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Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools

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2021 Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools

1,237 Colleges
$29,542 Avg Salary
$27,114 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Design & Applied Arts School for You

Design & Applied Arts is the #35 most popular major in the country with 36,179 degrees and certificates awarded in 2018-2019.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. On top of that, there are a considerable number of trade schools that offer fast-track entry to many fields.

The Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking is one of many tools that Course Advisor has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 1,237 schools in the United States to see which programs were the most popular for students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from the Design & Applied Arts program at each school on the list.

The colleges and universities below are the most popular for design majors pursuing a .

Our analysis found Fashion Institute of Technology to be the most popular school for design and applied arts students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the city of New York, FIT SUNY is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

Design majors at FIT SUNY take out an average of $17,639 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $184, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The excellent programs at Savannah College of Art and Design helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best design and applied arts schools in the United States. SCAD is a large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Savannah.

While working on their degree, design majors at SCAD accumulate an average of around $44,110 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $496.

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#3

The New School

New York, NY

Out of the 1,237 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, The New School landed the # 3 spot on the list. New School University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York.

After completing their degree, design graduates from New School University carry an average student debt load of $32,106. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $356, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The excellent programs at Wake Technical Community College helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best design and applied arts schools in the United States. Wake Technical Community College is a very large public school located in the large suburb of Raleigh.

Design majors at Wake Technical Community College take out an average of $15,312 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $159, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#5

Pratt Institute - Main

Brooklyn, NY

Out of the 1,237 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Pratt Institute - Main landed the # 5 spot on the list. Located in the large city of Brooklyn, Pratt Institute is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

After completing their degree, design graduates from Pratt Institute carry an average student debt load of $56,523. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $643, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles ranked #6 on this year’s Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, FIDM Los Angeles is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

On average, design graduates from FIDM Los Angeles take out $19,500 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $202.

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Columbus State Community College came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Located in the city of Columbus, Columbus State is a public college with a very large student population.

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#8

Full Sail University

Winter Park, FL

Full Sail University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #8 on the list. Located in the suburb of Winter Park, Full Sail University is a private for-profit college with a very large student population.

On average, design graduates from Full Sail University take out $42,160 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $464.

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#9

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

Academy of Art University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #9 on the list. Located in the city of San Francisco, Academy of Art University is a private for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

On average, design graduates from Academy of Art University take out $60,503 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $673, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Virginia Commonwealth University landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular design and applied arts programs. Located in the medium-sized city of Richmond, VCU is a public school with a very large student population.

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Southern New Hampshire University came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Located in the midsize suburb of Manchester, SNHU is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that design majors at SNHU take out is $19,419. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $202.

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Iowa State University came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Iowa State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Ames.

After completing their degree, design graduates from Iowa State carry an average student debt load of $31,609. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $352, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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With a ranking of #13, Maryland Institute College of Art did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for design and applied arts students. Located in the city of Baltimore, MICA is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

While working on their degree, design majors at MICA accumulate an average of around $36,237 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $405, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#14

Columbia College Chicago

Chicago, IL

With a ranking of #14, Columbia College Chicago did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for design and applied arts students. Columbia is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago.

On average, design graduates from Columbia take out $26,000 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $270.

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Arizona State University - Tempe ranked #15 on this year’s Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools list. ASU - Tempe is a very large public school located in the city of Tempe.

The average amount in student loans that design majors at ASU - Tempe take out is $34,486. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $389.

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#16

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

With a ranking of #16, Drexel University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for design and applied arts students. Located in the city of Philadelphia, Drexel is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population.

After completing their degree, design graduates from Drexel carry an average student debt load of $26,500. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $275.

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With a ranking of #17, University of Cincinnati - Main Campus did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for design and applied arts students. Located in the city of Cincinnati, UC is a public college with a very large student population.

Design majors at UC take out an average of $18,529 in student loans while working on their egree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $192.

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#18

School of Visual Arts

New York, NY

School of Visual Arts came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Located in the large city of New York, SVA is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that design majors at SVA take out is $57,193. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $649.

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With a ranking of #19, Kent State University at Kent did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for design and applied arts students. Located in the large suburb of Kent, Kent State is a public school with a very large student population.

