Getting into the right art school will not only help you hone and fine-tune your creative talents---it can also help you launch an exciting career in the visual arts. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent colleges of art or university art departments that can meet your needs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Rhode Island School of Design

Consistently ranked the No. 1 art school in the nation by "US News and World Report," Rhode Island School of Design offers programs in apparel design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, graphic design, as well as in other areas.

Rhode Island School of Design 2 College St. Providence, RI 02903 401-454-6100 risd.edu

Yale University School of Art

The only Ivy League program to make the "US News and World Report's" list of the nation's best art schools, Yale's accomplished faculty includes artists and art critics like Wayne Koestenbaum, Peter Halley, Dore Ashton and Jessica Stockholder.

Yale University School of Art 1156 Chapel St. New Haven, CT 203-432-2600 art.yale.edu/Home

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Considered one of the most influential art schools in the United States, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers undergraduate and graduate training in a variety of fine arts and design areas. The school is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum that has more than 300,000 works.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago 37 South Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60603 312-629-6100 saic.edu

Cranbrook Academy of Art

The Cranbrook Academy of Art offers degree programs in 2D design, 3D design, architecture, ceramics, fiber, metalsmithing, painting, photography, print media and sculpture.

Cranbrook Academy of Art 39221 Woodward Ave. Box 801 Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801 248-645-3300 cranbrookart.edu

Maryland Institute College of Art

Founded in 1826, the Maryland Institute College of Art is one of the oldest art schools in America---and certainly ranks among the best.

Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 Mount Royal Ave. Baltimore, MD 21217 410-225-2256 mica.edu

Virginia Commonwealth University

At Virginia Commonweath, students can pursue advanced study in interior design, photography, fashion design and painting and printmaking, among other subjects.

Virginia Commonwealth University 325 North Harrison St. Richmond, VA 23284-2519 866-534-3201 vcu.edu

California Institute of the Arts

Featured in the recent book "Seven Days in the Art World," California Institute of the Arts is famous for encouraging students to explore experimental art-making.

California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway Valencia, CA 91355 661-255-1050 calarts.edu

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts allows students to choose from a variety of study paths, including music, fine art, design, architecture and drama.

Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh , PA 15213-3890 412-268-2409 cmu.edu

University of California at Los Angeles

UCLA's undergraduate and graduate programs let students explore ceramics, photography and sculpture as well as new art genres.

University of California at Los Angeles Broad Art Center Suite 2275 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1615 310-825-3281 art.ucla.edu

Alfred University

At Alfred, students can pursue a number of concentrations on the undergraduate and graduate levels. These include ceramic art, painting, drawing, photography, expanded media and sculpture and dimensional studies.

Alfred University 2 Pine St. Alfred, NY 14802 800-541-9229 art.alfred.edu