Top 20 Degrees for Creative People 2022

An image of creative people for our article on Top 20 Degrees for Creative People

Now more than ever, creative people are being “creative” with their career paths. The decline in print media opportunities has made jobs hard to find in:

  • traditional advertising
  • editing
  • journalism
  • publishing

In response, many creatives are shifting toward unique forms of multimedia design. Today, they are finding work outside traditional media platforms in virtual environments and emerging industries. These unique roles require a knack for thinking outside the box and beyond the cubicle walls. These jobs require creativity!

The following are 20 degree programs designed for people interested in building a career from their creative bent.

1. Journalism

Journalism programs have changed dramatically over the last decade. No longer is there a focus on print journalism. Thanks to the internet, students move beyond fact-checking, interviewing, and research. They master technology used to provide journalistic success in an ever-evolving industry. Areas of concentration in the major allow creative people to explore their passions. Concentration areas include:

  • broadcast and digital journalism
  • convergent media
  • news and features
  • sports and media

Popular career paths for journalism graduates include:

  • editor
  • journalist
  • photographer
  • public relations consultant
  • technical writer

While jobs for traditional journalists are declining, graduates of journalism programs have good job prospects when they are skilled in:

  • communication
  • digital journalism
  • editing
  • social media.

Top programs:
University of Massachusetts
University of North Carolina

2. Theatre or Dramatic Arts

A degree in theatre is comprised of a liberal-arts education with intensive study in dramatic arts. Students study all aspects of theatre and dramatic arts. They select courses that fulfill their own interests and career goals. Courses may touch on topics in:

  • classical theatre
  • comedy
  • critical studies of entrepreneurialism in the dramatic arts
  • playwriting

Both performance and production make up a big portion of the bachelor’s degree curriculum. Due to the performance requirements, students must audition and land roles in different forms of dramatic arts. Some programs offer areas of focus so that students may tailor their degree to hone a creative interest. Just some of the areas of interest a dramatic arts major may pursue include:

  • acting
  • comedy
  • design.

Featured Programs

Top programs:
The New School
USC School of Dramatic Arts

3. Graphic Design

Graphic designers create visual content for a variety of media, including:

  • websites
  • advertisements
  • magazines
  • packaging
  • logos, and more

They  create images and design layouts. The degree is highly technical and teaches students computer software and applications used in digital creation. The degree allows for a lot of latitude in terms of industries. Graphic designers work in all types of occupations, including:

  • private business
  • education
  • healthcare
  • trades
  • agriculture
  • retail, and more

This means creatives working as graphic designers can establish a career in an industry they enjoy.

Top programs:
Kent State University
Savannah College of Art and Design

4. Game Design

It’s  longer just the domain of children. The video-game industry has boomed into a $160 billion industry that crosses all age groups and genders. Due to the increase in console gaming and mobile-phone gaming, game design is an excellent choice for creative individuals. There’s a strong demand for their skills.

Moreover, gaming designers get to work on developing different types of creative content. Game designers create:

  • storylines
  • characters
  • animations
  • art
  • puzzles, and more

The degree combines both technical and storytelling creativity. This creates diverse on-the-job assignments. The occupation requires a bachelor’s degree with courses in:

  • C++
  • Java
  • Adobe Creative Suite.

Featured Programs

Top programs:
Full Sail University
Southern New Hampshire University

5. Creative Writing

Creative writing programs dive deep into the creative process of writing. The programs do this through the investigating literature and the creation of original stories. You learn to hone your craft and develop your talent. You develop skills that can be used in a variety of occupations.

With the advent of media and entertainment creative ventures, you have access to more creative writing jobs than at any time in history. You’ll engage in the writing process as it relates to creativity. In addition to writing, you spend a lot of time analyzing classic and modern literature. Spanning a wide spectrum of genres, you’ll take courses in:

  • American literature
  • British literature
  • transnational literature .

