Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University is a private for-profit university owned and operated by the Stephens Institute. It is dedicated to preparing aspiring design, art, and communications professionals by offering superior undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs. It prides itself on faculty members who are top working professionals with extensive experience in their fields. It offers excellent curricula to promote the success of all students. The Academy of Art University is also committed to providing students with affordable private education.

The Academy of Art University offers on-campus and distance education programs in fine arts in about 18 majors. The online programs focus on flexibility and enable students to complete coursework on a full-time or part-time basis. The online learning environment uses an asynchronous multimedia approach to promote communication, learning, and acquisition of skills. Students have access to conferencing software to communicate with instructors and fellow students. They are also able to contact instructors via online discussion, email, or by phone. Online students have access to online academic support team, online writing lab, and English language support and the online help desk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Richard S. Stephens founded the Academy of Art University in 1929 in San Francisco as the Academy of Art College. The school added a fashion illustration program in 1933 and a fine art department in 1936. The school was authorized to offer a bachelor’s degree in fine art in 1966 and a graduate program was approved in 1983. In 2002, the college began to offer online education. The college changed its name to Academy of Art University in 2004 to demonstrate its educational scope and quality. Today, the Academy of Art University enrolls more than 17,000, making it one of the largest art and design schools in the country.


The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits the Academy of Art University.

Schools Of Education

The schools of education offer associate of arts, bachelor’s of fine arts, and master’s of fine arts degrees and online awards of completion programs

School of Acting: offers undergraduate and graduate coursework in acting including vocal technique for singing and speech.

School of Advertising: offers programs in advertising with concentrations in copy writing, art direction, and account planning.

School of Animation and Visual Effects: offers programs in animation and visual effects and computer graphics, character design and technical direction, Maya applications, 3D animation, 3D modeling, 2D animation, and visual effects.

School of Architecture: offers a master’s of architecture and selected online undergraduate courses.

School of Art Education: offers programs in art education and art education with studio emphasis.

School of Fashion: offers programs in fashion, fashion design, and fashion merchandising.

School of Fine Art: offers programs in printmaking, painting and drawing, and sculpture.

School of Game Design: offers programs in game design and games environments.

School of Graphic Design: offers programs in graphic design.

School of Illustration: offers programs in illustration.

School of Industrial Design: offers programs in industrial design with concentrations in furniture design, toy design, product design, and transportation design.

School of Interior Architecture and Design: offers programs in interior architecture and design with concentrations in interior and design, residential design, and furniture design.

School of Landscape Architecture: offers programs in landscape architecture.

School of Motion Pictures and Television: offers programs in producing, directing, editing, production design, digital cinematography, and screenwriting.

School of Multimedia Communications: offers programs in multimedia communications.

School of Music Production and Sound Design for Visual Media: offers programs in music production and sound design.

School of Photography: offers programs in photography and digital photography.

School of Web Design and New Media: offers programs in web design.

Scholarships Offered

The Academy of Art University offers full-tuition art scholarships: Pre-College Summer Art Experience and Pre-College Saturday Art Experience for high school students. It also offers more than 300 portfolio grants and a teacher grant for high school and community college art teachers. Students are also encouraged to apply for outside scholarships.

Financing Options

The Academy of Art University participates in various financial aid programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, and CAL Grant. It also accepts alternative loans, Veterans’ Affairs Education Benefits, and the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. The Academy of Art University also offers an interest-fee four-month installment plan and an interest-free early prepayment option.

Credit Earning Options

The Academy of Art University grants credit for coursework completed at another accredited college or university. It also grants credits for portfolios and placement examinations and waiver options for art history and appreciation, written communication, historical awareness and comparative ideas and influences, and quantitative literacy. All transfer coursework must have a grade of a C or better and students are required to submit official transcripts.

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