Education

Best Online Art Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Art programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Art degrees are interdisciplinary programs that combine the study of art, media, and design. Art degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the arts, including graphic design, advertising, and fashion design.

Art degrees offer a broad overview of the arts, covering topics such as art history, studio art, and design. Students in art degree programs learn about the different aspects of creating art, and how to use art to communicate messages.

How to Choose the Right Art Program

When it comes to choosing the right art degree program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to keep in mind. These include the cost of the program, the location of the school, the time it will take to complete the degree, and the specializations offered.

The cost of an art degree can vary depending on the institution, so it is important to do your research and find a program that fits your budget. Location is also a key factor to consider, as it can affect the ability to gain internship opportunities and network for jobs after graduation. The time it takes to complete the degree can also be a deciding factor, especially for students who want to graduate sooner. Finally, prospective art students should consider the specializations offered at each program to find one that best fits their interests and career goals.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Art Programs

The best online programs for Art ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
State University of New York at New Paltz
New Paltz, NY

The Bachelor of Arts in General Studies from State University of New York at New Paltz is a new, fully online degree completion program designed for former college students who have already earned some college credits but never finished a four-year undergraduate program. The flexible, online course schedule can be completed full- or part-time, and students will have access to professional advisors and technical support. In-state tuition costs are the same as those paid by students enrolled in on-campus programs. Students choose from seven focus areas and create an educational plan tailored to their skills and interests.

Rank 2
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences from Pennsylvania State University is a highly versatile online liberal arts degree that allows students to customize their courses to meet their goals. The degree is student-designed and can be tailored to the student’s individual interests. The program is interdisciplinary and focuses on communication skills, critical analysis, research, and theory and application.

Rank 3
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Whitewater, WI

The Online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is designed for working adults who hold an applied associates degree from a technical college. The BAAS can be completed in 60-65 credits, and students can choose from emphasis areas in digital marketing, professional selling, leadership, and criminology, or design their own emphasis area. The curriculum includes requirements in integrative learning, cognitive skills, and knowledge of human cultures and the natural world.

Rank 4
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Florida International University is a fully online degree program that provides students with a solid foundation in communication principles and practices. The degree is flexible and affordable, and provides students with important organizational communication skills such as conflict and crisis management, decision-making, and leadership and team building. The degree is also an excellent foundation for those interested in pursuing an advanced degree in a related field.

Rank 5
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY

The Bachelor of Arts in General Studies from Eastern Kentucky University is a flexible degree program that allows students to tailor their coursework to align with their interests and career goals. The curriculum blends academic and professional preparation, providing students with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. The program is accredited and students have the opportunity to study anytime and from anywhere.

Rank 6
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

The University of Montana’s Bachelor of Arts in Art, Bachelor of Arts in Art degree is a great choice for students interested in a career in the arts. The program provides a solid foundation in the principles of art, with courses in drawing, 3-D foundations, digital imaging, and film editing. Students can also choose to specialize in art history, theory, and criticism, or pursue a teaching certification in art. The program is flexible and can be tailored to the student’s specific career goals.

Rank 7
Lindenwood University
Saint Charles, MO

The online Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design degree program from Lindenwood University provides students with a well-rounded education that is focused on the principles of design. The interdisciplinary curriculum allows students to specialize in an area of their choosing, with a focus on areas including art history, photography, video, and web design.

The program helps students diversify their skillset and prepare for a career in one of today’s art and design fields. It explores creativity, mastery of technique, craftsmanship, problem-solving, project development, and teamwork.

Rank 8
University of West Georgia
Carrollton, GA

The Bachelor of Arts in Art from University of West Georgia is a great choice for students interested in a career in the arts. The program offers courses in art history, with a focus on medieval art and modern/contemporary art and theory. Students will learn skills in visual analysis, critical thinking, research, writing, and oral presentation. The Art History program has a strong focus on the interrelationship between art and historical cultural influences.

Rank 9
Academy of Art University
San Francisco, CA

The Academy of Art University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art degree program that is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in the fine arts. The program is taught by the same qualified professionals who teach on-site courses, and students have access to a variety of resources that will help them get the most out of their class experience. In addition to coursework, students in the program will also participate in critiques and assessments of their work, and will have the opportunity to share their work with their peers and receive feedback.

Rank 10
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

The Bachelor of Arts in Design Arts & Practices from University of Arizona provides students with a foundation in design history, theory and practice from an interdisciplinary perspective. The degree is project-based, with courses that focus on innovation with new technology and the development of creative strategies to address contemporary issues. Students will take courses in art, design, information studies and technology, progressing from core skills into larger theories and issues. The degree culminates in a final capstone project.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Art Program

The curriculum for an online bachelor’s in art degree typically covers a broad range of topics, from the history of art to the principles of design. Students learn to critically analyze works of art and to create their own art using a variety of mediums.

Most programs require between 120 and 128 credits for graduation and include both general education coursework and major classes. Students typically complete a capstone experience or internship prior to graduation.

