Is Your Academy of Art University Diploma Worth a Shit?

I forget where I was when I took this, but it might’ve been in the Mission. If not, sorry. In any case, is anyone taken aback by the notion that a diploma from the Academy of “Art” “University” might not be good for shit? Fuck.

Previously on Mission Mission:

Some Art Student Spent Forevs Drawing Cartoon Woman in Dalva Bathroom

More Boing Boing in Mission Bathrooms

Stone Got Glass Fucked By Your Mom With Love In The Men’s Room At 12 Galaxies

Fuck Your Blog

Garfield Variation in the Shitter at Pop’s Bar

137 Responses to “Is Your Academy of Art University Diploma Worth a Shit?”

  1. gribblet says:

    I hire people with AOAU diplomas all the time. Of course, they are also talented and hard working, without the sense of entitlement that this person seems to be lost in a miasma of…

  2. peeque says:

    ah, the plaintive cry of the barista.

  3. Willie says:

    Nothing worse than the recently graduated unemployed. Get a clue! SCHOOL is not WORK and just because you have a fucking diploma does not give you carte blanche.
    When I graduated from collage I was making as much as I was in High School and then I got that job this jerk wanted….

    • wishing I was Willie says:

      You must have done very well in “collage.”

    • anonymous says:

      I’ve attended AAU. I’ve attended SCAD. There is just as much talent from one school to the next. The question you have to ask yourself is… Where do I feel the most challenged?

      That’s where you need to be. That’s where your best portfolio pieces are going to come from. It’s where you will actually be excited for any fucking project your professors throw your way.

      If you’re not compelled to get your ass up and go to class everyday, you’re in the wrong place.

      If you’re not ready to make a commitment to your studies and your art, spare yourself the sleepless hours and thousands of dollars. Don’t go to an art school. Especially if you’re gonna piss it away with drugs and alcohol. That’s at least $5,000.00 A CLASS you just wasted when you could’ve been doing that at a public university or community college for a lot less.

      The point is, It doesn’t matter where you get your degree or if you get one, what matters is what you do with the knowledge that you obtain.

      Oh, and Willie, don’t you ever fucking knock someone for furthering their education. Naturally, you wouldn’t excel in an environment that requires you to think above the capacity of a 4th grader, let alone basic knowledge of spell check… asshole.

      • Lee says:

        Hi, I am a graduate from SCAD and looking into Academy of Arts Masters program in art history online. I was wondering if you could maybe just tell me a few things about your experience there and how maybe the online degrees are viewed at the school?

        • mike says:

          Bad bad bad idea. I Graduated from a good private university in art with very good grades and wanted to add to my degree with online classes I couldn’t take locally. A few of the teachers are good but too many of them simply don’t teach and tell you are bad if you ask questions. They have grading policies, sort of, but nobody cares if the teacher doesn’t follow them. Some teachers can’t even respond with good English. It’s very sad that I’ve put so much effort in and have wasted my money. They sell you on accelerated summer classes and then, once its too late to get your money back, clue you in that they expect 60 hours per week of work(2 classes) even though the sign up says 10 hours per class so that you fail and spend money taking it over again. Most of my summer class ended up with me retaking it in September. Disgusting abuse of students money and self worth. The things teachers would say to my peers even more so than myself was mean and sad. I’ve been through real art school critiques so I could handle it, but really, you have much better options out there. Don’t tarnish your SCAD degree with an AAU addition,that is , if you even finish. This school will lie to you and fail you to take your money, at least online anyway. I believe Boston University have an art history on line degree and so do some other much better respected schools. Plus your diploma will be better respected.

          • travis says:

            You’re full of it…and it’s clear that you don’t know how to read. The summer classes are a max of 2 with 2 modules per class a week versus the regular semester of 1 module a week. Each module requires between 9 to 12 but if you’re good then it can be less. Simple math…learn it and don’t push that BS.

            That’s funny my teachers are doing an amazing job pushing me to improve since they see the potential and guess what my hard earned A’s show the improvement. I’m guess since you didn’t read the make up of your summer classes that you also didn’t read the weekly assignments which is why you most likely got a piss poor grade which made you feel pissed enough to come and talk bad about the school.

            I’ve had a good job for 15 years so I see people like you all the time who talk a good game but when it comes to deliver you fail miserably and then blame it on everyone but yourself…so yeah

        • Joe says:

          The art history classes I took their were extremely serious and the professors were very knowledgable I’m not sure exactly how good their masters degree program is I’m not in it, but from my experience with that department and the school I’d say it worth it.

    • chad clinton says:

      Listen up fuckface.
      You shut the fuck up.
      Shut your fucking fuckhole when your fucking speaking to me!
      I see you behind the register of taco bell…
      You just keep taking orders and shit the fuck up when you do so.

  4. martin says:

    Willie, you spelled college wrong

  5. johnny0 says:

    Dude, don’t knock collages. It’s fun to cut out all the pictures. Plus, you can make some serious money, all while making a social statement.

