Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in eleven disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. For more information, please visit www.ringling.edu.
Ringling College is a highly residential campus on nearly 50 acres, located in Sarasota, FL. Impressive, state-of-the-art facilities include the Alfred R. Goldstein Library, Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center (with makerspaces), Larry Thompson Academic Center, Ringling College Studio Labs Complex; eight on-campus galleries; beautiful residence halls and apartments, including Greensboro Hall and Bridge Apartments.
Academic Affairs is committed to supporting faculty professional development and training as well as investment in software, hardware, and other technological needs. There is an annual assessment process and investment within each major to stay up to date with needed technological updates. IT training modules are available when applicable for learning new software programs as well as support for faculty trainings.
According to the feedback from recruiters, recent alumni, and our research, 70-75% are employed six months to a year after graduation.
Ringling College is committed to staying current and on the cutting edge of the software used within each of our 13 unique majors. As an institution focused on preparing our students for industry immediately upon graduation, we annually reassess and invest in needed software for each major. While not a comprehensive list, some primary software titles we use include: Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Unreal Engine, Maya, Rhino, ZBrush, SketchUp, Red Giant, TouchDesigner, and Avid.
All Ringling students have access to labs stocked with 550 Macintosh computers, 319 PCs, Cintiq Tablets, high-resolution laser printers, 3D printers, laser cutters. Much of this access is available 24-hours and can be accessed in person but also remotely through the Ringling College Athena Initiative, a new cloud-based computer platform that allows students to access their own “compute server” from almost any device, anywhere, anytime with high-resolution support, 3D graphics capabilities and maintained digital pen sensitivity. Students also have access to large-format printing and can use our digital checkout system to utilize a fantastic array of high-tech gear like game consoles, video cameras, and digital projectors. We have our own 3D Render Farm and data center on campus.
Take a look at some of the traditional and digital artwork Ringling College of Art and Design students produce during their education.
•Brianne Gagg - Product Visualization Specialist, Facebook, Seattle, WA
The biggest lesson I learned from Ringling is to think and see the world through a creative lens. Anyone can learn technical skills, but it is very hard to learn to think like a visionary. Ringling has a tough curriculum that truly over-prepared me for what was to come, which included getting organized, delivering multiple solutions to creative problems, and having a relentless passion to continue growing.
Networking & Careers
Ringling College provides many opportunities for students to be involved both in academics and co-curricular programs and activities. The typical day-to-day experience for a student involves greeting friends in their housing facility, attending classes, eating at the dining venues, working in a studio, maker-space or lab, attending a club meeting or student activity, working out in the Fitness Center, meeting with a support service office and hanging out with friends. Students often call it the “Ringling bubble,” because they say the campus is their home. Rarely do they leave campus given the environment and support available here.
Academic programs are extremely rigorous and students tend to focus the majority of their time and energy working on assignments. Ringling College students are committed to their studies. Students will not only do their coursework, but spend multiple hours in the labs, even on nights and weekends, trying to perfect their work. Academics align with co-curricular opportunities as well as art and design are the passions of our students. As such, many of the club offerings are related to the majors.
Ringling College is additionally a very residential campus with over 70% of students choosing to reside on campus. The majority of first year students (83%) reside on campus and are required to be on a full meal plan. Upperclass students typically reside in our apartment-style housing, or off campus, and cook their own meals. A number of these students still choose to opt into the meal plans as well. For off campus commuting students, they enjoy visiting their residential friends on campus.
Student success is our priority and Ringling College offers a multitude of support services in these areas: academic advising, counseling, medical, student access, student learning, career, international, and financial aid.
The majority of students participate in at least one, if not several, co-curricular programs and activities. Each year, there are over 700 events hosted by Student Life and other support departments, including our 40+ student created clubs. Sports related clubs are also popular and our newest is our varsity ESports program. Students are able to attend events geared toward career development, health and wellness, leadership development, volunteerism, diversity and inclusion, and a number of other areas. The majority of these events are held during lunch periods, evenings, and weekends.
In any free time outside of class, students will spend it in common areas in residence halls built for community development, walking throughout our tropical campus, spending time outside, and just winding down from the day.
Following studios hire our graduates: Disney, The Mill, Psyop, Sony Imageworks/Animation/Bend/Santa Monica, Activision, Riot Games, DreamWorks, Echo Bridge Pictures, Giant Ant, Epic Games, Hornet, Neighbor Animation, Illumination, Make Visual, Paramount, Skydance, and many more.
Ringling College of Art and Design recognizes that artists and designers play a significant role in society. The College’s primary mission is to provide programs leading to degrees that prepare students to be discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners.
Visual arts and creative professionals must understand diverse aspects of past and present cultures, and develop their capacity for creative expression and effective communication. Ringling’s curriculum, therefore, balances the teaching of technical knowledge and skills with the development of critical, conceptual, and creative abilities and supports courses that provide historical, multicultural, global, and future perspectives. Ringling faculty consists of professionally active and teaching-oriented artists, designers and scholars.