While online bachelor’s in art programs do not require any in-person attendance, some schools may hold on-campus events, such as gallery openings or guest lectures, that distance learners can attend. Additionally, many programs require students to complete an internship, which may involve working with an art gallery, museum, or other art-related organization.

Common Art Courses

A college degree in art typically provides students with a broad foundation in the various mediums of art before allowing them to specialize in one area. The following is a list of classes that are typically taken for a college degree in art.

Drawing

This course covers the basic concepts of drawing including line, shape, form, value, space, and perspective. Students will use a variety of drawing media to explore these concepts while developing their own personal drawing style. A variety of subject matter will be used as inspiration including still life, the human figure, landscapes, and cityscapes. Upon completion, students should be able to create drawings that demonstrate an understanding of the elements and principles of design and display a personal drawing style.

Digital Tools

This course explores the use of digital tools in the creation of artworks. Students will learn about various software programs and how to use them to create 2D and 3D artworks. Topics include digital painting, drawing, sculpting, animation, and 3D printing. Upon completion, students should be able to create artworks using various digital tools and software programs.

Ceramics

This course covers the history, materials, and methods of working in clay to create functional and sculptural objects. Students will be introduced to a variety of hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques and will have the opportunity to explore a variety of surface treatments. Emphasis is placed on developing a personal aesthetic while working within the functional traditions of the medium. Upon completion, students should be able to create both functional and sculptural objects in clay, using a variety of hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques, and to apply a variety of surface treatments.

Painting

This course is an exploration of the medium of painting. Students will be exposed to a variety of painting techniques while working with a variety of subject matter. Students will also be expected to analyze and critique their own work and the work of their peers. The course will culminate in a final project in which students will apply the techniques and knowledge they have acquired throughout the semester. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to paint with a variety of mediums and techniques, and have a strong understanding of the elements and principles of design.

Art History

This course covers the history of art from prehistoric times to the present day. The development of art is traced through an examination of the works of major artists, styles, and periods. The relationship between art and society is emphasized. Upon completion, students should be able to analyze and interpret works of art, apply the principles and vocabulary of art history, and compare and contrast the characteristics of various art periods.

Career Options for Art Graduates

Graduates of art programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including fine arts, graphic design, advertising, and web design. They may also work in fields such as education, museum curation, and event planning.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports. Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, color, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together on a page or screen, including how much space each will have. When using computer software, graphic designers need to be able to create the graphics and animations for the website or product they are designing.

Art Director

Art directors are responsible for the overall look and feel of a project, whether it’s an ad campaign, a magazine, a website, or a book. Working with a team of designers, copywriters, and other creatives, art directors develop concepts and oversee the execution of visual communications. In practice, that can mean anything from coming up with an initial idea for an ad to approving final layouts to making sure the colors are just right. Art directors usually have a background in graphic design or a related field.

Multimedia Artist

Multimedia artists use a combination of art and technology to create images, animations, and videos for a variety of digital platforms, including websites, video games, television, and movies. They work with a variety of tools, including computer-aided design (CAD) software, to create two- and three-dimensional models, animations, and visual effects. Multimedia artists typically specialize in one or more specific types of media, such as video, animation, or special effects.

Art Teacher

Art teachers work with students of all ages to help them develop their creativity and artistic skills. They may teach in a traditional classroom setting, in an after-school program, or in a community center. Art teachers typically develop lesson plans, assess student work, manage the classroom, collaborate with other teachers, and perform other administrative tasks.

Fine Artist

Fine artists create original works of art—paintings, sculptures, drawings, mixed media, and more—that are intended to be displayed in galleries, sold to collectors, or both. While some fine artists choose to work in a particular medium, others may experiment with a variety of mediums and styles throughout their careers. Many fine artists are self-employed and sell their work either directly to collectors or through galleries, although some may also teach art classes or work as curators, art directors, or in another arts-related field.

Insights From an Art Graduate

Mariyah Patrick is an Art Director at Wieden+Kennedy. She has a bachelor’s degree in art from the Rhode Island School of Design. Mariyah has over 10 years of experience in the advertising and design industry.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Art degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Mariyah Patrick: I think the most important thing I did was to get involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. I joined clubs, went to conferences, and took on leadership roles. I also made sure to get involved in the local creative community. I think it’s so important to network and meet people in your field.

I also made sure to get a diverse range of experience. I interned at a few different places, and I also took on freelance projects. I think it’s so important to get a variety of experiences so that you can figure out what you like and don’t like.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Art be good at?

Mariyah Patrick: Students interested in Art should be good at problem solving, be able to think outside the box, and be able to work under pressure. They should also be good at collaborating with others, as most projects will require input from a team.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Mariyah Patrick: The most challenging course I took was a class called “Color and Light.” It was a painting class, and the professor was really tough. I would definitely recommend that students take the time to practice and get comfortable with the material before starting the class.

I would also recommend that students try to get to know their professor. In my case, the professor was really helpful and gave me a lot of feedback that helped me improve my work.

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