  6. kmajor316 says:

    Doesnt The Academy give out degrees? You get diploma’s in high school.

    • Sqweak says:

      Nope, We’re accredited like any other college in the country. I’m gathering this person doesn’t understand that a college degree isn’t the only thing you need to get a job. Dedication, hard work and badass portfolio are also huge factors in getting paid.

      • Todd says:

        ^^^I totally agree with this statement.

        If your hatin’ then you obviously didn’t have what it takes to succeed in the real world as a creative person. I am sure it is a lot easier to try to bring down an organization by slandering it as opposed to busting your ass and trying to accomplish something with the opportunity that you have or had.

        The hard fact is that the economy sucks and that means that you have to be even more badass than everyone else out there just to get a paycheck.
        On top of that, a lot of people get the misconception that “Art” school is easy. Wrong.

        I am an Alum and the truth is that every employer I have had hold ME, MY WORK AND MY ALMA MATER in the highest esteem.

        If it didnt work for you …sorry, better luck next time.

        • Davidson says:

          ^^^ And I totally disagree with both of the above statements.

          There should be a balance between the tools and knowledge the college is supposed to give you, and the amount of hard work and dedication within the graduate. Otherwise, what is the point of going to college in the first place?

          Saying “Oh, well I went to the school, and now I have a sweet job. Obviously you’re not cut out for a field in the arts, blah, blah blah.” is complete bullshit. I went to a for profit school and it was the worst decision of my academic life. I was fortunate to get a job with a small graphics firm out of school, but only cause I knew a guy there who helped me get my foot in the door. It wasn’t because of anything this “school” gave me. My own hard work, and luck was what got me where I am today. NOT the education/degree provided by a college that was more concerned with my credit report, than teaching me anything of value.

          For-profit colleges are a plague. Plain and simple. They put on a good song and dance, and sell you that their school is the best. When you get there, the “advanced technology” and “caring instructors” (or whatever promises they make) from their commercials/brochures are somewhat absent.

          They take advantage of high school graduates who don’t have all the facts. Hell, I too was such a graduate and couldn’t imagine that there were actual institutions that just wanted my money and “Who gives a fuck if we teach him anything.”

          I didn’t know that many for-profit colleges will annex/buy smaller accredited universities as a means of obtaining said accreditation. I didn’t know that they will regularly change the name of their school or hide it’s affiliation with a larger for-profit university. “Oh, our name is Baker-field University, we’re not that awful for-profit Chester-field Academy” *wink wink.

          If you’re going for a degree in the Arts, start with a community college while you look into other larger institutions. Go in for the tour, ask to sit in on classes. Question students who are there if you can. Don’t just trust the lines they feed you. Go online and research, research, research.

          Oh, and Todd. Go fuck yourself. Saying something as condescending as “Better luck next time.” Just proves what an insufferable dick you must be in real life. If you can afford another go at college, then wow sorry, not all of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouth. Prick.

          • Nancy Ford says:

            Ah, for-profit schools. Scum sucking shitbags of fucked-uppedness. Found this blog after steering someone away from Full Sail University… a “fully accredited” film school located in Winter Park, Florida. So I successfully divert her from this school and she comes back with asking about Academy of Art University.

            I’ve been giving people the same advice as Davidson… start out at a community college… research other schools, sit in on classes… ask professionals for opinions… do lots of informational interviewing.

            Davidson, I hope you don’t mind me reposting your commment. You’ve provided lots of good information.

            And Todd, you’re a douche. With the high cost of education, there’s no chance for a “next time” for most people. They shot the financial wad the first go-around and there isn’t anything left for a second try.

            Check out my blog over at

          • Patrick says:

            Now…tell us what you really “think”..minus the garbage.

  7. Meow Macao says:

    Actually, Academy of Art “degrees” really are worthless. Yes, they are “accredited,” but the accreditation is by a *different organization* than is used by real colleges and universities (anything from CCSF to SF State to UC Berkeley to Stanford etc.). So let’s say you have a degree from A of A. Later, you decide you might like to get an MFA ar other higher degree at one of the real universities. They will laugh at you. “What? You think this A of A thing is a degree?”

    From their perspective, it’s as much a degree as a roll of paper towels.

    It’s tricky at best to get work with a Art degree, but if you MUST HAVE a degree in art, try to get into the SF Art Institute or other legitimate art school; or even study art at UCB or SF State etc.

    Sure, people actually learn stuff at A of A, but their options for graduate training are very small indeed.

    • zinzin says:

      that is some excellent commentary. i didnt know about that accreditation issue.

      sounds like a bit of a scam to me.

      and the AofA degree aint cheap, neither.

      • jim says:

        They do have the same accreditation. Check this page out: . same as State and UC’s. so….

        people are fussing.

