Online Art Degrees: The Best Schools and Programs

Updated on: 12/26/2017
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Though being an artist can look different to each individual, a level of skill and training is involved in many artistic professions. Even those who are self-taught must still learn to master their craft, whether that be an instrument, a brush or a keyboard. However, in order to master artistic abilities like directing a movie, composing an original soundtrack or designing clothing at a professional level, specialized training may be necessary. That’s why there are art degrees offered through postsecondary institutions. Let’s dive into an overview of art degree programs available online.

Best Online Art Programs

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Best Online Art Programs

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

Online art degree programs can enhance the talent of students by providing them with the education and training they need to turn their talent into a career in art. Quality online art programs being considered by students should be accredited and affordable while giving art students the tools and knowledge they need for success in the academic world and beyond graduation. We have ranked the top online art degree programs based on our measured and comprehensive methodology to help students interested in studying the arts find the best online art degree programs in the nation. Find out who made the cut here.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts $41,632 56% 5% 97% 5 No Yes Yes

At Harvard University, students can earn a bachelor's degree through the university's undergraduate program, Harvard College. Students have the opportunity to individualize their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, which consist of three parts - concentration, general education and elective. Designed to be flexible, students choose their own concentration, which will be their primary field of study and makes up about 40 percent of a student's overall program. Those who are interested in pursuing an art-related degree can choose a concentration in History of Art and Architecture; Theater, Dance & Media; Music or Visual and Environmental Studies. Those with a very specific goal in mind can choose to create their own art concentration. To graduate, students need to fulfill all requirements for each part of their program - usually a total of about 32 credits.

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2 Judson College Marion, Alabama $15,774 95% 58% 37% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in 1838, Judson College is a private, four-year, Christian college for women. Its Art Department offers concentrations in a variety of areas such as drawing, painting, color and design, and art history. Students have the opportunity to work with different tools, media and equipment, while also focusing on traditional technical skills. At the end of the program, all students showcase their artwork during a senior exhibition, which is held in a professional gallery setting. For those looking for online learning opportunities, Judson offers a hybrid Bachelor of Arts in Music. Some components are available online, but others - such as the 10 hours of applied lessons requirement - aren't. In these cases, the college outlines alternative options for completing the requirement. For instance, students can fulfill the applied lessons requirement by working with a private teacher who has a master's degree. Judson professors will maintain a relationship with the private instructor and at the end of every semester, the student must submit a recording of their lessons with comments from the teacher. The credits will then be transferred to Judson.

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3 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania $16,572 37% 56% 86% 5 Yes Yes Yes

Pennsylvania State University was founded as the commonwealth's only land-grant university in 1855 and today offers programs across 24 campuses and online. Creative and artistic students looking to earn an art degree can pursue a range of options though Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture, which houses the Department of Art History, the Integrative Arts program, the School of Music, the Stuckeman School, the School of Theatre and the School of Visual Arts. Over 1,400 students are enrolled across more than 30 undergraduate and graduate art programs. Examples of available undergraduate degrees are a BA in art history, a Bachelor of Design, a BFA in stage management, a BS in dance, a BFA in acting and an undergraduate degree in digital multimedia design, which is offered online.

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4 Valley City State University Valley City, North Dakota $5,153 96% 98% 41% 1 No Yes Yes

Founded in 1890, Valley City State University holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate VCSU art students can choose from a BA or BS in Studio Arts, a BS in Art Education (K-12 classroom) or a Digital Design certificate in areas such as graphic design or commercial art. The art major consists of six areas of studio emphasis, including Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Ceramics, Sculpture, and Photography. Students have the opportunity to earn three to 12 credit hours per semester through internships at art institutions such as studios, galleries and museums, including the school's own McCarthy Art Gallery. Students are encouraged to exhibit their work at spaces in Valley City, Fargo and Moorhead. Currently, the only art-related program that's available online is a bachelor's degree in music.

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5 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, Colorado $6,372 79% 90% 45% 2 No Yes Yes

Originally named Colorado State Normal School, the University of Northern Colorado opened at Greely in October 1890 to train public school teachers. The school eventually changed its name when it began offering a broader range of degree programs, including art degrees. UNCO's School of Art and Design prepares artists and art educators by integrating in-depth studio time and classroom instruction. Small class sizes provide ample opportunities for personal attention. Art degrees are offered in 12 areas, from art education to sculpture. UNCO's extended campus also offers an online Arts Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Certificate, a 12-credit program featuring valuable studies in marketing, self-promotion and business-planning for working artists. Four online graduate degrees are also available, including a newly online music education master's degree.

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6 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona $8,400 66% 78% 49% 2 No Yes Yes

Over the years, Flagstaff's Northern Arizona University has grown in size and stature, adding additional campus locations, an online division and more than 150 academic programs. The NAU School of Art offers three undergraduate degrees - studio art, interior design and art education. The studio art BFA program allows students to choose a concentration in ceramics, painting, printmaking and sculpture. NAU's unique Studio Foundations program allows students to study drawing, two-dimensional and three-dimensional design, and color theory to explore their talents and interests in order to make informed decisions about their major. While there are no art degrees available online, students can enroll in more than 50 individual classes in related topics such as art history, native art and arts & culture.

