Art Colleges: Curriculum Info & Tips To Choose The Best One

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Although the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredits 300 colleges with programs in art and design, hundreds more exist. Non-NASAD accredited art schools may be accredited by other U.S. Department of Education recognized agencies, which means they are still considered “high-quality.” With so many art schools to choose from, is it possible to narrow your choices to just one? Sure it is!

To begin the process of elimination, you must first decide which format appeals to you. Would you like to complete your class in an online environment or in a campus environment? If you prefer to complete your art degree online, you can begin your search by visiting college directories or review sites such as, the, or even U.S. News & World Reports Top Fine Arts Program rankings. You can use the same sites to locate top traditional art colleges.

By using reliable directories and review sites such as these, you can review listings of both online and traditional fine arts programs, read peer reviews, and review ratings and tuition rates. Once you have located several programs that sound appealing to you, review the curriculum. The best art schools will have many of the same concentration areas in common including painting, drawing, drama, music, film, ceramics, dance, and photography. The following is a sample fine arts curriculum. You can use this as a guide when comparing online art school curriculums to the traditional curriculum. The traditional curriculum (sample) listed below is the standard. Each program should consist of 120 credits.

  • Art History I & II
  • Contemporary Culture
  • Drawing
  • Fine Art Core
  • Fine Art Seminar
  • Humanities I & II
  • Introduction to Printmaking
  • Introduction to Sculpture
  • Modern Art
  • Process & Generation
  • Resources
  • Senior Thesis
  • Visual Concepts
  • Writing I & II

Sample Elective Courses:

  • Ceramic Studio
  • Communication Design
  • Digital Art I & II
  • Digital Photo
  • Optical Culture/Light Studies
  • Sculpture NOW
  • Wood, Tools & Fabrication

Other courses will depend on the concentration area (i.e. painting, drawing, drama, music, film, ceramics, dance, or photography).


Get more information about art colleges including information about specific art programs from

Visit the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about a career in art.


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