        • old lady says:

          Just now seeing this 6 years after the post- not sure if anyone will read this…

          Yes, they are accredited now, but they were not when I was there (02-05). Now that I am back in school in a state university, out of the 75 units I received, THREE, yes, THREE!! were transferable. The other 72 are worthless… bitter? why yes I am!!

      • Zach says:

        You friggin internet jockies spouting off opinions as facts are funny. Get your facts straight. I’m sure your just bitter about failing out of AAU or something else like that… Sad, and always the victim ready to cry to the crowd of faceless people on the internet. Please… Complain more about how it’s “Someone elses fault.” We love to hear it.

  8. zinzin says:

    i hire em too. thing is….this is an art (or design, or media) degree. so school is about honing & developing talent. without talent (a combination of skill, drive & bravery, imho)….the diploma is in fact worthless. that said, WITH talent, the diploma is a decent credential showing – at the very least – the ability to follow through. that said, the notion that it will “get you a job” is pretty off-base, as it would be regarding any but a very very few institution’s diplomas in a very narrow slice of the job pool.

  9. meowmacao says:

    Well, the WASC accreditation must be new for them. They didn’t used to have it. I therefore revise my remarks, but I still think that young artists would be much better off simply majoring in Art at a regular university. They have all kinds of digital arts programs at these schools nowadays, in addition to photography, painting, and other such programs.

    • chris says:

      A traditional school does not teach students how to make a living off of art. There’s a difference between Art for Arts sake and Art for Industry.

  10. sAS says:

    This blog is not about just getting any diploma from art school, it’s about getting an Academy of Art university diploma. And even though it IS accredited like all the universities. Does it do anything is the question. Frankly all the great professors have gone, the education is outdated, and the students are lacking in motivation even in the first year. So is it worth it? If you want to waste your money and time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The academy is nothing but a bunch of fags who produce more fags to then go out into the world and corrupt it with more faggotry. thus it is a disease. It has literally destroyed the loins of SF with illegal “acquisitions” of downtown real estate and have made no efforts to deal with the claims. It is a sespool littered with weaboo scene bitches and Chinese fagots who wish they were Japanese. They virtually rape people’s wallets so they can continue advertising their bullshit at conventions and teh internets whenever they can. The purchase old city buses and rev them up in their secret auto department. The security their is bullshit. The people that attend usually have their noses shoved so far up their professors asses that they pluck them out they can still smell the shit and believe it to be them. Alas.. they are not the shit. The fashion bitches are legitimate hos. Even though the bitches wont admit it you can often see them working the streets at Sutter corners. The fact is the “industry” as they call it is so fucking saturated with old faggots that they like to recycle that newbs never get a chance. The Admin at the school are nothing but a bunch of selfish uncaring fucks who don’t care about shit but a six figure pay check. Fuck Academy Of Art University. AAU Sucks

    • Tits says:

      I will ram my dick straight the fuck down your pretentious ear canal.

    • Patrick says:

      “..that is some excellent commentary. i didnt know about that accreditation issue..”

      No, it isn’t..and..neither does he..

    • One Pissed Off "Fag" says:

      You need to go back to the stone age with your homophobic slurs. Had you attended your English courses, perhaps you could have used a more appropriate word. I am assuming you hate the school so much because you lack the mental capacity to pass any college course. It is the bigot who destroys our society as a whole and it is bigots like YOU who should have been aborted. Good day you sick homophobic bastard. May you rot in hell with your hate!

  12. unknown says:

    I Have a degree from AAU and let me just say, my diploma means shit! Every employer I have ever had (I have had a ton) hires me not because I graduated from there but because I have the drive of a bull during the pamplona run. That is something you personally have not are taught. However, AAU did kick my ass for four years and made me really good at what I do. I could not make the money or have the knowledge I do today if I went anywhere else in the country.

    And just so you know Anonymous us fashion kids work about 120 hours a week in the studio alone and I am sure the whores on Sutter are only doing it cause they have two hours to spare a week and we do have to pay rent just like you. Also please stop throwing the “F” bomb around no one likes that word.

    You have to put in what you get out in everything in life fyi and there are people and places that help you do that.

    • academy of loss says:

      i went to academy of crap and decided after going there for two years of an MFA(i had an undergrad degree in psychology… and they let me into an MFA program??????!!!) that it was indeed a waste of time and money. i knew more than many of the teachers, had a job in the field already, and the fact that they “needed” another year of me in there meant that they wanted more money. save your money, go to a real school.

      • academy of loss says:

        even worse… a few years back i tried to get a job there just for kicks and they said i wasn’t qualified!!! HAHA! they must have looked me up in their drop-out (full tuition not completed) database.

        • Jackboy says:

          I love when people say they’re smarter than their teachers. Those people are usually the dumbest in the class.

          Also, you probably didn’t get hired because you’re an unpleasant person to be around and the “I’m better than you” attitude probably doesn’t help.

