64%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 46%* 16%* 16%*
Retention Rate (2017) 79% full-time; 45% part-time* 97% full-time; 80% part-time* 96% full-time; 50% part-time*
Graduation Rate (2011) 47%* 91%* 92%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

California State University - Los Angeles

Approximately 27 full-time and 37 part-time faculty members teach various specializations in CSU's art department. Programs focus on professional preparation as well as a comprehensive liberal arts education.

Bachelor of Arts in Art

This degree requires completion of 120 units and has the option to focus on animation, graphic design/visual communication, fashion/textiles, art history or studio arts. Students complete 62-69 units in their major option, electives, and general education classes. Required lower division classes for all options include world art, 2-D and 3-D art fundamentals and introductory drawing; an upper-division class involving written expression in art is also required.

Master of Arts in Art

This 30-unit graduate degree program provides options to focus on fashion and textiles, studio art, design, art history or art education, and it may be a good option for those who want to teach at the community college level. In addition to topics exploring their area of interest, students take a class about perspectives on visual art, aesthetics, and culture; complete seminars in art history; and receive training in art research methodologies. A graduate thesis or project is also required. Candidates for this degree program must submit a goals statement, two letters of recommendation, and a portfolio; they may be interviewed as well. Applicants without a bachelor's degree in art need to complete at least 36 units in art before entering the program.

Master of Fine Arts in Art

Students planning futures as professional designers or university instructors may be interested in this highly selective program. Options to specialize in studio art and design are available; each program takes about three years to complete. Applicants provide a portfolio, statement of goals, and letters of recommendation; an interview is also required. Students in both specializations participate in seminars in art history and visual arts; take courses that provide perspectives on visual art, aesthetics and culture; and research artistic methods. To graduate, students also complete professional fieldwork, directed study units, and an exhibition project.

University of California - Los Angeles

The art faculty in this school's Department of Art is comprised of at least 13 members, many of whom exhibit internationally. Distinguished visiting lecturers supplement the faculty.

Bachelor of Arts in Art

Applicants to this degree program must submit a portfolio and written statement of goals/interests. Students explore foundation topics in painting/drawing, sculpture, photography, art theory, ceramic, and new genres before selecting additional advanced courses from those areas. To graduate, students complete a senior studio course on art criticism and analysis, as well as exhibit competency in upper-level studio projects.

Master of Fine Arts

This graduate program offers specializations in ceramics, new genres, photography, painting/drawing, interdisciplinary studio, and sculpture. The program usually takes 2-3 years to complete and requires a graduate exhibition. In addition to courses in their specialization, students participate in graduate-level studio classes, an art seminar, and group critiques, as well as classes in art history, theory, and criticism. Applicants must present a portfolio and a list of three references; those without a bachelor's degree in art may be considered based on their portfolios.

University of Southern California

The Roski School of Fine Arts was founded in 1883, just three years after USC opened. Today, it features a large team of almost 50 full-time and adjunct instructors. The school also hosts visiting artists each semester.

Bachelor of Arts in Art

This degree program combines studio art courses with critical studies, art history, and electives; a minor or second major in another field is also an option. There are also three foreign language classes required (unless waived through testing). To apply, candidates upload a portfolio, artist statement, and list of creative accomplishments.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

Immersion in art is the goal of this program, which consists of studio classes and additional coursework in areas like painting, sculpture, drawing, and ceramics. Seminars, a studio capstone project and a thesis are included. This program has the same admission requirements as the BA in Art program.

Master of Fine Arts

Aspiring artists in this interdisciplinary program study with well-known artist faculty members and visiting art professionals. Students complete classes on art theory, criticism and contemporary art issues. They also take part in visiting artist forums and a solo thesis exhibition. Candidates for this 2-year program submit a portfolio, three letters of recommendation, an artist's statement, and a resume.

Other School Options

Several other schools in the Los Angeles area offer art classes and programs. Los Angeles City College is a 2-year, public school located near downtown. Students interested in a smaller school could consider Occidental College, Loyola Marymount University, and Otis College of Art and Design, all of which are 4-year, private not-for-profit institutions.

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