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Complete List of Accredited Online Art Colleges and Universities

The main accrediting organization for art programs is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). NASAD’s objective is to ensure that art schools maintain the highest standards for their students and faculty. The United States Department of Education has designated NASAD to accredit schools that offer both degree and non-degree training in art and design. A school with an NASAD accredited online art program is encouraged to consistently provide students with the motivation to succeed in their future achievements. Read More

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NASAD’s accreditation process is based on the following criteria:

  • Eligibility: NASAD determines if the art school maintains a curricular program of training and education in the field of visual art and design.
  • Curriculum: The institution must offer classes that cover art and design history and criticism in addition to studio work.
  • Program History: The program must have been in operation for at least three consecutive years, having offered its services on a regular academic year or year-round schedule.
  • Faculty: Instructors must be qualified to teach in their respective subject areas.
  • Facilities: The school must maintain adequate studio space and equipment necessary to facilitate the education of its students.

Although many schools offer accredited art classes, most of these programs are not offered completely online. And despite the fact that there are very few schools that offer any sort of fully online certificate or associates degrees, some offer an online bachelors degree in art.


A student attending a top accredited online art college should expect to gain experience and comprehension in art and design history, studio practices and design:

  1. Art and Design History: Students gain an understanding of the practices, criticisms and societal implications of art. Major art movements such as Realism, Impressionism and Cubism are discussed as well as the emergence of graphic design in the twentieth century.
  2. Studio Practices: Students concentrate on best practices for producing art in a studio. This involves hands-on work, such as creating storyboards for animation or preparing plates for printmaking.
  3. Graphic Design: A top accredited online art school students will experiment with theories of design and their applications in commercial settings. Students learn about page layout, color theory and typography.

The best accredited online art courses will help the student obtain skills in color theory, criticism and community involvement.

  • Color Theory: Students attending an accredited online art university learn how to manipulate color in their work to produce a variety of visual effects.
  • Criticism: The best accredited online art universities teach students to generate new ideas and perspectives while analyzing, investigating and seeking meaning behind works of art and design.
  • Drawing: Drawing classes cover a wide range of styles and teach students to translate 3D space onto a 2D surface using texture, depth, line and value.


Students pursuing an art degree often seek work in advertising, film production, television production and interior design. All of these industries need art directors, web designers, graphic designers and fine artists with bachelor’s degrees. Although accreditation is not mandatory, a company is more likely to favor a job candidate with a degree from an accredited online art program. And students interested in grad school should know that jobs that require a graduate degree in art are mostly in the museum and education fields.

Companies that typically seek art directors, animators, web designers and graphic designers only require a bachelor’s degree in art or a related field. A student with an online masters degree in art can become an art instructor in higher education, an art historian or a curator in a museum. To become an art professor or museum director, students should pursue a doctoral degree in art.