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Methodology: Best Fine Arts Schools Rankings

Find out how U.S. News ranks graduate fine arts programs. 

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The Master of Fine Arts program rankings are based solely on the results of a peer assessment survey. These rankings, completed in 2012, are based on a fall 2011 survey of art school deans and other top art school academics, two per school, at 230 Master of Fine Arts programs in art and design.

Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 31 percent. Assessment surveys were conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.

[See the Best Fine Arts Schools rankings.]

The lists of schools, individuals surveyed at each school and specialty concentrations were developed in cooperation with the Department of Art and Visual Technology at the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University in Virginia.

The specialty fine arts rankings are based solely on ratings by educators at peer schools. Art school deans and other top art school academics, two per school, were asked to nominate up to 10 programs noted for their excellence in each specialty. Those receiving the most nominations are listed.

Rank Not Published means that U.S. News did calculate a numerical ranking for that school/program, but decided for editorial reasons that since the school/program ranked below the U.S. News cutoff that U.S. News would not publish the ranking for that school/program.

U.S. News will supply schools/programs listed as Rank Not Published with their numerical rankings, if they submit a request following the procedures listed in the Information for School Officials.

Schools/programs marked as Rank Not Published are listed alphabetically. Schools in the fine arts ranking, which is based solely on a 5.0 peer assessment score, are numerically ranked down to a peer assessment score of greater than or equal to 2.0. Schools with scores less than 2.0 are listed in alphabetical order as Rank Not Published.

Unranked means that U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for that school or program. The school or program did not supply U.S. News with enough key statistical data to be numerically ranked by U.S. News. Schools or programs marked as Unranked are listed alphabetically and are listed below those marked as Rank Not Published.

Schools in the specialty rankings, which are based solely on nominations from school officials, are numerically ranked in descending order based on the number of nominations they received as long as the school/program received seven or more nominations in that specialty area. This means that schools ranked at the bottom of each specialty ranking have received seven nominations.

Searching for a grad school? Get our complete rankings of Best Graduate Schools.