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2021 Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts

Approximately 33,586 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 332 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.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 30% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 12%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 199 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Fine & Studio Arts graduates from colleges 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. schools results in an average starting salary of $23,363, graduates of colleges on this list average $29,604.

Starting Salary  ( 25062 to 35337 )
$0
$41,000

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 schools 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 332 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Fine Arts Colleges

School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a good option for students interested in a Fine & Studio Arts major. School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago. This college ranks 520th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, School of the Art Institute of Chicago also offers a Master's Degree in fine and studio arts. Students who graduate from the Fine Arts program make around $20,000 for their early career.

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Columbia University in the City of New York is a wonderful decision for individuals interested in a Fine & Studio Arts major. Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 32 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Columbia is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia 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 students from Columbia University in the City of New York get a earnings boost of approximately $3,496 over the typical income of fine and studio arts graduates.

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#3

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Cornell University is a good option for individuals pursuing a Fine & Studio Arts degree. Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of 17 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Cornell is a great college overall.

A favorite major for fine and studio arts undergrads, there are approximately 40 individuals studying this degree at Cornell. Students from the fine and studio arts program at Cornell University make $8,396 above the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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University of Maryland - College Park is a great decision for students pursuing a Fine & Studio Arts degree. UMCP is a very large public school located in the suburb of College Park. This college ranks 117th out of 1,715 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 Master's Degree. Graduates from the fine and studio arts program at University of Maryland - College Park earn $5,496 more than the typical graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Located in the city Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, USC 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 Southern California get a earnings boost of around $3,096 over the average earnings of fine and studio arts graduates.

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#6

Brown University

Providence, RI

Located in the city Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Brown is a great college overall.

There are roughly 55 fine and studio arts undergrads enrolled in this degree at Brown. Fine & Studio Arts graduates from Brown University receive an earnings boost of about $2,196 above the typical earnings of fine and studio arts majors.

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Located in the small suburb Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means University of Virginia is a great school overall.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, University of Virginia offers a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship) in fine and studio arts. University of Virginia - Main Campus fine and studio arts graduates receive $5,396 more than the standard Fine Arts grad.

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Located in the suburb San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a public college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 155th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A preferred major for fine and studio arts undergrads, there are approximately 49 students studying this degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Fine & Studio Arts majors from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo get a earnings boost of approximately $11,396 over the average earnings of fine and studio arts majors.

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Located in the large city Los Angeles, UCLA is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

With 156 undergrads, University of California - Los Angeles is one of most popular schools to study Fine Arts in United States. Graduates of the Fine Arts program make around $27,100 in their early career salary.

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Located in the midsize city Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 38 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means U of Michigan is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan 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 about $30,500 in the first couple years of their career.

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Located in the large suburb Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. This school ranks 114th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

Southern Methodist University is a fairly popular college to study Fine Arts in United States with over 38 graduations last year. Fine & Studio Arts students from Southern Methodist University earn a boost of about $4,596 over the typical income of fine and studio arts majors.

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Located in the midsize city Berkeley, UC Berkeley is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 69 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great school overall.

With 108 undergrads, University of California - Berkeley is one of most popular colleges to study Fine Arts in United States. Soon after graduating, Fine Arts students generally make about $28,800 in their early careers.

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#13

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Located in the town Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Williams is a great school overall.

A popular major for fine and studio arts undergraduates, there are about 38 students enrolled in this degree at Williams. Soon after graduating, Fine Arts students typically earn around $30,200 in their early careers.

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Located in the large city Austin, UT Austin is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 91 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UT Austin is a great school overall.

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 about $24,900 for their early career.

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Located in the city Madison, Wisconsin is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wisconsin is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Wisconsin 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 $28,100 in their early career salary.

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IU Bloomington is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Bloomington. This school ranks 141st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There are roughly 104 fine and studio arts undergrads studying this degree at IU Bloomington. After graduating, Fine Arts students generally make around $26,900 at the beginning of their careers.

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#17

New York University

New York, NY

Located in the city New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 130th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU 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 this degree state that they receive average early career earnings of $24,600.

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#18

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Iowa is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Iowa City. This school ranks 190th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There are roughly 190 fine and studio arts undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Iowa. Students who complete this degree report average early career income of $30,300.

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#19

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI

Located in the medium-sized city Providence, RISD is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 195th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Rhode Island.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, RISD offers a Master's Degree in fine and studio arts. Soon after graduation, Fine Arts students usually earn about $20,400 in their early careers.

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Rutgers New Brunswick is a fairly large public school located in the small city of New Brunswick. This college ranks 183rd out of 1,715 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 about $29,300 for their early career.

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UW Seattle is a very large public school located in the large city of Seattle. This college ranks 97th out of 1,715 schools 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 make an average of $26,600 in their early career salary.

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TCNJ is a medium-sized public school located in the large suburb of Ewing. This school ranks 167th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There are roughly 65 fine and studio arts undergraduates enrolled in this degree at TCNJ. Fine & Studio Arts students from The College of New Jersey earn a boost of about $3,196 over the typical earnings of fine and studio arts graduates.

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#23

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston U is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Boston. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Boston U is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Boston U 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 an average of $23,100 for their early career.

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Located in the suburb Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 133rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

University of California - Santa Barbara is a fairly popular college to study Fine Arts in United States with more than 113 graduations last year. Students who graduate from this degree state that they receive average early career income of $25,000.

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Pitt is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Pittsburgh. This school ranks 129th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus is a fairly popular school to study Fine Arts in United States with over 57 graduations last year. Graduates of the Fine Arts program report average early career earnings of $30,600.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Fine & Studio Arts

#26

University of Houston

Houston, TX
#29

Binghamton University

Vestal, NY
#30

University of Georgia

Athens, GA
#31

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#32

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY
#34

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#35

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
#39

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT
#41

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY
#47

Fordham University

Bronx, NY
#48

Tufts University

Medford, MA

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
50 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
51 Towson University Towson, MD
52 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
53 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
54 Pratt Institute - Main Brooklyn, NY
55 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
56 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
57 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
58 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
59 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
60 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
61 University of Oklahoma Norman Campus Norman, OK
62 Mills College Oakland, CA
63 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
64 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
65 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
66 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA

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 36,179
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,756
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720

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. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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