While schools such as Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design and School of the Art Institute of Chicago consistently get top rankings for general fine arts, potential students can also check rankings according to specialties within fine arts. The most popular fine arts specialties include graphic design, industrial design, interior design, photography and drawing and painting. "U.S. News & World Report" bases their rankings on ratings by educators at peer schools.

Graphic Design

Students interested in using their creativity in fashion, advertising or publishing often become graphic designers. RISD ranks first, offering a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts and both a two-year and a three-year Master of Fine Arts in graphic design. Students have access to both traditional and digital printing resources. Yale University's Master of Fine Arts in graphic design allows students to develop their own style over the two-year course. The Maryland Institute College of Art promises to make their graphic arts graduates "design visionaries."

Industrial Design

Industrial designers combine art and science to design products such as toys and cars. RISD comes in first again with both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Industrial Design programs. Located in Pasadena, California, Art Center College of Design's programs are actually Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has an undergraduate industrial design program that directs students to focus on form with emphasis on human activities and interactions.

Interior Design

Interior designers make inside spaces visually and physically pleasing. No. 1 Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, offers world-class Bachelor and Master of Fine Art degrees in interior design that serve as models for other interior design programs. California College of the Arts promises to start interior design students with study models but move them on to full-scale installations in their Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Interestingly, Ohio State University's undergraduate program in interior design awards a Bachelor of Science, but the graduate program culminates in a Master of Fine Arts.


Fine arts students focusing on photography use their degrees to stay current on the latest technologies and techniques in their industry. Yale University serves a top-notch Master of Fine Arts to a maximum of nine photography students a year. SAIC offers state-of-the-art equipment for photo students to experiment and practice their art while pursuing either a Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts. RISD also offers stellar Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts programs for photography students.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing and painting studies create masters of the two-dimensional space. Not surprisingly, the top three fine arts schools rank as the top three of this quintessential artistic discipline. Yale admits only 21 students yearly in their Master of Fine Arts program that also emphasizes printmaking. RISD's Master of Fine Arts program culminates in a mature body of painted work. SAIC students not only have both Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts programs at their disposal, they also have access to a world-renowned art museum encompassing 5,000 years of art.

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