    • Gee says:

      @unknown I agree completely with what you are saying here. You get out of it what you put into it.

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  14. barack obama says:

    whoever wrote this article is obviously is deeply offended and has a throbbing, pulsating boner for aau and needs a reality check. that place is nothing more than a half step up from that commercial of the old guy asking if you “like to draw” and to “call for a free art test.”

  15. Hugh says:

    I would like to know what percentage of the Academy’s alumni continue working in the field of art after graduation. I’ll bet you that 1) they wouldn’t share those numbers if they had them, and 2) those numbers are probably very low.

    That’s the dirty secret of ALL art schools — most of the graduates aren’t making art. Sad but true.

    • aau alum 01 says:

      AAU or AAC when I graduated.
      Came to SF learn CG.
      Cal state had 1 SGI for the whole department.
      AAC 50 SGI’s + SGI workstations in each classroom.
      I know where my tuition went. (50k+ per machine)
      School is what is. They have the tools you need the drive..
      The degree puts you in the pile that gets reviewed, it does not get you a job.
      It’s all about your work.
      That school taught me the skills to make 100k with my “Art” skills.
      I am a working professional in the CG field now.
      And I would do it all again at that school.
      Believe me, I know about the real estate scams ect.
      Go to school to focus on what you love not BS…….

  16. Haggie says:

    Academy of Art is just a student visa scam for wealthy Asian parents that want to ship their kids off to the U.S. for a couple of years.

    Culinary Academy is a rip-off too. When I see kids walking in chef clothes or carrying their art portfolios around Van Ness, I have to laugh. In 2-3 years, they will have no usable skill, but a nice pile of student debt.

  17. Jean says:

    I go to AAU and do think aspects of the institution are absurd. For example, organized sports????? C’mon.
    Actually, the job placement rate is extremely high! The graduation rate, however, is not (i think it’s like 30%, seriously!). The problem is that so many attend AAU thinking it will be easy due to the lack of portfolio for admittance. I’ve seen so many fellow classmates come and go.
    I think that with any school, the work you put it will pay off in the end.
    If you have the connections (especially in the art/ design world) and the talent to back that up–you’ll do well no matter where you attend school.
    So to sum this up– Yes, the Academy of Art can be questionable in their actions but that doesn’t mean that the students attending are any less talented or connected than any other art school.
    If anything, at least the Academy of Art prepares you for an actual industry job, unlike other, more “prestigious” art schools that prepare you to be the next failed Andy Warhol.

    • john says:

      Lack of Portfolio? they do require a portfolio of 20 images for the MFA program. they may not for a 4 year degree BA,
      I am just finnishing my BA in photography in the Cal stete University system and they did not and do not require a portfolio for new students

  18. Andy says:

    For-profit schools are always a scam. An Art degree from a real university however, is still worth something, regardless of whether or not you’re able to monetize your particular field of study.

    I have degrees in Literature and Cultural Anthropology. I work in neither field, but my work in the field I am in is better for my having acquired those degrees.

    Don’t let the ‘mathnscience’ cult degrade your appreciation of the comprehensive benefits of an “Education.” Otherwise, we should just close our universities and all go to trade schools.

  19. Bongo says:

    All art degrees are pretty much worthless. It’s your portfolio that will get you a job. Do you think a RISD or SCAD or any other “prestigious” art school degree will matter if your portfolio sucks?

  20. prince says:

    I work at AAU part time (very part time) as a spare pocket money job, in fact I’m posting from there right now. Holy shit is it a bad idea to go here if you don’t already know what you’re doing. Don’t go unless you already like doing creative work on your own and push yourself to get skills on your own. You can start with a better education from reading 1 book on your own than you’ll end up with from going in clueless and taking 4 years of classes. Study up before they assign work and already know what they’re going to assign you. Then take it as a chance to apply what you already know with technical help. If you haven’t done that and think this is a good place to go, think twice, try cheap classes at city college first.

    The lumpen majority seem like they are fresh out of high school, sweet talked into riding corporate dick, piling up debt with no hope in the end, heads full of useless ideas about glamor jobs that don’t exist. The few who seem like they know what they’re doing, probably already have school time done elsewhere, and go in a degree program to get a few years to practice what they want to do without distraction of working, while student loans cover living expense. They are the exception who succeed. Less than 10% of them I’ll bet. The other 90% are paying for them and the owner’s car collection.

  21. akzidenz says:

    REAL TALK: AAU is ok if you know what you want out of it, know decent teachers, and are personally driven. But if you’re serious about studying any discipline of art, CCA takes the cake in the bay area.

  22. Deja says:

    I’m really interested in going to AAU after high school. How good is their Motion Pictures and Television program?

    • kayleigh says:

      The MPT department is crap. Go elsewhere, trust me!

      • Deja says:

        Good to know. I’ve decided to study aboard anyways.

