Leading Art, Design and Architecture Programs 2020

How do you effectively nurture a creative mind?

The best Art, Design and Architecture schools use a recipe consisting of a blend of ingredients, including professors who can unlock the intellect and imagination of their students, an environment that nurtures and promotes the exchange of ideas and concepts, and the facilities to allow developing minds to shape and produce their creations. The top schools below have the formula down to a fine art as their results attest.

The Savannah College of Art and Design offers an innovative curriculum, industry-standard technology, and a digital studio culture that reflects the real-world workplace. SCAD serves as a living laboratory for the study of building arts across three locations including Savannah, Atlanta and Lacoste, France. Students can take courses, become global communicators, and explore how rural, urban, and cultural contexts drive design. Students also develop in-demand technical expertise in a working environment on par with the professional sector, including augmented, mixed, and virtual reality technologies.

SCAD students also benefit from the school being a pilot member of the Integrated Path to Architecture Licensure (IPAL), a progressive academic track merging all three components of architectural licensure — education, experience, and examination — into the university’s existing B.F.A. and professional M.Arch. programs. This allows students to attain licensure in as few as seven years by combining SCAD classes, professional internships, and preparation for the Architect Registration Examination with unparalleled academic support and dedicated resources.

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Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) develops leaders in a rapidly changing world who are committed to enhancing the physical environment and improving the quality of life through design. The emphasis is on developing a creative design process that integrates knowledge about human factors, society and its functions with a strong technical understanding of materials, ever-evolving design tools, techniques, and business practices. The CAED frames it as a creative, multi-dimensional problem-solving process focused on societal values, client desires, economic constraints, technology, politics, the environment and aesthetics, with an understanding that design matters. The college prepares students to manage the multi-variable challenge of designing places for people through a curriculum that integrates liberal arts, technology, and tools in project-based design studios.

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Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) is committed to being a place where makers, communicators, problem-solvers, disruptors, experimenters, community-builders, and leaders of all kinds are united by the power of creativity to transform themselves and the world around them.

At a time when so much is defined by daunting challenges and sharp divisions, KCAD believes that the future depends on individuals who can see beyond themselves, reach across boundaries, and reframe problems as opportunities to build a better tomorrow.

For over 90 years, the college has been empowering inquisitive, driven, and passionate individuals to translate their creativity into a marketable skill set—and from there, a dynamic career. Their specialized undergraduate and graduate degree programs in design, fine art, and art history emphasize expert instruction, individualized support, close-knit relationships, and real-world learning experiences that connect students to West Michigan’s thriving creative community.

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The School of Architecture and Design at New York Institute of Technology delivers a unique technology-infused professional design education at campuses in New York City and Long Island. They offer students innovative, in-demand degrees in Architecture, Architectural Technology, Urban and Regional Design, Computational Technologies, Health and Design, and Interior Design. The mission within the School of Architecture and Design is to provide a design- and technology-based 21st-century professional education that enables leadership in the profession and within the community, and they’ve identified three core values, or educational aspirations, to guide their approach: Design intelligence, Building Technology and Leadership.

The schools’ near 9,000 students, representing almost all the 50 states and 100 countries at campuses around the world, become engaged, technologically savvy physicians, architects, scientists, engineers, business leaders, digital artists, health care professionals, and more.

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A picturesque campus in Fayetteville in the hilly northwest corner of Arkansas, is the home of The University of Arkansas School of Art. Founded in 1871 as a land-grant institution, the University of Arkansas is the flagship of the University of Arkansas system. The 27,000 students represent all 50 states and more than 120 countries.

Through the Fulbright Colleges of Arts and Science, the university offers degrees in Art Education, Art History, Graphic Design, Studio Art, including ceramics, drawing, painting, photography printmaking and sculpture, as well as over $500,000 in scholarship opportunities for new and incoming, transfer, and current undergraduate students.

Students in the Master of Fine Arts program are also fully supported. The School provides full assistantships including full tuition waivers and a $15,000 annual stipend, plus a Graduate Fellowship in the amount of $4,000 per year, for a total of $19,000 of support per year. Funding is also available for all students to support summer opportunities such as study abroad, artist in residency, internships, and independent research and the school also boasts new state of the art facilities with future plans for significant expansion in the next few years.

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