In the increasingly diverse world of visual arts, there are now more opportunities than ever to put skill and talent to work. From museums to education, to advertising agencies, the artistically versatile are called upon for important roles. Undergraduates interested in building a future in the arts may consider a degree in entertainment management, as this will provide both a foundation and needed industry connections. A visual arts masters degree online is one of the ways career-oriented artists are advancing their capacity in the industry.
The following ranking represents the top 5 online masters degrees in visual arts. These schools were selected through a focused research process, on the key elements of a strong online degree in the visual arts.
The majority of these online visual arts programs are considered low-residency; the majority of this type of program is completed online but does require some on-campus coursework. While periodic travel may be a stretch for some, there are great benefits to joining your arts community in person.
For more general information regarding online learning, visit our ranking of the top online colleges.
In determining the order of this ranking, we awarded points based on:
- Range of visual arts academics, blending studio and career-focused curriculum (1-5 points)
- Faculty artist expertise in visual arts mediums (1-3 points)
- Students testimonials and alumni success stories (1-3 points)
- Visual arts networking opportunities (1-3 points)
- An additional point was awarded for noteworthy features that made it a top college for an entertainment management major.
In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower net price appears higher in the ranking
Tuition and other data were sourced from each college’s prospective website.
Here is the list of ranked colleges that represent our picks for the top 5 online master’s degrees in visual arts.
Featured Online Schools
#1 – SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
ONLINE MFA IN VISUAL ARTS / ONLINE MA IN DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Program Tuition: 1,490.00 per-credit-hour
One of the best-known names in higher education, School of Visual Arts draws the best in the field. SVA has three masters options for those seeking the best online visual media degree; these degrees include an online MFA in art practice, an online MFA in visual narrative, and an MA in photography. All three online graduate programs are low-residency, requiring students to attend summer courses on the NYC campus. SVA’s graduate curriculum encourages students to hone their skills as they build a longterm career. SVA’s extensive network in NYC and beyond opens many promising opportunities.
#2 – SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN
ONLINE MASTER’S IN VISUAL ARTS
Program Tuition: $834.00 per-credit-hour
Savannah College College of Art and Design is a celebrated school in arts academia of all kinds. SCAD has an eLearning division with multiple online graduate degrees in visual arts; among these visual arts degrees include an MA or MFA in graphic design, MA or MFA in illustration, an MA or online MFA in visual arts and photography, an MFA in painting, among others. Graduates of the online degree in visual arts report feeling supported and connected to faculty and advisors. SCAD is known to have extensive connections with potential industry employers, and SCAD reports a 99% employment rate of its spring 2017 graduates.
#3 – ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY
ONLINE VISUAL ARTS MASTER’S PROGRAMS
Program Tuition: $982.00 per-credit-hour
Academy of Art University is San Francisco-based school with an excellent reputation in the field. In 2002, this school has added two of the best online visual arts degrees to their offerings, an MA in fine arts and an online MFA in fine arts. The online MA in fine arts has concentration options in drawing and painting, printmaking, or sculpture; the more intensive online MFA degree option has the same concentrations available, with more required credit-hours. Academy of Art University’s faculty consists of high-respected practicing artists in a vast range of art mediums. This college has excellent, innovative online classroom technology, enhancing the distance-learning experience.
#4 – VERMONT COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
ONLINE MFA DEGREE IN VISUAL ARTS
Program Tuition: 13,900.00 per six-month residency
Based in the quaint city of Montpelier, Vermont College of Fine Arts has a proud history of attracting visionaries. VCFA is home to the nation’s first low-residency MFA; this online master’s in visual arts requires periodic campus visits, but the majority of artwork and academics are done long-distance. The visual arts MFA is 60-credits, and students are connected with a visual artist mentor in their hometown. VCFA provides a combination of challenging academics, top-notch instructor faculty, open creative discourse, and independence to design their career path. VCFA has numerous available scholarships to help aid in tuition costs.
#5 – PENNSYLVANIA ACADEMY OF THE FINE ARTS
VISUAL ARTS MFA ONLINE
Program Tuition: $1,330.00 per-credit-hour
Founded in 1805, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is among the best-recognized arts degree institutions. For those pursuing a visual arts MFA online, PAFA offers a low-residency master’s program; this graduate visual arts degree online is suited for students who want both the flexibility of distance learning and a community-centric campus experience. PAFA’S MFA curriculum spans visual arts, art history, studio electives, lectures, and much more.Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is known to have inspiring visiting artists; these artists conduct lectures, seminars, and other special programming.