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2022 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Art Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 9/14/2022
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An online degree in arts and design is an excellent choice for distance learners to develop their creative talents in a virtual environment. Arts and design is an umbrella term for several specialties, including graphic design, creative writing, web design, animation, filmmaking, and more. In general, online arts and design program curricula cover topics like art history, advanced writing, programming, and 3D graphics. Potential careers for graduates of an online bachelor’s in art and design include art director, web designer, journalist, and illustrator, to name a few. 

Explore our top picks for affordable online bachelor’s degrees in art and design below. View our methodology for more details about rankings or learn more about us. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for more inspiration.

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Online Art & Design Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In


All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 University of Iowa Iowa City (IA) $8,356
# 2 #2 Southern New Hampshire University Online Manchester (NH) $9,600
# 3 #3 Liberty University Lynchburg (VA) $13,869
# 4 #4 Lindenwood University Saint Charles (MO) $14,250
# 5 #5 Prescott College Prescott (AZ) $14,940
# 6 #6 University of Florida Gainesville (FL) $15,158
# 7 #7 DeVry University Multiple Locations $15,934
# 8 #8 Maharishi International University Fairfield (IA) $16,000
# 9 #9 Arizona State University Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others) $17,430
# 10 #10 The University of Montana Missoula (MT) $22,980
#1
#1

University of Iowa

Iowa City (IA)
Annual Tuition: $8,356
Annual Tuition: $8,356
Annual Tuition: $8,356

The University of Iowa (UI) is a large, public institution offering an online Bachelor of Liberal Studies - Expression in Writing and Arts that requires 120 credit hours. With this concentration, future students can expect to enhance their creative writing and visual arts skills. Sample coursework includes Creative Writing, English Grammar, and Themes in Global Art.

At UI, online students complete coursework on Canvas, which is delivered in asynchronous and synchronous formats. Online student support includes academic advising, tutoring, and counseling. The program’s admission requirements are an application and meeting the Regent Admission Index (RAI) score of 245 for Iowa residents and 255 or higher for out-of-state applicants.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Average SATs: 1130 -1340
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,041
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,962
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (319) 335-3500

Example Classes: Language, Gender and Sexuality, Legends and Heroes of Ancient Rome, Psychology of Music, Rock and Roll 1980 to the Present, Tasting Art: How the Senses Enhance Our Experience of Art, The Art of Revision: Rewriting Prose for Clarity and Impact

#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600

Southern New Hampshire University Online (SNHU Online) is a large, private nonprofit institution offering two online bachelor’s in art and design degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Photography (120 credit hours) and a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts (120 credit hours). The first program prepares students for a career in digital photography, while the latter gives students the skills needed to develop a strong portfolio. Potential career outlooks for both programs include art director, graphic designer, and multimedia designer.

SNHU facilitates online asynchronous learning on Brightspace. Online students can access an online library, academic advising, and a learning center virtually. Admission requirements are transcripts and an electronic attestation form showing proof of high school or GED completion.

  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 86,849
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 19,526
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (603) 668-2211

Example Classes: 3-D Art and Design, 3-D Modeling and Animation, Creature Design, Environment Design, Game Art and Development Capstone, Intro to Digital Sculpting

#3
#3

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $13,869
Annual Tuition: $13,869
Annual Tuition: $13,869

Liberty University (LU) is a large, private nonprofit institution offering two online bachelor’s degrees in design: (1) a Bachelor of Science in Digital Design (120 credit hours) and (2) a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (120 credit hours). The first LU Online program includes seven concentration options that students can add to their degree. Both programs explore the concepts of designing digital content that can tell a story, create awareness, or drive sales.

LU Online’s students complete coursework — delivered in an asynchronous format so students can learn at their own pace — through the platform, Canvas. Online student support includes an online library, IT help, and tutoring services. The program’s admission requirements are an application and transcripts.

  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (434) 582-2000

Example Classes: Advanced Typography, Digital Photography, History of Graphic Design, Interactive Publication, Publication Design, Vector Illustration

#4
#4

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles (MO)
Annual Tuition: $14,250
Annual Tuition: $14,250
Annual Tuition: $14,250

Lindenwood University (Lindenwood) is a private nonprofit institution with a medium-sized student population. Lindenwood offers a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design (120 credit hours), which has several concentrations, and a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design (120 credit hours). Both programs expose students to various arts and design concepts, such as story development and digital art, to help them prepare for careers in the creative field. Sample coursework includes Introduction to Web Design, Digital Foundations, and 3D Graphics.

At Lindenwood, online students complete coursework, delivered in an asynchronous or synchronous format, on Canvas. Remote students can access an online library, career services, and IT help. Admission requirements include an application, FAFSA, official transcripts, resume, and letter of intent.