Featured Programs

Top programs:
University of Iowa
University of Massachusetts

6. Landscape Architecture

Over the next several years, the field of landscape architecture is expected to grow. The population is growing.  There’s a strain on the natural environment and resources. This has raised the demand for skilled individuals to provide balance while meeting architectural needs. This profession requires:

  • creativity
  • problem-solving
  • a strong background in technology and design

Students of landscape architecture learn in and out of the classroom. Practical experience is essential to honing skills and becoming a trained professional. But, before choosing a program, it is important for you to evaluate a school’s accreditation status. Look for schools that are accredited through the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board to be sure of the program’s quality.

Featured Programs

Top programs:
Academy of Art University
University of Virginia

7. English

A degree in English provides you with a comprehensive understanding of:

  • grammar
  • linguistics
  • literary analysis
  • literature
  • writing

While curricula vary by program, common courses explore topics like:

  • British literature
  • contemporary fiction
  • English composition
  • nonfiction writing
  • technical writing

Are you a creative who loves the written word? Do you want to deepen your knowledge of the English language? A degree in English might be the right fit for you. Many undergraduate programs offer concentrations or specializations that allow you to tailor your degree to better align with career goals and interests.

Popular concentrations include:

  • creative writing
  • literature
  • technical writing

English majors have gone on to pursue careers in:

  • editing
  • publishing
  • writing.

Top programs:
The University of Memphis
University of Washington

8. Entrepreneurship

The business world is comprised of data and analytical decision-making. But entrepreneurs can only be successful when they mix business fundamentals with creativity and innovation.

When it comes to creative marketing and product innovation, the creative process has always been critical to success in business. Maybe you need to create a unique marketing and advertising plans. Maybe you need to find and select innovative products. A degree in entrepreneurship can teach you the skills succeed as a business owner. Courses may include:

  • web and application technology
  • marketing, public relations
  • risk management

Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees are widely available in this major.

Top programs:
Western Carolina University

9. Architecture

Architecture is most commonly offered as a master’s program A degree in architecture is an excellent choice if you love to design and create functional and aesthetic structures and buildings. Architects work with clients from inception to creation in terms of the structures and buildings they design. These professionals work on a wide variety of structures that fulfill people’s needs in:

  • work
  • entertainment
  • commerce
  • learning needs

As such, architects spend time learning how to work with clients. They spend a lot of time in the design studio learning the design process. Master’s programs can vary in their completion time, but most take  two to five years to finish.

Top programs:
University of Maryland
University of Michigan

10. Advertising

The large field of advertising is comprised of creative and business professionals who share a similar goal. They want to motivate customers to buy products and services. An advertising degree is ideal for creative individuals who are passionate about marketing and advertising.

Both online and traditional programs are available at all levels, from associate’s degrees to graduate degrees. In undergraduate programs, you learn how to creatively think, critically evaluate, and more. Classes cover topics like:

  • advertising and promotion
  • audiences and media
  • brand management
  • consumer behavior and marketing analysis
  • research and analytics

There are various career paths in advertising. Graduates of this degree have taken roles as:

  • advertising sales representatives
  • film and video editors
  • graphic designers
  • marketing managers

Any business or organization with an advertising or creative department may have job openings for individuals with an advertising degree. In addition to working as an employee, some advertising professionals work for themselves.

Featured Programs

Top programs:
Temple University

11. Communication

Communication is a broad field with several career paths for creative individuals. With a communication degree you can help organizations craft messages that create positive outcomes for:

  • marketing
  • public relations
  • internal stakeholders, and more

As an effective communicator you must to be creative in the way you develop and deliver communication through various media. Communication degrees are available at all levels from bachelor’s to PhD.

Many organizations often cite effective written and oral communication as the number-one desired trait in a candidate. Because of this, an individual with a communication degree can use it as leverage to stand out from other candidates. Courses may include:

  • public relations
  • marketing
  • public speaking
  • storytelling

Common degree paths for communication majors include:

  • film and video editors
  • fundraisers
  • interpreters and translators
  • public-relations specialists
  • technical writers.