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7 National University La Jolla, California $12,744 1% - 23% 4 Yes No Yes

Founded in San Diego in 1971 as a private non-profit institution, National University offers more than 100 on-campus and online degree programs. Online courses are offered in a unique, accelerated four-week schedule. Within the School of Professional Studies, the Department of Journalism, Film and Entertainment Arts offers two unique online bachelor's programs that take advantage of the university's proximity to Southern California's entertainment, broadcast and communications industries. The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Design builds a solid foundation in design theory, media production and media project management. Online students must complete 180 quarter units of study, including 72 quarter units in the major. The Bachelor of Arts in Film Arts covers topics like film history, screenplay writing, sound and video editing, cinematography, directing and post-production. Faculty members include journalists, filmmakers, designers and authors.

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8 The University of Montana Missoula, Montana $4,603 67% 92% 49% 2 No Yes Yes

More than 13,000 University of Montana students attend courses in Missoula and online. Its School of Art offers undergraduate degrees in six general areas, all of which have dedicated faculty who oversee curriculum. A new online BA art degree is now available. It consists of a total of 120 credits where students take general education and School of Art courses to explore various elements of visual and applied arts. In their final year, online students complete a capstone project that's tailored to their degree and personal interests. For instance, students can put together an art exhibit, books, videos or interactive visualizations. After graduation, students can apply their visual communication and creative problem solving skills to a range of art and non-art related careers.

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9 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, Nebraska $5,325 55% 85% 56% 2 No Yes Yes

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers 170 majors and 20 pre-professional programs. Its Department of Art and Design is home to various BA and BFA programs such as studio art, art history, visual communication and design, and art teaching. As an example, the BFA has two 120 credit-hour pathways - studio art comprehensive and visual communication and design comprehensive. Each degree option is designed to prepare students for a professional career in art. With that in mind, all students are required to take and pass the Sophomore Portfolio Review before advancing to junior-level courses. These portfolios must have examples of both artwork and written works. It will be reviewed online and once students pass, they'll be allowed to registered for their third year BFA classes. Currently there are no online undergraduate art degree programs offered through UNK's eCampus, but two online graduate degrees in art education are available.

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10 North Carolina Central University Durham, North Carolina $3,555 81% 67% 43% 1 Yes Yes Yes

For over 100 years, North Carolina Central University has served students from around the world through its Durham, NC campus and online. The NCCU Art Museum is home to one of North Carolina's leading collections of works by African-Americans and other artists of the Black experience, including Alex Rivera, Nelson Mandela and Felrath Hines. The Department of Art offers a BA in art, with three areas of concentration - visual communications, studio and art studies. The studio concentration consists of at least 124 credit hours and students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0. The first and second years focus on completing general education courses, but after that students take a mix of basic art coursework, art history classes and studio concentration requirements. While NCCU doesn't offer any online art degrees at this time, it does have a 100 percent online undergraduate teaching artist certificate program.

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11 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $14,189 78% 24% 46% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University and has become the country's largest nonprofit Christian university with an enrollment of 110,000 students. Around 80 of its 290 undergraduate degree programs are offered entirely online. The Department of Studio & Digital Arts awards a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, Studio Art and Teacher Licensure - all on-campus programs. Students can also pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and Studio Art. Distance students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree completely online, in a program that combines studies in art history with hands-on use of theory and digital design tools. Those pursuing a master's can also choose from a Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design and Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, both offered 100 percent online. Students in art degree programs have cloud access to Adobe design products.

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12 Prescott College Prescott, Arizona $26,088 90% 68% 45% 2 Yes No Yes

Prescott College was founded in the 1960s in Central Arizona, with the hopes of becoming what the school's founder called "The Harvard of the West". The college has had an online educational presence since 1978 and has developed key online bachelor degree programs suited for artists, educators and scholars. Distance students can complete an online, hybrid Bachelor of Arts - Arts & Humanities degree program that integrates online learning with guidance by arts mentors in the students' own communities. The 120-semester-credit degree program is targeted for students planning to work as writers, journalists, filmmakers, studio or performing artists, and educators. Online students can also choose to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) in Interdisciplinary Arts & Letters, with concentrations in Visual Arts, Writing & Literature, and Dance. Both online degree programs offer students credits via Prior Learning Assessment and require an on-campus orientation at the beginning of the semester on the Prescott campus.

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13 Dickinson State University Dickinson, North Dakota $5,013 63% 92% 35% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Dickinson State University was founded in North Dakota in 1916 when students attended classes at Dickinson High School. The Department of Fine and Performing Arts is home to Dickinson's seven accredited bachelor's degree programs in Art, Communication, Graphic Design, Music and Theatre. Degree selections include a Bachelor of Arts in Art, Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Science in Art Entrepreneurship (Fine Arts, Graphic Arts), Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Bachelor of Arts in Music. Visual artists can complete concentrations in Drawing and Painting, Photography/Printmaking, Ceramics or Graphic Design. Students on campus can also take advantage of DSU's Mind's Eye Art Gallery, which enjoys a world following. Online students can complete The Bachelor of University Studies (BUS), a liberal arts degree program which allows students leeway in designing their own curriculum.

