Top Ten Design Schools in the United States

See which top-ranked schools have design programs. Get information about program options and rankings at three profiled schools; then, view highlights of colleges and universities that also offer similar programs. View article »

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94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)
  • 0:04 School Information
  • 0:34 University of…
  • 1:06 Drexel University in…
  • 1:40 Arizona State…
  • 2:17 Top Design School Programs

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Video Transcript

School Information

Design encompasses a broad range of creative fields that are often closely related to the visual arts. Programs are available in sub-fields such as graphic design, multimedia design, industrial design, and interior design. Design programs are typically offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Three top schools with undergraduate and graduate design program options include the University of California - Los Angeles, Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and Arizona State University. Each of these schools was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California - Los Angeles formally shifted its design program to the Design and Media Arts program in 2000. The University of California - Los Angeles, a four-year public school, was ranked tied at #24 among national universities for 2017 by U.S. New & World Report and tied at #2 in the country for its graduate level fine arts program. The School of the Arts and Architecture offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Design and Media Arts and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Design and Media Arts.

Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University offers high school students summer programs in interior design, architecture, and merchandising and fashion design. U.S. News and World Report ranked Drexel University, a four-year private institution, tied for 96th in a list of best colleges in 2017. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design offers majors in design and merchandising, fashion design, graphic design, interior design, product design, and interactive digital media. Graduate programs are also offered in interior architecture and design, digital media, and fashion design.

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

At Arizona State University the design school operates the Innovation Space, a research lab bringing together design and the fields of engineering and business to create new products. Through the design school at ASU, students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture, interior design, urban design, graphic design, environmental design, industrial design, or landscape architecture. Students may also choose an interdisciplinary design Ph.D. in Design, Environment, and the Arts with a focus in design. For 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU the #1 most innovative school in the country.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Top Design School Programs

Now let's take a look at what other top school offer students interested in design.

College/University Name Student Population Address
Carnegie Mellon University Offers a variety of design programs; options are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level, including a professional doctoral program that can be completed mostly online Pittsburgh, PA
Howard University The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program in design is offered with areas of focus in fashion design, interior design, and communication and digital media design; an MFA program in design also available Washington, DC
The New School The Parsons design school has 45 programs across the undergraduate and graduate levels through five schools; undergraduate programs are also offered at the Parsons Paris campus New York, NY
Savannah College of Art and Design Has over 40 major options with degree offerings at the bachelor's and master's levels Savannah, GA
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Design has bachelor's degree programs in graphic design and industrial design Chicago, IL
University of Kentucky Students in architecture and interior design can get hands-on experience working with design firms across the U.S. and around the world for one-week or two-week sessions Lexington, KY
Virginia Commonwealth University Students can work on real-world projects with interdisciplinary teams bringing together design, technology, business, and entrepreneurship through the university's Creative Disruption Lab Richmond, VA

Regardless of the student's interest area within the field of design, there are four-year universities and dedicated art schools that provide excellent educational opportunities.

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