Arts & Media Colleges and Programs: How to Choose

Dec 12, 2019

Media arts programs include a variety of available concentrations, such as music and audio, graphic design, film, television, photography, publishing, studio arts, Web design and journalism, among others. Studies in this field often integrate diverse technologies and approaches within the curriculum.

Top 10 Media Arts Schools

Both undergraduate and graduate programs in media and arts are available and are typically found at 4-year schools. According to US News, these are the top ten media and arts schools in the country:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $53,430 (undergrad); $42,100 (graduate)
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,226 in-state; $42,218 in-state
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $14,493 in-state; $35,834 in-state
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $50,960 (undergrad); $49,900 (graduate)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Postgraduate Certificate $49,310 (undergrad); $49,950 (graduate)
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Postgraduate Certificate $55,465 (undergrad); $43,815 (graduate)
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Postgraduate Certificate $59,430 (undergrad); $46,216 (graduate)
Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI 4-year, private Master's $36,800 (graduate)
Alfred University - New York State College of Ceramics Alfred, NY 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's $29,188 (undergrad); $36,055 (graduate)
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Postgraduate Certificate $49,276 (undergrad); $48,660 (graduate)

Source: *National Center of Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

When choosing an arts and media program, consider the following:

  • In some cases, such as music concentrations, auditions may be required for acceptance into a program.
  • Prospective students may want to check that a school offers arts and media labs with up-to-date equipment so they can gain ample hands-on practice.
  • Some degree programs in this field offer internships in the student's chosen concentration.
  • Certain schools may have affiliations with arts and media organizations that offer further opportunities for students to build a portfolio and make career connections.

Bachelor of Science in Media Arts

This degree may also be offered as a Bachelor of Arts program. Required coursework typically covers state-of-the-art technological tools commonly used in the field. Additionally, theoretical and practical artistic concepts relevant to the particular field of study may be offered.

Master of Science in Media Arts

Graduate programs in this field allow students to narrow the focus of their studies. Some offer studies in areas such as experiential media, computer science, project development, system modeling and media synthesis. Some programs require submission of a student portfolio demonstrating competence with related media applications. This degree can be found as a Master of Arts program.

Arts and media degree programs give students a broad education into the concepts, techniques and technologies that are used in the field. Students need to specialize in the area of arts and media that they are most interested in and should choose a school accordingly.

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