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14 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, New Mexico $4,956 39% 60% 44% 1 No Yes Yes

New Mexico State University began with the creation of Las Cruces College in 1888. Today NMSU serves over 15,000 students at five campuses and online, awarding degrees in more than 100 majors. NMSU's Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Arts is dedicated to nurturing student filmmakers and offers bachelor degrees for animators, cinematographers, writers and directors. Facilities at the Department of Art include a ceramics studio with 24-hour access, two painting and drawing studios, a graphics design lab with Adobe software and independent studios for photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Undergraduate programs lead to a Bachelor of Arts (studio art or art history), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (studio art or museum conservation). Online students can complete many general education courses toward their degree through NMSU Distance Education, including introductory studies in art history, music history, dance and theatre.

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15 Lindsey Wilson College Columbia, Kentucky $22,920 99% - 32% 1 No Yes Yes

Lindsey Wilson College was founded in Columbia, KY, in January 1903 as Lindsey Wilson Training School. Today, more than 2,700 LWC students can choose from 22 majors and 19 pre-professional programs. The Department of Art assists students in exhibiting their creations in the public space. Digital Art students, for example, undertake internships in professional settings, and visual artists can show their work at the Lucrectia Begley Gallery. Students pursuing their Bachelor of Arts in Art degrees take 17 hours of core requirements and 5-18 hours in their area of emphasis (studio art or digital arts). Studio arts concentrations include painting, ceramics and sculpture. Digital arts students focus on computer graphics, digital video, interactive media design and photography. There are currently four online undergraduate and three graduate degree programs available online, though none fall within the arts field.

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16 Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory, North Carolina $32,140 98% 70% 49% 1 No Yes Yes

Founded in Hickory, NC in in 1891, Lenoir-Rhyne University is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a sponsorship that began soon after its founding. Small class sizes are a focus at LRU, with 81 percent of courses boasting less than 20 students. The school offers over 50 undergraduate fields, with more than a third of the university's 2,221 students taking online courses. The university offers two bachelor's degree programs in art on campus. Studio Art majors take courses in ceramics, drawing, sculpture and other mediums, and are encouraged to exhibit their craft at local galleries, including the Hickory Museum of Art. Senior-year requirements include an internship in their related field or an academic thesis. Graphic Design undergraduates take courses in art history, photography, graphic reproduction and studio classes. They, too, must undertake an internship and create a senior portfolio.

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17 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida $4,477 29% 46% 85% 2 No Yes Yes

Founded in Gainesville 160 years ago, the University of Florida is a thriving research university that generated more than $724 million in research awards last year. The UF College of the Arts currently serves 862 undergraduate students enrolled in the school's 29 college degree programs. Undergraduate art programs lead to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. Popular majors in the School of Art + Art History include Art Education, Creative Photography, Art History, Ceramics, Art & Technology, and more. More than 200 artists from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the U.S. have served residencies at the University of Florida's Center for World Arts. UF also offers an online B.A. in Digital Arts & Sciences, which utilizes multi-stream video conferencing to provide online students with the same classroom experience as on-campus learners. Online graduate programs include Art Education and Arts in Medicine.

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18 Goucher College Baltimore, Maryland $41,400 98% 79% 66% 1 No Yes Yes

Co-educational since 1986, Goucher College was originally founded as a seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881. Today, the college's Center for Art & Media- Studio Art offers a major or minor in studio art with concentrations in secondary education and arts administration. A key feature of the undergraduate arts degree program allows students and mentors to collaborate in designing individualized majors that incorporate studies in other fields. Students may exhibit their works in the college's Silber Art Gallery, The Rosenberg Gallery or The Corrin Student Gallery. Goucher also offers online Master of Arts programs in Arts Administration and Digital Arts, though both programs may include on-campus residencies once or twice during the program.

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19 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana $5,180 48% 62% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Northwestern State University of Louisiana was established in 1884 as a two-year Louisiana State Normal School. Today, NSUL is a four-year accredited university with additional campuses in Alexandria, Shreveport and Fort Polk. The School of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) is home to undergraduate and graduate degree divisions in Fine and Graphic Arts; Music; New Media, Journalism, and Communication; and Theatre and Dance. For visual artists, CAPA offers comprehensive lecture and studio studies that culminate in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Studio Art or B.F.A. in Graphic Communications. Both programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Entry is competitive. To be officially designated as an art major, students must complete three art core classes and pass a faculty review of their portfolio of ten physical works. eNSU's global campus offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts degree that includes studies in the creative and performing arts.

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20 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, Kentucky $20,640 100% 71% 45% 1 No No Yes

Located in Williamsburg, KY, the University of the Cumberlands was founded in 1913 with a Baptist focus. In the Department of Art, students can work toward a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major of Art or a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art. The key difference between the two is that the B.A. degree requires completion of a foreign language through at least the intermediate level. All arts students must take 37 hours of general education coursework, including foundation studies in Christian Faith, Art Appreciation, Ancient to Gothic Art, Renaissance to Modern Art and Drawing. Courses in the major include Computer Imaging, School Art, Lithography, Photography, Advanced Painting, Film and Advanced Sculpture. All seniors must showcase a body of student work, an exhibition, and perform an oral defense of their portfolio. While the university currently offers a variety of online associate degrees and ten online bachelor's degrees, no art degrees are currently available for distance learners.

