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Academy of Art University

43 Reviews

Salary Score







30% of 43 students said this degree improved their career prospects
28% of 43 students said they would recommend this school to others
By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/2/2023



The Academy of Art University is a private, for-profit institution serving over 7,800 students, including over half who attend 100% remotely at all degree levels. It offers 78 online degrees at varying levels: 16 associate degrees, 22 bachelor's degrees, and 40 master's degrees. According to federal data from College Scorecard, 28% of the Academy of Art's students graduate with degrees.

Find an Online Degree:

Salary Score for Online Degrees at Academy of Art University

Associate's Degrees

Film/Video and Photographic Arts $42,125 $32,904 98
Computer Software and Media Applications $46,511 $27,369 51
Design and Applied Arts $27,424 $19,200 18

Bachelor's Degrees

Film/Video and Photographic Arts $31,000 $31,710 93
Specialized Sales, Merchandising and Marketing Operations $38,750 $44,653 89
Music $30,585 $35,022 88
Fine and Studio Arts $39,500 $29,422 85
Visual and Performing Arts, General $35,875 $29,153 81
Computer Software and Media Applications $34,000 $42,476 58
Graphic Communications $31,000 $27,837 47
Radio, Television, and Digital Communication $25,000 $28,192 41
Apparel and Textiles $25,000 $32,156 33
Design and Applied Arts $35,688 $28,222 24
Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft $30,750 $18,335 16

Master's Degrees

Film/Video and Photographic Arts $102,350 $41,783 91
Fine and Studio Arts $83,520 $32,379 59
Journalism Not Reported $39,016 33
Design and Applied Arts $108,977 $43,701 32
Visual and Performing Arts, General $82,872 $29,959 23
Computer Software and Media Applications $77,405 $55,653 15

FAQs About Academy of Art University

Is the Academy of Art a Good School?

The Academy of Art is considered a good school. For example, OnlineU ranked it as #6 for best online colleges in California

Additionally, the Academy of Art has high OnlineU Salary Scores above 80 for its bachelor's degree programs, such as those in film/video and photographic arts, music, and visual and performing arts. Salary Scores indicate earnings potential in a particular area of study and whether a degree may be worth the investment. 

Continue to the student reviews section below to gain more valuable insight based on individual experiences with the program, instructors, student services, and classroom interactions.

Is the Academy of Art University Online?

The Academy of Art University offers online degree programs at the AA, BFA, MA, and MFA levels. These 100% online degrees can help prepare students for entry-level jobs and even career advancement. Online fine arts majors can choose from fields of study such as fashionadvertisinggame development, and writing

The Academy offers virtual onsite courses synchronously, requiring you to log in at designated times and asynchronously, so you can participate as your schedule allows. 

Are Online Degrees From the Academy of Art Respected by Employers?

Employers respect Academy of Art degrees because the school receives accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). WSCUC is a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency that routinely ensures schools such as the Academy of Art manage their finances responsibly and deliver high quality academic programming at the collegiate level. 

OnlineU only includes accredited online colleges and universities on its site. 

What Is the Academy of Art Known For?

The Academy of Art is known for being one of the US's largest private, accredited art and design schools. Due to its unique location in diverse and creative San Francisco, the Academy is also known for its inclusive admissions policy that does not determine a student's potential based on past education or professional experience and looks to the future and a student's capabilities. Therefore, it has an open admissions policy that doesn't require standardized testing or rely on GPAs or academic achievement when reviewing applications. 

Which Degrees at the Academy of Art Provide the Highest Earnings for Graduates?

The Academy of Art's bachelor's degrees in computer software and media applications provide the highest earnings for graduates at a median annual salary of approximately $55,000. Online bachelor's degrees in advertising and communication/media also provide high earnings of approximately $50,000 and $41,000, respectively. 

OnlineU's proprietary Salary Score ranks colleges by how much their alumni earn compared to graduates with the same degree across the country. The Academy of Art has a bachelor's degree salary score of 58 and 45 for its master's degrees.

How Difficult Is It To Get Into the Academy of Art?

Getting into the Academy of Art is not difficult because it has an open admissions policy. This means that the school accepts 100% of applicants. Additionally, the Academy of Art does not require applicants to take entrance exams to be considered for enrollment.

However, applying to college always requires planning to ensure you have enough time to organize and send what you need to submit. An admissions advisor can help you through the process.

What Are the Admission Requirements for the Academy of Art?

