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2020 Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts

Approximately 41,431 fine and studio arts degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a daunting task finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts ranking analyzed 512 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in fine and studio arts. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges for Fine & Studio Arts students.

Choosing a Great Fine & Studio Arts School

Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts Your choice of fine and studio arts school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

A school that excels in educating for a particular major must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 12% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 32%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 171 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Fine & Studio Arts graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average fine and studio arts bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $23,363, graduates of colleges on this list average $27,905.

Starting Salary  ( 22954 to 33945 )
$0
$38,000

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Fine & Studio Arts students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other fine and studio arts students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized fine and studio arts related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Fine & Studio Arts students.

Best Schools to Study Fine & Studio Arts in United States

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for fine and studio arts majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 512 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Fine Arts Colleges

Doctorate Highest Degree Type
12th Most Popular In NY
$33,100 Median Starting Salary

Columbia University in the City of New York is a wonderful option for individuals pursuing a Fine & Studio Arts major. Columbia is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 26 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great school overall.

With 97 students enrolled, Columbia University in the City of New York is one of most popular colleges to study Fine Arts in United States. Fine & Studio Arts students from Columbia University in the City of New York get a earnings boost of about $5,195 above the average income of fine and studio arts majors.

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Master Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In RI
$20,400 Median Starting Salary

Rhode Island School of Design is one of the best schools in the country for fine and studio arts. Located in the city Providence, RISD is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 154th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Rhode Island.

There are approximately 150 fine and studio arts undergraduates enrolled in this degree at RISD. After graduation, Fine Arts students usually make about $20,400 at the beginning of their careers.

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#3

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In NJ
2.3% Growth in Graduates

Princeton University is among your top options if you're planning on studying fine and studio arts. Located in the large suburb Princeton, Princeton is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 20 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Princeton is a great college overall.

With 43 students enrolled, Princeton University is one of most popular colleges to study Fine Arts in United States.

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#4

New York University

New York, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
$24,600 Median Starting Salary

Every student pursuing a degree in fine and studio arts has to look into New York University. Located in the city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 129th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 3 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the Fine Arts program report average early career wages of $24,600.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In CA
$27,100 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Los Angeles, UCLA is a public school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the Fine Arts program make an average of $27,100 for their early career.

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#6

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
36th Most Popular In NY
$38,000 Median Starting Salary

Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Cornell is a great college overall.

With 36 students enrolled, Cornell University is one of most popular colleges to study Fine Arts in United States. Cornell University fine and studio arts graduates receive $10,095 more than the typical Fine Arts graduate.

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#7

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CT
16.2% Growth in Graduates

Yale is a large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of New Haven. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great college overall.

There are roughly 136 fine and studio arts undergrads enrolled in this degree at Yale.

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#8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In PA
8.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

University of Pennsylvania is a fairly popular school to study Fine Arts in United States with over 70 graduations last year.

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#9

Boston University

Boston, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In MA
$23,100 Median Starting Salary

Boston U is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Boston. This college ranks 56th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

With 61 undergrads, Boston University is one of most popular colleges to study Fine Arts in United States. Graduates of the Fine Arts program make an average of $23,100 in their early career salary.

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#10

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In MA

Located in the midsize city Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great college overall.

A favorite major for fine and studio arts undergrads, there are roughly 43 learners studying this program at Harvard.

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Master Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MD
$17,200 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Baltimore, MICA is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 559th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

For those interested in something more advanced, MICA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who complete this degree report average early career earnings of $17,200.

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#12

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
43rd Most Popular In CA
15.4% Growth in Graduates

Located in the suburb Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great school overall.

Stanford University is a fairly popular school to study Fine Arts in United States with over 39 graduations last year.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In TX
$24,900 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 78th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

For those interested in something more advanced, UT Austin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the Fine Arts program earn an average of $24,900 for their early career.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MI
$30,500 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 35 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means U of Michigan is a great school overall.

There are roughly 140 fine and studio arts undergrads enrolled in this program at U of Michigan. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor fine and studio arts majors earn $2,595 more than the typical Fine Arts student.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MD
$35,100 Median Starting Salary

UMCP is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of College Park. This college ranks 103rd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

For those interested in something more advanced, UMCP also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Graduates from the fine and studio arts program at University of Maryland - College Park make $7,195 more than the typical graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
12th Most Popular In CA
12.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the midsize city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 65th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduation, Fine Arts students typically make about $28,800 in their early careers.

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#17

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
Master Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In MA
4.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the fringe town Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Williams is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Williams also offers a Master's Degree in fine and studio arts. Fine & Studio Arts majors from Williams College get a earnings boost of approximately $2,295 over the typical income of fine and studio arts majors.

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#18

Tufts University

Medford, MA
Master Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MA
$20,500 Median Starting Salary

Tufts is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Medford. This college ranks 52nd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are about 107 fine and studio arts undergrads studying this program at Tufts. Graduates of the Fine Arts program make around $20,500 for their early career.

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#19

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In VA
11.4% Growth in Graduates

Located in the small suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great school overall.

There are about 79 fine and studio arts undergrads studying this program at University of Virginia. Fine & Studio Arts majors from University of Virginia - Main Campus get a earnings boost of approximately $7,095 over the typical income of fine and studio arts majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In CA
$32,700 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, USC also offers 4 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Fine & Studio Arts majors from University of Southern California receive an earnings boost of about $4,795 over the typical earnings of fine and studio arts majors.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WA
$26,600 Median Starting Salary

UW Seattle is a very large public school located in the large city of Seattle. This school ranks 84th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

For those interested in something more advanced, UW Seattle also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the Fine Arts program earn about $26,600 in their early career salary.

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#22

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IA
$30,300 Median Starting Salary

Iowa is a very large public school located in the city of Iowa City. This school ranks 166th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

For those interested in something more advanced, Iowa also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Fine & Studio Arts graduates from University of Iowa receive an earnings boost of about $2,395 over the average income of fine and studio arts graduates.

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4th Most Popular In MD
$22,600 Median Starting Salary

Located in the suburb Baltimore, UMBC is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 302nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There are approximately 64 fine and studio arts undergraduates enrolled in this program at UMBC. Graduates of the Fine Arts program earn around $22,600 in the first couple years of their career.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In NJ
$29,300 Median Starting Salary

Rutgers New Brunswick is a very large public school located in the small city of New Brunswick. This college ranks 151st out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

For those interested in something more advanced, Rutgers New Brunswick also offers 2 different higher degree levels in fine and studio arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the Fine Arts program earn around $29,300 in the first couple years of working.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In WI
32.1% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city Madison, Wisconsin is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 80th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin offers fine and studio arts degrees as low as a First Year Certificates and all the way up to a Research / Scholarship Based Doctorate's. Graduates of the Fine Arts program make an average of $28,100 in the first couple years of their career.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 512 different United States fine and studio arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York, NY
52 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
53 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
54 Davidson College Davidson, NC
55 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
56 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
57 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
58 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
59 Illinois State University Normal, IL
60 Wellesley College Wellesley, MA
61 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
62 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
63 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
64 University of Georgia Athens, GA
65 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
66 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
67 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
68 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
69 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
70 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
71 Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME
72 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
73 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
74 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
75 George Washington University Washington, DC
76 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts award.

Rank College Location
77 Pomona College Claremont, CA
78 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
79 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
80 Bates College Lewiston, ME
81 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
82 Art Center College of Design Pasadena, CA
83 Barnard College New York, NY
84 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
85 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
86 University of California - Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA
87 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
88 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
89 American University Washington, DC
90 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
91 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
92 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
93 Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
94 Colby College Waterville, ME
95 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
96 The New School New York, NY
97 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
98 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
99 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
100 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
101 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
102 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO

Fine & Studio Arts by Region

View the Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts for a specific region near you.

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

One of 9 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Fine & Studio Arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Design & Applied Arts 37,428
Music 27,188
Drama & Theater Arts 17,242
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,684
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,302

View All Fine Arts 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).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Jorge Royan.

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