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21 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, Hawaii $10,344 61% 85% 56% 1 No Yes Yes

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is the flagship campus of the ten institutions comprising Hawaii's post-secondary education system. It is an internationally recognized research institution founded in 1907 in Manoa Valley on the island of Oahu. The Department of Art and Art History (ART) offers two distinct baccalaureate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts Degree (studio or art history focus), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The BFA program is designed for students who want to focus on an art specialization in ceramics, digital imaging, drawing, electronic arts, fiber, glass, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. By nature, the university offers specialized education in Pacific Island and Asian cultures. To become a BFA candidate a student must be an undergraduate art major and pass a portfolio review by faculty. BFA students are required to complete 63 credit hours in art, including two studio core classes, three art history core classes, four art history electives and five art elective courses. Faculty members hold MFA or PhD degrees in Art. There are currently no online offerings by the art department.

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22 University of Valley Forge Phoenixville, Pennsylvania $18,644 93% 79% 47% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Formerly Valley Forge Christian College, the University of Valley Forge was founded in 1939 in Phoenixville, PA. It is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Undergraduate students, 96 percent of whom receive financial aid, can choose from more than 50 academic programs. The Department of Digital Media Communications hosts key bachelor degree programs in graphic design, photography, recording arts, and video production. Students are required to complete an internship to integrate their learning with practical experience at production companies, news stations, churches, national organizations, and film studios. Campus facilities for media majors include audio labs, media classrooms, photography studios, storyboard/collaboration labs, and Pro Tools HD recording studios. Students may also study abroad at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. Online degrees are limited to Business Administration and Psychology.

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23 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, New York $6,470 75% - 17% 2 Yes No Yes

SUNY Empire State College, established in 1971 at Saratoga Springs, NY, is a regionally accredited college of the State University of New York. It is designed as a "nontraditional teaching and learning" institution where students are mentored through individually tailored degree programs. The Arts Department oversees the Bachelor of Arts degree program. Students can major in visual arts, performing arts, or media arts. You can choose a single concentration or create an interdisciplinary degree sampling courses such as digital illustration, art history, photography, dance, color and design, painting, or film. Students in the visual or performing arts can choose to take classes/mentoring at the Metropolitan Center in New York City. Online arts students can take individual arts classes through SUNY Empire Online. More than 50 courses in the arts were available online in the Spring 2018 semester.

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24 Drury University Springfield, Missouri $8,970 76% 70% 48% 2 No Yes Yes

Drury University was founded in 1873 in Springfield, MO. Its 1,425 undergraduates can complete one of 70 majors and programs while benefiting from the university's 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The Art & Art History department oversees three baccalaureate majors: Art History, Fine Arts, Graphic & Digital Design. Students have the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Pool Art Center or the C-Street Gallery during monthly Art Walks. Fine arts students focus their coursework in ceramics, drawing,fibers, painting, photography, and sculpture. The program is designed for students seeking a fine arts degree, who plan to teach, or those transitioning to a fine arts graduate program. Students are required to complete 33 hours of coursework including 12 hours of required departmental courses and 15 hours of elective fine arts courses. Fine arts degrees must be completed on campus, however online students can complete a Bachelor of Science in General Studies that includes art, communication, literature, music, and theatre courses.

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25 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina $4,157 50% 70% 58% 1 No Yes Yes

East Carolina University, located in Greenville, NC, is the state's third-largest post-secondary institution. It serves 29,000 students, providing 84 bachelor's programs from 12 colleges at three campuses: Main Campus, Health Sciences Campus, and West Research Campus. Nearly 500 undergraduate students attend the School of Art and Design, one of the largest in the Southeast. The school offers a BFA in Art, BFA in Art Education, and a BA in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Art History. BFA in Art students can select a concentration in Animation/Interactive Design, Ceramics, Film and Video Production, Graphic Design, Illustration, Metal Design, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Textile Design. Undergraduate scholarships are extended to qualified students based on their creative portfolio, academic excellence, or financial need. The school is based in the 142,000-square-foot Leo W. Jenkins Fine Arts Center, where students have access to fine arts studios, specialized tools, computer graphics labs, and laser cutters. Online students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in University Studies completion degree.

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26 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska $6,600 51% - 31% 3 Yes No Yes

At Bellevue University, founded in 1966, students can attend courses on the Bellevue, NE campus or online. The Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design degree was created for distance students who want online lectures and hands-on experience in Print and Web design. The program introduces beginning and advanced concepts in layout, color, typography, and the use of images to create design, messaging and branding across a range of styles. You'll learn on industry software and hardware tools, preparing a final portfolio that applies to your career search and advancement. The online major consists of 42 credit hours in the major, embracing design history, brand identity, website development, idea generation and problem-solving skills. The degree requirements are rounded out by 36 general education hours and 49 credits of electives. Online students in the program are required to have broadband internet access at the location of their choice.

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27 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, Florida $26,910 94% 53% 42% 2 Yes No Yes

Founded in Fort Lauderdale, Fl in 1964, Nova Southeastern University was designed to offer students personalized attention through small class sizes. Recently, NSU is one of only 50 universities in the nation to earn Carnegie's Community Engagement Classification. Undergraduates can choose from 50 majors and numerous minors. The university's Department of Performing and Visual Arts (DPVA)s is home to the B.A. in Art and Design program. The campus-based program features pathways in professional studio art or graphic design. Students learn in on-campus studios in painting, printmaking, graphic design, drawing, ceramics, pottery, and sculpture. Students participate in gallery and museum-quality installations. In addition to access to traveling exhibits, students have a free membership with Fort Lauderdale's NSU Art Museum. Art majors also gain competency in a foreign language. NSU's Dual Admission undergraduate program qualifies students for a reserved a seat in one of NSU's graduate or professional schools.