Top programs:
Arizona State University

12. Instructional Design

A master’s degree in instructional design is an excellent degree for creative individuals. It helps them to understand the concepts and skills needed to create effective:

  • learning and training systems
  • platforms
  • curricula

Instructional design degrees are technical in nature. But they also teach students effective teaching and learning methods. These often include innovative instructional techniques to engage:

  • students
  • employees,
  • customers

Students take courses in:

  • assessment
  • computer science
  • curriculum development
  • design analysis,
  • instructional design

Degrees may be general. Or they may have more specific coursework that prepares the graduate for a career in design in the educational system.

Top programs:
Western Governor’s University

13. Marketing

Marketing has always been a great degree choice for creative people. Whether it’s a comedic Super Bowl commercial or a viral video post, marketers with a creative flair are often responsible for marketing projects. Consumers are exposed to hundreds of marketing images every day. So the need for creative ideas to sell products is at an all-time high.

Marketing degrees teach a wide variety of subjects, such as:

  • consumer behavior
  • creative writing
  • digital design
  • ad campaigns
  • social-media marketing

In addition to learning marketing concepts, students work on projects and develop marketing portfolios. These can be shared with potential employers upon graduation. Possible careers in marketing include:

  • advertising and promotions managers
  • public relations and fundraising managers
  • sales executives
  • technical writers
  • top executives.

Top programs:
University of Maryland Global Campus

14. Film Studies

Film studies programs are an excellent option for creative individuals interested in visual media. Film studies programs teach you how to interpret and analyze films from various perspective including:

  • cultural
  • visual
  • technical

An undergraduate degree in film studies will prepare you for an entry-level career in:

  • film
  • television
  • media
  • cinematography, and more

With entertainment platforms increasing, film and television, jobs will be in demand for the foreseeable future. The curriculum in a film studies program focuses on:

  • critical thinking
  • technical analysis
  • research
  • expression

The coursework involves film and media from various time periods and genres. It applies an interdisciplinary perspective that involves social-science concepts.

Top programs:
New York University
University of Southern California

15. Fashion Design

Are you a creative person with a passion for fashion and design? This degree program opens up career opportunities as:

  • art director of a fashion magazine
  • costume designers
  • clothing designers

In-house or personal stylists also have a background in fashion design. In addition a degree in fashion design, successful fashion designers possess:

  • creative talent
  • sharp business skills
  • patience
  • determination

They work well with a team of creatives. Most fashion design programs prepare you for entry-level careers in the industry. The field is competitive and jobs are often scarce. So you might consider earning a concentration alongside your degree. Accredited programs offer concentrations that allow you to hone in on an area of interest that aligns with you career goals.

In-demand concentrations include:

  • costume design
  • fashion business management
  • fashion styling
  • product development.

Top programs:
Marymount University
North Carolina State University

16. English Literature

A degree in English literature has long been a favorite among creative types. In school, you’ll spends much of your time analyzing and interpreting classic and modern literature.  In addition to analyzing texts, you’ll engage with various media forms related to public discourse and online media. This is an interdisciplinary degree. Coursework involves various analyses that are grounded in concepts and disciplines like:

  • anthropology and culture
  • psychology
  • sociology

You also increase your creative capacity through the development of original writing. As an English literature graduate, you can pursue a wide variety of careers in:

17. Fine Arts

A fine arts degree can prepare you for careers in:

  • art
  • creative writing
  • performance, and related areas

The degree covers a range of disciplines and often spans across many liberal-arts programs. In Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs, you may specialize your degree by adding a concentration. A concentration helps tailor the degree toward an area of interest and allows you to specialize in  a specific career goal or creative passion.

