Art Classes in Philadelphia with School and Degree Information

The Philadelphia area has several schools within five miles of downtown that offer art programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools to make an informed education decision.

Art Schools in Philadelphia

Aspiring artists can use the following resource to learn about the formal training options at three Philadelphia schools, including two devoted to the arts. In addition to program summaries, students will find a comparison table with essential school information and a paragraph about five other colleges and universities in the city that offer art programs.

  • The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is an accredited art school that offers certificate, undergraduate and graduate fine arts programs for both serious artists and liberal arts students. This school is located just 1.2 miles from downtown Philadelphia.
  • Temple University, located 3.1 miles from the downtown, awards both bachelor's and master's degrees in the fine arts.
  • The University of the Arts, located in Center City in downtown Philadelphia, offers a specialized bachelor's degree program in the fine arts, as well as three Master of Fine Arts programs.

Comparison of Schools

The following table is designed to provide students with an institutional snapshot of our three featured schools. It includes information about undergraduate acceptance rates, financial assistance and retention percentages for first-year students. Note the low enrollment at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which may allow for more individualized instruction.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Temple University The University of the Arts
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 268 39,967 1,860
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $37,096 $16,658 in-state; $28,418 out-of-state $43,100
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 100% 91% 100%
Acceptance Rate (2017) 93% 57% 74%
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 76% for full-time students 90% for full-time students; 56% for part-time students 82% for full-time students
Graduation Rate (began studies fall 2011) 57% (33% transfer-out rate) 71% (18% transfer-out rate) 63%

Source: College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Devoted exclusively to the studio arts, this school offers certificate, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs with specializations in drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, and sculpture. Admission requirements include the submission of a portfolio.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art

Students who want to combine a fine arts education with studies in the liberal arts may be interested in this 126-credit program. During the fourth year, students develop a portfolio and an artist's statement. While students can take liberal arts courses at the academy itself, they can also pursue transfer credits at another school.

Post-baccalaureate Certificate of Completion in Studio Art

This 30-credit post-baccalaureate program lasts one year, during which time, students work in their own private studio spaces. Once enrolled, serious art students participate in rigorous seminars and critiques. Coursework focuses on drawing, subject, form and content.

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is a 2-year course of study that requires 60 credits to complete. It provides students with intensive training in drawing, painting and studio art practices. Students must also participate in seminars, research and critiques. Graduation requirements include a written thesis.

Temple University

This university offers a wide variety of critically acclaimed degree programs. Both undergraduate and graduate programs provide specializations in metals and jewelry work, ceramics, fibers and glass. Specializations in graphic and interactive design, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking and sculpture are also available. All programs require a portfolio during the application process.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Depending on their specialty, students take courses in 2-D and 3-D design, printmaking, photography, figure painting and advanced sculpture, among other disciplines.

Students in the glass program can study glass blowing and casting; they also run the hot and cold glass studios. Graphic and interactive design students may work on projects like interactive books, website design and company logo design. Photography students can take advantage of one of the finest digital photography labs in the Delaware Valley. Printmaking students have the opportunity to participate in a special study abroad program in Rome in their third year of study.

Master of Fine Arts

The MFA program has several specializations for serious students wanting to hone their craft. Courses and required projects vary by program.

The graduate painting program is considered one of the top ten in the country. Ceramic students often work on giant, on-site installation projects, while those studying fibers combine historical methods of weaving and dying using modern tools. The printmaking program provides graduate students with a special studio that they can use at all hours of the day and night. MFA students must also participate in seminars and a thesis exhibition.

The University of the Arts

Fine art students attending this university can collaborate with artists that work across different mediums, including music, writing, film and theater. Comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs lead to a BFA or an MFA.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

The University of the Arts offers several specialties within its undergraduate program, including painting and drawing, printmaking and book arts, crafts and fibers and textile studies. Students can also specialize in photography, sculpture, illustration and graphic design.

Once admitted, undergraduates have the opportunity to develop strong artistic visions and aesthetic skills. Courses may include training in screenprinting, illustration, studio photography or ceramics, as well as imaging and typography. Printmaking and book arts majors can learn etching and lithography, while photography students can study traditional and contemporary photo processing. Sculpture majors have the chance to experiment with a wide range of materials.

Master of Fine Arts

This university offers three MFA programs. The book arts and printmaking program includes courses in bookbinding, text, image and color. Students who enter the museum exhibition planning and design program examine topics in content development, exhibit documentation and spatial sociology. The more traditional MFA in Studio Arts program allows students to tailor their coursework to fit their creative goals.

Students also have access to a variety of equipment and facilities, including kilns, a carving studio and a metal workshop. All programs require 60 credits of graduate seminars, specialty courses and a thesis project.

Other School Options

There are five other art schools within the Philadelphia area, including the Moore College of Art and Design, which is about a mile from the downtown, and the Community College of Philadelphia, which is 1.9 miles away from Center City, Philadelphia. Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson, three private schools within the Philadelphia area, also offer art programs.


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