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28 Southern Utah University Cedar City, Utah $5,578 63% 72% 36% 1 Yes No Yes

Southern Utah University was founded in 1898 as a teachers' normal school in Cedar City, UT. Today SUU offers its 9,000 students more than 140 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs at six academic colleges. The Department of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). It offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Studio Arts. Students are expected to exhibit work that demonstrates creative ability and potential, problem-solving skills, and their connections with other disciplines. Students benefit from the personal attention and interactions in small group settings. Each year there are portfolio reviews for undergraduate scholarships in the fields of art history, art education, drawing, ceramics, photography, sculpture, printmaking, painting, illustration, and graphic design. The university is currently building the Museum of Southern Utah, which will host the Braithwaite Gallery.

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29 University of New Orleans New Orleans, Louisiana $7,150 42% 60% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Founded as a public institution in 1958, the University of New Orleans serves 6,484 undergraduate students and hosts more than 50 areas of study. The University of New Orleans Fine Arts Department offers art students studio-based learning and coursework in critical engagement. Undergrads pursue a BA degree in Fine Arts with studio and art history options. The studio major includes 36 credits in the area of interest and creation of a senior project. The Fine Arts department opened the Digital Animation Studio in 2016 to offer 3D modeling and animation classes. Fine arts students have a unique opportunity to participate in a fully immersive Renaissance study-abroad program in Rome. The UNO-St. Claude gallery and the multitude of New Orleans galleries and museums expose students to an international range of visual arts. Some general education courses are available online.

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30 Colorado State University-Fort Collins Fort Collins, Colorado $8,301 48% 78% 63% 1 No Yes Yes

Colorado State University-Fort Collins was established at the base of the Rocky Mountains in 1870. CSU offers a selection of 150 degrees in its eight colleges at Fort Collins. It has received high rankings among Best Value Schools and National Universities by U.S. News and World Report. The university's Art and Art History Department offers two undergraduate arts degree programs. Students can complete the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. The B.A. has concentrations in Art Education, Integrated Visual Studies, or Art History. BFA studio concentrations are offered in Drawing, Electronic Arts, Fibers, Graphic Design, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Pottery, Printmaking, and Sculpture. Permanent exhibits at CSU's Gregory Allicar Museum of Art include an African collection, Native American collection and an exhibition of works featuring paper as a medium. Online students can complete the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies program at CSU-Global, the nation's first regionally accredited, wholly online state university.

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31 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York $17,466 88% 78% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Future graphic artists can earn their BFA from Mercy College through the school's computer arts and design program. Graduates of this BFA can go on to pursue careers in digital design, computer animation and gaming. As a traditional bachelor's degree, the program requires 120 credit hours and takes four years for completion. To be accepted into the program, applicants must first create a portfolio featuring 20 artworks for review and write an accompanying essay. Once enrolled, students take classes in state-of-the-art computer labs located in Dobbs Ferry, Mercy's main campus location, and Manhattan. There, students sharpen their digital and hand drawing skills as well as learn the ins and outs of relevant software such Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Digidesign ProTools and Maya. Classes are primarily held during daytime working hours and students can participate in an internship to earn college credit. In addition to instruction, the experienced professors and faculty in the computer arts and design department are there to guide students through school and beyond.

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32 Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis, Minnesota $34,876 97% 65% 61% 1 No Yes Yes

Students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design have several avenues of art education to explore. At the undergraduate level, there are 12 distinct programs to choose from, all awarding a bachelor of fine arts degree. Depending on individual aptitudes and interests, students can major in art forms such as photography, comic art, filmmaking, illustration, furniture design and fine arts. Students can also earn a bachelor of science in entrepreneurial studies, which allows students to work directly with clients on real projects to develop skills in business, art, design and project management. Four minors are available in art history, art education, public arts and creative writing. While these bachelor's programs require students practice their art in a studio, computer lab or shop, two master's degree programs are offered fully online in sustainable design and graphic design. At MCAD, students have access to a career development center, academic advising and a personal art studio. To help make college more affordable, MCAD supplies financial aid and scholarship opportunities as well as work-study jobs.

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33 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan $10,106 49% 82% 56% 1 No Yes Yes

Understanding the importance of a cosmopolitan experience in art, Western Michigan University provides students with many opportunities to meet professional artists, exhibit projects and study abroad. Students can participate in the New York professional outreach program to rub elbows with established artists in NYC's art scene, or immerse themselves in a study abroad experience. WMU offers BFA degrees in nine areas such as painting, art education, photography, sculpture and ceramics. Art students unsure of their desired career can complete a more general art education through the BA in art program. The degree also offers a minor in psychology, which can prepare students for a career in art therapy. Both the BFA and BA degrees require 122 credit hours to complete. WMU supports art students through scholarships, awarding more than $175,000 in financial aid in the last year.

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34 Roger Williams University Bristol, Rhode Island $29,976 89% 79% 61% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Roger Williams University gives creative minds the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degree in visual arts with a concentration in one of four media groups: film, animation and video, painting, drawing and printmaking, photography and digital media, or sculpture. Students can combine their visual art education with another major offered at RWU to dual major, or minor in another field. Halfway through the degree program, students create a portfolio to be assessed by their instructors and then repeat the process at the end of their academic career as part of a senior capstone project. The capstone project also requires participation in an exhibition and a personal statement that culminates their education. Additional art-related undergraduate degrees are offered in graphic design, art and architectural history, and performing arts. Students have access to sculpture studios, computer labs, a darkroom, clay studio and upper-division students can use more private studios.

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35 Regis University Denver, Colorado $33,110 95% 57% 59% 1 Yes No Yes

While Regis University, Colorado's sole Jesuit school, doesn't offer any online art degrees, campus-based students interested in art have the option to pursue a bachelor's in art history or visual arts. The visual arts major exposes students to a range of studio and academic courses. To enroll in the program, applicants must first compile a portfolio of artwork to be analyzed by a faculty committee. Once accepted, students can begin classes with the assistance of a visual arts department advisor. To examine students' success, a second portfolio review is conducted during their junior year. The BA in visual arts degree is designed to equip students for careers as professional artists or for continued education at the graduate level. Other art-related undergraduate degrees available at Regis include music, music performance, and music history and literature.

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36 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, New Hampshire $30,006 71% 93% 59% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Digital artists and photographers can start their career in 3D illustration, graphic design, video game art or photography with an online bachelor's degree in art and design from Southern New Hampshire University. Undergraduate students can earn their bachelor of arts degree in either graphic design and media arts, photography or game art and development all from their home city or state. Online classes are kept small in size to give students more individual interaction with their instructors and work to achieve the same outcomes as a traditional, campus-based class. The BA in graphic design and media arts has two concentrations available in either web design or 3D modeling and animation, while video game art students may consider pairing their degree with business studies. All of SNHU's online art and design degrees build students' portfolio for their professional careers after graduation. Tuition costs for online students are one-set price, giving students access to affordable distance education.

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37 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana $8,009 44% 74% 44% 1 No Yes Yes

Through IUPUI's Herron School of Art and Design, artistic souls can study a variety of subjects, from art education to visual communication design, all of which lead to a BFA. As the BFA degree programs are hands-on art forms, students take classes on campus in more than 70 studio spaces and can display their art in gallery exhibitions. Students also have access to IUPUI's comprehensive art library and unique technology such as 3D printing and laser engraving. To get students started in their professional career, IUPUI offers job and internship resources, career counseling and work-study opportunities. To apply, prospective undergrads submit a portfolio of their work to be reviewed. Tuition varies greatly between in-state and out-of-state rates, with non-Indiana residents paying twice as much. Students living in the midwest but not in Indiana can take advantage of a special tuition rate that's slightly above in-state costs.

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38 Boston University Boston, Massachusetts $47,422 51% 29% 84% 1 No Yes Yes

Before becoming an undergraduate visual art student at Boston University, applicants must first submit a portfolio of 15 to 20 recently completed works of art to demonstrate their most current skills and ingenuity. Once accepted into BU's College of Fine Arts, undergrads can choose to complete their B.F.A. in graphic design, printmaking, art education, sculpture or painting. The B.F.A. degree program includes live studio art instruction and experiential learning, which requires students to live in the Boston area. Before starting core classes in each concentration, all visual arts students complete a foundation program that includes practice with a variety of mediums. Students then select their major by the end of sophomore year. Students can also minor in visual arts, printmaking, arts leadership or a minor from outside the College of Fine Arts. Individual online classes can be taken at the undergraduate level, and students can complete graduate-level programs fully online. Online M.F.A. degrees can be earned in art education or music education.

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39 Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield, Pennsylvania $7,060 30% 88% 48% 1 No Yes Yes

Students at Mansfield University can complete their undergraduate degree in art history or graphic design. The B.A. in graphic design program requires classroom attendance and offers two emphasis studies in print and motion graphics. Students can also work as an intern or complete a practicum for college credit. Mansfield's B.A. in art history program is offered online as an undergraduate degree completion program and is comprised of 30 core art history classes. The degree also requires 55 general education credits and 35 electives, which may be completed online (depending on availability), on campus or transferred from another school. Students can enroll in the program on a full or part-time basis. Tuition costs are cheapest for Pennsylvania residents, while out-of-state students pay double the rate. Online students see a smaller gap in tuition rates between in and out-of-state.

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40 Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus Indiana, Pennsylvania $7,060 15% 92% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers both B.A. and B.F.A degrees in studio art on campus, with the option to specialize in either 2D or 3D art mediums. After receiving faculty approval, students can develop an emphasis unique to their skills and career goals. All students work to expand their skills in drawing, graphic design, jewelry making, sculpture and painting. Studio art majors begin their education in the bachelor of arts program and can choose to move to the bachelor of fine arts path after passing a review process during sophomore year. For those planning to continue onto a master's degree program, IUP offers an integrated bachelor-master's program to save students both time and money. The school also offers an M.A. in art program, which is offered online during the fall and winter. Undergrads can also earn their B.A. in art history or B.S.Ed in art education.