      • Holy Crap says:

        The editing track at AAU, within the MPT program, is fantastic. This room is full of whiny-assed nobody’s who will never get anywhere, regardless the school they choose, because they have their minds plugged into a thought process that is negative and counter productive. Go to any school and you get what you put into it.

        You must ALWAYS be studying about your field, outside of your scheduled academic program. You must read and get out into the community and behave as if you are already a part of your chosen industry. BE what you want to be, on the lower level and build yourself up into what you wish to become. Those that go to Brown and Harvard are given positions in life, because they went to school at Brown and Harvard. Don’t be one of those people. Decide to succeed and go do it, wherever you go to school.

        You can do anything you want. You don’t need accrediation to learn to produce great art. You don’t need it to become a great film or video editor. It’s all in what you produce with your time and skills. So go out there and develop some God Damned skills and maybe I’ll hire you when you’re done with your program.

        Get motivated and get out of the counter productive mindset and do something about your future that doesn’t involve bitching and moaning about testy little issues that don’t amount to a hill of beans in the real world.


  23. town says:

    I am really close with someone who works there and they are corrupt and incredible fiscally irresponsible. The owner of the school doesn’t give a shit about the students, just making money and having students make good art so it makes the school look good and therefore bring in more money. I don’t care what kind of students go there and how ridiculous or pretentious they are, no one deserves to be taken advantage by a crazy woman who knows nothing of running a business and is just money hungry. AAU is a black pit on an otherwise wonderful city, it needs to wiped away.

    • Jay says:

      you just said they care about “having students make good art” and isn’t that all that matters? as i’ve read in one of the comments here, it’s your portfolio that determines whether or not you’ll get a job, and if AAU makes you a better artist providing you tools on making a great portfolio, then who cares if the school cares more about their car collection than you, you came to become a working artist and if they’ve made you good at art then that’s all you need.

  24. kris says:

    This “school” is an absolute joke. Sure, the hipsters and kids who hang out on the streets that they’ve taken up in the Tendernob district can be annoying, but what is truly sad is how they take advantage of the students by promising a glamorous career after graduation. Most companies in the industry do not think highly of the academy or the degrees that they hand out.

    The academy is in fact a real estate company disguised as a school. Their model is to get you to enroll, take your money (leaving you in debt, hey, it’s not their problem) and buy up more real estate.

    -former graduate student of this “school” and yes, my degree is worthless. thank god i have a degree in business to fall back on.

  25. The truth is says:

    Ehmmmmmmm…..No university guaranties a JOB to their graduates!! That part is up to the graduate. Universities prepares you for the career, the rest is up to you. I think is stupid how ppl are complaining here that they did 4 yrs in art blah blah and they don’t have a job in arts. Is that AAU fault??? NO!! Ask Laws students, Medicine students, Business students, Education students, Science students how many of them got jobs in their fields…..not more than a 30%. Just because you have a Degree doesn’t mean you will find a Job. You have to be persistent and work hard to be above the rest of MILLIONS seeking job too!! duhhhhh

  26. on-stage says:

    The Academy of Arts University is not for lazy people who think they know it all. This University is for people who have big Dreams and already have goals in their minds and will work hard for them. It is for people willing to learn, sacrifice and work very very very but very hard.

  27. Scareeeedddd says:

    ahh okay so ….. should i go to a community college to start my art classes there and then come to AAU??? orrr like whattt???

  28. Caroline says:

    When i was younger i wanted to go to the academy of art university but when i started looking up information they don’t have a very high amount of graduates finding good jobs or being displayed in galleries. It was pretty but not a great school. After doing my research i found SAIC to be a much better alternative in being one of the best and more competitive art schools in the nation. I’d rather go to a school i can hav.e a better chance of a successful future with

  29. Caroline says:

    Also, for any school, especially an art school, you get out what you out in. The school’s degree helps but in such a conpetitive field, it’s about putting yourself out thereand remaining dedicated.

  30. heather says:

    can someone just tell me some good schools that have online learning so i can try to better myself while still working at my current job..

  31. jessica says:

    is there any interior design graduates from AAU here? really, how was it? and the job opportunities?

  32. Jumbalaya Johnson says:

    I just called California College of the Arts, The Art Institute of California, and San Francisco Art Institute and they both charge much more than Academy of the Arts University. The San Francisco Art Institute is the best of all schools though. You really get what you pay for but their massively expensive.

  33. Artist says:

    I’ve reaserched and am currently attending this school, from what I find they have a very good employmet rate for graduates. They do not promise, glamour jobs, The degree will help you earn an entry level position in your feild. Employers of people in the art feild aren’t so much conserned about your degree as weather or not you can do your job, and are a good employee. And their really aren’t that many jobs out there, people only want the best now days.