Some of the concentrations offered in BFA programs include:

  • acting
  • art education
  • creative writing
  • fashion
  • photography
  • printmaking
  • sculpture
  • theatre

Additionally, graduates of BFA programs can pursue entry-level roles in various careers as:

  • art directors
  • creative directors
  • graphic designers
  • interior designers
  • web designers

If you’re graduating from a master’s-level fine arts degree (MFA), careers may include:

  • executive directors of photography or creative arts
  • high-school or community-college theatre teacher
  • senior editor

A fine arts degree is an ideal pathway for those in search of a creative career.

Top programs:
Boston University
Rhode Island School of Design

18. Public Relations

Similar to advertising and marketing, a public relations degree put you into a highly visible creative role from the start. PR professionals represent and manage a company’s:

  • image
  • brand
  • reputation

The field of public relations attracts talented and creative artists and writers with superior public-speaking skills. The role serves as a liaison between the company or organization and the public. Strong and effective communication skills are needed.

In most public relations programs, you learn how to:

  • communicate with media members
  • draft speeches
  • write press releases

You learn how to craft effective public relations campaigns and respond to difficult situations. As a public relations graduate, you may qualify for various advertising, marketing, and PR roles.

Possible career paths may include:

  • advertising sales agent
  • market research analyst
  • public relations and fundraising manager
  • public relations specialist

While in school, you may also earn a concentration or specialization that gives you deeper knowledge in a public relations discipline. Concentrations offered in a bachelor’s degree in public relations include:

  • advertising
  • corporate communication
  • digital media
  • political communication
  • project management

Most undergraduate programs take four years to complete. There are online options with a shorter completion time are available. Common courses offered in these programs cover topics like:

  • communication writing
  • digital online media
  • public relations campaigns

Classes are designed to allow students to flex their creative muscle.

Top programs:
The University of Texas at Austin

19. Music

Are you passionate about music? Do you see yourself making a career out of this passion? Then a music degree might be a wise, creative choice for you.

Many people are drawn to studying music because they enjoy performance and playing for others. There are also other jobs available in the industry. Many behind-the-scenes careers in music can be equally rewarding.

Some of the music-related occupations for creatives with a music degree include:

  • band leader
  • music educator or teacher
  • music composer
  • music promoter
  • music therapist
  • songwriter
  • sound engineer

There are several types of music degrees that qualify you for a music career. At the undergraduate level, options include the Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

Other bachelor’s degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Music Education (BME)
  • Bachelor of Arts in music (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science in music (BS)

In most undergraduate programs, you can expect to take courses that enhance your ability to analyze, appreciate, listen to, and understand music. While music programs vary in coursework, some common topics covered in class include:

  • applied piano
  • aural learning
  • music history
  • music theory
  • world music

A music major is designed to enhance your musical talent and dedication to the industry.

Top programs:
Berklee Online
University of Maryland

20. Robotics Engineering

Robotics engineering is a sophisticated branch of engineering and technology. It’s perfect for STEM-bent creatives. The degree blends disciplines like:

  • computer science
  • cyber-physical systems,
  • engineering

This blend helps a robotics engineer to create and utilize intelligent machines. These machines are capable of working alongside humans, or in place of humans. From autonomous vehicles to the exploration of sustainable agriculture, robotics engineers can improve various fields and industries.

Courses often seen in undergraduate robotics programs cover topics like:

  • electric circuits
  • engineering economics
  • introduction to electronics
  • logic and design
  • mechanics of robotic systems,
  • signal analysis in robotic systems

Students pursuing a robotics engineering degree should have a strong background in computer science and mathematics. In addition to STEM-related coursework, students should exhibit:

  • creativity
  • imagination
  • strong critical-thinking skills

Bachelor’s degrees in robotics and robotics engineering are often sufficient for entry-level positions in the field. But, to set yourself apart from competition or to advance in the field, a master’s degree or doctorate might be necessary.

Top programs:
Lake Superior State University
Miami University

BDP Staff
October 2021

Related resources:

This concludes our list of the top degrees for creative people.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris