Best Art Schools in North America: Best Art Schools in the United States

Art Schools in New York

The Parsons the New School For Design

New York, New York

New York is home to one of the best art schools in the world. Parsons the New School For Design, commonly just referred to as Parsons, famous for its graphic design and fashion programs. The school boasts an impressive student-teacher ratio of 9:1.

The Pratt Institute

New York, New York

The Pratt Institute is a private university located in Brooklyn and is well-known for its research-intensive programs in architecture and design. The institute ranks as one of the best art colleges in the US. Practical skills are focussed on and the institute encourages the vision of the student.

Art Schools in Philadelphia

The Moore College of Art and Design

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Moore College of Art and Design is an independent arts school in Philadelphia, offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts program for women as well as post-graduate programs. Some of the art programs include graphic design, animation, interior design, and illustration.

Art Schools in California

The California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, California

Known as CalArts, the California Institute of the Arts is a private arts school that grants degrees ranging from art and critical studies to theatre and music. The graduate programs are universally admired.

The University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles—or UCLA, may be a larger school than many other options on this list with 30,000 undergraduates, but there are advantages to this which can be described as better networking opportunities. The college offers several top art courses such as drawing, sculpture, and new media.

Art Schools in Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is the largest accredited independent art school in the country. Te school is connected to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Programs include fiber arts, printmaking, and sculpture.

Other Art Schools in the United States

The Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, Rhode Island

The Rhode Island School of Design is a top art school on the east coast, offering courses ranging from apparel design and textiles to industrial design and printmaking. Class sizes are small. The school has a number of notable teaching staff, including painter Mark Milloff.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, ranks highly in its architecture programs and for art and design. Unfortunately, MIT is one of the hardest schools to get into in the United States, and only 8 percent of applicants manage to get in.

Best Art Schools in North America: Best Art Schools in Canada

The Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Vancouver, British Columbia

Located in British Columbia, the Emily Carr University of Art and Design has been in Vancouver since its inception in 1925. The campus is located within Granville Island, a downtown Vancouver gem. It is famous for its sustainable design program, their co-op programs, and their smallish student body of around 2,000 students.

The OCAD University

Toronto, Ontario

Formerly known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, OCAD became a university in 2010. Today, it offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design degrees, as well as several master programs. The campus is home to the Sharp Centre for Design.

The Concordia University

Montreal, Quebec

Concordia University is known for its fine arts programs. It offers degrees in ceramics, fiber and studio art. As a larger school, Concordia is known for its multidisciplinary focus. Concordia students benefit from being centrally located in Montreal, which has an affordable cost of living for the student. The university is popular with artists


Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Scotia for Art and Design is Canada’s number one arts school on the east coast. It is also the oldest arts school in Canada. Some of the disciplines offered include photography, film, and fashion. It also has a fantastic art and design library, unique in Atlantic Canada.

Best Art Schools in Mexico

The Universidad Iberoamericana

Mexico City

The Unidersidad Iberoamericana, or IBERO, is a prestigious university located in the heart of Mexico City. Some of the art programs offered include graphic design, history of art, and fUniversity of California, Los Angelesashion design. IBERO students have access to the Biblioteca Francisco Xavier Clavigero, one of the best libraries in Mexico.

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Mexico City

The National Autonomous University of Mexico (or UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) is the oldest institute of higher learning in North America. The school has played an instrumental role in the Mexican art world over the years and birthed the country’s muralist movement in the 1920s. The school features work from famous artists, including Diego Rivera. Admission to UNAM is very stiff with an acceptance rate of only around five to eight percent of applicants

Best Art Schools in Europe

The Netherlands

The Design Academy, Eindhover


Established in 1955, the Design Academy, Eindhover, is known around the world for its art programs in design, fashion design, graphic design, art, and architecture. The Design Academy grants every student a Bachelor of Design degree, no matter which course they choose to pursue.


The The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts


The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts is especially well-known for its architecture program. Famous architects hailing from RDAFA include installation artist Jeppe Hein and filmmakerJane Jin Kaisen.