    First of all, am an AAU student and i think is a great school! One thing people need to consider is that there is no such thing as a bad school! You get out what you put in! in this case I think artist are born…they are not made! If you are not a natural no can make you an artist.
    One more thing if you are lazy, unable to meet deadlines and cannot handle pressure…AAU is not for you! Am an A student why? because I LOVE what I DO!(Motion Pictures and Television) because I always go the extra mile for all my projects. I cannot say the same about some of my classmates who I see trying to cut conners…could they blame AAU? NO! DO YOUR PART and worry about improving your portfolio.

  35. ruby says:

    I really want to attend AAU, but after reading this im not sure what to believe. Does anyone know actual facts?

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Don’t do it. There is a ton of information out there on just how much of a scam it is. Google around and you’ll see what I mean.

  36. Cristal says:

    Im sorry but I’m in middle school and I’m guessing you really didn’t pay attention much while the professors are there trying to help you. And to get a job your profiler has to be filled with amazing things that you did during your time in AAU. Im guessing that you didn’t even know what you were doing the whole time. : / #Sorry Oh by the way it’s Degree not diploma

  37. looksee says:

    Prospective students:

    The academy of art is ok, but it falsely advertises as an “art school,” rather it is a SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS. If you are interested in artistic creativity and the fostering of innovation, new or subversive ideas and art for arts sake – DO NOT ATTEND THIS SCHOOL.

    Yes, it is definitely a scam, it is open admissions (no admission requirements, i.e. portfolio) and there is only a 32% grad rate.

    (Read this article)

    There really isn’t any opportunity for students to show their work – all art at the sprig show must be approved by the school owner, Elisa Stephens. Here she is in the luxury nob hill mansion.

    ALSO – the crying shame of this “art school”is that the only full scholarships offered are only awarded to athletes :S Here’s what is spent on that. (I heard that schools get extra government money for having athletes…)(

  38. Reed says:

    I’m presently enrolled in a graduate program at AAU. I get strait A’s. So this isn’t a cry of bitter failure.

    It sucks and that’s the truth.

    I’m far enough into the program that it’d be stupid to drop out, but I’m afraid in the future I’ll look back and say, “why didn’t I drop out when I thought I should’ve.” It’s expensive–very expensive. So have a plan to pay back those fucked up loans waiting for you at the end of the tunnel (some of those loans taken off without you, too).

  39. Onthefence says:

    @Jean: How do you know that the job placement rate is extremely high? Do they have great internship programs? Is the networking good there? If anyone has anything to say about the following please reply.

    I was looking into their Graphic Design program and honestly it looks a lot better than the junior college programs that I have seen.

    I have a B.A. but in something completely unrelated and wanted to go back to school to learn the technical skills necessary to find an entry level in this field. I have a Fine Arts background (which is helpful), but I have a lot to learn about Graphic Design.

    I webstalked some of their alumn (including this girl from high school that I never viewed as talented) and was impressed that most had design jobs within the year they graduated. Also her portfolio was actually really good.

    The only off putting thing I’ve noticed is the cost. And I’m not made of money/ would be in debt for a long time….

  40. Gee says:

    I graduated from the Academy of Art in 2007 with a degree in Motion Pictures and TV and my career has taken off. Also thanks to the brutal curriculum and break neck pace, I am way ahead in terms of technical ability and skillset than most of the people around me who went to traditional colleges and universities. I have been reading student/parent reviews all over the net today about AAU and I must say most sound whiny and pathetic. Look folks this is a REAL WORLD school not some pussyfoot state/public university. So maybe send your kids there instead. And for you whiny students, get real! stop complaining about stressful course loads and not being trained or receiving training. Its an unwritten requirement that you learn by doing and asking and researching. In my experience many students are too lazy, too engaged in facebook or social media, their phones or whatever to pay attention or grasp the concepts thats why they fail out or wimp out. As a matter of fact, 70% of the people I graduated with are not even working in film so what does that tell you? That these people can’t hack it in the creative arts world! If you need learning spoon fed to you then go to state or public schools. The Academy trained me for real world situations and thanks to AAU I have and will continue to excel in my career. Life is hard and so is this school. If you can’t sit on the porch with the big dogs then find another porch! Seriously, the whining is what is making you all fail not AAU. AAU is what you make of it. And if you can hack AAU and come out as a graduate (albeit one who is dedicated and focused) then you WILL EXCEL IN THE ART WORLD! So stop whining, stop complaining, grab your nut sack and get over yourself already! Also ENOUGH about accreditation! AAU is fully accredited and is on the same playing field as UCLA USC,etc.

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Heh. You are arguing that the AAU is a more rigorous learning environment than an ACTUAL university like a UC? That’s pretty funny.

      • Gee says:

        Yes I am. I have fired more idiots off of my productions who had a degree from a STATE or PUBLIC UNIVERSITY because they couldn’t handle the stress, the workload, or else padded their resumes. I guess since most Universities are more focused on theory instead of actual production they had no other choice right? I remember the SF state kids used to drool over us AAU people and our vast amount of production gear.

    • PaulWorks says:

      I was interested due to them actually calling me back. I am already have my BFA in Fine Arts with my majors being Photography and Graphic Design with a Minor in Art History from FSU. I have been out of college for 2 years and I want to get my MFA. AAU is an oppertunity for me to get closer connections, networking, and skill levels. I would love to go to NYFA or SFAI or UCLA. But I can’t afford that much. I am wasting away knowing I can offer more than what I am doing now in this small town right now. So I applied for information and AAU called back instead of just an email.
      I agree… a degree is pointless… a portfolio and resume is what gets you through the door. It doesn’t matter where you went to school, but what you want in life from that school. For me… it is a chance to increase my resume and begin my passion as a career. I no longer want to have my passion for the Arts be just a side job. I worked my ass off to pay my student loans these past two years and now I am ready to do it again.
      I believe strongly that if you use the teachings from any school and put 110% of yourself into it… then and only then will you make it. I have done my research and there is Alumni from AAU, SFAI, UCLA, NYFA, SF, USC, DU, and others who are working in the area they love which proves to me… they all had passion behind their artwork and put everything they had to get there. So you worried what people say about a college… then go to an open house, visit the campus, talk to the teachers, talk to the alumni, do more research than just google or bing. Because I can say, “I am a French Model” on the internet ;)
      Mr. Gee, I would like to here more about your experience there. I am planning to start my MFA there this Summer. Please email me at

  41. Boi says:

    Hey Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable, you should know that the Oscar nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild’s special effects were done by AAU animation students. So take your “uh huh sure” attitude and stick it up your ass!

  42. Ernest says:

    I am MFA student of school of Motion pictures and television of Academy of Art University.
    I do know nothing about their other departments, but I can definitely tell that degree here does not worth it because:
    (1) To many unnecessary classes. E.g. for MPT it is required 4 General Study classes (they are not related to the Film at all) I need not Reneisance class, which is hard to pass. I took it two times and failed.
    Do i need this class? I can google it in seconds. Why I have to pay for it?
    You need 63 units to graduate. It is too much.
    You will be in school 3-4 year for MFA if you are domestic student. Only international students graduate in 2.5 years, because they are not working.
    (2) It is too remote from real independent film industry. Most professors have never been in set for decade or more!!!!!!!!!!!!! They even do not know set rules.
    (3) Online classes are very hard, so many stupid assignments, like make video – shoot you gears. :)
    That is why most people leave this school.
    School is hard. I went a law school in LA and it was easy to go there than AAU. Here is thing. They are making it hard because they want you to retake classes.
    Art school has not be harder than law school!!!! It is ridiculous. They undegrade you even for typos!!!!!
    (4) Advisors do know nothing about classes and film industry.
    (5) School basically sucks your money.
    A have got f and d for three classes. And they do in intentionally, they undergrade you and suck you money for retaking classes. I tried to contest, but they do not give me shit.
    That is why they have so many classes.
    (6) They have so many bureaucracy. I don’t know why they have Midpoint review and separate classes about how to do thesis? It is stupid class. Just do thesis! Why I have to take separate class about how to do thesis?

    (7) Director of directing department has never done feature films!!! (even one), only few short films many many years ago. Of course he has never been on the professional movie set.
    Most of professors you can check independently do not have even IMDB page.
    But they have so many formalities.
    I am doing my films, some of them have won in festivals. I have so many friends in LA and I am going there to shoot my movies.
    When I came back and listened some professors what they talk to me, it is look like they have never been on the movie set. They give you some theory.
    Of course we have to know a theory. But this school give you theory and a little practice unrelated to the real film making standards.
    What they can teach!!!!!????
    Only few students are knowledgeable. But most students have no idea what they are doing.
    All of necessary knowledge you can get in community colleges and from practice. They offer almost the same program based on the same books.

    If you really want to have degree, better go to UCLA, USC, AFI, Chapman, Calarts.
    I have been in the set with students from film schools from LA, and from students from AAU. Students from any LA film school are more knowledgeable. They know all rules, “call roles”, customs of film industry. Students from AAU do not know how behave on the set, they are not trained what the call roles is.
    Most of them look like novices and they do not know how to do movies.
    AAU program is multiplicity of separate classes, mostly not connected each other. And professors do knot know how the film production works.
    They are doing good advertising. But in fact it is real estate business.

    • Big A says:

      LOL! in a regular university aren’t you forced to take classes unrelated to your program?

      If the profs don’t teach the correct things why then do top company execs spend money to come over?

  43. remmy says:

    I got admission into the academy of arts for MFA in fahion merchandising and marketing. I am a student from india. I wanted to know what the job oppurtunities in america are like after passing out of this school?

  44. Oiiiiii says:

    How is the fashion program at AAU?

  45. xxxxxx says:

    Check out this accreditations. It all depends what you want to study… WASC i s the main accrediting body for schools and colleges.
    NAAB architecture
    NASAD all the BFA and BA degrees
    AACSB etcccc……..