The Academy of Art's undergraduate admissions requirements include the following:

  • Completing an online application
  • Submitting a $50 application fee
  • Sending official high school transcripts or an equivalent
  • Sending any other applicable college or military transcripts (if transferring credits)

If you're still deciding on which school and program is best for you you, exploring our list of the most popular online colleges provides additional options from which to choose.

Student Reviews

Student Reviews

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Donnie Desmond

Reviewed: 5/18/2023

Degree: Architecture

This place is average at best. I would not recommend this school, I plan on transferring in the Fall. The quality of education and feedback from professors was not good. Questions were asked as if this is correct or not. Answers were given as yes and no. We will attend to this later. Which later meant, it was done and we would not discuss it again.


Reviewed: 4/24/2023

Degree: Fashion

I took one summer semester of classes and not even a quarter semester of fall classes before QUICKLY dropping out. I decided on AOAU because they were the only school to offer online fashion and design classes, that alone should’ve been a red flag, plus I didn’t think to look into student reviews and their 10% graduation rate. Before starting, the teachers each give you a supply list of things they say you need. You don’t actually need them btw. I wasted so much money on things I never once used... Read More

Paige Asper

Reviewed: 2/1/2023

Degree: Interior Design

I attended this school for 2 years I watched the cost of tuition increase each year. They made this school seem financially attainable by offering me a income based scholarship to cover out of pocket cost after aid. They then changed the requirements that you had to take more classes in order to keep the scholarship. That seemed fine but there's a catch they will only cover a certain amount leaving me with the choice of taking more classes getting the scholarship and still having to pay $3000 a semester... Read More


Reviewed: 12/20/2022

Degree: UX/UI Design

Yes there are a few bad teachers who phone it in. I only prob had 2 witching the 2 years I was there. I think we could of gotten more than one case example completed in one class. But curriculum has a good overview and skills in web design, coding, motion, critical thinking of which were applicable in the real world. Self accountability. You get what you put in. If you’re looking to finish quick without effort then you wont’t get anything from online course. You need to put in the work for the classes... Read More


Reviewed: 10/4/2022

Degree: Computer Animation

The online portion of this school is a scam. I went for half a semester and quickly dropped out because of the quality. Their programs were outdated and were showing videos that were made 15 years ago. The teaching staff were not helpful as they only provided feedback after you submitted an assignment. There was no help during the week until the assignment was due. The finance department of the school is also a nightmare to deal with.


Reviewed: 10/19/2021

Degree: Web Design

This school is just horrendous. Their new Financial aid system now REJECTS any other expenses other than classes which they have increased by at least $1,000. So even though you ASKED and NEED some assistance from the school because they offered it, it just automatically gets rejected. This school is severally subpar. Not to mention the school has a fraud charge against them for accepting a lard number of under-qualified candidates that are unlikely to graduate and pay back their loans. So, onto... Read More


Reviewed: 10/13/2021

Degree: Web Design

There is a review left on here from 2017 that someone made about the graduate WNM program and the poor quality of education they received. I can 1,000% agree with that review. My experience at this school and with the WNM program in general has been subpar to say the least. I’ve had more bad instructors than I had good ones. Another point made in that 2017 review was getting worked to death in the portfolio class. Also 1,000% true. Yeah, you should work for the degree and job you want, but it’s as... Read More


Reviewed: 5/25/2021

Degree: Art History

I keep seeing really sucky comments about my college, how everyone says it’s a scam and teachers don’t actually provide any real learning information etc etc. They say everyone is set up for failure and that no one graduates because they want you to keep paying. I have had nothing but phenomenal professors. The director of art history took time to basically just chill and talk to me about art for an hour last semester. She cares that much. I have been so impressed by how much I have grown at this... Read More


Reviewed: 2/20/2021

Degree: Art & Design

AAU is overall a decent school. I’m doing part time online classes, and I have found the classes to be hit or miss. It’s like that for many universities, however. The majority of instructors have been helpful, especially in the foundational classes. The school is fast paced, and you will have to put in a lot of work like any other school. Sometimes I wish the instructors were a bit more helpful, I had one instructor tell me that my work was just horrid without telling me what to improve. But I’ve... Read More


Reviewed: 2/12/2021

Degree: Architecture

Reading these reviews, I am thoroughly surprised with the experiences these people have had. I work full time for a stand-alone healthcare facility as the in-house interior architect. To further solidify my position, the masters degree made sense and I have to say that each and every class I have had so far has been increasingly relevant to my career. The instructors are phenomenal and did a wonderful job during the Covid-19 crisis to keep me engaged. I am unsure how the other programs rate; however,... Read More