Art is a gift, a talent, and a craft that needs practice, instruction, and refinement. Those reasons are just a few of the reasons why the leading artists in the world also seek to further their education in art, and why they seek out the top art programs. The good news is there are many good schools for students who are seeking post-secondary education at art colleges in California.
The one caveat with art programs, however, is that they typically tend to be smaller classes. Some programs only accept a limited number of students, and it isn’t uncommon for students to be denied as a result of non-academic issues. That also means acceptance rates is an important consideration when choosing a school, and it is also a reminder to apply to more than one program. Now, without further ado, our list of the top art colleges in California.
Best 15 Art Colleges in California
1. San Francisco State University (96 points)
In addition to being a well-recognized and highly regarded university, San Francisco State University also offers students excellent opportunities to pursue a degree in art. Affordable tuition rates and a strong acceptance rate for this University also helps this excellent program to earn the top spot on our list of the top art colleges in California.
Tuition: $7,266 per year
Acceptance rate: 67%
2. San José State University (92 points)
Another well-recognized school, San Jose State University, makes a good showing on our list of the top art colleges in California. Along with also having affordable tuition costs, this program can boast of a plus 60% acceptance rate.
Tuition: $7,852 per year
Acceptance rate: 64%
3. Laguna College of Art and Design (91 points)
While the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach doesn’t carry the same type of name recognition as some of the other larger schools on our list, this art school does carry a great art program. While students will have to navigate stout tuition fees, an impressive tuition rate doesn’t do anything to hurt this program’s ranking.
Tuition: $31,600 per year
Acceptance rate: 81%
4. California State University Long Beach (90 points)
For students seeking a good art program, the California State University Long Beach is worthy of a look. Although this school’s acceptance rate numbers are that exciting, list-leading tuition rates might be for students looking for more affordable art programs.
Tuition: $6,834 per year
Acceptance rate: 39%
5. Otis College of Art and Design (88 points)
Students will find a well-respected art program at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. While this private institution presents stout tuition rates it also offers impressive acceptance rates of nearly 80%.
Tuition: $48,380 per year
Acceptance rate: 78%
6. Woodbury University (87 points)
Another school among the private college ranks that students should consider is Woodbury University in Burbank. This post-secondary educational institution offers students an excellent art program, although stout tuition rates will require financial assistance for most. Solid acceptance rates also don’t hurt this program’s argument either.
Tuition: $41,182 per year
Acceptance rate: 66%
7. San Diego State University (86 points)
A well-recognized school, what might not be so well known is the great art program offered at San Diego State University. This established University also can boast of very good tuition rates which help to offset less-than-impressive acceptance rates and to earn this art program at SDSU a place on our list of the top art colleges in California.
Tuition: $7,510 per year
Acceptance rate: 34%
7. California College of the Arts (86 points)
Students who are seeking the top art colleges in California may want to investigate the wonderful art program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Considerable tuition rates will typically need financial help for most, and impressive acceptance rates don’t do anything to hurt this program’s ranking either.
Tuition: $51,092 per year
Acceptance rate: 85%
9. Whittier College (83 points)
Another one of the several private institutions on our list of the top art colleges in California, Whittier College offers an excellent arts degree course. Like many of its private school counterparts, students will need to navigate stiff tuition rates but this program does have a nearly 60% acceptance rate.
Tuition: $49,514 per year
Acceptance rate: 57%
9. University of San Francisco (83 points)
The art program at the University of San Francisco is no secret, and students seeking art colleges in California should have this program on their shortlist. While hefty tuition rates will mean seeking some type of financial aid, enrolling students can be encouraged by solid acceptance rate numbers.
Tuition: $50,282 per year
Acceptance rate: 64%
11. University of California San Diego (80 points)
The University of California San Diego campus is one of two of this college’s campuses to make our list of the top art colleges in California. This school located in La Jolla offers manageable tuition rates which help to offset low acceptance rate numbers.
Tuition: $14,415 per year
Acceptance rate: 31%
12. The University of California, Los Angeles (79 points)
The other University of California campus, the Los Angeles campus, is the other art degree program from this University to make our list. This program earns a place on the strength of strong tuition rates, and it should earn a second look for students seeking a top art college too.
Tuition: $13,240 per year
Acceptance rate: 12%
13. Loyola Marymount University (78 points)
The renowned art program at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles is a wonderful choice for students who are pursuing a degree in art. This top art program has unsurprisingly larger tuition costs and struggling acceptance rates which suggest that students should also enroll in a backup school or two.
Tuition: $50,683 per year
Acceptance rate: 44%
14. Santa Clara University (75 points)
This small private college has earned big recognition and offers students an excellent art program for those pursuing art degrees. Students should prepare for considerable tuition fees, and if they are admitted (as nearly half are), then they can prepare for a wonderful career in the world of art with a degree from this top art program.
Tuition: $53,634 per year
Acceptance rate: 49%
15. Chapman University (74 points)
Closing out our list of the top art colleges in California is the art program at Chapman University in Orange, CA. This recognized program offers solid acceptance rates which help to offset its sizeable tuition costs.
Tuition: $54,924 per year
Acceptance rate: 56%
How the Schools and Programs Were Ranked
All of the schools on our list of the top art colleges in California were ranked on the same 100-point scoring system. Each school was awarded points based on two evenly weighted factors, with each school being awarded points on the same two factors. Each factor made up one half of the total score. The points were then assigned to each corresponding school and ranked according to total point values.
We strive to provide our readers with information that is helpful, useful, and informative. Despite those efforts, it is important that readers realize that the information and data we provide can only be considered approximation as the data for each school is in a state of constant flux. If you notice an error or information that is outdated, please let us know.
If you have any questions regarding any of the information, schools, or programs on our lists, please contact us for help and good luck in all of your educational pursuits.