  46. Michael says:

    This is a bit dated but very very relevant for all making decisions there can leave them in dept for decades. Lawsuit filed against AAU.

    Sad that all they care about seems to money and not their prospective students

  47. jessica says:

    I honestly just read every siwhole”DDSone if these comments, and I’d like to agree with the people saying “you get what you put into it” like Gee.
    I’m about to start my senior year in Hugh school and I’m really interested in this school, I’m just kinda iffy on the whole “scam” think about AAU only caring about money…which i do not have.

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  83. anonymous says:

    I’ve attended AAU. I’ve attended SCAD. There is just as much talent from one school to the next. The question you have to ask yourself is… Where do I feel the most challenged?

    That’s where you need to be. That’s where your best portfolio pieces are going to come from. It’s where you will actually be excited for any fucking project your professors throw your way.

    If you’re not compelled to get your ass up and go to class everyday, you’re in the wrong place.

    If you’re not ready to make a commitment to your studies and your art, spare yourself the sleepless hours and thousands of dollars. Don’t go to an art school. Especially if you’re gonna piss it away with drugs and alcohol. That’s at least $5,000.00 A CLASS you just wasted when you could’ve been doing that at a public university or community college.

    The point is, It doesn’t matter where you get your degree or if you get one, what matters is what you do with the knowledge that you obtain.

    Good luck kids.

  84. SOMA says:

    Employers don’t hire for degrees, they hire for talent.

    I started an agency in SF that had many AAU grads on the creative team…we didn’t hire them for the degree, but their portfolio, recommendations, interview performance (we give “tests” or projects as part of the process).

    I’d like to also add that after interviewing several hundred people looking for a digital media job, I found myself biased against MBA’s. I found that every single person with an MBA expected to be paid more because of it, yet I would ask every candidate with an MBA, “if you think you deserve more money because you have an MBA, please tell me how much more you expect and what value your degree will bring us that we can’t get from someone bright but without an MBA?”

    Not one person answered that question well, in fact, most of them looked like idiots trying to manufacture BS they wanted me to think they also believed.

  85. Angelica says:

    is this school Accredited?
    how much does it cost ?
    is financial aid available?
    what majors?

  86. Neeqef says:

    Don’t go to AAU if you are NOT TALENTED!!! Even though you think you are talented, think twice and ask someone are you talented.

    Because there are only few kind of people can graduate from AAU:

    1. Talented people with patience;
    2. A dumbass who is ready to repeat their classes 1000 times;
    3. You are a son of Elisa Stephens.

    The fact about AAU is they spend stupid student’s tuition fee on talented students.

    No matter where you are, only genius can work with art.
    AAU is an organization that scam money and train genius.

    • Lola Dora says:

      Lol, I’d rather be a genius with a real degree then a genius with loan sharks coming after me because I invested in a scam.

      I am very talented, my portfolio had everyone drooling and the only people who graduate are filthy rich and can drop 2,000 a class. If you are a working student, do not touch this school with a 100 foot pole. Yes there are some great designers there but they leave mid year to save money they rightfully should.

      - sad student.

  87. Lola Dora says:

    Lol what diploma, I flew out of that place so fast when I saw what a hell hole they were in the bay area.

    There aren’t any really savvy schools in San Francisco, unless you go to the state or the city college (which is not accredited anymore so its pointless). Its another city using a big city reputation to lure in students to colleges that do not have proper housing or even proper accreditation for students. As a whole , the city of San Francisco should be ashamed of themselves for trying to push themselves as a fun college city.

    I went here for a small term and needless to say I am humiliated. Between the cigarette smoking students who couldn’t design (there were some great ones, but they were few) and the crappy school financial aid and reputation it is a mess. I was an idiot and was accepted into every art school in the whole Bay Area but being money savvy I chose the cheapest. GOD did I MESS UP. You are charged $2,900 to stay with a roommate in the “dorms” which were outdated hotels. I am looking at at you Hotel Commodore on Sutter Street.

    This school is not accredited, is a scam with all the buildings shooting up all over the city. Now they are airing commercials and I cringe for the incoming fall freshman. DO NOT GO HERE.

  88. Fashionista says:

    Yes, my AAU degree is very valuable. Not only did I receive a great education from this school I landed a job BEFORE I EVEN GRADUATED in a tough economy.
    Not to toot my own horn.

    Many companies recruit seniors before they graduate from AAU. The trick is you have to work REALLY hard and be at the top of your class to snag these jobs.

    So, AAU gives you the opportunities, you just have to work hard to seize them.

  89. Yesica says:

    I’m interested in attending this school to get a master’s in graphic design. I’m about to obtain my bachelor’s also in graphic design but I’d like to continue my education… Can somebody tell me how good is their master’s program in graphic design? And also in illustration please.