Ringling College of Art and Design strives to enroll both full and part-time students from diverse backgrounds who intend to become professionals in the creative and visual arts. Through its policies and practices, the College supports excellence in teaching and fosters the aesthetic, intellectual, professional, personal, and social development of its students. Academic programs and advising, career services, and an extensive co-curricular student life program prepare students for an art or design profession, or when appropriate, for continued studies on the graduate level.
In addition to its degree program, Ringling College offers courses, lectures, exhibitions and other art-related services to the local, national and international communities through its Museum, galleries, library, continuing education, and community service programs.
Through the efforts of its Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, support staff, alumni, and friends, Ringling College endeavors to provide the necessary resources, services and environment to fulfill its institutional mission.
Ringling College of Art and Design’s programs accept applications throughout the year on a rolling admission basis, except for Computer Animation. The deadline for Computer Animation applications is January 15 for fall enrollment.
Business of Art and Design (BA)
The Business of Art and Design program at Ringling College will prepare you to work on creative projects in any field. You will learn about entrepreneurship, design management, brand strategy and marketing, and producing for film and animation.
Our curriculum is designed to be flexible, empowering you to tailor your academic experience to your interests and career goals. As a student in the Business program, you will have countless opportunities to join forces with Ringling students across all majors to bring creative visions to life; producing animated films, planning events and experiences, crafting bold brand strategies, and developing and pitching new business concepts.
Computer Animation (BFA)
Ringling College Computer Animation students do it all. In our world-renowned animation program, you will learn to create characters and tell their stories, as well as design, paint, model, texture, animate, light, composite, and edit original films. As a Computer Animation student, you will combine essential technical skills with conceptually original ideas that affect an audience emotionally, visually, and intellectually.
This mix of talents is why we have been called the number one computer animation program in North America and why animation studios from all over the world look to us for the best and the brightest. Our graduates go on to win in film festivals and Student Academy Awards and become tomorrow’s top animated filmmakers.
Creative Writing (BFA)
At Ringling College, we believe that well-told stories speak truths and communicate ideas. That’s why we developed our Creative Writing program—to support, empower, and honor young storytellers, no matter what medium students choose to reach audiences.
Graduates of this 120-credit Creative Writing BFA have the technical competence and rhetorical fluency to succeed within all the narrative possibilities that print, film, games, digital media, and new technologies offer. Our graduates are ready to compete in a job market where finely chosen words, engaging stories, and professional conduct will always be in demand.
Entertainment Design (BFA)
As a student of this program, you will learn the skills necessary to conceive, visualize, and realize innovative design solutions that bring immersive entertainment experiences to life. You will work across disciplines to design for theme parks and destinations, themed dining, exhibitions, and interactive experiences, to name a few.
Focusing on themed environments, the curriculum addresses industry standards and skills related to a narrative-driven built environment. Courses focus on building a knowledge of three-dimensional spatial relationships, material properties, fabrication techniques, wayfinding, and developing your digital visualization and communication techniques. Advanced technical skills are developed using a variety of digital design techniques in drawing, CAD drawing, 3D modeling, and 3D prototyping.
The Film Department at Ringling College of Art and Design prepares students to be the next generation of great filmmakers. You’ll learn every aspect of the process, including screenwriting, cinematography, directing, and editing. You’ll then apply your rapidly developing technical skills to a number of collaborative projects with fellow students, regional clients, national brands, and international players in the film industry.
Ringling Film students not only master the key elements of creating a great film, but they graduate as expert storytellers able to effectively capture the attention of an audience. Students also benefit from countless opportunities to engage in real-world projects, such as interning on the set of a feature film, working in the editing room of a major television series, or participating in national client competitions. As a result, many of our graduates land work at major production companies and on some of the most interesting creative
projects produced in the industry.
Fine Arts (BFA)
The Fine Arts department is an exclusive program with limited enrollment, providing individual attention that fosters a tight-knit community of artists. Critical thinking, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and technology make up the backbone of the Fine Arts curriculum. Students will master technical and conceptual skills, explore innovative modes of expression, and develop an awareness of the historical and contemporary context of their work.
Our outstanding program prepares students for success in the $67 billion dollar international art industry. We provide students with their own studio spaces, state-of-the-art facilities, and a multitude of exhibition opportunities at Crossley Gallery and across campus. Graduates of the program have gone on to become critically acclaimed artists with national and international representation, industry creatives, and entrepreneurs.
Game Art (BFA)
The Game Art major is focused on providing students with the artistic integrity and voice to have a long and durable career in the games industry. As a Game Art major, you learn to make stellar art, study the basics of game design-mechanics and interactivity, as well as be the auteur of your own game world.
