Virginia Schools for Aspiring Artists
Art students in Virginia can find programs with awards ranging from associate's to doctoral degrees. Learn about two of these schools below, and explore their degree levels, areas of specialization and hands-on work experiences. The table in this article presents additional facts about each school.
- Virginia Commonwealth University is centrally located in Richmond and offers bachelor's degrees in art education, craft studies, fashion design, painting/printmaking, graphic design and photography/film. This school also offers a master's degree in sculpture and a Ph.D. in art history.
- Northern Virginia Community College is in Annandale, which is a suburb of Washington D.C. This school's associate's degrees in fine arts are offered for those who intend to transfer to a 4-year college or for those who wish to enter the job market.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Art History
- Arts Management
- Metal and Jewelry Art
- Multimedia Arts
- Weaving and Textile Arts
Comparison of Schools
Beyond looking at the locations and programs being offered, students might also want to check out the table below to learn more school facts. Discover the tuition charges, graduation rates, enrollment numbers and acceptance rates in order to compare these two schools.
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Northern Virginia Community College|
|School Type||4-year, public||2-year, public|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||30,848*||51,487*|
|Campus Setting||Midsize city||Large suburb|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|| $12,772 (in-state)*
| $5,138 (in-state)*
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014)||77%*||57%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2014)||75%*||Open admissions*|
|Retention Rate (2014)||86%*||69%*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate||59% (students began 2008)*||23% (students began 2011)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Founded in 1838 as a medical school, this institution today offers over 200 programs. In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked Virginia Commonwealth University second in the nation in fine arts and first in sculpture. All undergraduate art majors in their first year complete the same foundational courses before specializing in one of the university's many art programs.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education
This program prepares students to become art teachers at the elementary through high school levels. Although students are trained as artists, they must also complete an internship as student teachers.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft/Material Studies
Students in this specialty are expected to concentrate in metal, wood, fiber, glass or clay. Students learn to create furniture, jewelry and other crafts. Students may also minor in a second medium.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion with a Concentration in Fashion Design
This business-oriented major exposes students to styles and trends in international fashion. Study abroad programs may take students anywhere from Paris to Hong Kong. Courses address textiles, draping and illustration.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/Printmaking
Either painting or printmaking, or a combination of the two, may be emphasized in this program. Studio space is available to painters, and specialized facilities for lithography and screen printing are available to printmakers.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Graphic designers create practical, interactive visual media used for getting ideas across to an audience. Courses cover editing, digital imaging, typography and other technical topics.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Film
Besides still photography, students in this specialty can create their own movies and documentaries. Internships and apprenticeships are included in the program.
Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture
This is one of the most well-known art programs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Students can expect research-intensive coursework. Students who are interested in this program are required to have finished 20 credit hours of sculpture-related classes before acceptance. A bachelor's level program is also available.
Doctor of Philosophy in Art History
Two tracks, curatorial and historical, are available for Ph.D. students. The historical track prepares students for careers in teaching. Courses in art history are largely organized by region. The curatorial track trains students to contribute to historical research and to manage non-profit organizations, such as museums.
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest school in the state to offer degree programs in art. Its main campus is located in Annandale, just to the west of Washington, D.C. There are additional campuses in Alexandria, Loudon, Manassas and Woodbridge. The fine arts division is based out of the Annandale campus.
Associate of Arts in Fine Arts
This 4-semester degree program is designed for students who intend to transfer to another university. Students may take drawing or design classes, but the main focus is on general education courses, such as science, math and English.
Associate of Applied Arts in Fine Arts
Students seeking a terminal 2-year degree in art will find this program to meet their needs. It offers a survey of photography, drawing, design and art history. Students may complete advanced coursework in digital photography.