Many people would agree that you probably do not need formal education or obtain a college degree to be an awesome artist. After all, we’re in the internet age, and you can learn everything you need to become a great artist online. While there is some truth to this, it is also true that art institutes and universities provide the structure that some of these online platforms cannot guarantee. Additionally, an art institute also has other benefits, which include:
- Access to experienced art professors, scholars, and former students.
- Access to art equipment, resources, and art studios.
- Fine art schools also foster collaboration among students through student body activities.
- An art institute will also provide students with the opportunity to meet other art professionals during art workshops and career fairs.
- Internship and job opportunities.
Art and a Fine Arts Program
Art is a broad field of study with three major areas; performing arts, visual arts, and literature. Of these three areas, the most popular ones are the visual arts and performing arts. Visual art is subdivided into commercial, decorative, and fine art, while the major types of performing arts are music, dance, spoken words, opera, and drama.
Difference between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
When talking about formal education and degree programs in any art institute, there are two major degrees in art; Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Choosing which art degree program to get will depend on the student’s talents, interests, and long-term goals. The BA degree covers educating students in different areas of art and sciences to enable them to have a general understanding of art and explore where their interests lie.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts is a more specialized degree as it focuses on developing professional skills in a particular art field. BFA degrees in art colleges focus on practical learning, while the BA classes are more about theoretical aspects of arts. The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is suitable for students and artists who wish to specialize in or practice any form of art.
Factors To Consider When Choosing an Art School
These are some of the significant factors to consider when choosing fine arts schools or colleges to attend.
- School’s Accreditation: It’s important to verify if the art degree you want to enroll in is accredited in the art college of your choice.
- Art Programs Offered: Different art colleges offer different art programs at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The more the programs offered, the better your chances of finding one that resonates with your interest and talents.
- Notable Alumni: One of the easiest ways to know if you are making the right choice of art college is to check the school’s history and how the former students are faring after obtaining their degrees.
- Location: This should be at the top of your list when choosing an art institute to attend. Most art universities abroad usually have different plans for international students, especially when it comes to the tuition fees, which are always higher.
- Tuition fees, financial aids, and scholarships.
- Personal interests.
How Art Institutes and Colleges Are Ranked
There are several factors for ranking art colleges, including graduate employment rate, facilities, cultural opportunities, internship opportunities. However, ranking experts use some of these other important factors such as Employer Reputation, Academic Reputation, Research Citations, and the H-index, which is a measure of the productivity and published work of staff or students from an institution.
Which university is best for art students?
As an aspiring art student, one of the most important decisions to make at a point in time would be to choose a university where you can further your education, learn more about art and develop your skills. After you’ve determined your degree type, whether BA/BFA or MFA, you’ll almost certainly be required to select an art specialty.
This is similar to a major, which narrows your focus to a particular art field or area. Numerous institutions provide a diverse range of disciplines in arts, including acting, musical theater, ceramics, furniture design, studio art, computer animation, creative writing, dancing, sculpting, painting, and drawing. These are some other renowned art schools to study performing, visual, and fine arts programs in the world.
Royal College of Art
Established in 1837 and has over 2000 students from over 60 countries. The Royal College of Art is one of the highly ranked art colleges in the world. It is the only public research university in the United Kingdom with post-graduate degrees in art and design. This means that you can only attend RCA if you are looking to obtain a post-graduate degree in art and design.
With campuses in three other locations across the United Kingdom. The College has four major schools that offer about 30 distinct art and design programs. Royal College of Art also has a yearly exhibition where they showcase the work done by their students. This provides an excellent opportunity for the students to network with professionals and mentors in the art industry.
Tuition fee: $20,000
Student Population: 2300
University of the Arts, London
The University of the Arts was established in 1986 in London, England. It is one of the top public universities to study art. The institution consists of six specialized art and design colleges. They offer programs for full-time undergraduates and post-graduates in art and design, with over 17000 students from different parts of the world. UAL provides students with one-of-a-kind chances to learn, create, explore, and continue to innovate across a wide range of disciplines and levels, including drama, graphics, and interior design, fashion, and other fine arts programs. Some of the courses they offer include graphic design communication, textile design, ceramic design, studio art, etc. The tuition fee varies depending on the program of your choice. The university also offers financial aid and scholarships to students who meet specific criteria. Information regarding the college admissions process, tuition fees, and financial assistance is available on the school website.
