Design & Applied Arts

2022 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools

562 Colleges in the United States
30,023 Design Degrees Awarded
$29,542 Avg Early-Career Salary
If you pursue a degree in design and applied arts, you won't be alone. The field of study is the #34 most popular program in the country. This means there are lots of options to choose from when you decide to get your degree.

College Factual looked at 562 colleges and universities when compiling its 2022 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 30,023 degrees in design and applied arts to qualified students.

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Choosing a Great Design & Applied Arts School

Best Design & Applied Arts Schools The design program you select can have a big impact on your future. That's why we developed our collection of Best Schools for Design & Applied Arts rankings. In order to come up with a best overall ranking for design and applied arts schools, we combine our degree-level rankings, weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each level.

You may want to choose one of the degree levels below to find the schools of most interest to you.

Pick Your Design & Applied Arts Degree Level

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Design & Applied Arts in the United States

Although we recommend filtering by degree level first, you can view the list below to see which schools give the educational experience for the design degree levels they offer. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in Design

#1

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In IN
42 Design Degrees Awarded

Every student pursuing a degree in design and applied arts needs to look into University of Notre Dame. Located in the suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #15 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were about 42 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Notre Dame

#2

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
57th Most Popular In NY

It is hard to beat Cornell University if you wish to pursue a degree in design and applied arts. Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Schools rank of #16 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were about 5 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Cornell University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MO
53 Design Degrees Awarded

It's difficult to beat Washington University in St Louis if you want to pursue a degree in design and applied arts. Located in the large suburb of Saint Louis, WUSTL is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Schools rank of #28 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means WUSTL is a great university overall.

There were about 53 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at WUSTL in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Washington University in St Louis

#4

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
68 Design Degrees Awarded

Carnegie Mellon University is one of the finest schools in the country for getting a degree in design and applied arts. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Schools rank of #20 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were approximately 68 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the design and applied arts degree program at Carnegie Mellon University get $58,358 more than the average graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
36 Design Degrees Awarded

RPI is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Troy. A Best Schools rank of #65 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means RPI is a great school overall.

There were about 36 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at RPI in the most recent data year. Design & Applied Arts degree recipients from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute receive an earnings boost of approximately $4,058 over the typical earnings of design and applied arts graduates.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
63 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Atlanta, Georgia Tech is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Schools rank of #35 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Georgia Tech is a great school overall.

There were about 63 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Georgia Tech in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the design and applied arts major at Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus earn $17,958 more than the standard college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

#7

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In VA
60 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 3rd out of 73 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 60 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Virginia Tech in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Virginia Tech

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In TX
67 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #52 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means UT Austin is a great university overall.

There were about 67 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from The University of Texas at Austin

Located in the large city of Chicago, Illinois Tech is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. This school ranks 14th out of 102 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were roughly 10 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Illinois Tech in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from Illinois Institute of Technology receive $59,758 more than the typical design grad.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Illinois Institute of Technology

#10

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type

Located in the city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #8 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Yale University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
108 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Champaign, UIUC is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 102 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There were about 108 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UIUC in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign make $10,658 more than the standard design graduate.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
58 Design Degrees Awarded

USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Schools rank of #33 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

There were about 58 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at USC in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from University of Southern California receive $5,558 more than the average design student.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Southern California

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In WI
35 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 52 schools for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

There were approximately 35 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Wisconsin - Madison

#14

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
62 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the medium-sized city of Gainesville, UF is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 87 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There were approximately 62 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UF in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from University of Florida earn $15,358 more than the average design grad.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Florida

#15

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
64 Design Degrees Awarded

Northeastern is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Boston. A Best Schools rank of #58 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Northeastern is a great university overall.

