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2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools

99 Colleges
$29,542 Avg Salary
$27,114 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Design & Applied Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 2,088 people earned a degree or certificate in design and applied arts, making the major the #89 most popular in the United States.

It's not easy to decide which program to enroll in when you have so many options available. As online education oppotunities continue to grow, you're not restricted to just schools in your local area anymore. Even some of the 'big name' schools are offering online courses. Also, there are a number of trade schools with offerings that you might find attractive.

The Best Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking is one of many tools that Grad Degree Search has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 99 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Design & Applied Arts Colleges.

Top 15% Best Design & Applied Arts Schools

#1

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Our 2021 rankings named Cornell University the best school in the United States for design and applied arts students. Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Ithaca.

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#2

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Notre Dame. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Notre Dame is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Notre Dame.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Atlanta, Georgia Tech is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Northeastern University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

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#5

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Carnegie Mellon University. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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Illinois Institute of Technology came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Illinois Tech is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago.

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University of Delaware came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. U of Delaware is a very large public school located in the suburb of Newark.

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With a ranking of #8, University of Washington - Seattle Campus did quite well on this year’s best schools for design and applied arts students. Located in the city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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University of Minnesota - Twin Cities landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best design and applied arts programs. Located in the large city of Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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#10

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

Endicott College ranked #10 on this year’s Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Endicott is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Beverly.

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Lawrence Technological University came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools ranking. Located in the city of Southfield, Lawrence Tech is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#12

American University

Washington, DC

With a ranking of #12, American University did quite well on this year’s best schools for design and applied arts students. The American University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

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#13

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

Clemson University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #13 on the list. Clemson is a very large public school located in the suburb of Clemson.

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North Carolina State University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. NC State is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Raleigh.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Design & Applied Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
15 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
16 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
17 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
18 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
19 Boston University Boston, MA

Design & Applied Arts by Region

View the Best Design & Applied Arts Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Design & Applied Arts is one of 9 different types of programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Design

Related Major Annual Graduates
Music 8,012
Fine & Studio Arts 3,854
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 2,066
Drama & Theater Arts 1,884
Arts & Media Management 1,166

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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