Online Art and Design Degrees

Ready to start your journey?

If you are looking for a career that allows you the freedom to explore your talents and challenges you to grow, consider one of the various online art degrees available.

Online Art Degrees

Do you have an eye for color and design? Do you enjoy creating visual works of art in various forms of media? Some people are born to be creative and let that creativity flow by turning their passion into an exciting career through art degrees online.

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Now, more than ever, more and more students are returning to school to pursue their passions and change careers. When juggling work responsibilities or family life, choosing to earn your art or design degree online can be the perfect solution to achieve your educational goals.

Online Art Degrees

There are several majors and concentrations available for online art degrees, such as computer animation, fashion design, game design and development, web design, and photography.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

At the bachelor’s level for online art and design degrees, you can learn about basic concepts and principles of design and gain experience through hands-on projects.

Computer Animation

Computer Animators working on their new project

A computer animation degree involves the study of developing stories and bringing them to life using visualization, modeling, and animation tools.

You can learn about character rigging, which means adding and adjusting features to characters to make them move. The program can also introduce you to various 2D and 3D animation techniques and modeling tools used in the field. This is a hands-on program that allows students to use computer applications to create animations and multimedia designs.

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This is one of the online bachelor’s degrees in art and design that can be useful for a number of careers in the creative space, such as 2D or 3D animators, computer animators, storyboard artists, or multimedia designers.

Fashion Design

Fashion Designer editing an image

If you have an interest in fashion, retail, or merchandising, you might consider an art degree in fashion design.

It’s a multidisciplinary program because it introduces students to the foundations of business, product development, photography, and fashion fundamentals. You may also study the history of the fashion industry and how past fashion trends have an effect on current and future trends.

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You may take courses on textiles to study different fibers and fabrics, color and design, and fashion illustration. This degree can prepare you for a career as a fashion illustrator, fashion designer, retail manager, and other related careers.

Game Art & Development

Game Art & Developer working on new characters

Game art and development degrees focus on the front-end development of game systems. If you’re interested in designing visuals and characters for games, this might be a good art degree for you.

The curriculum consists of game development and design, interactive media, introduction to design tools, and 3D modeling and animation. Key skills developed can include character rigging, digital illustration, texturing and shading, and design optimization.

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This degree may be useful for a career as a 3D modeler, video game developer, animator, or user interface artist.

Graphic Design

Online Graphic Design student working on his project

A degree in graphic design teaches students how to use different design tools and technologies to create various forms of visual content.

If you like working with computer applications to create visuals, you might enjoy a graphic design program. Graphic design coursework focuses on the design and bringing visual concepts to life. Design tools, typography, brand identity, and user experience are common topics explored.

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Students may choose elective courses that align with the industry they wish to work in, such as web development or marketing. Graphic design occupations can include graphic designer, logo designer, marketing specialist, or web designer.

Interior Design

Interior Designers discussing about color palette

Interior design is the art of creating comfortable and functional spaces for a variety of buildings, such as homes or business offices.

A bachelor’s in interior design introduces students to the fundamentals of interior design and building modeling. Core subjects studied include color and composition, principles of business, and computer-aided design software. Hands-on studio courses may be offered to allow you to put the skills and knowledge you develop into practice.

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An interior design degree can be useful for various creative careers, such as interior designer, art director, design or lighting consultant, or design manager.


Student taking Photography Degree online

If you want to take your photography interests and skills to the next level, a photography art degree might be a good fit for you. This degree program focuses on the fundamentals of photography and different camera and lighting tools and techniques.

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The main topics covered can include traditional and digital photography, design composition, editing techniques, and location lighting. This degree might be beneficial if you want to pursue a career as a sports event, fashion, or freelance photographer. If you enjoy photo editing, you might consider a career as a photo retouching specialist or photo editor.

Web Design & Development

Web Developer working on a new website project

A web design and development degree program teaches students key skills in programming, computer databases, web interface design, and web application development.

