What Are the Top Schools for Textile Design?

Learn about top schools that offer textile design programs and related programs of study. Find out the ranking of these schools as well as resources that could help you develop your artistic abilities. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of Top Schools for Textile Design?

When you are considering a school for textile design programs, start by looking for a school that offers a broad exposure to the textiles field, or a school that allows you to develop specific expertise in fields like knitting, weaving or screen printing. You would also benefit from a strong pre-professional design program that includes opportunities to apply your skills to industrial, apparel or fine art venues. Schools that offer valuable exposure through exchange or study abroad programs would be of a great benefit to allow you to see and create extensive textile portfolios, as well as give you opportunities to exhibit your work.

What Are Three Top Schools for Textile Design?

Michigan State University in East Lansing

MSU tied for 82nd among U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings of national universities. Its Department of Art and Art History offers pre-professional bachelor's degrees in apparel and textiles. Students learn design technologies, art history and global roles of apparel and textiles. An arrangement with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) permits junior year study in NYC with the opportunity to be awarded an associate degree from FIT concurrently with the MSU bachelor's degree. University resources include the Visual Resources Library, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and the 70,000-title Fine Arts Library. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Apparel & Textile Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Apparel & Textile Design

Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI

In 2016, RISD tied for fourth among U.S. News & World Report's top graduate fine arts schools. Its Division of Fine Arts offers undergraduate and graduate students access to state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to master fabric, fiber and pattern techniques. These include digital textile printing, dyeing, silk-screening and weaving on various types of looms. The CAD lab includes software used in industrial or fine art applications. Facilities include weaving, knitting and print studios. The RISD Museum houses an 80,000-item collection of fine and decorative art. Its costume and textiles collection reflecting world culture from ancient times to the present day contains 15,000 items, with particular strength in Asian textiles. These degree options are provided:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles
  • Master of Fine Arts in Textiles

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond

VCUarts tied for second among graduate fine arts schools in 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. Richmond is home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is within two hours of Washington, D.C., resources like the Smithsonian Institution. This public school offers fiber programs that cover basic surface pattern design, dye techniques and screen printing. Weaving courses cover tapestry, quilting, crocheting and knitting, pattern weaving and dye processes. A studio for surface design has two print tables and other work surfaces. The weaving studio has 26 looms of varied types and warp preparation equipment. The Anderson Gallery mounts contemporary art exhibitions and hosts juried student and thesis exhibitions. These degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft and Material Studies - Fiberwork/Fabric Design
  • Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts - Fiber

10 Schools with Textile and Fiber Arts Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Cranbrook Academy of ArtPrivate, 2-yearBloomfield Hills, MI
Maryland Institute College of ArtPrivate, 4yearBaltimore, MD
California College of the ArtsPrivate, 4-yearSan Francisco, CA
Cleveland Institute of ArtPrivate, 4-yearCleveland, OH
Cornell UniversityPrivate, 4-yearIthaca, NY
Kansas City Art InstitutePrivate, 4-yearKansas City, MO
Massachusetts College of Art and DesignPublic, 4-yearBoston, MA
Savannah College of Art and DesignPrivate, 4-yearSavannah, GA
University of OregonPublic, 4-yearEugene, OR
University of Washington-SeattlePublic, 4-yearSeattle, WA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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