The Art Institute of Philadelphia


Founded in 1971 by local artist Philip Trachtman, the Art Institute of Philadelphia is a private, for-profit college that has since become part of the network of over 50 art institutes located across North America. Students attend classes in the heart of Center City Philadelphia in an Art Deco building from 1928 — now an official historical site — as well as four other facilities in the neighborhood. Focusing on (1) applied arts technology, (2) the design business, and (3) an advanced program in the culinary arts, the institute is geared to providing a basis for students to enter the different applied arts professions at the entry level.

The institute as a whole is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Specific academic programs are also accredited by their respective authorities, including the Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and the Associate of Science in Culinary Arts. The Art Institute offers more than a dozen Bachelor of Science degrees as well as nine Associate of Science Degree programs and two Diplomas.

In design, bachelor’s degrees are available in advertising, graphic design, interior design and industrial design. For media arts majors, Bachelor of Science degrees are available in audio production, digital filmmaking and video production, media arts and animation, photography, visual effects and motion graphics and web design and interactive media. Fashion majors can receive their B.S. in fashion design and fashion marketing, while a B.S. in culinary management rounds out the group of four-year degrees offered by the institute.

For busy adults, an evening and weekend program is available for students pursuing degrees in the Culinary Arts.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Information Summary

Ranks 189th in Pennsylvania and 2969th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 51.3
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance N/A
Admission Success rate N/A
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 18 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 55% / 49%
Enrollment Total (all students) 2,494


Because the institute runs on four academic quarters, students can apply towards the end of each season to begin their college careers, with applications due typically one month before class begins. Applicants must submit an online application and an enrollment agreement along with an application fee. After receiving an acknowledgment letter, applicants must pay an enrollment fee and forward a brief essay along with high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores, or GED scores and diploma.

Requirements for admission to the Art Institute of Philadelphia include a high school diploma with either a minimum GPA of 2.0, a minimum SAT score of 880, or a minimum ACT score of 18. Students who hold a GED must have scores of at least 246. Students who have already completed associate’s or higher degrees need only forward their transcripts to fulfill the requirement.

Applicants for the audio production Bachelor of Science program must have completed high school with a minimum GPA of 2.5, a minimum SAT Math score of 450, or an ACT Math score of at least 18. Applicants with a GED must have a minimum score of 450.

Above all, the application process aims to understand the applicant, with numbers as part of the supporting evidence. Interviews will be conducted with all applicants.


College Building :: The Art Institute of Philadelphia

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to students who wish to attend the Art Institute but cannot quite afford the total cost of attendance. Every student interested in financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to begin the process. State and federal grants, both merit and need based, may be available, along with loans. In addition, the Art Institute offers scholarships to the winners of several different contests. Individualized payment plans can be created to ease the process of funding one’s education.

The Art Institute Scholarship Competition and Art Institutes Merit Awards are two examples of need and talent-based scholarships. The Best Teen Chef and Passion for Fashion Scholarships are awarded to the emerging talents in each respective field.

In addition, national scholarships are available to Art Institute students. High school students who are members of the National Art Honor Society can receive scholarships for placing in the top five of the competition. C-Cap students can receive a full scholarship that covers two years of tuition at the school. ProStart students can vie for scholarships to be used for the Culinary Arts Program.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 778th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.


Students come to the Art Institute from all over the country and world. While some students will enroll directly out of high school, many others enroll in search of a new career or continued education. For the challenges faced from either point of view, there is a Department of Student Affairs just down Chestnut street from the main building.

About a third of students live in campus housing. Applicants can include the cost of residence fees as part of the financial application. Beyond that, many students choose to live in Center City for its ease of access to points of interest in Philly and its many cultural benefits.

To help students complete their course assignments, there are 22 computer labs, of which 13 feature Mac machines. Because the majority of majors include hands-on applications, there are design labs and post-production studios where students can fine tune their projects. One of the highlights is a 1500 square-foot media room, where editing equipment is on hand for media arts majors. Photography majors have several darkrooms and imaging studios at their disposal. Culinary arts majors have a full a la carte kitchen to try their hand in a real work environment, but the biggest test is the faculty/student-operated restaurant called Petite Passion.

The number of clubs available to students at the Art Institute is large. From comic book collectors to Christian organizations and an intramural basketball league, there are many ways to spend your time in a constructive and enjoyable way. Additionally, each area of study has groups that meet to exchange thoughts on the curriculum and share ideas for upcoming presentations. Joining a student group is recommended as a way to enter college life smoothly. The entire list of organizations is available from the Department of Student Affairs.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics

Local Community

Attending the Art Institute has the added benefit of being in the heart of America’s sixth-largest city, the site of many key events in the American Revolution. Close to the school are the sites where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and where Benjamin Franklin established the first post office. The beautiful Old City area has an authentic eighteenth-century feel with its excellently preserved buildings.

For art students, there are a number of helpful resources, including a world-renowned Art Museum and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Just outside the city is the legendary Barnes foundation, where one of the best collections of French Impressionist painters resides. Because the downtown area of Philadelphia is relatively compact, students are able to use public transportation, or simply walk the short distances between institute locations. Four of five institute facilities are on three blocks of Chestnut Street.

For further exploring, Fairmount Park, which is the largest park within city limits in the United States, has countless access points throughout the city. One of the finest stretches wraps around the Art Museum and down the River Drives.

Sports enthusiasts can see games in all four of the major U.S. sports, with all four teams playing in South Philadelphia, a short distance from the campus of the Art Institute.

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