  • Online Degrees: 14
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 494
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,042
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (636) 949-2000

Example Classes: 3D Animation, Arts Entrepreneurship, Concept Design, Design with Photoshop, History of Games and Critical Theory, Level Design

#5
#5

Prescott College

Prescott (AZ)
Annual Tuition: $14,940
Annual Tuition: $14,940
Annual Tuition: $14,940

Students interested in an arts degree can pursue an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts & Letters (120 credit hours) from Prescott College (Prescott) — a small, private nonprofit institution. Students can choose from three 16-course competence options: (1) Creative Writing, (2) Visual Arts, and (3) Interdisciplinary Arts and Letters. The program’s graduates can pursue careers like art critic, elementary art teacher, and journalist.

Prescott’s online students complete coursework on Canvas asynchronously and synchronously. Support for distance learners includes an online library, career advising, and tutoring. The program’s admission requirements are an essay, references, and official transcripts.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 167
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 482
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (877) 350-2100
#6
#6

University of Florida

Gainesville (FL)
Annual Tuition: $15,158
Annual Tuition: $15,158
Annual Tuition: $15,158

The University of Florida (UF) — a medium-sized, public institution — offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences totaling 120 credit hours. Through UF Online, this program helps students develop technical, creative, and critical thinking skills. In addition, students will engage in project-based classes, covering topics like design and production, programming, and game design.

At UF Online, students complete coursework asynchronously and synchronously through the platform, Canvas. Online students can access technical support and academic support. The program’s admission requirements include an online application and official high school transcripts.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Acceptance Rate: 42%
  • Average SATs: 1310 -1470
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,029
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,401
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (352) 392-3261

Example Classes: Advanced Digital Animation Techniques, Digital Storytelling, Entrepreneurship in New Media, Theory of Digital Media Protocols, Wearable and Mobile App Development, Writing for Interactive Media

#7
#7

DeVry University

Multiple Locations
Annual Tuition: $15,934
Annual Tuition: $15,934
Annual Tuition: $15,934

DeVry University (DeVry) is a large, private, and for-profit institution that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Design and Development - Graphic and Multimedia Design, totaling 122 credit hours. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed for the Adobe Certified Associate Exam. Sample coursework includes Technical Writing, Multimedia Standards, and Web Animation.

DeVry facilitates online asynchronous and synchronous learning on Canvas. The institution’s remote student resources are an online library, tutoring, and academic advising. Admission requirements are an online application, high school diploma or GED, and ACT/SAT scores.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 27%
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 16,922
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 4,399
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Example Classes: Advanced Design and Rapid Visualization, Emerging Multimedia Technologies, Media Portfolio, Responsive Web Design, Visual Design Fundamentals, Web Animation

#8
#8
Annual Tuition: $16,000
Annual Tuition: $16,000
Annual Tuition: $16,000

Maharishi International University (MIU) is a small, private, nonprofit institution that offers two online bachelor's degrees: (1) a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (120 credit hours) and (2) a Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Arts and New Media (120 credit hours). The first program offers two specializations related to arts and design: (1) Cinematic Arts and New Media and (2) Creative Writing. The second program explores the technical and creative sides of media production.

MIU’s online students complete coursework, delivered in an asynchronous or synchronous format, on Canvas. Online student support includes academic advising, career services, a writing center, and an online library. The program’s admission requirements are an online application, a high school diploma or equivalent, and a 2.5 GPA or above.

  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Acceptance Rate: 89%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 108
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 859
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (641) 472-7000 x5514
#9
#9

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Annual Tuition: $17,430
Annual Tuition: $17,430
Annual Tuition: $17,430

There are several online bachelor's degrees at Arizona State University (ASU) — a large, public institution: (1) a Bachelor of Arts in Art - Art Studies, (2) Bachelor of Science in Design - Graphic Design, (3) Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art - Digital Photography, (4) Bachelor of Science in Design - Graphic Design, and (5) a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies. These degrees are delivered through ASU Online, and each requires 120 credit hours. They allow students to expand upon their creative skills to create a strong portfolio for future art careers.

ASU Online facilitates asynchronous online learning on Canvas. Distance learners can virtually access counseling, success coaching, and technical support. Prospective students who want to apply must be in the top 25% in their high school class, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit their ACT/SAT scores.

  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Average SATs: 1091 -1301
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33,410
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,843
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Example Classes: Anime, Art of Ancient Egypt, Art of Italian Renaissance, Identity and World Film, The Art of the Comic, Women in the Visual Arts

#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $22,980
Annual Tuition: $22,980
Annual Tuition: $22,980

The University of Montana (UM), a public institution with a medium-sized student population, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Media Art (120 credit hours) and an online Bachelor of Arts in Art (120 credit hours). Sample coursework includes Intro to Media Arts, Intermediate Writing, and Historical Studies. Prospective careers for graduates are graphic designer, artist, and multimedia designer.

UM facilitates online coursework that's delivered in asynchronous and synchronous formats through Moodle. Online student support includes career services, disability support, and an online library. To apply, prospective students must submit an application and high school transcripts.

