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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.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. 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.

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 analysis found Cornell University to be the best school for design and applied arts students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Cornell is a fairly 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

Out of the 99 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Notre Dame landed the # 2 spot on the list. Notre Dame is a fairly 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 very large student population.

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The excellent programs at Northeastern University helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best design and applied arts schools in the United States. Located in the city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#5

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Carnegie Mellon University. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Design & Applied Arts Schools list. Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly 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 moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chicago.

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University of Delaware landed the #7 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best design and applied arts programs. U of Delaware is a fairly large public school located in the large 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 college with a very 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 school with a very 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 suburb of Beverly.

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Lawrence Technological University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for design and applied arts students. It came in at #11 on the list. 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

American University landed the #12 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best design and applied arts programs. The American University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington.

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#13

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

Clemson University landed the #13 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best design and applied arts programs. 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 very 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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