List of Fine Arts Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

The fine arts include fields related to the performing, creative or visual arts. Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in the fine arts, as well as doctoral programs, in rare cases.

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Many fields of study fall under fine arts, including graphic design, drawing, film, theater, photography, music, creative writing and sculpture, among others. In addition to considering degree level, students should consider specializations, program costs, a school's arts studios, and more before choosing a program.

Top Ten Schools with Fine Arts Programs

Fine arts programs are relatively easy to find as they are offered at many schools, giving students the option of studying in urban or more remote areas. According to US News, an educational ranking site, these are the top ten schools in the country that offer fine arts degree programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $43,986
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $50,665
Columbia University-New York New York, NY private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $53,000
Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MA private, not-for-profit, 4 year Master's $35,886 (graduate)
Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's, Postgraduate Certificate $43,870 (undergrad); $43,870 (graduate)
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $45,840 (undergrad); $45,840 (graduate)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL private, not-for-profit, 4 year Master's $43,960 (undergrad); $46,630 (graduate)
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA public, 4 year Bachelor's $12,763 in-state, $37,471 out-of-state (undergrad); $12,629 in-state, $27,731 out-of-state
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA public, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $12,772 in-state, $31,464 out-of-state (undergrad); $12,779 in-state, $24,002 out-of-state
Yale University New Haven, CT private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's, Master's $47,600 (undergrad); $38,700 (graduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, school websites

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when deciding where to pursue your fine arts degree:

  • In general, fine arts programs leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Master of Fine Arts allow students to select an area of concentration, so prospective students should locate schools offering programs in their specific field of interest.
  • If a student plans on undertaking a studio-intensive program, he or she should make sure the school's facilities offer frequent access.
  • It's also useful to keep in mind that many schools are known for specific fine arts programs and may attract professional artists and writers to lecture.
  • Students should look into the resources and extracurricular opportunities offered at their school to ensure they get sufficient hands-on experience practicing their craft.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Programs in the fine arts include, but are not limited to, painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpting and art history. Some of the foundation courses a student can expect include color theory, 3D form, a survey of computer art and proper professional practices.

Graduate Degrees

A program that leads to master's degree or a master of fine arts degree is designed to hone specialized skills and may prepare a student for a PhD. Besides intensive studio instruction, a student should count attending art and technology seminars and working on a thesis relevant to their work.

A fine arts degree program can be found at many schools, giving students a lot of choice regarding their place of study. There are many different artistic forms and techniques that constitute as fine arts, so students should research extensively to ensure a school's program is right for them.

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