There were approximately 64 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Northeastern in the most recent data year. Design & Applied Arts degree recipients from Northeastern University receive an earnings boost of approximately $24,558 over the typical earnings of design and applied arts graduates.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Northeastern University

#16

Boston University

Boston, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
48 Design Degrees Awarded

Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Boston. This university ranks 12th out of 72 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were approximately 48 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Boston U in the most recent year we have data available. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from Boston University earn $9,458 more than the standard design graduate.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Boston University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In WA
51 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 58 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were about 51 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UW Seattle in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of Washington - Seattle Campus

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
53 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #46 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were approximately 53 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from University of California - Los Angeles receive $6,058 more than the average design graduate.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of California - Los Angeles

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
1,423 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of New York, FIT SUNY is a public school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 11th out of 160 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 1423 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at FIT SUNY in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the design and applied arts major at Fashion Institute of Technology get $2,358 above the standard college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Fashion Institute of Technology

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
235 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the suburb of Davis, UC Davis is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 20th out of 203 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 235 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Davis in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from University of California - Davis receive $4,358 more than the typical design student.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from University of California - Davis

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
59 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Boston, WIT is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 18th out of 72 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were approximately 59 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at WIT in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology make $19,258 more than the typical design student.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Wentworth Institute of Technology

#22

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
159 Design Degrees Awarded

RISD is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Providence.

There were approximately 159 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at RISD in the most recent data year. Design & Applied Arts degree recipients from Rhode Island School of Design receive an earnings boost of about $15,058 above the average income of design and applied arts majors.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Rhode Island School of Design

#23

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
112 Design Degrees Awarded

Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the midsize city of Syracuse. This university ranks 15th out of 160 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 112 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Syracuse in the most recent data year. Those design and applied arts students who get their degree from Syracuse University earn $8,458 more than the standard design student.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Syracuse University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
251 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the small city of Ames, Iowa State is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 45 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There were approximately 251 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Iowa State in the most recent data year. Design & Applied Arts degree recipients from Iowa State University receive an earnings boost of approximately $10,458 above the typical earnings of design and applied arts majors.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Iowa State University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
252 Design Degrees Awarded

Located in the medium-sized city of Pasadena, Art Center College of Design is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

There were about 252 design and applied arts students who graduated with this degree at Art Center College of Design in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the design and applied arts major at Art Center College of Design earn $20,358 more than the standard graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in design and applied arts from Art Center College of Design

Rest of the Top 50 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools

#27

Clemson University

Clemson, SC
#28

Endicott College

Beverly, MA
#31

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX

#32

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

#34

Stonehill College

Easton, MA
#37

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA
#39

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#40

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

#41

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

#43

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
#44

Pratt Institute - Main

Brooklyn, NY
#45

Chapman University

Orange, CA
#46

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#48

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Design & Applied Arts Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 562 different United States design and applied arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
51 Taylor University Upland, IN
52 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
53 George Washington University Washington, DC
54 Luther College Decorah, IA
55 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
56 Western Washington University Bellingham, WA
57 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
58 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
59 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
60 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
61 Illinois State University Normal, IL
62 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
63 American University Washington, DC
64 The New School New York, NY
65 Seattle University Seattle, WA
66 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
67 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
68 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
69 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
70 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
71 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
72 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
73 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
74 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
75 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
76 California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA
77 Montana State University Bozeman, MT
78 Drake University Des Moines, IA
79 Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Milwaukee, WI
80 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
81 Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles, CA
82 Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI
83 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
84 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Design & Applied Arts students that almost earned our Best Design & Applied Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
85 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
86 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
87 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
88 Collin County Community College District McKinney, TX
89 Marymount University Arlington, VA
90 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
91 Massachusetts College of Art and Design Boston, MA
92 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
93 School of Visual Arts New York, NY
94 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
95 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
96 University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
97 Bradley University Peoria, IL
98 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA
99 Longwood University Farmville, VA
100 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
101 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
102 Belmont University Nashville, TN
103 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
104 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
105 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
106 California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona, CA
107 University of North Texas Denton, TX
108 Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater, OK
109 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
110 Baylor University Waco, TX
111 SUNY New Paltz New Paltz, NY
112 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX

Design & Applied Arts by Region

View the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

Design & Applied Arts is one of 10 different types of Visual & Performing Arts programs to choose from.

Design Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Graphic Design 7,346
Interior Design 4,680
Visual Communications 4,319
Fashion Design 3,156
Commercial & Advertising Art 2,505
Illustration 2,491
Game & Interactive Media Design 1,915
Industrial Design 1,862
Other Design & Applied Arts 1,176
Commercial Photography 573

View All Design Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 33,317
Music 25,677
Drama & Theater Arts 16,685
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 15,516
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,811
Arts & Media Management 4,746
Dance 3,237
Other Visual Art 937
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 103
Community/Environmental/Socially-Engaged Art 3

View All Design Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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