2018 Top Online Schools for Fine Arts

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering fine arts degrees online.

Advertisement This search widget accesses a list of schools that help sponsor this website by paying a small fee for student inquiries. They are all accredited institutions. Some may be included in our rankings, but that is not related to their participation as an advertiser. In general, evaluating as many schools as possible (whether through this widget or through other sources of information) will help you find the best fit.

Find online degree programs

Tell us what you're looking for and we'll get you started!

School Rankings


Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

The online arts program at Edinboro University prepares artists to be teachers or art therapists. The Master of Arts in Counseling - Art Therapy is a 60-credit program that can be completed 100 percent online. Graduates are eligible to become a registered art therapist and a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Applicants must have at least 18 credits in studio art and at least 12 credits in psychology classes at the undergraduate or graduate level. A Post-Master's Certificate in Art Therapy and a Master of Arts in Art Education are also offered in an online format. Edinboro's graduate education programs were among the Best Online Programs in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report college rankings.


SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College has a range of degree options for students interested in fine arts. Students can earn an associate degree or bachelor's in a concentration of their choice. Visual arts concentrations include sculpture, crafts, and design. Media arts concentrations include film or video. Students can also create an interdisciplinary concentration. The arts program at SUNY Empire State takes advantage of the unique arts resources located in New York City, including partnerships with local arts organizations. Arts majors are eligible for scholarships such as the Crystal Scriber Scholarship, a merit based award with preference given to arts students, and the Joseph Goldberg Memorial Scholarship, which also specifies a preference for arts or interdisciplinary students.


University of Florida

University of Florida's MA in Art Education admits students with baccalaureates in Art Education, Art, or Art History. That's because across the span of two years, students delve back into each of those areas before embarking on a six-credit, research-based capstone. The 36-credit program is completely online, although enrollees may take advantage of optional Summer Studio sessions on campus. The innovative MA in Arts in Medicine (also available as a Graduate Certificate) accepts students with health or art backgrounds who want to use art as a treatment approach. Students complete a practicum as part of the 35-credit curriculum.

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

50,645 Students


Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD, offers a variety of online programs for students who want to earn a degree in the fine arts. Some of the degrees available online include a Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Animation, Bachelor of Arts in Sequential Art, master's programs in illustration, undergraduate and graduate degrees in photography, and an M.F.A. in Painting. Most classes are offered in an asynchronous format where students log in at a time that is convenient to them to do coursework and comment on class discussion boards. Online classes are offered on a 10-week schedule, the same calendar used for SCAD's traditional classroom courses.


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has a low-residency Master of Fine Arts program that combines online courses in the spring and fall with three eight-week intensive summer sessions held on the campus in Philadelphia. When on campus, students have their own private studio for independent work. Students start the program in one summer and complete it at the end of the third summer, with candidates producing a visual thesis. Incoming students receive an iPad that they will use to document and share their work while they are off campus. They receive training in using the technology during their first residency.


Radford University

Undergraduate art students at Radford University can concentrate in fields such as studio art, art history, or museum studies. Art majors can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts or get a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art and have an additional major in a field such as marketing or media studies. Radford is also known for its art education program. At the graduate level, Radford grants a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art, a 60-credit program that includes a thesis exhibition and written thesis. Radford has two art museum spaces plus gallery spaces for students and faculty exhibits. The Radford Foundation offers a variety of specialized scholarships, such as the Carson Scholarship for art majors.

CAG Score 95.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

9,743 Students


Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has a blended program leading to a Master of Arts in Art that is designed for working art teachers who want a studio-focused degree. This is a 30-credit program with classes offered online in the fall and winter, when teachers are working, and on campus over the summer. For this practice-oriented degree, students choose an area of study: painting, drawing, jewelry and metals, ceramics, sculpture, or wood turning and furniture design. Candidates develop a studio project and take part in an exhibition. Applicants must have a degree in art (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, or Bachelor of Science in Art Education). This program is also appropriate for teachers seeking PDE Level II certification.

CAG Score 93.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,835 Students


Azusa Pacific University

Students with an interest in modern art can earn a Master of Arts in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism entirely online at Azusa Pacific University. This is a 12-course program that students can complete in as little as a year and a half without ever having to attend meetings or events on campus. This degree prepares students for careers such curating art, museum work, or teaching. Artists who enjoy teaching may also be interested in Azusa Pacific's newest online program, the Master of Arts in Arts Education, a low-residency program that will require two week-long intensives on the APU campus.


University of Nebraska at Kearney

University of Nebraska Kearney provides practical degree options for non-practitioners with undergraduate degrees in visual arts or art education. The MEd in Art Education has two possible emphases - Museum Education and Classroom Education - both of which can be completed 100 percent online. The 36-credit degrees have different core requirements, but both focus on curriculum development and teaching methods. All students choose 18 elective credits before completing a research methods course and final research paper in their chosen area.


Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has a Master of Arts in Art that is a low-residency online program. The degree requires 33 credits, and students may take as many as 27 of those credits through distance learning. Students are required to attend either one semester on campus or two three-week summer sessions on campus when they begin working on the degree so that they can become familiar with the faculty and facilities. The graduate thesis exhibition also needs to take place on campus, and students usually do this during a three-week summer session. Applicants should have studied art as an undergraduate and must submit photos of their work.


Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture

The Institute of American Indian Arts offers an online certificate in Native American Art History. This program is interdisciplinary, including historical overviews of the art of Native Americans, First Nations, and the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. Students use a variety of disciplines to examine art, including archaeology, anthropology, and art history. This is a 30-credit program with 18 credits in required core courses and 12 credits in electives. As part of the program, students will learn about oral history research and other research methods.


Harvard University

Students can earn a bachelor's degree or graduate certificate in visual arts through Harvard University's Harvard Extension School. The Visual Arts Graduate Certificate requires three courses and can be completed entirely online. The undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Visual Arts. This program requires students to "earn their way in" with an admission process that requires them to successfully complete three courses for the degree before applying to the program. The bachelor's degree requires 128 credits. While many courses are offered online, students must complete at least 16 credits on the Harvard campus. Options include a full-time semester on campus, online courses that require a weekend on campus, or three- or seven-week classes taught at Harvard.


Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania has an online degree-completion program that leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. All of the art history courses for the degree are offered online. Students must also complete 55 credits in general education coursework and 35 elective credits. Students can choose to complete their general education credits elsewhere and transfer them, because online choices for these courses can be limited at Mansfield. Students may attend this program on a full-time or part-time basis, although courses that are not related to the art history major are most often offered over the summer.

CAG Score 92.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,352 Students


Bellevue University

Bellevue University offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Creativity that is designed to help students make a career of their art by adding classes in entrepreneurship to the traditional M.F.A. classes focusing on art. The program defines "art" in a broad sense, so the program is open to students who are interested in fields such as public art, costume design, architecture, graphic art, or writing. The curriculum includes two on-campus residencies, which span 10 days, and two virtual residencies. Students are also required to complete seven core courses and to complete a thesis, project and presentation. Courses cover topics such as art and value creation, art market awareness, small enterprise basics, and creativity and technology.

Film Video Photo

View Colleges