While working on their degree, design majors at Kent State accumulate an average of around $26,000 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $270.

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Art Center College of Design did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #20 on the list. Located in the medium-sized city of Pasadena, Art Center College of Design is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

On average, design graduates from Art Center College of Design take out $31,000 in student loans while working on their degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $322.

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The University of Texas at Dallas landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular design and applied arts programs. Located in the city of Richardson, UT Dallas is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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#22

Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis, IN

Ivy Tech Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #22 on the list. Ivy Tech Community College is a fairly large public school located in the city of Indianapolis.

While working on their degree, design majors at Ivy Tech Community College accumulate an average of around $12,430 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $129.

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University of California - Davis ranked #23 on this year’s Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools list. UC Davis is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Davis.

After completing their degree, design graduates from UC Davis carry an average student debt load of $13,333. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $138, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#24

Wayne Community College

Goldsboro, NC

Wayne Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #24 on the list. Wayne Community College is a small public school located in the city of Goldsboro.

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College for Creative Studies came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. CCS is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Detroit.

After completing their degree, design graduates from CCS carry an average student debt load of $27,000. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $280.

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#27

California College of the Arts

San Francisco, CA
#34

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA
#36

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI
#37

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, MI
#41

Auburn University

Auburn, AL
#42

College of DuPage

Glen Ellyn, IL
#43

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA
#44

Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ
#50

Otis College of Art and Design

Los Angeles, CA

Additional Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 1237 different United States design and applied arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
52 Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL
53 Collin County Community College District McKinney, TX
53 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
55 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
56 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
56 Instituto de Banca y Comercio Inc Guaynabo, PR
58 Montgomery College Rockville, MD
59 Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA
60 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
60 Portland Community College Portland, OR
62 Ringling College of Art and Design Sarasota, FL
63 Queens College Queens, NY
64 Augusta Technical College Augusta, GA
65 Kean University Union, NJ
66 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, GA
67 University of North Texas Denton, TX
67 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS
67 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
70 Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design Lakewood, CO
70 Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI
72 SOWELA Technical Community College Lake Charles, LA
73 Los Angeles Trade Technical College Los Angeles, CA
73 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
75 Portland State University Portland, OR
76 Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland, OH
77 California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona, CA
77 Macomb Community College Warren, MI
79 Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Milwaukee, WI
80 Saddleback College Mission Viejo, CA
81 The Art Institute of Atlanta Atlanta, GA
81 Tidewater Community College Norfolk, VA
81 Bellevue College Bellevue, WA
84 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
85 Mt. San Antonio College Walnut, CA
86 Hinds Community College Raymond, MS
86 Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis, MN
86 Kutztown University of Pennsylvania Kutztown, PA
86 The Modern College of Design Kettering, OH
90 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
90 Boise State University Boise, ID
92 Interior Designers Institute Newport Beach, CA
93 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ
94 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
94 The University of the Arts Philadelphia, PA
94 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
97 Kingsborough Community College Brooklyn, NY
97 Monroe Community College Rochester, NY
99 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
100 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
100 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
100 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
100 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
100 Clemson University Clemson, SC
100 California State University - Sacramento Sacramento, CA
106 University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth North Dartmouth, MA
106 Central Community College Grand Island, NE
106 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
109 Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston, MA
109 Northeastern University Boston, MA
109 Suffolk County Community College Selden, NY
112 Lesley University Cambridge, MA
112 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
112 Front Range Community College Westminster, CO
115 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC
115 Santa Monica College Santa Monica, CA
115 Minneapolis Community and Technical College Minneapolis, MN
118 Specs Howard School of Media Arts Southfield, MI
118 Laguna College of Art and Design Laguna Beach, CA
118 Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee, WI
121 Seattle Central College Seattle, WA
122 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
122 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
