Top School in San Francisco for Advertising Design

Jul 08, 2020

School and Ranking Information

In the San Francisco area, at least eight schools offer advertising programs. Based on rankings, program offerings and graduation rate, the top schools near San Francisco offering advertising design programs are:

  • Winner: The University of San Francisco offers an interdisciplinary program that features training in both advertising with computer design. It is ranked among national universities by U.S. News and World Report and offers a bachelor's degree program.
  • Runner-Up #1: San Jose State University, a public university just about 35 miles away in San Jose with a regional ranking, offers both a major and a minor in advertising at the bachelor's degree level.
  • Runner-Up #2: The University of the Pacific is located almost 70 miles away in Stockton. The school is also highly ranked and offers students interested in this field of study a wide selection of courses within its department of visual arts. It offers a bachelor's degree program.

School Comparison Chart

Category University of San Francisco San Jose State University University of the Pacific
Rankings (2020) 97th among national universities* 24th for regional universities (West)* 125th among national universities*
Location San Francisco, CA San Jose, CA (35.5 miles from San Francisco) Stockton, CA (66.1 miles from San Francisco)
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020) $50,282** $7,852 (in-state); $19,732 (out-of-state)** $49,588**
Advertising Design Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Advertising Design Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2018-2019 10** 119** 3**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2013 Entering Class 75%** 64%** 71%**
Noteworthy N/A Part of the California State University system (23 campuses total) State's oldest chartered university

Sources: *U. S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: University of San Francisco (USF)

  • Listed as a Tier One National University in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked 4th on the 'College City Gets High Marks' list by The Princeton Review

USF's College of Arts and Sciences offers an interdisciplinary advertising Bachelor of Arts program that combines courses in communication and advertising with the study of computer design. Students take courses in both advertising principles and practices and writing for advertising, as well as Adobe Photoshop, animation and creative advertising. Students can complete an advertising internship. A minor in advertising is also offered and can be completed with 20 credits. Courses include advertising planning, placement and presentations.

The Department of Art and Architecture also administers an undergraduate degree and a minor in design. In this program, students may learn about visual communications, typography, publication design and digital literacy.

Runner-Up #1: San Jose State University (SJSU)

  • Campus Technology magazine has named SJSU an 'Education Futurist'
  • NCES reported 83% of students that started at SJSU in 2018 returned for their second year
  • The Spartan Daily, the school's newspaper, is a forum in which ad majors can practice and showcase their talents

SJSU's School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers a Bachelor of Science program in advertising, which claims to have the greatest selection of courses in this field of study in California. Students may select from two different approaches, the first one is geared towards management and the second represents the more creative focus. Teams of students regularly participate in competitions sponsored by the AAF (American Advertising Federation) and complete internships, which lead to future employment in many cases. Courses examine business-to-business advertising, copywriting, layout and production, campaigns and consumer advertising. A minor in advertising is also offered.

Runner-Up #2: University of the Pacific (UP)

  • Programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • NCES reported that during the 2018-2019 school year, 97% of incoming students received some type of financial aid

Students interested in a career in advertising design can complete a bachelor's degree program within the visual communications department. Students at UP may select to combine studio art with graphic design within the school's Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Some of the courses offered are principles of 2-D and 3-D design, color, photography, typography, graphic production and web design, as well as internships and independent study programs. UP's Center for Professional and Continuing Education offers an online class in ad copywriting for the new media.

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