Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 20 Universities for Art and Design - in the world

Are these the top 20 Universities for Art and Design in the World?

That's what the latest 2016 QS World University Subject Rankings for Art and Design indicate. The 6th annual edition of these rankings of 1,376 institutions around the world were published today and you can see the complete listing by clicking the above link.  The methodology which produces the rankings is based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact and rankings are based on the views of academics and employers - who are not allowed to vote for their own university! You can read the full explanation of the methodology.

The links in the names below go to the relevant website for that institution. 
Last year's rankings come in brackets after the name.

As I worked my way through the websites I couldn't help but notice that some institutions made a bit more effort compared to others to bring design skills to their website! (The "do you practice what you preach?" test!). I've included some screenshots of some of the websites.

1.  Royal College of Art (1) United Kingdom  - this is their blog post about RCA Takes Global Top-spot in Art and Design – Again. The RCA is, of course, a postgraduate institution and one which has long been held in high regard.   This is a list of people who are alumni of the RCA and this is their Facebook Page


2.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (4) United States. MIT is a private university located in Boston. It doesn't have an art school as such - however it does do considerable research into design related matters

3.  Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) (3) United States. One of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the U.S. Nice website!



4.  Parsons School of Design at The New School (2) United States. Parsons is a private art and design college located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City.  It now has a Paris Campus.

5.  University of the Arts London (8) United Kingdom


6.  Pratt Institute (5) United States. The Institute was founded in 1887 and is primarily known for its highly ranked programs in art, design and architecture. It has campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City.

Pratt Institute Ranked One of the World’s Top Colleges for Art and Design by QS

7. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) (6) United States



8. Stanford University (17) United States. The University has a Department of Art and Art History. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in art history, art practice, design, documentary filmmaking, and film studies.  It's also one of the few websites which highlights works by students

Departmental website
9. Yale University (15) United States. The Yale School of Art was founded in 1864 as the first professional fine arts school in the United States and is located in New Haven Connecticut. It has a great approach to the development of its website! It says who last changed it and anybody can edit it. Impressive!
This website is the continuously evolving effort of many people from many disciplines within the Yale School of Art and its wider circles. It is a wiki, meaning that every graduate student, staff person, and faculty member of the School can change this website’s content or add to it at any time. (Logins for other friends, alums, and members of the school are coming soon.)

10. Politecnico di Milano (11) Italy Based in Milan, this university has an english version of its website. It has a fascinating history.

11. Goldsmiths, University of London (12) United Kingdom - Goldsmiths, in South London, describes itself as being
a close-knit community, a rich academic heritage, a creative powerhouse, a thought-provoking place.
Four global top 40 subjects for Goldsmiths in QS university league table

12.  California Institute of the Arts (7) United States. CalArts is a private university located in the Valencia area within Santa Clarita in Los Angeles. They need to take a long hard look at the best designed websites of the top universities for art and design!

13.  Carnegie Mellon University (16) United States Art and design are delivered by the College of Fine Arts which includes the the School of Architecture, School of Art, School of Design. The website is well structured but lacks visual appeal.

14.  University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (18) United States  Not a website that inspires for this subject area.

15.  University of Oxford (13) United Kingdom The Ruskin School of Art provides an art education in contemporary art practice. Other guides also identify it as a leading art school. There's also a department teaching the History of Art
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, the Complete University Guide 2016 and the 2016 Guardian University Guide all identify the Ruskin as the leading art school in the UK
The Ruskin School of Art
16.  RMIT University (20) Australia described as a global university of technology and design and Australia's largest tertiary institution. Website more boring than most.

17.  Aalto University (14) Finland Their website automatically recognises visitors from English speaking countries. Plus they've got their news item up on their website Art and design at Aalto ranked 17th in university comparison

18.  Design Academy Eindhoven (19) Netherlands - an interdisciplinary educational institute for art, architecture and design in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

19.  Art Center College of Design (9) United States. It has an impressive visual and video based introduction to its website.

20. The Glasgow School of Art (10) United Kingdom  The Art School suffered a major fire recently but is recovering and rebuilding.

Glasgow School of Art - extract from the website

Changes in the rankings


The top twenty unversities stayed the same but there was some considerable movement within the rankings.

Climbers include:
  • MIT, USA
  • University of the Arts, London
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University, USA
  • Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  • RMIT, Australia


Those that have dropped significantly down the rankings (more than two places) in the last year include:
  • California Institute of the Arts, USA
  • Aalto University, Finland
  • Art Center College of Design, USA
  • The Glasgow School of Art, UK

Geographical focus of the top 20 art and design universities 2016

The countries represented in the list are:
  • USA - 11
  • UK - 5
  • Italy - 1
  • Australia - 1 
  • Finland - 1
  • Netherlands - 1
However London is way out in front in terms of the city with the most universities in the top 20. It's got three including the top rated university - the RCA.

More articles on these rankings:


1 comment:

Linda Warner Constantino said...

I find their criteria interesting. Number of citations per paper? I think there is a huge difference between schools (colleges)that teach painting, illustration, design printmaking, etc and universities that stress publishing of papers and include art history.
Based on first review,I think it would be interesting if they broke it down more. It seems to emphasize reputation, course offerings and writings publish.
I teach at Savannah College of Art and Design and we have slipped in the rankings, kind of hard to understand why from this criteria. It is not a university though and you cannot earn a Phd there.

I certainly will agree that London is an amazing art environment! I love it! Seems like a wonderful place to go for an arts education
Linda Warner Constantino

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