122 DePaul University Chicago, IL
122 Universidad del Turabo Gurabo, PR
122 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
122 Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT
128 Austin Community College District Austin, TX
128 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
128 Western Washington University Bellingham, WA
131 Platt College - San Diego San Diego, CA
131 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
131 Oklahoma State University - Main Campus Stillwater, OK
134 South Plains College Levelland, TX
134 Lanier Technical College Oakwood, GA
134 Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA
137 Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA
137 San Diego City College San Diego, CA
139 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
139 University of California - Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA
139 Marymount University Arlington, VA
142 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV
142 Miami University - Oxford Oxford, OH
142 Sierra College Rocklin, CA
142 Boston University Boston, MA
142 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
147 Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY
147 Orange Coast College Costa Mesa, CA
147 San Antonio College San Antonio, TX
147 Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa, CA
147 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
147 Golden West College Huntington Beach, CA
147 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, NE
147 Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
155 Cleveland Institute of Art Cleveland, OH
155 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO
155 William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL
155 High Point University High Point, NC
159 Century College - White Bear Lake White Bear Lake, MN
159 The Creative Circus Atlanta, GA
161 Arapahoe Community College Littleton, CO
161 The Art Institute of Dallas Dallas, TX
161 Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO
164 Suffolk University Boston, MA
164 Moore College of Art and Design Philadelphia, PA
164 University of Houston Houston, TX
164 Berkeley College - Woodland Park Woodland Park, NJ
164 Champlain College Burlington, VT
169 The Art Institute of Houston Houston, TX
169 The Art Institute of San Antonio San Antonio, TX
169 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
169 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
169 Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA
174 William T McFatter Technical College Davie, FL
174 Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA
174 LaGuardia Community College Long Island City, NY
174 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
174 Mt. Hood Community College Gresham, OR
174 Rasmussen College - Florida Ocala, FL
180 University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT
180 University of Delaware Newark, DE
180 Gnomon School of Visual Effects Hollywood, CA
180 Mercer County Community College West Windsor, NJ
180 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA
180 Lenoir Community College Kinston, NC
180 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
180 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional popular schools for Design & Applied Arts students that almost earned our Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
188 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
188 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS
188 College of the Canyons Santa Clarita, CA
188 Fitchburg State University Fitchburg, MA
188 Texas State Technical College Waco, TX
188 Cedarville University Cedarville, OH
194 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
194 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, MO
194 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
197 Flagler College - St Augustine Saint Augustine, FL
197 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
197 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
197 Mohawk Valley Community College Utica, NY
197 Palomar College San Marcos, CA
197 Nassau Community College Garden City, NY
197 Sessions College for Professional Design Tempe, AZ
197 Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT
197 Danville Community College Danville, VA
197 Kansas City Art Institute Kansas City, MO
197 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI
197 FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco San Francisco, CA
197 Endicott College Beverly, MA
210 San Jacinto Community College Pasadena, TX
210 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
210 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
210 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
210 Adirondack Community College Queensbury, NY
215 Houston Community College Houston, TX
215 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
215 LDS Business College Salt Lake City, UT
215 West Valley College Saratoga, CA
219 Onondaga Community College Syracuse, NY
219 San Diego Mesa College San Diego, CA
219 The Art Institute of Austin Austin, TX
219 Harford Community College Bel Air, MD
219 Trident Technical College Charleston, SC
219 Nossi College of Art Madison, TN
219 Canada College Redwood City, CA
226 North Idaho College Coeur d’Alene, ID
226 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL
226 Saginaw Valley State University University Center, MI
229 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
229 Robert Morris University Illinois Chicago, IL
229 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
229 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Roswell, NM
229 Clover Park Technical College Lakewood, WA
229 Independence University Salt Lake City, UT
229 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
229 Chaffey College Rancho Cucamonga, CA
229 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
238 Albany Technical College Albany, GA
238 Liceo de Arte y Tecnologia San Juan, PR
238 Saint Edward’s University Austin, TX
241 Coastal Carolina University Conway, SC
241 Belmont University Nashville, TN
241 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
241 Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI
241 Hostos Community College Bronx, NY
241 Athens Technical College Athens, GA
241 Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA
241 University of Maryland - Baltimore County Baltimore, MD
241 Villa Maria College Buffalo, NY
241 El Paso Community College El Paso, TX

Design & Applied Arts by Region

View the Most Popular Design & Applied Arts Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Design & Applied Arts is one of 9 different types of programs to choose from.

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.

  • 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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