Tuition fee: 9,000 GBP -20,000 GBP
Student Population: 18,000
Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design is a private, non-profit art and design institution located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877, making it one of the top schools and pioneer institutions in art and design in the United States. The school has about 2600 students enrolled in both graduate and undergraduate programs. RISD provides approximately 20 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, with the most common major being fine arts. The institution offers one of the nation’s top-ranked master’s programs in visual arts, with concentrations in metals/jewelry, graphic design, photography, sculpture, and glassware. The school has a museum where visiting artists, students, and alumni can exhibit their artworks and network. RISD has a graduation rate of 89%, with over 90% of students gaining employment in their field of study within two years of graduation. The fine arts program at RISD is the most revered among their other art programs.
Tuition fee: $54,890
Student Population: 2500
Parsons School of Design at The New School
Popularly known as Parsons. Parsons School of Design is a top private art and design school established in 1896 in the United States. Back then, it was known as Chase School, and it wasn’t until 1970 when it became affiliated with The New School that its full name became Parsons School of Design. It offers undergraduate, non-degree, and graduate programs in art-focused fields such as painting, drawing, visual studies, and other disciplines such as studio design, media, and film studies. Parsons focuses on a variety of academic disciplines to provide an interdisciplinary education supplemented by the resources of its New York City campus and Paris branch campus.
The school also organizes workshops, career and internship fairs, and networking events for students.
Tuition fee: $46,960
Student Population: 5,500
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT was established in 1861, and it is one of the most renowned universities globally, with approximately 12000 students in both graduate and post-graduate visual, and fine arts programs. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) is an integral part of MIT’s core curriculum and research community to reflect and improve the Institute’s creativity and innovation. The ACT program at MIT offers undergraduate and graduate courses in visual arts, theatre arts, music, media problem-solving studies, creative writing, etc. An undergraduate degree at MIT takes about four years, while post-graduate programs have varying lengths of completion depending on the art program.
Tuition fee: $55,510
Student Population: 11,934
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
The Savannah College of art and design is one of the most renowned fine arts schools in the United States. It’s a private art and design school founded in 1978 to provide degrees in undergraduate and post-graduate art fields for students worldwide. Over the years, the school has established itself as one of the top art and design schools with various visual and fine arts programs including animation, cinematography, fashion design, illustration, etc. They have approximately 1o000 students in both undergraduate and post-graduate programs with campuses in the United States, France, and Hong Kong. Like most art and design institutions, SCAD also has its museums and galleries across different campuses where they host exhibitions to promote and students’ work.
Tuition fee: $38,075
Student Population: 10,517
What should I major in if I like art?
You have a wide range of art majors to choose from if you like art. The first step would be to know the category of art that you are most interested in, whether it is fine arts, visual arts, or performing arts. After deciding what category of art your interests lie in, you can then narrow down your options to the fiel in any of the three majors.
Some of the fields in fine arts include: Art history, photography, graphic design. Fields in performing arts include dance, theather arts, acting, etc. Fields in visual arts include ceramics making, sculpture, painting, etc. Most art schools, and colleges also provide consultation to help you decide which visual arts or fine arts field is the best option for you.
What is the best art major?
The best art major is the one that puts you on the path where you can achieve your potential as an aspiring artist. In a more practical world, where you have to consider the employment opportunities, monetization of your art skills, etc. Depending on what your reason(s) or motivations for pursuing an art degree is, you have the option of choosing any specialization from the fine arts, visual arts or performing arts majors.
Finding the best art college can be very challenging, especially if you are fresh out of high school and without guidance from someone who has walked the same path. You can easily get overwhelmed with the wealth of information available to you. This list is curated to help you narrow down your search and of the best fine arts schools in the world.