2023 Best Online Art Design Degrees
Art design is a broad field that encompasses careers in animation, product development, fashion, fine art, video games, film, and more. Graduating with an online degree in art design, or a specific industry within the field, prepares you to enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge to use digital technology and visual storytelling methods. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that arts and design occupations will only grow by 2% in the next decade, amounting to roughly 20,500 new jobs. This is below the average job growth of 5% across all U.S. occupations. Earning an online bachelor's in art design, or an online bachelor's in graphic design, can give you a leg up in this highly competitive field.
Online Art & Design Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In
List Of Accredited Online Art & Design Schools
|School||Online Enrollment||Annual Tuition|
|Southern New Hampshire University Online|
|Arizona State University||33,410||$24,413|
|Rasmussen University Online||19,336||$10,935|
|Full Sail University||14,908||$24,513|
|Academy of Art University||2,911||$23,412|
|LA Film School||2,492||NA|
|Upper Iowa University||1,872||$31,685|
|Central Michigan University||1,326||$24,120|
|University of Florida||1,029||$28,659|
|Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||851||$19,670|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||598||$38,075|
|The University of Montana||346||$26,218|
|Maharishi International University||108||$16,530|
Southern New Hampshire University Online
Southern New Hampshire University Online (SNHU) is a private university that features an online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Photography requiring 120 credit hours. If studying full time, students can generally complete a bachelor's degree in around four years. SNHU accepts 94% of its applicants, and 40% of its students earn their degrees.
SNHU utilizes Brightspace's learning management system for their remote courses, which feature 100% online instruction. Students have 24/7 accessibility and may attend class on their own schedule. The digital photography program provides students with the necessary skills in camera operation, image editing, and lighting — as well as how to build an online brand through social media and sound business practices. Courses include Media Communication and Visual Literacy, Photography Practice in the Digital Age, and Innovations in Digital Imaging. Students are also required to complete a digital photography portfolio.
Alternatively, students enrolled in SNHU's online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts can gain a broader understanding of the images and artwork that make up websites, advertising campaigns, and the media. Career opportunities for graduates of either bachelor's program include professional photographers (corporate, portrait, or news), art directors, and digital artists.
- Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
- Avg. Aid Package: $10,243
- Repayment Rate: 93%
- Acceptance Rate: 78%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 44%
- Retention Rate: 65%
- Recommend Rate: 62%
- School Type: Nonprofit (Private)
- Undergraduate Online: 86,849 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 19,526 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 877 enrolled
Arizona State University
The Arizona State University (ASU) is a large, public institution. ASU offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Art and an online Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies, each requiring 120 credit hours. These degree programs can be completed in between three to four years with a full-time schedule. ASU students take composition classes, art history classes, and have a language requirement in order to graduate. ASU provides their students with assistance finding internships and focuses on creativity, technology, and history as they prepare their graduates to work in the field of art, film, and design.
At ASU, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is entirely online. ASU’s online students have access to all university resources.
- Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
- Avg. Aid Package: $12,536
- Repayment Rate: 92%
- Acceptance Rate: 76%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 54%
- Retention Rate: 82%
- Recommend Rate: 63%
- School Type: Nonprofit (Public)
- Undergraduate Online: 33,410 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 10,843 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 542 enrolled
Rasmussen University Online
Rasmussen University Online is a private institution with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design requiring the completion of 180 credit hours. Typically, full-time students graduate within four years. Rasmussen accepts 100% of applicants.
All online courses at Rasmussen are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, where students can study fully online. This online degree focuses on building practical skills in graphic design through emerging technologies — along with professional skills in digital fluency, communication, and portfolio building. Among the major requirements are The Art and Business of Design, Sketching for Designers, and Typography. Upon graduation, students are prepared to work as graphic specialists, creative graphics designers, and visual media producers.
- Financial Aid Recipients: 87%
- Avg. Aid Package: $4,554
- Repayment Rate: 82%
- Acceptance Rate: N/A
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 31%
- Retention Rate: 100%
- Recommend Rate: 36%
- School Type: For Profit
- Undergraduate Online: 19,336 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 252 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 106 enrolled
DeVry is a private university offering a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Design and Development, which requires a total of 122 credit hours. This 100% online program features two tracks: (1) Graphic and Multimedia Design and (2) Web Design and Development. If studying at a full-time pace, students can complete this program in around four years. DeVry accepts 44% of its applicants, with 19% of its students earning degrees.
At DeVry, online students use the Canvas learning software to access their core courses, the majority of which are delivered asynchronously. The curriculum for this program challenges students to create projects using the latest applications and software, all the while exploring multimedia standards and the graphics industry as a whole. Required courses include Multimedia Standards, Visual Design Fundamentals, and Business of Graphics. A Senior Project and Media Portfolio are also required before graduation. Students may go on to explore careers as multimedia artists, graphic designers, and animators.
- Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
- Avg. Aid Package: $5,833
- Repayment Rate: 82%
- Acceptance Rate: 93%
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 27%
- Retention Rate: 50%
- Recommend Rate: 59%
- School Type: For Profit
- Undergraduate Online: 16,922 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 4,399 enrolled
- Certificate Online: 75 enrolled
Full Sail University
Full Sail University (FS) is a large, private university. FS offers several online Bachelor of Science degrees that focus on art and design, each requiring 120 credit hours and 27 months of dedication with a full-time schedule. The university provides students with the professional and creative skills necessary to succeed in their field. FS hosts hiring and networking events, and each program offers classes in art history and career readiness as well as several projects to build art portfolios. Graduates go on to work on musical albums, movies, video games, and events.
At FS, students receive a Launchbox, which includes a computer, custom learning system, and professional software to do their coursework. The curriculum's pacing is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Online students have access to all of FS’ student resources.
- Financial Aid Recipients: 81%
- Avg. Aid Package: $8,083
- Repayment Rate: 80%
- Acceptance Rate: N/A
- Avg. Graduation Rate: 43%
- Retention Rate: 72%
- Recommend Rate: 45%
- School Type: For Profit
- Undergraduate Online: 14,908 enrolled
- Graduate Online: 1,256 enrolled
- Certificate Online: N/A
Overview of the Best Online Art Degrees
Online bachelor's in art degrees are available in several subfields. Curricula vary based on the program, but students can major in commercial art, architecture, computer animation, fashion, graphic design, visual communication, art history, and web design, to name a few. It’s also possible to double major or get a dual degree in multiple disciplines. In general, online learners should spend some time determining which medium, style, and subject matter they find most appealing so they can begin mastering specific techniques and developing their creative processes. This way, art students may graduate with a set of professional and technical skills, an understanding of the creative industry, and a polished portfolio in their chosen arena.
Enrollment in an online bachelor's in art program requires applicants to have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Competitive programs may further require that students submit a portfolio of artwork. While an online degree in art typically takes four years to complete, accelerated programs are designed to be finished in as little as two-and-a-half years.
What Kind of Art Degrees Are There?
Accredited Online Art Schools
Accreditation is a process in which third parties evaluate colleges and universities to determine whether they offer students a quality education. Attending an accredited institution has several benefits, and it's especially important for online students because it signals a program's credibility to potential employers and qualifies students for federal financial aid.
Prospective students seeking an online art degree should consider enrolling in an art school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design — an organization that sets nationwide standards for higher education in the arts. Alternatively, students should ensure that their school has been evaluated by an accrediting agency recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Common Courses in Art Degrees Online
Students enrolled in an online bachelor's of art program often have some flexibility when developing the coursework to fit their educational goals. For instance, they can choose to take online classes in visual marketing, consumer psychology, and design technology. Many modules also involve gaining hands-on experience with specific tools or software, thus helping students develop applied skills in their chosen area of expertise.
While classes vary by program, the following is a list of common online courses students can expect to take with a Bachelor in Art Design:
What Can You Do With an Art Degree?
As with other professions, job opportunities in this field largely depend on the wider economy — especially the demand for artistic services and products. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts only a 2% job growth for art and design jobs, which is significantly slower than the average for all occupations.
Artists with bachelor’s degrees online may qualify for a range of employment opportunities. An online fine arts degree offers the chance for students to develop their skills in a particular area, signaling to employers that a graduate has formalized knowledge and training.
Below is a list of potential career paths for art graduates, along with median annual salary and job outlook data from the BLS:
Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers
Archivists, curators, and museum workers manage private and public artwork collections. This may involve identifying and appraising new pieces, maintaining existing catalogs, and planning exhibitions. Some professionals in this vein may also work as independent consultants helping private collectors acquire specific kinds of artwork.
Art directors are managers that oversee the work of an artistic team. Their job involves conceptualizing artistic objectives, approving designs, and overseeing the completion of projects. Art directors can work for publications, movie studios, or even public relations firms.
Fine artists create pieces that typically convey emotions or meaning through various mediums. They may also fashion everyday items into artwork, like furniture or cutlery, that perform specific functions. Many fine artists display their work in museums or galleries.
Graphic designers are responsible for visualizing and communicating complex ideas to different audiences. They tend to work with specific design software in order to present important information to clients. Graphic designers often use their skills to construct websites, develop product packaging, or create logos.
Photographers are usually freelancers and may specialize in specific genres, such as photojournalism, portraiture, wedding photography, or cinematography. Photographers may also work in postproduction, editing pictures and videos to meet client needs.
Special Effects Artists and Animators
Special effects artists and animators use software to create images, videos, and other visual media designs. They may work on movies, video games, television commercials, and diverse media art forms, often completing a specific part of a larger project.
Is an Art Degree Worth It?
The worth of an art degree can vary based on an individual's career goals and financial circumstances. For example, students interested in a career emphasizing creativity and self-expression may benefit from the skills and industry connections sometimes derived from earning an art degree online. However, an art degree may not be as flexible as other bachelor's credentials — particularly when it comes to developing widely applicable skills.
Consider the following pros and cons of an online art degree: