The Top 15 Best Art Schools in California

Beautiful images, paintings, or any other beautiful artistic work can bring a smile to your face. Giving your friend a painting of his/herself means a whole lot to the person especially when you are the painter. Thus, art brings joy so, we have provided a well-detailed list of the top 15 best art schools in California.

Meanwhile, California is known for a wide range of things. It is full of activities and sights that make it an incredible place to reside or study. If you are the kind of person who likes to hike through the mountains, traverse through desert-land, and hit the beach then this is the school for you because California has it all.

While being a professional artist looks nice and all, lots of work are put in order to get that masterpiece. Thus, attending one of the best art schools in California is important. Furthermore, in this article, we will be listing the importance of attending art schools.

However, you might have some questions in mind. Questions like does art deal with only painting? Why attend art schools in California? What is the true definition of art? And many more. Thus, these questions are part of what prompted us to put together this article. As you carefully read further, you will find the answers you are seeking for.

Also Read: The Top 15 Best Art Schools in Florida

The Top 15 Best Art Schools in California

What Is Art?

The definition of art has generally fallen into three major categories: expression, representation, and form. There is no special definition of art, it has been described in different ways by different individuals. Thus, the definition of art can best be defined as expression, representation, and form.

However, according to Wikipedia, Art is a diverse range of resulting products, and human activity, that involves imaginative and creative talent expressive of technical beauty, emotional power, proficiency,  or conceptual ideas.

Meanwhile, art does not only consist of painting and drawing. It also consists of sculpture and architecture. Dance, Theatre, and other performing arts, as well as music, film, and literature, are included in a broader explanation of the arts.

Also Read: The Top 15 Best Art Schools in New York

Why Attend Best Art Schools in California?

The ideology of attending an art school is not basically to become an artist. Also, there are self-made artists around the globe but attending an art school has its impact. The importance of attending the best art schools in California is as follows;

  • It gives you enough practice and practice time. Of course, you can actually practice on your own time, and you perhaps have for years. If you love art, then you might do it a lot. But, how frequently do you have to take on a project that takes you out of your comfort zone? When you go to art school, you encounter the kind of practice that hones professional skills to perfection.
  • It teaches you new methods and mediums. You may think you have a style, but how many mediums, styles, and subjects have you actually tried? However, not only will you try out new styles and mediums you haven’t done, but you will also learn the structures, rules, principles, and elements of great art. Also, you will learn about art history. 
  • You’ll get access to professional equipment. From the printing presses to darkroom, woodshops, and firing kilns. Also, there are a lot of things you will get to experience at art school that you might not get to have on your own. In addition, with online art programs, you will likely have access to the software at a student price that you wouldn’t buy on your own.
  • Improves communication skills.
  • It is an added advantage to your resume.
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Also Read: Top 10 Online Art Schools

The Top 15 Best Art Schools in California

#1. Art Center College of Design

The 1st on our list of best art schools in California is the Art Center College of Design. A private art school in Pasadena in Los Angeles County, California. Also, this Los Angeles arts and design school is established in 1930.

At this Los Angeles School of Design and Arts, you can get the best education in Environmental Design, Advertising, Film, Fine Art, and Illustration.

Tuition Fee: $47,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 68%

Acceptance rate: 76%

#2. California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the second on our list of art schools in California. It is another very well-known art college in Los Angeles, California. Also, Like Arts Center College, it is a private art institute located in Santa Clara, Los Angeles.

So, while you get a guarantee of quality in your art education, it consists of 6 schools of Art, Dance, Film/Video, Critical Studies, Music, and Theater. CalArts offers varieties of graduate and undergraduate art programs to its students.

Tuition Fee: $50,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 67%

Acceptance rate: 27%

#3. California State University-Long Beach

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is indisputably the third on Our list. It is a comprehensive public university in Long Beach, California. This Los Angeles college is one of the best in California where you can get good Arts and Design degrees.

Through its College of Arts, CSULB offers Dance, Design, Art, Film, Music, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Theatre, and the Kleefeld Contemporary.

Tuition Fee: $9,622 after aid

Graduation rate: 69%

Acceptance rate: 42%

#4. Chapman University

Chapman University is a private university in Orange, LA, California, and is 4th on our list. It has an affiliation with the Disciples of Christ Christian denomination and was established in 1861.

However, when it comes to Art at Chapman, you can get an Arts degree through this California college’s Arts at Wilkinson College of Arts, Social, and Humanities Sciences, College of Performing Arts, and Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. At Wilkinson, you can take graduate and undergraduate degrees in Graphics Design, art, and Art History.

Tuition Fee: $41,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 79%

Acceptance rate: 58%

#5. Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is a Jesuit-affiliated university in Los Angeles, California. It was established in 1865 and offers some of the best degree programs for both graduates and undergraduates.

The College of Communication & Fine Arts at LMU offers all the art programs you can take at Loyola Marymount University.

Some of the popular programs here are the B.A in Music, B.A in Communication Studies, and M.F.A in Theatre Arts.

Tuition Fee: $43,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 79%

Acceptance rate: 50%

Also read: Best High School in California

#6. Mount Saint Mary’s University

Mount or Mount Saint Mary’s University, like Loyola Marymount University, is a Catholic-affiliated university that also comes 6th on our list. It is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, LA. While Mount is a comprehensive school in the United States of America, it offers some of the best art programs in LA.

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In this LA art college, you can take undergraduate degree programs in Art; media and film, communication, and Music. If it’s a master’s degree you need, you can take the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Television at The Mount.

Tuition Fee: $28,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 62%

Acceptance rate: 80%

#7. Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles was established as a private university in 1918 and offers some of the best graduate and undergraduate art programs in Los Angeles, California.

Furthermore, you can get quality BFA degrees in 16 art majors including Illustration, Fine Arts, Graphics Design, Landscape Design, and Fashion Design. Furthermore, you will get some of the finest MFA in Graphics Design, MFA in Fine Arts, and MFA in Writing at Otis College of Art and Design, LA.

Tuition Fee: $43,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 55%

Acceptance rate: 80%

#8. Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University is an LA private school located in Malibu, California. Although it’s established in 1937, it was located in Pepperdine, South Los Angeles. It has an affiliation with The Church of Christ.

The undergraduate degree programs are Art Minor and major, Art History Minor and major, Communication Minor and major, and Creative Writing Major and Mino History

Tuition Fee: $37,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 85%

Acceptance rate: 42%

#9. Pomona College

Pomona College is the college to attend in LA when you’re looking for an art school that will give you much greater access to the faculty.

To explore Arts at Pomona, you’ll have to enroll in any of this LA school’s 5 departments. These are the Art and History Department, The Museum of Art, the Art Department, the Music Department, and the Dance & Theatre Department.

Tuition Fee: $17,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 93%

Acceptance rate: 9%

#10. Santa Monica College

Now, if you’re thinking of an Associate’s Degree in Arts in LA, instead of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, then you will surely want to attend Santa Monica College.

Nonetheless, this Los Angeles college of Arts & Design offers some of the best art courses in California which you can finish in two years. Santa Monica’s popular degrees are Studio Art; and Associate in Art for Transfer – Art History Associate in Arts Degree – Art; Associate in Arts Degree for Transfer.

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition Fee: Avg cost after aid $3,286 and In-state tuition $1,148

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#11. The University of California-Irvine

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is established in 1965 as a comprehensive public research university in Irvine, California.

This Los Angeles art college consists of 4 departments – Dance, Art, Drama, and Music from which art students from Cal and around the world can get an incredible arts education.

Tuition Fee: $15,000

Graduation rate: 85%

Acceptance rate: 30%

#12. University of California-Los Angeles

The List of best art schools in California with good arts and design programs is not complete without the University of California, LA (UCLA). UCLA is located in Westwood, Los Angeles. It was established as a public research institution in 1919.

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Now, UCLA offers a comprehensive list of art and design programs in LA through three schools. These are the Herb Alpert School of Music, School of the Arts and Architecture, and the School of Theater, Film, and Television.

Tuition Fee: $14,000 after aid

Graduation Rate: 91%

Acceptance Rate: 14%

#13. University of Southern California

Another USA college that people would always talk about when it comes to art and design degree programs is the University of Southern California (USC). USC is a private university in Los Angeles but it is one with a large population.

In addition, the LA college also offers additional programs in Creative Writing, Arts Journalism, and International Artists Program.

Tuition Fee: $30,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 92%

Acceptance rate: 16%

#14. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1868 as the University of California, it is the state’s 1st land-grant university and the very first campus of the University of California system.

The university is accredited by the Colleges Senior Colleges and Western Association of Schools and University Commission since 1949.

Tuition Fee: $15,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 91%

Acceptance rate: 17%

#15. University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a public land grant research university in San Diego, California. Founded in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The university offers 125 bachelor’s degree programs categorized into five disciplinary divisions: biological sciences, arts and humanities, mathematics and physical sciences, engineering, and social sciences.

Tuition Fee: $14,000 after aid

Graduation rate: 85%

Acceptance rate: 37%

Also read: Study at the University Of Southern California 2022: Admission, Tuition Fees


California is a fun place to study as it has a lot of fun activities and good art schools. Also, art schools will teach you a lot.

As always, we are here to assist you if you need any information. We will surely give you a positive response.

FAQs on Best Art Schools in California

What do you learn in art school?

Different mediums that are taught include painting, printmaking, drawing and illustration, theatre, and sculpture. Newer programs can include graphic design, filmmaking, graffiti art, and certain kinds of digital media.

Is going to art school worth it?

Art schools offer a unique learning experience for students serious about the arts. They provide a focused education on the arts that may not be found at other colleges and provide an environment conducive to producing art, which is something many students find helpful in their educational careers. So, yes art school is worth it

Should I get an art degree?

Despite the stigma surrounding art majors, an art degree can be an excellent opportunity to develop and hone the studio skills necessary to forge a career as a professional artist.

How many art schools are there in California?

California is home to a whopping 454+ accredited art schools, technical schools, and traditional colleges and universities.

What is the California College of the arts known for?

California College of the Arts educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing.

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