The curriculum concentrates on the fundamentals of web development and design. You may be introduced to common web applications used in the field, such as JavaScript. Core coursework offered can include an introduction to programming, principles of cybersecurity, system analysis, and design, and an introduction to databases.

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Computer programmer, web designer, or web developer are some career options that may be pursued with a web design and development degree.

Art Careers & Salaries

Art Careers & Salaries

In the table below, we have listed a handful of different careers in art and design to help you get an idea of what is available after students graduate from art colleges online along with their respective annual median salaries according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Art Directors $100,890
Web and Digital Interface Designers $79,890
Special Effects Artists and Animators $78,790
Fashion Designers $77,450
Industrial Designers $77,030
Interior Decorators $60,340
Graphic Designers $50,710
Craft and Fine Artists $49,960
Cinematographers $49,230
Photographers $38,950

The salaries that you can expect after earning your art bachelors degree online are as varied as your career options.

While many graduates begin in entry-level positions, it is possible to meet or exceed the mid-career salaries listed above after dedicating 10 or more years to your chosen profession. When considering the art and design career outlook and salary information, the BLS predicts that art and design careers will grow by 2% over the next 10 years.

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Art and design is a diverse major, and as previously discussed, the average salary can vary widely. After completing and fine arts degree online you may earn more or less than someone who completed a graphic design program.

View our list of the top 40 Art careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Art and Design Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Students taking Art and Design Bachelor in a group work

The curriculum of an online fine arts degree can vary depending on the program you may choose. Some general core courses offered in an art and design degree program can include:

  • Art History: This course may be offered in multiple parts and introduces students to the deep history of art, including notable artists and cultural influences.
  • Basic Drawing: This is an introductory course that teaches students about basic drawing techniques and approaches using different types of media and subject matter.
  • Graphic Design: Students learn about fundamental graphic design concepts, strategies, and tools.
  • 3D Design: This course introduces students to the concepts of three-dimensional design, including using various materials and digital technology tools to develop 3D creations.
  • Illustration: In this course, students learn about aspects of design and how to use various mediums to create illustrative materials.
  • Printmaking: This course can teach you about the printmaking process, including different methods such as relief and lithography.
  • Modern Art: Students learn about artistic work prior to the mid-20th century and include the study of notable art movements, such as Impressionism and Cubism.
  • Composition and Painting: This course teaches students about composition to create paintings with a focus on color and design concepts.
  • Art Gallery Management: Students learn about the roles of managing an art gallery as an artist and art gallery director.
  • Portfolio in Art and Design: This course is designed to help students put together their art portfolio and covers different ways to promote the portfolio to prospective clients.

An arts bachelor degree online introduces students to basic fundamentals and concepts of various art forms. Opportunities to customize your program to develop skills in the area you wish to specialize in may be available.

How to Know if an Online Degree in Art is Right for Me

Art Director and cinematographers discussing a project

Is an online degree in art and design right for me? Online degree programs have become a popular choice for busy adult students, and several top universities are now offering competitive online art and design degree programs that allow you to log in to classes when it is most convenient for you.

There are many advantages to completing your art and design degree online, including:

  • Opportunity to work on creative projects at your own pace
  • Ability to schedule studio time on your schedule
  • Online access to interactive art and design software
  • Opportunity to virtually work with top art professionals in your field
  • Ease of advancing your education with art and design graduate degrees

With flexible options that allow you to express your creativity on your own schedule, there is no better time than now to look into degrees online in Art and Design!

How to Choose a Bachelor Degree in Art and Design Program

Friends checking on Bachelor Degree in Art & Design Program

There are many factors involved in finding a respected college that offers an online Art and Design degree that you can easily translate into a viable career. Not only do you need to find a program that matches your specific skills and interests, the college you choose needs to have the credentials and reputation to back up your degree.

