Our Mission

The College of Art and Design is RIT’s creative hub where art, design, and technology intersect. From centuries-old and contemporary methods of producing fine art to the latest in digital media, the College of Art and Design possesses a comprehensive selection of majors in disciplines related to visual communication, imaging, and science. If your interests are artistic, creative, and professional, a world of possibilities awaits you here.

The College of Art and Design is a place where the lights are on 24 hours a day, where you can’t travel through the halls without pausing — to study an exhibit of photos by your fellow students, marvel at the symmetry of the artisan’s bowl rising from a clay-spattered wheel, glance into a computer lab at animation or design projects, or watch graphic media students operate millions of dollars’ worth of printing equipment like pros. It’s a supportive learning environment, where unparalleled resources, dedicated faculty, and partnerships with industry leaders combine to prepare you for your next big goal.

Here, students have access to specialized studios, labs, and equipment that are among the most complete and current of any university in the world. You’ll also learn from faculty who are active professionals and show you how to create, critique, and display your work. It’s a place that sets you up to make a difference in your field and the world.

Undergraduate degrees

Graduate degrees 

By the Numbers

Student Body (approximate)
Undergraduate 1,725
Graduate 225
Male 702
Female 1,248
Faculty (approximate)
Full-time Faculty 135
Adjunct Faculty 70
Staff 60
Degrees Offered
Bachelor of Fine Arts 10
Bachelor of Science 2
Master of Fine Arts 9
Master of Science 2
Master of Science for Teachers 1
Associate of Occupational Studies 1
Minors 10

Key Facts


Alumni Pulitzer Prizes

Eleven College of Art and Design graduates have combined to win 15 Pulitzer Prizes.


Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Students receive copious attention and guidance from the College of Art and Design’s committed faculty.


Computer Labs

An abundance of digital work space equipped with Macs and PCs is available for student use. 


Fulbright Awards

Since 1997, the College of Art and Design has had eight prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program award recipients, allowing them to study, research, or teach abroad.


Science-Based Degrees

The College of Art and Design’s wide portfolio of offerings include BS, MS, and MST degrees.


Immaculate Galleries

Students, faculty and alumni exhibit their work in galleries housed in or run by the College of Art and Design.


Professional Affiliations

College of Art and Design faculty are professional members or affiliates of more than 35 national, international, and local organizations. 



Around 70 companies — including Google, The Mill, and others — flock to campus each year for Creative Industry Day, where students meet with professionals about employment opportunities and portfolio reviews.


3D Printers

The College of Art and Design’s Fab Lab holds 12 3D printers — in addition to laser cutting and CNC routing technology — to complete submitted projects by RIT students, faculty, and staff. 


Design Archives

More than 85 prominent designers’ work is archived in RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies and Cary Graphic Arts Collection. 


Design Artifacts

The Vignelli Center for Design Studies houses over half a million design artifacts in its archives. 


Student Workstations

The College of Art and Design has 1,038 computer workstations for student use, with 779 Macs and 259 PCs.

Trophies lined up on a shelf

Rankings and Recognition

Animation Career Review

Our School of Film and Animation is consistently ranked as a top-10 animation school in the nation by Animation Career Review.

U.S. News & World Report

RIT is among the top graduate schools offering the fine arts specialty of photography, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings. 

College Choice

Our film and animation MFA program has been ranked as high as No. 3 on College Choice’s national list of best master’s degrees in animation.

College Factual/USA Today

RIT has been ranked top 10 in Design and Applied Arts and top 20 in Film, Video and Photographic Arts by College Factual, which provides data for USA Today College Guide.

U.S. News & World Report

RIT is routinely in the top 10 of the publication's undergraduate metals/jewelry program rankings.

A Rich History

In the fall of 2018, the College of Art and Design was renamed from the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, a name it had held since 1992. The first classes in the college were in industrial design, drawing, and architecture, when RIT was established as Mechanics Institute in 1885. 

Over the years, the college has prepared countless artists, animators, designers, filmmakers, photographers, scientists, teachers, and technologists to make a difference in their field — and by extension, the world. From inheriting the School for American Craftsmen (now School for American Crafts) in 1949 after it was founded at Dartmouth College three years earlier to developing an environment that promotes creativity and collaboration, the college has long been a place where pioneering ideas become reality. 

Today, the College of Art and Design offers a wide range of degrees that allow students to explore disciplines in art, American crafts, design, film and animation, and photography.

National Council

The College of Art and Design has a National Council comprised of talented individuals called upon regularly to advise the Dean on strategic issues and initiatives of major significance to the college, while also shaping visionary plans for the future. Learn more