Figuring out which colleges to apply to and subsequently attend can be overwhelming, especially if you are considering a fine art major. Determining what makes an art program the best is largely subjective, so the decision ultimately comes down to finding a program that offers the academics, faculty, resources and culture a particular student is looking for. With that in mind, there are some colleges that stand out from the rest as the top undergraduate fine art colleges in the country.
Rhode Island School of Design
The Rhode Island School of Design is commonly ranked as one of the top undergraduate fine art colleges in the U.S. A private college located in Providence, Rhode Island, RISD is located right near Brown University, and the two colleges share a number of resources, which give RISD students access to a dual degree program that includes Brown’s Ivy League coursework. The ten BFA concentrations available include ceramics, film/animation/video, glass, illustration, jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and textiles.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago integrates the city environment into its culture of learning. Students are encouraged to take advantage of their access to city museums, art galleries and art organizations, and are asked to look to the urban landscape for ideas, inspiration and thought catalogues. The school offers four different BFA options, including the Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio; the Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in art education; the Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in art history, theory, and criticism; and the Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in writing.
Cranbrook Academy of Art
The Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, offers BFAs in 2D design, 3D design, architecture, ceramics, fiber, metalsmithing, painting, photography, print media and sculpture. It is an independent degree-granting institution and does not list itself as a college or university, but as an educational institution that offers students the chance to explore modern art, architecture and design. The school offers a community environment and the campus also includes faculty and artist residences; the Cranbrook Institute of Science; and the Cranbrook Schools, which are academic institutions for K-12 students. While Cranbrook Academy received accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the architecture program is not professionally accredited.
Maryland Institute College of Art
The Maryland Institute College of Art is located in Baltimore, Maryland and is consistently ranked among the top ten art schools in the United States. One of the oldest degree-granting art schools in the nation, MICA offers Bachelor of Fine Art programs in more than a dozen majors and more than a dozen concentrations within those majors. It is one of the most diverse BFA programs, and even offers minors in the liberal arts to round out a fine art degree program. The school also offers intensive off-campus and study abroad opportunities, as well as exchange programs and an artist residency program.