The Polytechnic University of Milan


The Polytechnic University of Milan is the largest university of its kind in Italy. It has a well respected fashion design program, which suits the school’s location in one of the largest fashion capitals of the world.


The Aalto University


Established in 2010, Aalto University is one of the newer schools on our list. It offers interdisciplinary education. Aalto University is where the Design Factory is based, a one-of-a-kind comprehensive environment located on the university’s interesting campus.


The École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts


The Parisian École des Beaux-Arts is world renowned. It has taught Europe’s greatest artists, including Claude Monet and Pierre Bonnard. The students continue to produce great art to the current day, including modern media like hypermedia.

The ENSCI-Les Ateliers


ENSCI-Les Ateliers is one of the more recent arts colleges to appear in France. Located in the 11th arrondissement (near the Place de la République), the school focuses exclusively on advanced degrees in industrial design, textile design, and new design.

The Pantheon-Sorbonne University


Pantheon-Sorbonne University, known by its name “Paris 1,” is famous for its courses in plastic arts, sculpting and ceramics. Students benefit from full-on immersion in la vie Parisienne, an has an active student body.


The University of Barcelona


The University of Barcelona is ranked as one of top universities in Spain. Its Faculty of Fine Arts has been active since the seventies, and offers students a balance between practical technique and critical analysis and other disciplines

The Complutense University of Madrid


The Complutense University of Madrid is based in the Spanish capital. It currently has 80,000 students which makes it the largest universities in Europe. Several Nobel Prize winners—including writers Mario Vargas Llosa and Vicente Aleixandre —graduated from here. Its fine arts program makes the Complutense University of Madrid one of the best art schools in that part of the world.


Royal College of Art


London’s Royal College of Art focusses entirely on postgraduate degrees in art and design. Its highly-rated programs in communications, architecture, art and humanities, puts the school among the world’s top art schools.

University of the Arts London


The University of the Arts London is composed of six art colleges, including the London College of Fashion and the London College of Communication. The school is ranked among the world’s top schools and is known for its expertise in everything from drama to graphic design and beyond.

Loughborough University


Located in the East Midlands region of England, Loughborough University is highly regarded for its programs in art and design according to the Complete University Guide. The college also has a sizeable research budget.

Best Art Schools in Asia


Tsinghua University


China’s Tsinghua University is regarded as first in the country for all academic disciplines, including art and design. It is based in the capital city of Beijing. Xinya College is the undergraduate liberal arts school within the institution.

Tongji University


Tongji University in Shanghai is very well respected prestigious, as are its art programs. The school’s College of Design and Innovation has been around since the second world war and was influenced by the German Bauhaus School of Art. Today, there are courses in design history, design theory and architecture.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Polytechnic University was the only school in Asia to get on the list of the Top 25 Design Schools in the World, due to its design program. It is also consistently among the world’s top new universities. Hong Kong provides the ideal background to an art school education.


National University of Singapore


The highly ranked National University of Singapore is the oldest school of higher-education in Singapore. Offerings include a Bachelor of Arts degree in industrial design, theatre studies, and a Master of Arts in urban design.

South Korea

Seoul National University


Regarded as the best of all schools in South Korea, Seoul National University offers a BFA program in design through its College of Fine Arts. It is well known for its work in plastic arts. Admission is very competitive.

Best Art Schools in Australia

RMIT Australia


RMIT Australia, or the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, is known in the southern Hemisphere for its art programs. Arts and design programs are the school’s flag ship courses. RMIT also has sister campuses in Asia and Europe, in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Barcelona.

Swinburne University of Technology


Another Melbourne school, the Swinburne University of Technology ia among the world’s top art colleges. Programs offered include a diploma in building design, graphic design, and interior design.

The University of New South Wales


This art school college ranks as one of Australia’s very top universities. The Faculty of Art and Design offers courses like a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Design, and Bachelor of Art Theory.

To give you a flavour, here is a link for the Royal College of Arts if you are based in Europe: