Academy of Art University

About Us

Since 1929, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned, it is one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation.

We are first and foremost a professional school—a specialized place that helps you master your craft as you prepare for professional roles as artists and designers. Our hands-on, no-nonsense curriculum is taught by some of the finest minds working in today’s creative and innovative industries. They will help you develop your talent and acquire skills sought by the creative marketplace.

All are welcome here. Our inclusive admissions policy is rare among art schools. We’ve found that our students’ potential doesn’t depend on their past elsewhere, but on their future with us. Find your place and your purpose at Academy of Art University, as you prepare for your professional career.


Student Life at the Academy

Academy of Art University is an absolutely amazing place to be a college student. One of the world’s great creative capitals, San Francisco has been our home since 1929. Our neighbors include giants in everything from advertising, animation, and architecture to communications, game development, and web design.

Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision: To be the first choice for students seeking a world-class education in the arts and the first choice for those seeking to employ artists globally. Our Mission: Academy of Art University prepares aspiring professionals in the fields of design, communication, and the arts by delivering excellent undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate and portfolio programs.

Mission Statement

Academy of Art University Institutional Learning Outcomes

We Value Your Time and Schedule

When it comes to working your education into your schedule, flexibility is key. That’s why we offer various modes of learning that allow you to take the courses you want without disconnecting from your work or family. Academy of Art students can earn accredited degrees onsite, online, or by taking both online and onsite. Study on your own time, at your own pace.

Our Core Values

While a lot has changed since 1929, there are certain foundational values that will never change at Academy of Art. They were there in the beginning, and are a part who we are today.

We Value Inclusion

Our students are from all over the world. They are different in countless ways—in race, religion, political leaning, gender, and more. We embrace these differences. Each individual is welcome here. This no-barriers approach makes Academy of Art University one of the most diverse artistic communities in the world. The diversity gives students a place to truly be themselves. It gives them the confidence to express themselves, and to go for everything they’ve ever wanted.

We Value a Faculty of Industry Professionals

We believe the best teachers are professional artists and designers. Our faculty is comprised of art and design professionals who maintain the leading edge of industry standards.

We Value the Benefits of Collaboration

When art and design students from different cultures and backgrounds collaborate—their diverse experiences, ideas, and passions are reflected in the beautiful work they produce. We encourage students to work together because it mimics the collaborative work they’ll do in their professional careers.

We Value the Planet

Today’s designers want to leave their mark on the art and design world; but only if that mark is made with sustainable practices, using 100% natural materials. We applaud our students for their future-looking, environmentally conscious, zero-waste efforts. They truly are the future of art and design.

We Value our Urban Campus

Informed by our home in San Francisco, we aim to give back to the culture in the spirit of generosity and compassion. We challenge our students to reach their full creative potential in an atmosphere of support and collaboration.

We Value Your Time and Schedule

When it comes to working your education into your schedule, flexibility is key. That’s why we offer various modes of learning that allow you to take the courses you want without disconnecting from your work or family. Academy of Art students can earn accredited degrees onsite, online, or by taking both online and onsite. Study on your own time, at your own pace.

Our Core Values

While a lot has changed since 1929, there are certain foundational values that will never change at Academy of Art. They were there in the beginning, and are a part who we are today.

We Value Inclusion

Our students are from all over the world. They are different in countless ways—in race, religion, political leaning, gender, and more. We embrace these differences. Each individual is welcome here. This no-barriers approach makes Academy of Art University one of the most diverse artistic communities in the world. The diversity gives students a place to truly be themselves. It gives them the confidence to express themselves, and to go for everything they’ve ever wanted.

We Value a Faculty of Industry Professionals

We believe the best teachers are professional artists and designers. Our faculty is comprised of art and design professionals who maintain the leading edge of industry standards.

We Value the Benefits of Collaboration

When art and design students from different cultures and backgrounds collaborate—their diverse experiences, ideas, and passions are reflected in the beautiful work they produce. We encourage students to work together because it mimics the collaborative work they’ll do in their professional careers.

We Value the Planet

Today’s designers want to leave their mark on the art and design world; but only if that mark is made with sustainable practices, using 100% natural materials. We applaud our students for their future-looking, environmentally conscious, zero-waste efforts. They truly are the future of art and design.

We Value our Urban Campus

Informed by our home in San Francisco, we aim to give back to the culture in the spirit of generosity and compassion. We challenge our students to reach their full creative potential in an atmosphere of support and collaboration.

We Value Your Time and Schedule

When it comes to working your education into your schedule, flexibility is key. That’s why we offer various modes of learning that allow you to take the courses you want without disconnecting from your work or family. Academy of Art students can earn accredited degrees onsite, online, or by taking both online and onsite. Study on your own time, at your own pace.

Our Leadership

The Academy of Art College was established in San Francisco in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens, a fine art painter and Creative Director for Sunset Magazine. Assisted by his wife, Mrs. Clara Stephens, he opened the new school in a rented loft at 215 Kearny St. to teach advertising art.LEARN MORE

Accreditation

Academy of Art University prepares aspiring professionals in the fields of design, communication and the arts by delivering excellent undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate and portfolio development programs.GET THE DETAILS

Our Alumni
1/5

Andy Wood
BFA Animation & Visual Effects
Project Manager,
Unity Technologies
As soon as I walked into the studio I knew what to do. I love producing content and telling the stories, and I learned how to do that at the Academy.

Samantha Buckley
B.Arch Architecture
Associate,
Gensler
My classmates and I have felt that our education has proven to be invaluable as we step into the profession. The program prepared us for a seamless transition between my education and career. I am so thankful for the support from my faculty in and outside the classroom.

Alyssa Watson
BFA Fashion Design
Assistant Designer,
Adidas Innovation Team
I met a senior design recruiter from Adidas after my first Academy of Art University runway show in San Francisco. A year later, he got back in contact and I forwarded him my latest portfolio. Within a couple of days I was offered a six-month internship at the North American headquarters in Portland.

Fei F. Ou
BFA Game Design
Freelance Illustrator,
Fantasy Flight Games
What really drew me in was the work of the student body. When I saw what students get to do here, I knew that this was the place for me—that the energy here would be electric.

Kristina Varaksina
MFA, Photography
Independent Contractor
Studying at the Academy has been a life changing experience to me. I’ve established myself as an artist. I’ve opened my mind to a lot of great new things, from the amazing work of different photographers to the way I approach my photo shoots and interact with people.

Discover Academy of Art University

Experience our urban campus in the heart of San Francisco with a guided tour.

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