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41 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, Pennsylvania $7,060 25% 95% 44% 1 Yes No Yes

Edinboro University provides undergraduate artists the chance to earn their B.F.A. degree with 11 possible paths to specialize in. Students can choose to concentrate in a mixture of different mediums including sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, jewelry and metal, painting and illustration. Edinboro's stand-out art program is the B.F.A in applied media arts degree with an emphasis in cinema. Graduates of EU's cinema animation program continue on to work on movies, television shows and as independent artists. All studio art students create a final portfolio to demonstrate their improvement throughout the program. Fine art students have a number of scholarships available specific to the arts. Although the only undergraduate online option is an Introduction to Art Therapy course, students looking for distance learning can complete an M.A. in Art Education or Art Therapy.

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42 Stevens-Henager College Murray, Utah $18,021 48% - 58% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Students interested in studying digital art at Stevens-Henager College can earn a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts degree through a partnership with Independence University. This accelerated program can take as little as 36 months and also includes a possible concentration in information design. The graphic arts program prepares students for careers as web or graphic designers, multimedia artists or art directors. Throughout the program, students learn the concepts of virtual design and the functionality of current software programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and inDesign. To help pay for college, SHC provides scholarship opportunities to Utah and Idaho residents who are adult students, high school seniors and recent GED earners. Although many of the programs offered in partnership with Independence University are available online, the graphic arts programs are currently only offered on campus.

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43 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah $18,021 28% - - 2 Yes Yes Yes

Independence University's school of graphic arts allows digital artists to earn an art degree entirely online. In addition to an A.A.S. in Graphic Arts, IU currently provides an online B.S. in Graphic Arts, with the opportunity to specialize in information design. With several start dates per year, students can begin their degree program at a time that's convenient for them and finish the program within 36 months, which is less time than a traditional bachelor's degree. During their education, students learn to use current graphic arts technology and the principles of creating logos, web and package designs. Independence University has been offering online and distance education to students for more than 37 years.

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44 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio $11,616 - - 13% 1 Yes No Yes

Since its conception over 115 years ago, Franklin University has been dedicated to finding ways to educate busy adult learners. Today, Franklin accomplishes this goal through a variety of online courses and degree programs that 80 percent of their students take advantage of. Students interested in the concepts of design can enroll in the online B.S. in interactive media design program, which teaches both the artistic and scientific methods behind web design, gaming animation, mobile apps and other digital media. This degree is designed as a bachelor completion program, which means applicants must already possess an associate degree or higher to enroll. The core design courses are centered on developing projects that can be added to a student's professional portfolio. The degree requires a total of 120 credits, of which a minimum of 30 must be earned at Franklin University.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, Mississippi $2,400 78% 27% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Allen County Community College Iola, Kansas $2,160 68% 23% 4 No No Yes School website
3 Yavapai College Prescott, Arizona $2,064 15% 17% 2 Yes No Yes School website
4 San Antonio College San Antonio, Texas $5,470 9% 7% 9 No Yes Yes School website
5 Odessa College Odessa, Texas $3,240 32% 20% 1 No Yes Yes School website
6 Holmes Community College Goodman, Mississippi $2,000 37% 25% 1 No Yes Yes School website
7 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio $3,808 20% 8% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina $2,213 11% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Northwest Vista College San Antonio, Texas $5,470 9% 11% 6 No Yes Yes School website
10 Surry Community College Dobson, North Carolina $2,072 11% 24% 2 No Yes Yes School website
11 St Philip's College San Antonio, Texas $5,470 15% 4% 3 No Yes Yes School website
12 Palo Alto College San Antonio, Texas $5,470 20% 13% 3 No Yes Yes School website
13 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, North Carolina $2,016 5% 10% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, California $1,395 6% 62% 3 No Yes Yes School website
15 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, California $1,288 - 39% 1 No Yes Yes School website
16 Cuyahoga Community College Cleveland, Ohio $3,953 2% 4% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Mohave Community College Kingman, Arizona $2,430 9% 18% 1 No No Yes School website
18 Herkimer College Herkimer, New York $3,940 6% 27% 2 No Yes Yes School website
19 Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, Virginia $4,745 10% 23% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Modesto Junior College Modesto, California $1,104 8% 17% 1 No No Yes School website

How Much Do Artists Make?

While “starving artist” may spring to mind for some while thinking about the profession, many art degrees can result in profitable careers. Although it can be difficult to break out as a famous artist, many career options are available to art majors, and with the right formal training and hard work, respectable wages are possible. The exact amount can vary based on the particular type of art and the subjective tastes of society. However, the following guide should provide a ballpark picture of what professionals with art degrees can potentially earn.

Occupation Median Annual Salary: Entry-level Median Annual Salary: Mid-level Median Annual Salary: Late-career
Graphic Artist $32,000 $39,000 $41,000
Interior Designer $41,000 $51,000 $64,000
Web Developer and Designer $48,000 $59,000 $81,000
Photojournalist $30,000 $41,000 $48,000
Sculptor $41,000 $41,000 $47,000

Source: Payscale

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Programs for Art

What Online Degree Do I Need to Become an Artist?

