Money Well Spent

MICA’s mission is to empower students to forge creative, purposeful lives and careers in a diverse and changing world. To do so, we have committed to make our programs available to talented students regardless of their economic backgrounds.

The cost of attending college at a premiere art and design institution like MICA is a tremendous investment. There is also tremendous value in it.

So how can you evaluate one institution versus another when choosing a college? How can you be sure that your investment is money well spent?

What factors really matter when weighing one college against another? Consider this:

We are proud to state that MICA is consistently ranked in the top tier of visual arts colleges in the U.S., and we enroll the most talented and driven students from around the country and around the world.

  • Founded in 1826, MICA is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art in the nation.
  • MICA is ranked in the top 10 best M.F.A. programs in the visual arts, fourth in graphic design, sixth in painting/drawing, and sixth in sculpture by U.S. News & World Report.
  • In seven of the last 10 years, MICA has been listed as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars among specialty schools by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • In 2022, MICA was ranked #1 in animation and graphic design programs in Maryland, and top 10 on the east coast, with animation ranked top 50 nationally and graphic design ranked top 10 nationally by Animation Career Review.

A view of MICA's Main Building and Brown Center at night.

MICA is a nationally recognized leader in innovative art and design education. We have spent decades refining our programs and curriculum so that students are prepared for the growing opportunities that exist now—and in the future—for artists and designers.

  • Over the past decade, MICA has created new groundbreaking programs that prepare our students to apply their creative problem-solving skills as artists and designers to the fields of creative entrepreneurship, business, curatorial and critical studies, liberal arts, product design, user experience design, data analytics and visualization, game design, global studies, environmental sustainability, and social change.
  • MICA has developed a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School to create the MA/MBA in Design Leadership program—the first such partnership between an art college and a major research university.
  • MICA offers a Business of Art and Design MPS degree where students can choose between an entrepreneurship track or product management track to gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to lead a successful business and bring a product to market.
  • MICA launched the Ratcliffe Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, which addresses the needs of students and alumni developing businesses in the new creative economy. One initiative, the First Year Fellows in Creative Entrepreneurship, prepares first year students to integrate studio research with emergent technologies, project-based learning, professional practice, and financial literacy.
  • MICA connects students with fields beyond art and design through a number of collaborative efforts, including one with Johns Hopkins University’s Extreme Materials Institute—where student interns help researchers interpret data in ways accessible to non-scientists—and another with scientists from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, where Animation students create short films that explore everything from dark matter to dwarf galaxies and help the educate the public about Fermi’s mission.
  • Our Biofabrication Lab and courses in biotechnology give students the opportunity to explore new ways of making that combine living systems with emerging technology. One exciting project involves the creation of “biocement” scaffolding, which could potentially help restore the oyster population of the Chesapeake Bay.

A student at MICA's annual UP/Start competition

  • MICA offers over 30 majors and minors including five fifth-year capstone programs.
  • MICA offers over 1,000 courses each year providing programmatic depth and career options not found at other colleges and universities.
  • MICA administers more than 40 study abroad programs—more than any other art college in the United States.
  • MICA’s studio majors mirror the diversity of today’s contemporary art world. Painting, sculpture, photography, and other traditional mediums co-exist with inter-disciplinary and multimedia approaches to art and critical thought.
  • The BFA degree is recognized as the professional degree for artists and designers. Students graduating with a MICA BFA enter the job market with 75 percent more credits in art courses than a student earning a BA degree in art from a multidisciplinary college or university.

A MICA student builds a wooden sculpture

MICA’s focused education in art and design prepares students to enter the new creative economy of the future—a globally interconnected system of enterprise realized by technology and driven by the ability to synthesis ideas across disciplines, create, innovate, and disrupt. Our amazing array of offerings gives students opportunities to cross disciplines, combine programs of study, and chart an individualized course of study during their time at the College.

Because art begins with an idea, MICA’s carefully designed curriculum nurtures the critical balance between the artistic and the intellectual.

  • The College believes that the quality of the liberal arts program should equal that of the nationally recognized studio program—a value not found at all art and design colleges.
  • MICA’s art- and design-centered education also intersects with a range of disciplines, including technology, biotechnology, education, social justice, business and entrepreneurship, medicine, public health, engineering, and more, so that students are prepared to seize new opportunities in a number of fields.
  • Employers and graduate schools actively recruit MICA graduates for their creativity, ability to think critically, breadth of real-world experience, and exceptional artistic and technical skills.

A 2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 1,379 CEOs from 79 countries and across industries indicated that “adaptability, problem-solving, creativity and leadership” were among the most sought-after skills when hiring.According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and cultural economic activity accounted for 4.2% of our country’s GDP in 2020, totaling $877 billion. In 2015, that number was $166 billion.

