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December 10, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

Top Universities for Design Education: Business Week

Top Colleges and Universities for Design Education: Top D-Schools According to Business Week

Looking for the top design schools in the country or the world? Here is the list of top design programs according to Business week:

Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona)
Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA)
Babson College (Babson Park, Mass)
Bainbridge College Institute (Bainbridge Island, Washington)
California College of the Arts (San Fransisco, CA)
Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Central St. Martins College of Art & Design (London, England)
Cleveland Institute of Art
College for Creative Students (Detroit, Michigan)
Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering
Delft University of Technology (Delft)
Domus Academy (Milan)
ESDI Brazil (Rio De Janeiro)
George Brown College (Ontario Canada)
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
Design Academy of Eindhoven
University of Illinois (Chicago, Il)
University of Michigan (integrated product development program) (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management)
UC Berkeley (Hass Business School)
UCLA Design and Media Arts (LA, CA)
UMEA Institute of Design (Umea)
University of Art and Design Helsiniki (Helsinki, Finland)
Virginia Commonwealth University (adcenter) (Richmond, Virginia)
University of Oxford, Said School of Business
Zollvereian School of Management and Design (Essen)

Michigan University, Berkeley, Dartmouth, and University of Toronto (Rotman) seem to be the standouts for more traditional university experiences but with d-school options. UCLA, Georgia Tech, Carnegie Melon, Babson and Oxford should probably also be on that list.

I recommend checking out the original ranking of d-school programs at Business Week, because it allows you access to more information about the specific design schools. Its also worth checking out the pictures of top design schools, to get a little more feel of the various programs.

What is the methodology for Business Week’s ranking of top design institutes and university programs:

To compile this list, BusinessWeek turned to an international panel of 22 expert design and brand consultants and academics from both business and design schools. We also tapped six forward-thinking companies with expertise in design or innovation strategy. We asked all to recommend interdisciplinary design and business programs with curricula they respect and graduates they prefer to hire.

Then we conducted interviews with professors, students, and alumni from the recommended colleges, looking for design programs that incorporate business strategy—and business programs that teach design as a tool for strategic advantage. Here’s a sortable list of the 60 schools that made the grade.

It seems odd that they leave out these three respected design schools:

Corcoran in Washington DC
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Stanford D-school (Palo Alto California)

All three of which are incredibly respected in the design industry (I’m not sure what the d-school methodology meshes with the above three–I would certainly think that Stanford and RISD would qualify). Also, I think MIT should probably be added to the list as well. Here are three others that probably should have made the list of top design schools as well:

Parsons (New York City)
Savanna School of Design (SCAD) which has a campus in Atlanta, GA

If I’ve left off any from the Business Week ranking, I apologize. Also, if you can recommend another ranking study or methodology of design programs feel free to leave a not in the comments section.

Finally, you might want to check out this post of visual thinking thought leaders based on the speakers from the Viz Think conference (which could easily be titled “design thinking thought leaders” as well).


Leave a Comment
  1. compassioninpolitics / Dec 10 2010 5:10 am

    Here is the US News and World Report rankings for fine art schools which includes 25 top programs (although it allows you to access rankings much deeper):

    Or you may prefer a particular niche of art school:

    Also here is the design intelligence school rankings for design and architecture schools (it costs $39.95):

    Note: its important to note that **most** of the Business Week rankings suggest a particular type of d-school versus art school (although I think my inclusions & suggestions in the post reflected that difference).

    You may also be looking for top web design programs or top MFA programs you may want to check these versus other trusted ranking algoritms and reputation studies. (although obviously the US News and World Report rankings cover the MFA part)

  2. compassioninpolitics / Dec 10 2010 6:30 am

    Core 77 maintains a directory of design schools at its website:

  3. tishag / Dec 13 2010 9:54 pm

    When it comes to ranking the top art schools as Business Week discussed in this article, I’m curious to know why FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising wasn’t mentioned on the list. The school is a very well-known art school and have a killer design program. The school also has a great reputation and my friends graduated from FIDM and speak very highly of the school. I also know that a lot of FIDM grads are very successful which says a lot about the school and their programs.

  4. compassioninpolitics / Dec 13 2010 10:35 pm

    Thanks. Fashion design is certainly not my niche, but I noticed 7 players in the fashion area (although its not an exclusive list):

    Berkeley College of New York City
    Fashion Institute of Technology
    Laboratory Institute of Merchandising
    Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
    UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles)

    And FIDM certainly does look to have a good program from a cursory look at their website.

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