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The World's 25 Best Design Schools*

designer at work

Photo: Flickr/bluekdesign

As we enter the golden age of design in startups, highly talented user-interface and product designers are becoming ever more important.Some companies leading the charge are Apple, Path, Pinterest, Square, and Airbnb. What those companies have in common is that design is at the core of their businesses.

But which school is best suited to get you the design job you want?

Over the past couple of months, we conducted a survey to find the top 25 design schools in the world. 

All of these schools are comparable in terms of academics, quality of staff, and amazing campuses. But what matters most is how valuable these schools really are. 

Of our 633 respondents to the survey, 87.8% said they studied or participated in a college-level design program.

Most of the respondents were either art directors (26.9%) or product designers (30.3%). The vast majority of respondents (76.6%) said skills and knowledge were the most valuable asset their respective design programs offered.

We ranked the schools by a simple metric: What percentage of respondents ranked the schools somewhat valuable, valuable, or extremely valuable?

*We recently added Hong Kong Polytechnic University after one our readers pointed out that we had a duplicate listing.

25. Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Rating: 49.3% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The school of design is the only school in Hong Kong that offers higher level design education.

Location: Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Founded: 1937

Total Enrollment: 1,200

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

24. Georgia Institute of Technology

Rating: 55.3% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: Georgia Tech has a great blend of engineering, manufacturing, business, and design in its curriculum. It's also the alma mater of several prominent designers including Michael Arad, who designed the World Trade centre Memorial in New York City and 'Trading Spaces' designer Vern Yip.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Founded: 1885

Total Enrollment: 20,000

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

23. Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (fka University of Art and Design Helsinki)

Rating: 55.6% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The School of Arts, Design, and Architecture is broken into five departments: Media; Design; Art; Architecture; and Motion Picture, Television and Production Design. All departments put an emphasis on a humanist world view and aim to implement human-oriented environments.

Location: Helsinki, Finland

Founded: 1871

Total Enrollment: 2,779

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

22. Institute of Design (Chicago)

Rating: 58% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: As one of our respondents notes, the Institute of Design is 'one of the rare species that pushes the boundaries of where the design discipline can play and win.'

Location: Chicago, IL

Founded: 1937

Total Enrollment: 150

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

21. UCLA Design Media Arts

Rating: 59.3% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: UCLA Design Media Arts's partnership with Ogilvy & Mather enables students to learn directly from a brand expert for an entire semester. The school's top employers include Wieden & Kennedy and Walt Disney.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Founded: 1988

Total Enrollment: 209

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

20. University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design

Rating: 60.4% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The School of Art and Design offers a wide variety of programs, ranging from studio arts to photography and graphic design.

Location: Chicago, IL

Founded: 1890

Total Enrollment: 15,219

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

19. University of California at Berkeley School of Information

Rating: 61.4% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The School of Information is Berkeley's smallest and newest school. It offers a wide range of courses focused on bridging the gap between information and computer science, design, and social sciences.

Location: Berkeley, CA

Founded: 1994

Total Enrollment: 100

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

18. California College of the Arts

Rating: 62.8% of respondents said the program is extremely valuable.

About: 'The MBA in Design Strategy program at the California College of the Arts utilizes systems and design thinking--integrating the studies of design, business, ethnography, sustainability, and generative leadership into a holistic strategic framework for developing innovative and sustainable businesses, policies, services and products,' one our respondents said.

Locations: San Francisco and Oakland, CA

Founded: 1907

Total Enrollment: 1,917

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

17. Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

Rating: 63.5% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The Copenhagen Institute focuses solely on interaction design, which combines traditional design with socio-technological trends. This style of design is less about visual aesthetics, and more about the beauty in intangible experiences.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Founded: 2008

Total Enrollment: 23

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

16. New York University Tisch School of the Arts

Rating: 64.4% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The Tisch school is widely regarded as one of the nation's best institutions for studying performing and media arts. Some notable faculty members include interaction animation expert Jean-Marc Gauthier and Chrysler Design Award winner Daniel Rozin.

Location: New York, NY

Founded: 1965

Total Enrollment: 4,102

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

15. Cooper Union

14. Cranbrook Academy of Art

Rating: 66.4% of respondents said the program is extremely valuable.

About: Cranbook provides a very unique experience to its students because they don't actually have faculty. Instead, artists in residence teach students.

Location: Bloomfield, MI

Founded: 1932

Total Enrollment: 163

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

13. Savannah College of Art and Design

Rating: 68.8% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: Many notable designers have graduated from Savannah, including Facebook's director of design, Kate Aronowitz, and graphic novel creators Joshua and Jonathan Luna, also known as the Luna Brothers.

Location: Savannah, GA

Founded: 1978

Total Enrollment: 11,000

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

12. School of Visual Arts—New York City

Rating: 68.9% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The SVA has a hefty list of notable alumni, including Pres Romanillos, who served as supervising animator at Disney and DreamWorks, and graphic designer Cojo, Art Juggernaut. One of our respondents said, 'You gain a plethora of knowledge in the industry you wish, and the networking is amazing.'

Location: New York, NY

Founded: 1947

Total Enrollment: 4,152

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

11. Rochester Institute of Technology College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

Rating: 66.9% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Imaging Arts and Sciences produces some of the most prepared, career-oriented designers in the workforce,' one respondent said. 'The programs feature small class sizes, working professionals as professors, and top-of-the-line technology. The quirky blend of technical and art-oriented students help to mould the innovative thinkers. If you want your first pick of jobs out of college come to RIT.'

Location: Rochester, NY

Founded: 1829

Total Enrollment: 2,170

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

10. Art centre College of Design

Rating: 72.3% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'At Art centre College of Design, I was instilled with a work ethic and appreciation and understanding of the history of design that I consider to be invaluable, which is lucky considering the cost of tuition,' one of our respondents said. 'When deciding to pivot in my life after having already acquired a degree in history from UCLA and see if design was for me, I only applied to what I considered to be the best school to find out if it was right decision. As it turns out it was, and I consider it to be the best decision I've ever made.'

Location: Pasadena, CA

Founded: 1930

Total Enrollment: 1,842

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

9. Carnegie Mellon Human Computer Interaction Institute

8. D School: Institute of Design at Stanford University

Rating: 72.8% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The D School counts practicing designers like Klout's director of product design, David Baggeroer, as professors.

Location: Stanford, CA

Founded: 1891

Total Enrollment: 15,723

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

7. Royal College of Art

Rating: 73% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The RCA is the world's oldest art and design university. The school touts notable alumni like screen writer Alan Rickman and graphic designer Angus Hyland.

Location: London, UK

Founded: 1837

Enrollment: 517

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

6. Pratt Institute

Rating: 75.3% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'The supremely effective education on offer at Pratt is about a re-imagining of everything we touch and shape--in a functional yet boundary-demolishing way shared perhaps only by RISD,' one of our respondents said. 'Pratt is not just a school; it alters not just what it's students can do in the world.'

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Founded: 1887

Total Enrollment: ~4,400

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

5. Parsons The New School for Design

Rating: 76.9% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'The best graduate level talent for product concept, visualisation, design, and management is coming from Parsons in New York and Stanford's D School,' one of our respondents said. 'We feel that Parsons offers the best concepts taught. Although schools like NYU, Melon, and MIT have good programmers, sometimes it doesn't translate in design.'

Location: New York, NY

Founded: 1896

Total Enrollment: 5,000

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

4. Carnegie Mellon University School of Design

Rating: 76.9% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'Carnegie Mellon University is a leader in the integration of arts and design with technology and user research,' one of our respondents said. 'By specializing in both the creative and technical fields, Carnegie Mellon ensures a quality, skills-based education while offering unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.'

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Founded: 1905

Total Enrollment: 220

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

3. University of Cincinnati (College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning)

Rating: 77.7% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: 'University of Cincinnati offers an education in design that pales other schools when all aspects are considered,' one of our respondents said. 'As a state school it offers curriculum from a multitude of colleges, the diversity of a major university campus, and all of the amenities and extra curricular activities that one would expect from a top- tier Division One school.'

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Founded: 1819

Total Enrollment: 2,438

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab

Rating: 79.8% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: The Media Lab became well-known in the 1990s for its mesmerizing high-tech demos that gave its viewers a glimpse of a true digital society. It is also famous for having user interface designer John Underkoffler as a graduate. Underkoffler came up with most of the interface ideas seen in 'Minority Report.'

Location: Cambridge, MA

Founded: 1985

Total Enrollment: 141

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

1. Rhode Island School of Design

Rating: 85.1% of respondents said the program is valuable.

About: RISD is famous for having two out of three Airbnb cofounders as graduates.

Location: Providence, RI

Founded: 1877

Total Enrollment: 2,406

Business Insider's rating is based on a simple and pragmatic survey that asked how valuable each design school's program really is.

If design doesn't fit your fancy, maybe something more technical will ...

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