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Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California

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2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California

34 Colleges
$30,196 Avg Salary
$27,472 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Design & Applied Arts School for You

Design & Applied Arts is the #33 most popular major in California with 4,680 degrees and certificates awarded in 2018-2019.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. As online education oppotunities continue to grow, you're not restricted to just schools in your local area anymore. Even some of the 'big name' schools are offering online courses. Also, there are a number of trade schools with offerings that you might find attractive.

The Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California ranking is one of many tools that Course Advisor has developed to help you make your educational decision. This report analyzed 34 schools in California to see which ones offered the best programs for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California

The following schools top our list of the Best Design & Applied Arts Colleges.

Top 10 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools

Our 2021 rankings named Art Center College of Design the best school in California for design and applied arts students. Art Center College of Design is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Pasadena.

While working on their degree, design majors at Art Center College of Design accumulate an average of around $31,000 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $322, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#2

Chapman University

Orange, CA

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Chapman University is a great place for design and applied arts students. Chapman is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Orange.

After completing their degree, design graduates from Chapman carry an average student debtload of $19,989. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $207.

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A rank of #3 on this year’s list means San Jose State University is a great place for design and applied arts students. Located in the city of San Jose, San Jose State is a public school with a fairly large student population.

Design majors at San Jose State take out an average of $22,617 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $235, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend University of Southern California. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California list. USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles.

On average, design graduates from USC take out $23,021 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $239.

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The excellent programs at University of California - Los Angeles helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best design and applied arts schools in California. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public school with a very large student population.

While working on their degree, design majors at UCLA accumulate an average of around $20,800 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $216.

Full Design & Applied Arts at University of California - Los Angeles Report

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University of California - Davis did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #6 on the list. Located in the suburb of Davis, UC Davis is a public college with a fairly large student population.

On average, design graduates from UC Davis take out $13,333 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $138, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#7

Interior Designers Institute

Newport Beach, CA

Interior Designers Institute did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the city of Newport Beach, Interior Designers Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

While working on their degree, design majors at Interior Designers Institute accumulate an average of around $29,803 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $309.

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California State University - Long Beach did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #8 on the list. Cal State Long Beach is a very large public school located in the city of Long Beach.

Design majors at Cal State Long Beach take out an average of $20,371 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $211, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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California State University - Fullerton came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in California ranking. Located in the large suburb of Fullerton, Cal State Fullerton is a public school with a fairly large student population.

Full Design & Applied Arts at California State University - Fullerton Report

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#10

California College of the Arts

San Francisco, CA

California College of the Arts landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best design and applied arts programs. California College of the Arts is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of San Francisco.

After completing their degree, design graduates from California College of the Arts carry an average student debtload of $27,437. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $285, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Best Design & Applied Arts Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Design & Applied Arts Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

State Degrees Awarded
Washington 635
Oregon 502
Nevada 139
Hawaii 43

One of 9 majors within the area of study, design and applied arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Design

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 40,751
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,756
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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