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Academy of Art University

San Francisco, United States

Private -1929


International Student Rate


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History, Affiliations and Rankings

The Academy of Art University is a private for-profit Art college located in San Francisco, California, which was established in 1929 as Académie of Advertising Art, a school for advertising art. It boasts 283 full-time teachers, 1154 part-time teaching staff, and around 12,600 students. The founder, Richard S. Stephens, a painter and magazine editor, led it till 1951 when his son Richard A. Stephens took over as the dean, who in 1992 was replaced by his daughter Elisa Stephens. The name of the school was changed to Academy of Art University in 2004 to recognise its scope, depth, and quality of education.

Today, it is one of the largest, privately accredited schools for Art and Design in the United States that prepares professional Artists and Designers for the 21st-century creative marketplace. The Academy of Art University has a sporting affiliation with NCAA Division II. Moreover, it is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which is among the seven associations that accredit private and public colleges and schools in the US. It ranks #105-115 in Regional Universities West and #114 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (tie) by the US News and World Report 2024. 

Infrastructure, Campuses and Courses

Academy of Art University is among the most diverse artistic communities worldwide. Several points contribute to making it an ideal institute to start a career in Art and Design. Their urban campus includes housing, dining, and academic services, creating a distinctive college atmosphere in one of the world's most creative capitals, San Francisco. 

The university provides more than 129 art degree programs including Associate degrees, Certificates, Bachelor's degrees, and Master's degrees. The courses are offered in more than 20+ academic areas, including Advertising, Acting, Architecture, Fashion, Game Development, Music Production, Film, Television and Digital Media, Industrial Design and more. In addition, the institute provides short-term courses, foundation courses, a Liberal Arts program, and study abroad opportunities. 

The programs offered by the Academy of Art University are designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the real world. The practice-based curriculums at the institutes help students stand out from the crowd. 

Accomplishments and Alumni 

The Academy of Art University is a fully accredited institution that was awarded regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2007. ThoughtCo. ranks Academy of Art University as the #1 among the Best Fashion Schools in America. It is the first Art University that was invited to showcase student artwork at the New York Fashion Week. Besides, artwork created by the University's students and alumni is showcased in 70+ art shows and gallery exhibitions annually. Further, the Academy's Athletics program became the first in the history of the NCAA to win a National Championship (Women's Track & Field) in its first year of eligibility. The University's alumni network is a global community of creatives, who span nearly 112 countries across the globe. It consists of successful graduates, like Victor Wagner, an alumnus of the School of Animation and Visual Effects at the University who was Technical Director and Key FX artist in Disney production, The Lion King. Other notable alumni are - Heidi Montag (American Television Personality), Raven Symone (American Actress), Ashwini Bhave (Indian Actress), Rick Baker (American actor and Academy Award Winner for Best Makeup Effects and Hairstyling) and more. 

Student Diversity and Visiting Companies

The Academy of Art University values diversity in all its dimensions. The University has more than 8,900 student enrolments out of which about 6,100 are Undergraduates and about 2,800 are Postgraduates with more than 800 faculty members on its premises. They have 36% of the total students as international students hailing from 115 countries on the campus. The male to female ratio is 43:57 at the Academy of Art University making it a fairly gender-balanced university. Further, there are plenty of exciting student clubs and organizations to get involved in, including, the Anime Club, LGBTQ Club, Jewelry and Metal Arts Club and clubs for Improv, Drama, Comedy, Concept Art and more. Further, graduates from the Academy of Art University have worked on award-winning productions including, Disney's The Lion King, Avengers: End Game, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Irishmen and several more. Some of the leading recruiters at this University are Tesla, Forrestperkins, Levi's, Moad, Chanel and others.

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