Top art & design schools in 2022 | Top Universities

Top art & design schools in 2022

By Aisha Khan

Updated January 18, 2024 Updated January 18, 2024

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 features 230 of the best art & design schools across the globe.  

The rankings are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar).  

It should be noted that weightings of certain indicators can vary by subject, with art & design based solely on academic and employer reputation. 

You can find out more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here

Read on as we go through the world’s best art and design schools in 2022.  

Top 10 art & design schools in 2022 




Royal College of Art 

London, United Kingdom 

University of the Arts London 

London, United Kingdom 

The New School 

New York, United States 

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) 

Providence, United States 

Politecnico di Milano 

Milan, Italy 

Aalto University 

Espoo, Finland 

Pratt Institute 

New York, United States 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

Cambridge, United States 


Design Academy Eindhoven 

Eindhoven, Netherlands 


School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

Chicago, United States 

=9) School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Ranked joint ninth, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago remains one of the best art and design schools in the US.  

Students have access to the Art Institute of Chicago (the second largest art museum in the US), with an encyclopedic body of work that spans 5,000 years of creative expression from cultures around the world – so there’s definitely no shortage of inspiration if you’re studying here.  

The school boasts a prominent group of alumni, including the acclaimed artist, Georgia O’Keefe, and fashion designer, Cynthia Rowley.  

Chicago ranks joint 40th in the QS Best Student Cities 2023, and within this ranking is placed in the top 30 for employment activity (26th), implying that Chicago’s graduates are highly sought after by employers. The city’s diverse makeup and thriving art scene is guaranteed to get those creative juices flowing.  

=9) Design Academy Eindhoven 

Also ranked in joint ninth is the Design Academy Eindhoven, which is the first school in the Netherlands to provide instruction in industrial design.  

Prospective students can expect exposure to different design perspectives in order become critical and socially engaged designers. Examples of postgraduate degrees include Contextual Design, Social Design and the Critical Inquiry Lab.  

The Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show is one of the world’s most influential exhibitions of work by new designers. Staged annually in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week, it allows both bachelor’s and master’s students to present their final projects to thousands of visitors.  

8) Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

7) Pratt Institute 

In seventh place is the Pratt Institute, which promises a creative haven for aspiring artists and designers. Based in Brooklyn, the private university offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees, for instance, graphics design/illustration, photography or fine arts with emphasis in jewellery, painting, drawing, printmaking or sculpture. 

Arguably, one of the most appealing aspects of studying at the Pratt Institute is the school’s location in New York. Ranked 18th in the QS Best Student Cities, New York is a world leader across many fields – including the arts.  

Whether you’re interested in impressionist paintings or Baroque masterpieces, New York has it all with the likes of the Met, Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum on your doorstep.  

6) Aalto University 

Aalto University

Retaining its position of sixth place from last year, Aalto University is widely considered a Nordic leader when it comes to art and design education. If you’re interested in studying sustainable design, the university’s Bachelor Programme in Design builds on the ethos of Finnish and Scandinavian design by developing solutions that are environmentally conscious. 

In terms of postgraduate options, the Nordic Master in Visual Studies and Art Education (NM NoVA) is a double degree programme between Aalto University and Aalborg University (located in Denmark).  

The NM NoVA could be well suited to those looking for a global experience as it includes a compulsory mobility during the second year of the studies, during which students at Aalto study at Aalborg either by doing an internship, a visual project, or a theoretical project in Denmark and vice versa. 

Prospective students can also take comfort in the fact that Aalto University ranks within the top 150 universities in the world, in joint 116th place. 

5) Politecnico di Milano 

Politecnico di Milano

Halfway through the list is Italy’s best performing institution, Politecnico di Milano, which ranks 139th in the QS World University Rankings.  

Four Laurea programmes (equivalent to a BSc) are available in the department of design: communication, fashion, interior and product design. Famous for being a trendsetting city in the fashion industry, it’s no surprise that Milan is a sought-after destination for students looking to study fashion design.  

If you need extra convincing, Milan is ranked 48th in the Best Student Cities index, and the city’s status as a food and entertainment hub means that you’ll never run out of things to explore. One of its highest scores in the ranking is the employer activity indicator (21st place), with recruiters across Europe identifying universities in Milan as producers of highly employable graduates.   

4) Rhode Island School of Design 

Rhode Island School of Design

Slipping one place from last year’s ranking is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, all undergraduate students at RISD are required to take first-year studios in Experimental and Foundation Studies where they hone their creative skills in three core subjects: drawing, design and spatial dynamics.  

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is integrated with RISD, making it the third largest art museum attached to an educational facility. To be precise, the museum’s collection currently contains more than 100,000 works of art and design dating from ancient times to today including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume, textiles and furniture from all over the world. 

Studying at RISD means being surrounded by some of the most creative and experimental minds alike. RISD’s graduates have earned major honours in the world of art and design: MacArthur genius grants, Guggenheim fellowships, Academy awards and Pulitzer prizes.  

3) The New School 

The New School

Kicking off the top three is the best school for art and design in the US, the New School’s Parsons School of Design. 

The school’s location in New York allows students to foster relationships with the wider artistic community. Examples include hackathons, prototype design opportunities for industry partners and courses that challenge students to address a need presented by a sponsor. 

Parsons is part of a larger university, so students can elevate their creative work with a wide range of courses offered throughout The New School - from social sciences and liberal arts to management and more. 

Since 2017, 224 Parsons graduates have gone on to start their own businesses and 41 graduates have been featured on Forbes ‘30 under 30’ winners since its publication in 2011. 

The institution’s accolades also include an impressive list of some of the world’s most renowned fashion designers: Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan. 

2) University of the Arts London 

University of the Arts London

In second place is the University of the Arts London (UAL). Made up of six colleges, including the prestigious Central Saint Martins, the UK institution offers a variety of courses ranging from sound arts to fashion pattern cutting.  

The school’s upstanding reputation clearly shows in its achievements: over two-thirds of British Designer of the Year winners are UAL alumni, including four-time winner Alexander McQueen and its most recent winner, Daniel Lee. In addition, the school has produced over 40 percent of all Turner Prize winners since its inception in 1984. 

Ranked as number one in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, London is undeniably one of the best cities for a global education – particularly for art and design students. With attractions such as the Tate Modern, The National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum (most have free admission), it’s easy to see why the UK’s capital is popular with budding artists.  

1) Royal College of Art 

Royal College of Art

The best school for art and design in 2022 is the Royal College of Art. The UK’s sole postgraduate art and design institution provides specialist facilities across cutting-edge digital technologies such as rapid prototyping, CNC milling and laser-scanning.  

For the school’s admission process, you’re required to submit a portfolio that shows technical accomplishments and creative ability, but more importantly, the school prefers students who show potential to work in teams comprising individuals of multidisciplinary backgrounds.  

Campuses are located in Battersea, South Kensington and White City, all within close distance of art exhibitions and galleries. London also ranks second for student voice in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, highlighting its status as a city that is highly regarded among students.  

If career opportunities are an important consideration for you, the city ranks fourth for employer activity, showing just how in demand graduates from London universities are by employers.  

This article was originally published in September 2022 . It was last updated in January 2024

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