The Game Art major boasts eight state-of-the-art computer labs in addition to three open labs. Game Art students are also experimenting with virtual reality technology using the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. To further inform the work of our fourth year students, we bring in renowned, successful visiting artists to participate in milestone critiques. Coming from the top studios, brands, and businesses in the industry, our artists offer a relevant, real-world perspective to bring student thinking out of the classroom and into the professional arena. This process provides our students with invaluable feedback from the best of the best in the field, which they can immediately apply to their current works in process.
Graphic Design (BFA)
The Graphic Design department at Ringling College will prepare you to design showstopping solutions for print and interactive media. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the design thinking process and apply it to a broad spectrum of 2D, 3D, and screen-based projects. You’ll learn strategies for developing concepts, and designing layouts for publications, packages, branded campaigns, and user interfaces that will entice, inform, and delight. And you will collaborate with many other disciplines, including photographers, copywriters, illustrators, printers, and developers to make your ideas a reality.
Graphic Design is a diverse, dynamic, and flexible field. You can specialize in areas such as branding, packaging, or interactive design, or you can remain a generalist and work across many industries and platforms. You can join an agency or tech company or start your own design studio, like many of our alumni. With a degree in Graphic Design from Ringling College, you can design your own career path.
The Illustration curriculum is designed to be broad-based, providing students with multiple skills enabling them to pursue a variety of professional avenues. Our program offers 2 tracks: General Illustration and Illustration for Visual Development. All students take general illustration courses (including first year foundations courses) in year 1 & 2. In year 3 & 4 students have the option of either following the General Illustration track or the Visual Development track.
Working in 2D and 3D, Illustration students are introduced to and familiarized with professional industry techniques through exercises, demonstrations, guest speakers, critiques, collaborative projects, internships, recruiter workshops, and interactions with real clients in the area. By the time you graduate, you will be prepared to take on countless illustration positions and share
a comprehensive, cohesive portfolio that showcases your distinct visual voice.
Motion Design (BFA)
As a Motion Design student, you will imagine, design, shoot, animate, and experience. Created from the convergence of animation, graphic design, advertising, and filmmaking, the Motion Design program is cross-disciplinary at its core. You will learn how to craft powerful animated visual communications for any type of screen, integrating various image-making technologies and media including 2D and 3D animation, visual effects (VFX), stop-motion, graphic design, concept development, videography, and sound design.
Motion Designers employ professional industry practices and work collaboratively with other creatives across disciplines. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to confidently enter the motion design industry and start making an impact in this exciting field.
Motion Design students use software including Cinema 4D, (3D computer animation software), NUKE (compositing and visual effects software), Adobe After Effects (2D computer animation software), Dragon Frame (stop-motion animation software), and the Adobe Creative Suite.
The Motion Design Department at Ringling is now recognized as a Houdini Certified School. Houdini is a 3D procedural animation software used for motion design, visual effects, game development, and even virtual reality.
Photography and Imaging (BFA)
Ringling College students have access to state-of-the-art computer workstations and software as well as darkroom facilities, 3,000 square feet of studio shooting space, and a print room with large format digital printers. Our students are able to check out a wide range of quality lenses, portable lighting equipment, and accessories as well as high-resolution medium and large format cameras.
Each year one or two Photography and Imaging students compete for the opportunity to study for one year at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City. ICP is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography. Currently Ringling College is one of only three undergraduate programs in the country that have this affiliation. Students may also apply to study at these well-established and highly reputable programs: SACI International in Florence, Italy, Parsons Paris, and Burren College of Art in Ireland.
Virtual Reality Development (BFA)
Ringling College Virtual Reality Development students pioneer forward in a game changing medium for designers. As a student of this program, the first of its kind in the world of design, you will learn to create immersive experiences that can change the way we think about industries, including healthcare, architecture, education, media, and more.
As a graduate of this major, you will jump into a rapidly growing industry. Even more exciting, you will build a career in which you work and play at the forefront of this artistic realm, reimagining and redefining the design process at this creative intersection of art and technology.
Visual Studies (BA)
Visual Studies is for the curious, entrepreneurial student looking to rethink the way art and design is created and perceived. In this program, you will design and pursue an individualized program of study. Your curriculum will cross boundaries and disciplines, resulting in a top-quality liberal arts education and a customized program of hands-on, studio courses.
Ready to apply to this school?
You’re one step away from starting something amazing! The best part is that Ringling College of Art and Design is a Rookies Certified School which is a formal accreditation only awarded to the very best schools that provide the most up-to-date and relevant industry training and education. Trust us, you will be in good hands when you apply to this school.Apply to School
Speak to a Student Advisor
The Rookies has partnered with Mozaik Play - a student placement organization - that can assist you with: Choosing the right digital media colleges and course, full application process support, Visa application assistance and also financial payment advice.Get your free consultation