Unlike many professions, there are relatively few positions in the art world that absolutely require a specific degree. For example, although many successful movie directors have formal bachelor’s or master’s degrees in film or a related major, it is not necessarily required that an individual have any formal training. That being said, because some careers specific to art may call for a particular degree, students need to consider each degree level and the potential careers that are associated with them. Let’s look at common art degree levels and what a prospective student can expect with respect to coursework and possible careers.

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Programs for Art

What Are the Steps to Earn an Online Art Degree?

As unique as each art profession is, so is its recipe for success, which can make it difficult for a student who is seeking an art degree to follow one particular formula. Fortunately, there are many factors that are considered universal. Depending on the specific art field, a student can typically expect to spend a few years honing necessary skills. The following steps can provide a solid framework and a starting point for prospective art students to choose a fitting art degree program.

  1. A high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in any college degree program. Time to complete: Four years

  2. Art has many avenues, and no degree program will provide an education in all of them. Individuals must decide what type of art they would like to learn. Time to complete: Varies.

  3. Schooling can be expensive, and since a high salary employment after graduation isn’t guaranteed, students should determine what they can afford. It’s important for prospective art students to look into all available financial resources. Time to complete: Less than a month

  4. Some online programs are entirely online, but many have a blended format with on-campus or in-person curriculum requirements. In addition, programs can be synchronous or asynchronous. Students should decide what online program works best for them. Time to complete: Less than a month

  5. Students should choose a school that is affordable and offers the program they desire. Time to complete: Varies

  6. It is important to value a degree by attending an accredited school. Identify the organization that accredits art programs on your list to make sure all that hard work and tuition are put to good use. Time to complete: Less than a month

  7. An entrance exam, such as the ACT, SAT or GRE, may be necessary for admission. Students should also study and prepare for these exams to get the highest scores possible. Time to complete: Three to six months.

  8. Aside from an application, a transcript and test scores, many art programs will also have special application requirements, such as an on-campus interview or submission of a portfolio. Some of these can take awhile to set up and prepare. Students need to identify these requirements quickly so they have enough time to complete them. Time to complete: Less than a month

  9. Prospective students may need to gather copies or evidence of prior artistic work, line up recommenders to write letters and arrange a trip to a school for an interview. Once these are done, the applicant will then need to submit the application before the deadline. Time to complete: Three or more months

  10. Generally, students will apply for financial aid around the time they apply for admission into a school. The financial aid process usually requires students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Students should also look into the numerous scholarships and grants available. Time to complete: Three or more months

  11. Students lucky enough to receive multiple acceptance letters will need to make a decision. To make this decision, campus visits, calls to alumni and long discussions with parents and family can be expected. Time to complete: Varies

  12. Congrats! Now that you’ve been accepted into a school, begin studying hard to earn good grades, but don’t forget that there’s more to an education than your GPA. Time to complete: Two to four years

  13. Many programs require students to get real-world experience, which allows them to apply their classroom knowledge to the actual profession. Time to complete: Several months

  14. Finding a job is as much about who you know as it is about what you know. Find opportunities to get your name out there in front of potential employers and clients. Time to complete: Varies

  15. The classroom can only teach so much. You may be required to have a certain number of years of experience, so be looking for real-world opportunities. Time to complete: One or more years

  16. Although not required, getting a specific credential or certification can help land new jobs or make an individual much more marketable to clients. Time to complete: Varies

Explore Online Programs
for Art

How Do I Find the Top Accredited Online Art Program

Choosing an art program is a personal choice. However, there are a few things a prospective art student can look for in a program or school that will help make the decision a little easier.

One thing to look for is the online format. While an online program allows students to take classes from almost anywhere, there is a big difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous online learning requires the student to log on at a certain time for a lecture or class discussion. While this provides the structure many students may desire, it doesn’t have the flexibility that some will need, especially those with full-time job and family responsibilities. For these students, asynchronous learning might be best as it allows students to “attend” class and complete assignments on their own schedule.

Prospective students should also look at a school’s career services. Whether it’s a resume critique or getting a graduate in touch with an alumnus who already has a job in the student’s desired field, career services can make a huge difference in making the most of a degree program.

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Are There Scholarships and Grants for Artists?

Art is a rewarding career, but the schooling may not always be the cheapest. To help defray the cost of an art education, financial aid is widely available. The most desired type of financial aid includes gift-based aid, such as scholarships and grants. To learn more about the gift-based financial aid options available, check out the following resources.

Scholarships are the most popular type of financial aid option available and for good reason: They don’t need to be paid back. But to get a scholarship, a student must show they have the merit to warrant the financial assistance. Besides stellar academic performance, students may be eligible for scholarships based on what they plan to study.

  • Fastweb

    This major online resource provides a hefty amount of information on scholarships, including ones specific to art.

  • Unigo

    A popular college resource, Unigo has an extensive scholarship database, including a section for art scholarships.

Grants are similar to scholarships in that they don’t need to be paid back, but unlike scholarships, they are awarded based primarily on financial need. Other factors can be considered as well, such as a student’s chosen field of study.

  •–Grants for Art Students

    Despite its name, provides a list of grants available to art students in addition to its list of scholarships.

  • Careeronestop

    In connection with the US Department of Labor, this is a comprehensive resource for those interested in learning about different careers, including a financial aid search tool that can help students obtain grants to help pay for their education.

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

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