Profiles of Interactive Design Programs & Schools

Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs on the West Coast. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (Top 2% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the Visual and Performing Arts. Created by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is now home to nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the Schools of Art, Critical Studies, Theater, and Film/Video, the Herb Alpert School of Music, and the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. The School of Art is home to the Graphic Design program which leads to a BFA or MFA. 

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Our 2016 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy began “informal art education” in the late 1920s. The Academy consists of 10 programs/departments including 2D Design, 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Print Media, Photography and Sculpture. Per the Academy, “each department is led by a full-time Artist or Designer-in-Residence who is the sole faculty member and head of the department. Each department has an enrollment of approximately 15 students, who are selected by the Artist-in-Residence.” Programs are “free of the formal course structure typical of most art schools and universities. Instead the studio environment is the core of the curriculum with emphasis on developing an individual body of work.” 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the South. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.

1.  North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh North, Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)

Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State Raleigh) is home to more than 34,000 students enrolled in 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 65 departments and 12 colleges. The College of Design is home to the Graphic Design Program, which leads to a Bachelor of Graphic Design or a Master of Graphic Design. The College has recently established a PhD in Design/Information Design Concentration as well. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited and the PhD program is set to receive NASAD approval after graduating its first class. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 50 Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Yale University School of the Arts, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)

Yale University was founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School to educate students for “public employment both in Church and Civil State.” Today, the school is home to more than 8,300 students and it houses well over 145 departments, schools and programs covering the areas of art, architecture, divinity, drama, forestry and environmental studies, law, management, music, public health, and more. One of Yale’s top schools is the School of the Arts. Opened as Yale School of the Fine Arts in 1869, the School of the Arts was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 Private Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Yale University School of the Arts, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)

Opened as Yale School of the Fine Arts in 1869, Yale University School of the Arts was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. Today, the School has a population of 127 students enrolled (Fall 2015), and it offers a competitive MFA degree in Graphic Design that accepts just 10 students each year and up to seven students into the preliminary-year program. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1.  North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh North, Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State Raleigh) is “the school of 100+ startups and spinoffs.” Founded in 1887 and home to more than 34,000 students, the school offers 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 65 departments and 12 colleges. The College of Design is home to the Graphic Design program which offers two degree paths—a Bachelor of Graphic Design and a Master of Graphic Design.  The College has recently established a PhD in Design/Information Design Concentration as well. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited and the PhD program is set to receive NASAD approval after graduating its first class. 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the Southwest. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 2% of schools considered)

Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in 1885 and it is home to more than 82,000 students (2014) enrolled in over 290 academic undergraduate programs and hundreds of graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools. The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts houses the Design School, which offers programs in the areas of Architecture, Environmental Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design). 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the East.

For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Yale University School of the Arts, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)
Yale University home to more than 8,300 students well over 145 departments, schools and programs that cover the areas of art, architecture, divinity, drama, forestry and environmental studies, law, management, music, public health, and more. One of Yale’s top schools is the School of the Arts. Opened as Yale School of the Fine Arts in 1869 (Yale University was founded 1701), the School of the Arts was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. 

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An introductory note from the editor:  

We started publishing US based regional and national lists in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators seeking advice regarding the "best" schools in the US. The US-centric lists have been well-received, so much so that we now receive frequent requests to publish rankings of international animation schools. ACR staff writer and Social Media Manager Tom Fronczak managed and authored this year's Top 100 International Animation Schools rankings. In preparing this year’s list, we surveyed over one hundred animation schools across the globe. Our end-goal is to give students access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue.  

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Our 2015 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy of Art dates back to 1932 when it was called The Academy of Art. Home to around 150 students, the school consists of 10 departments led by an Artist or Designer-in-Residence. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include an MFA in Graphic Design. The program, which places strong emphasis on studio work time and group critique, is offered through the 2D/graduate graphic design department.

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