The East Coast is home to several of the top art colleges in the U.S.

There are several art colleges on the East Coast that rank among the best in the world. These schools offer undergraduate and graduate coursework, and their students learn technical skills in painting, photography and a variety of other arts fields to build a strong professional portfolio of their work. These schools also offer students access to state-of-the-art studio spaces, as well as renowned and successful professors.

Yale University

According to "U.S. News & World Report," Yale University's School of Art was the best fine arts college in 2012. The school offers a Master of Fine Art degree in many different fields, including painting, film and photography, and it's a leader in photography and painting/drawing: In 2012, "U.S. News" said Yale offered the best program in the country in these two areas. Admission into the school is highly selective.

Rhode Island School of Design

Located in Providence, R.I., the Rhode Island School of Design was named the second best fine arts college in 2012. The school offers B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in more than 15 areas, including technical fields like architecture and industrial design, and traditional fields like photography and literary arts. Three specialized programs -- including RISD's graphic design, printmaking and industrial design programs -- were singled out by "U.S. News & World Report" as being the best in the country in 2012.

Virginia Commonwealth University

In 2012, VCU's School of the Arts was named the fourth best fine arts college in the country by "U.S. News & World Report." The university was the highest ranked public institution on the list. The school offers arts degree programs at all levels. Undergraduates can pursue B.F.A. and B.A. degrees in 14 different fields, and the graduate program offers M.F.A. degrees in fine arts and design. According to "U.S News & World Report," sculpture is a specialty at the university: in 2012, the program was named No. 1 in the country.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University is home to the seventh best school of art, according to the 2012 "U.S. News & World Report" rankings. For undergraduate students, there are many different degrees to pursue, including a traditional four-year B.F.A. degree, as well as interdisciplinary degrees in the arts, technology, humanities or science. CMU graduate students can enroll in a three-year M.F.A. program that focuses on "creative inquiry," rather than technical training, and curriculum and training are tailored to each student. CMU is also the best in the country for multimedia/visual communications, according to "U.S. News & World Report."