MICA is a student-centered learning environment where respect for creativity and individualism is a highly held value. Personal attention is built into the DNA of the College. Our curricular and co-curricular programs are designed to develop the whole student— from his or her creative vision and intellectual capacity to the development of professional skills, confidence, and personal integrity. 

  • MICA faculty are practicing professionals who provide students individual attention in small, mentoring-based classes. The student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1.
  • MICA’s community of 1,793 students (1,278 undergraduate and 515 graduate) is a universe where artists and designers are the rule and not the exception.

A professor works with MICA students in front of a laptop.

MICA attracts a uniquely creative and intelligent community of students from across the country and around the world. Diversity is valued. Talent and commitment to art are shared. Collaboration rather than competition motivates our students. Your child will work side by side with students who are bright, curious, and passionate about their work. They understand, challenge, and inspire one another.

MICA is unique among art colleges in our commitment to a campus life that rivals that of top liberal arts colleges. Our students take the lead. Everything here is designed to foster artistic, intellectual, and personal growth.

  • The 31-building, residential campus — located in a beautiful historic neighborhood — creates a strong sense of place and community. It also offers extraordinary art and design facilities and the latest equipment and technology resources for professional-grade skill development.
  • Guided by a master plan, MICA has invested greatly in its campus and facilities. In the past ten years, the College has increased and enhanced resident life facilities, added state-of-the-art academic classroom spaces, doubled its public galleries, added two innovative multi-use performance spaces and 73,000 square feet of student space for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Unusual for an urban campus, MICA offers inspiring architecture, green spaces, and gathering places to share a meal or to participate in student activities.

A view of students walking down the step inside Main Building.

Baltimore is uniquely supportive of the arts and of artists, and is a renowned showcase for cutting-edge work in visual art, music, literary arts, film, theater, and performance.

  • Smithsonian Magazine named Baltimore One of the East Coast’s Next Cool Cities, and Forbes magazine named Baltimore one of the Top 10 Coolest US Cities to Visit.
  • A college town of 160,000 students, Baltimore has the neighborly feel of a town but the sophistication of a major city: a world-class symphony, opera, clubs, professional sports, dance, theater, museums, nightlife, arena concerts, and many other aspects.
  • Unlike other major metropolitan centers, Baltimore is an affordable city and one in which artists have a greater opportunity to develop an early exhibition history, start their own business, win any number of major financial prizes with which to kick-start their careers, afford great studio space, and expand internships into jobs.
  • In 2022, Business Insider named Baltimore among the top 20 best cities to start a business.
  • Baltimore offers easy access to some of the country’s finest museums and galleries — in Washington, D.C. (About 40 miles/under 90 mins), New York City (just under 200 miles, between 2.5-3 hours), and Philadelphia (around 100 miles, a bit over 2 hours).

An aerial view of Baltimore's Inner Harbor and skyline at night.Baltimore has the charm, sophistication, and amenities of a major city, but the neighborly feel 
of a town. In 2023, Architectural Digest included Baltimore as one of their top 23 Places to Travel.

Mindful of how each step of their education will contribute to the long-term success of our students, professional development is embedded in the curriculum, advising, career services, and real-world experiences that comprise a MICA education.

  • MICA’s Center for Career Development offers the professional services of a knowledgeable staff focused on creative careers. The Center offers a complete toolkit of professional development programs including over 800 internship listings and an online employer database with over 7,500 potential employers—all designed to prepare students for successful careers or postgraduate study.
  • MICA connects students with people and institutions shaping the world of contemporary art and design — our faculty, our visiting artists, art critics and curators, our partners in industry, and the professionals students encounter through reality-based projects, internships, and study abroad experiences.

The front door of MICA’s Center for Career Development.

At MICA, we consider the satisfaction of our students, their parents, and our alumni to be an indicator of our success as an art and design college. What does it mean to be happy with your education? A number of factors can help you determine how MICA measures up:

  • 85 percent of MICA freshmen return for their sophomore year, compared to the national average of 68 percent.
  • MICA has a 73 percent graduation rate compared to the national average of 56 percent.
  • 93 percent of alumni report that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their MICA education.
  • 74 percent of undergraduate alumni from the class of 2020 reported they were employed one year after their graduation
  • MICA administers more than $50 million each year in undergraduate financial aid from all sources. The scholarship and grant programs funded by MICA alone provide 95 percent of our full-time undergraduate students with over $31 million annually.

“The school really takes care of you and introduces you to some of the most brilliant people that could really mentor you.”Isolina Minjeong ’20 (Ceramics BFA) during the MICA Talks on-campus event held in February 2023.

MICA is like no place else—a community that embraces contradictions: outgoing and introspective, scholarly and creative, independent and collaborative, theoretical and practical. The students who choose MICA are forward thinking, believe that art and design are essential—and that they can make a difference in the world.

We believe that an education at MICA is an investment that yields a lifetime of personal, intellectual, and professional growth and accomplishment.