  • Accreditation: With the increased popularity of online art and design degree programs, “degree mills” have become a legitimate concern for students. You can take steps to avoid falling into this trap by researching the accreditation of your prospective college.
  • Student to Faculty Ratio: Every student deserves personalized support during their educational journey in order to help them succeed.  One way that colleges support online art and design students is by having a low student-to-faculty ratio in their courses.
  • Academic Advising and Student Services: Students that are taking online courses still deserve to have the same level of educational support as on-campus students, and the best online colleges understand this need. Most schools have a section built into their website where you can explore the various student services that are available.
  • Student Artwork: A good art and design school will showcase students’ work. Be sure to check out various projects that students have completed as this will give you a sense of the skills taught at the school.
  • Previous Experience: Be sure to check with each school you are considering to ensure they accept previous experience or your current portfolio with your application.

For those who have a passion for the arts, earning an online degree in art and design can open many opportunities for you but it’s important to consider important aspects of each program before deciding.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Online Art and Design Degree

Admissions requirements for online colleges for arts can vary depending on the institution and program.

Some materials you may be asked to submit to be considered for admission can include:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Portfolio (only some schools require it)
  • Letters of recommendation

Along with answering some application questions, admissions offices may request you submit letters of recommendation and a portfolio of your work. Compiling some of your best artwork or designs into a portfolio can be a great way to show prospective schools your creative skills and the value you could add to the program.

Online Arts Degree Programs Accreditation

University offering Online Arts Degree Programs

By going through the independent accreditation process, colleges are ensuring that their educational opportunities are meeting the needs of their student body.

A few of the names that you can look for when considering the accreditation of your online Art and Design degree program include:

  • Regional agencies accredited by the U.S. Department of Education
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation (NASAD)
  • Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)

There are many specialized accrediting agencies that work to ensure quality in Art and Design degree programs. Consider looking at the U.S. Department of Education’s website for a detailed review of recognized accrediting agencies.

Art and Design Majors Financial Aid and Scholarships

Art and Design Majors Financial Aid

You can apply for financial aid and scholarships to potentially reduce the cost of your tuition and other college expenses.

State and federal financial aid eligibility requirements can be based on a number of factors, such as cost of attendance and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if you’re eligible for federal assistance.

You may apply to as many scholarships as you’re qualified for to potentially increase your chances of winning a monetary award. Scholarships may be offered for various things, like specific majors or academic achievements.

Continuing Education

graduate degree in art and design student in a cafe

Once you have completed your undergraduate education, you now have the option to move toward a graduate degree in art and design. During your graduate degree, you will work toward mastery within your field of study. The most common online master’s degrees in art and design are related to art creation and academic fields.

After completing one of the many online master’s programs, you may open the doors for a higher salary and greater opportunities while giving yourself the education you need to master your passion. Those who are interested in art history or have a career goal that revolves around teaching or consulting are the most common students to pursue one of the many online doctorate degrees in art and design.

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Whether you plan on pursuing your education at the graduate degree level or just want to increase your skill level within your specialty, choosing to enroll in an online art and design program is a great first step toward your future.

What is an Art & Design Degree?

graphic designers with Art & Design Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in art and design is a creative undergraduate program that can help students expand their artistic abilities. You may perfect the craft you choose to concentrate on and develop a portfolio that represents your best work.

Coursework in this program can widely vary depending on the subject area you wish to study. Basic skills in design, color theory, illustration, and composition are explored. Elective courses can be taken to hone specific skills, such as painting, graphic design, or photography.

What Can You Do With an Arts Degree?

Art Director guiding his staff on their project

An art degree is very versatile. Many colleges and universities give students the opportunity to customize their art degree program with a specific major and concentration that helps perfect specific art and design skills and techniques.

What you can do with your degree ultimately depends on the art major you choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers insight into various art and design occupations, such as art directors, fine artists, fashion designers, graphic designers, and interior designers.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Art Bachelor’s Degree?

student pursuing Online Art Bachelor's Degree

A traditional, 16-week semester bachelor’s program will take four years to complete if you attend full-time. Studying part-time will add more time.