  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Average SATs: 1055 -1245
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 346
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 263
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (406) 243-0211

Example Classes: Graphic Design Applications, Presentation to the Community, Studio Synthesis, Techniques of the Web, Topics in Film and Media Studies, Visual Language: 3-D Design

Can You Go to Art School Online?

Very few schools offer online courses in the traditional visual arts, such as painting, drawing, and sculpture. However, many online schools have developed distance learning programs for creative fields that blend art with technology, including digital photography, graphic design, web design, animation, and video game design. Earning an online four-year degree in one of those subjects can help prepare you for a creative career, but if you're committed to pursuing a degree in the traditional arts, you should consider on-campus programs.

Art and Design Degree Quick Facts
  • Average Credits: 120
  • Average Duration: 4 years

What is the Best Online Art and Design Degree to Get?

If you're planning to pursue a creative field through online learning, you may want to focus on one of the technology-oriented arts. Based on data from ONET Online regarding well-paying, high-growth fields, a few of the most promising art and design subjects to study online include web design, video game design, and animation and 3D graphics.

Online Art and Design Courses

Art and design programs typically start with foundations in art and art history, progress through courses related to your area of specialization, and culminate in a capstone course designed to help you polish your professional portfolio of work. Some of the most popular online classes in art and design include:

  • Digital Imaging: This graphic arts course will provide you with an essential understanding of how digitized art must be prepared for use in electronic media and in print. You will most likely learn to use the Adobe Creative Suite or similar software programs.
  • Digital Photography: Although there are entire degree programs devoted to digital photography, design students are often required to take a summary course on the subject. Coursework will enable you to learn how to use a digital camera, how to create various light effects, and how to use photo editing software to enhance your images.
  • Introduction to Web Design: Typically a hands-on, application-oriented course, you'll learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and possibly other languages and programs to build websites. Your technical skills will be enhanced with an understanding of appealing visual design and usability.
  • Principles of Design: This fundamental course is included in nearly every art and design program. You'll learn to utilize the formal elements and principles of design, especially color, and you may be introduced to the basics of typography. Problem solving and decision making are important skills that art students develop through this course.
  • 3D Graphics Basics: While gaining experience in using industry-standard software, you'll learn the fundamentals of creating 3D motion graphics. Hands-on projects will introduce you to the process of storyboarding and rendering graphic objects and animations.

Cost of Online Art and Design Programs

The 11 schools on our list offer the most affordable online art and design degrees available, with annual tuition averaging $16,694, typically for 30 credit hours per year. In many cases, tuition rates for online students are comparable to those for in-state students. You may also save money on housing, transportation, and other fees by living at home or off campus while earning your online degree, which can help with affordability.

The 11 schools on our list offer the most affordable online art and design degrees available, with annual tuition averaging $16,694.

Funding an Online Art & Design Degree

Students who enroll in accredited, online degree programs in art, graphic art, and design may be eligible for financial aid. To begin the application process, students should complete and submit the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Once this form has been reviewed by representatives of both the federal government and the schools, the applicants will receive a letter that details the type and amount of financial aid being offered. If applying to multiple schools, the offers from each school may be the deciding factor as to which program the student will choose. If students have any questions about their financial aid offers, they should contact the financial aid representatives at the college(s) they have applied to.

The best offers include scholarships or grants, which may come from the federal government, the state government, or from the college itself. Unlike student loans, grant and scholarship money does not have to be repaid. Applicants who are offered a student loan should review the loan terms carefully. Federal student loans are generally preferred over private student loans, which typically feature higher interest rates and more stringent repayment plans.

Online art and design majors may want to consider applying for the following private scholarships and/or participating in these art competitions:


Art and Design Careers

Online bachelor's programs in art and design prepare art students for occupations that combine creativity with technological skills, many of which are highlighted in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. For example, graduates may become animators, with a median annual salary of $77,700, or digital designers, who earn a median annual salary of $77,200.

Graphic design has also been a popular choice for many years, although the BLS reports that demand for graphic designers is expected to decline by 4% over the next decade. On the other hand, the job market in web design, UX/UI design, 3D design, video gaming, and animation remains strong, with demand for several of these occupations projected to grow 4%-8%.

After gaining several years of experience, some designers move into management positions as art directors, where they guide the vision and direction of an organization's brand presentation. At this level, art directors earn a median annual salary of $97,270.

Median Annual Salary of Careers in Art and Design Bar Graph

Is an Online Art Degree Worth It?

A college degree is not required to thrive in some creative fields like fine arts and web design. Many talented individuals with artistic skills and drive have been successful without one, and that may turn out to be the best path for you, depending on your personal circumstances and career goals. However, an undergraduate degree is strongly recommended for other fields, such as graphic art, animation, and game design, and most professionals hold degrees. Additionally, all of these occupations are highly competitive, and the technical skills and business acumen you gain from earning an online degree in art and design may give you a competitive edge.

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