The minimum credit hour requirement to be considered a full-time student is typically 15 credit hours per semester. You may finish in less time if you take additional credits each semester. Some online bachelor’s programs offer an accelerated 8-week semester schedule that can be completed in less than four years if you stay continuously enrolled year-round.

Is a Bachelor Degree in Arts Worth it?

Art Director checking some raw images

Yes, a bachelor degree in arts is worth it for many students. It can be a great way to prepare a professional portfolio of your art or design work that you’ve completed throughout the program.

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According to the BLS, art and design occupations are projected to have a 2% job growth over the next decade. Despite this slower-than-average growth, about 94,500 are still expected to open up each year. The program might be worth it if you’re passionate about art or design and want to potentially become more competitive in the field.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Arts Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

Art Career Project named the Academy of Art University among the top online art schools in the country. The Academy offers several bachelor’s programs in art-related fields like art education, art history, and illustration. Many of these programs are fully online, with the option to take some courses on campus. Courses are offered in synchronous and asynchronous formats.

Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers a BA in Art with a concentration in Art Studies. The program is fully online, and most courses are conducted in an asynchronous format. Courses are 7.5 weeks long. There are several start dates offered each year. The program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Potential courses include Drawing as Seeing and Thinking, Art in My World, and Photography as Experience.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers a BA in Digital Design and a BA in Digital Film. Both programs are fully online. Most courses are conducted in an asynchronous, accelerated format, students typically take one class at a time. There are several start dates offered each year. Both degrees require the completion of 120 credit hours.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University offers several art degrees for undergraduates, including a BFA in Graphic Design and a BS in Digital Design. Many of the programs are fully online. Most courses are conducted in an asynchronous, 8 week, accelerated format. The curriculum is rooted in the Christian faith. There are eight start dates offered each year.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University

OnlineU ranked Lindenwood University as having one of the most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs in art and design. Lindenwood’s BA in Art and Design can be completed fully online, and the program offers a variety of electives to customize the degree. The program requires the completion of 120 credits, and up to 90 qualifying credits may be transferred in toward the degree. Courses are conducted in an asynchronous format.

Lindenwood University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University offers several online digital art and design degree programs, including a BA in Digital Photography and a BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts.

The programs are fully online. Most of the programs require the completion of 120 credits, and up to 90 qualifying credits may be transferred in toward the degrees. Most courses are asynchronous and 8 weeks long. There are six start dates offered each year.

SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College offers a Bachelor’s in the Arts. Applicants must have an AA Arts degree before entering the program. Credit may be earned for work experience as well. The program is fully online. Courses are conducted in an asynchronous format and follow a semester schedule with classes offered in the fall, spring, and summer.

SUNY Empire State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

U.S. News & World Report named the University of Arizona the tenth-best online bachelor’s program in the country. UA offers a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Arts, Media, and Entertainment. The program is fully online and requires the completion of 120 credits. Courses are 7.5 weeks long, and there are six start offered dates each year.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Florida

University of Florida

U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Florida one of the best schools in the country for online bachelor’s degrees. UF offers a BA in Digital Arts and Sciences that can be earned fully online. The program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. The online program offers the same degree as its on-campus counterparts. Most courses are asynchronous.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts—Amherst offers a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Arts Management that can be earned fully online. Courses start in the fall, spring, and summer. This is a degree completion program and requires applicants to have at least 12 qualifying credits to transfer in toward the degree. Up to 102 credits may be able to be transferred in or earned for prior life experiences.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Arts Degree Online

student getting his Arts Degree Online

For those who have a passion for the arts, earning an online degree in art and design can help turn innate skills into a successful career.

Whether you plan on pursuing your education or just want to increase your skill level, choosing to enroll in an online art and design program is a great first step toward your future. It’s important to ensure that the program you choose offers proper academic advising and student services to help you throughout your journey.

If art and design are your passion, start by researching accredited online art and design degrees today.

Ready to start your journey?
Amy Hayes

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.