SCAD 101: Everything you need to know


With locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France, the Savannah College of Art and Design—SCAD, for short—is unlike any university in the world.

Founded in 1978, SCAD just celebrated its 40th anniversary; in that time, the university has grown to more than 15,000 students and boasts an impressive list of alumni, from fashion designer Christopher John Rogers—winner of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund—to Kayli Carter, star of Netflix’s Godless, and many more. But what really sets SCAD apart are its premium events, museums, gorgeous locations, and futuristic professional programs. Check it out!

Captivating Campuses

SCAD is renowned for its architecture and historic preservation programs, not to mention the university’s interior design curriculum, consistently ranked by DesignIntelligence as one of the top interior design programs in the world. In other words, when you drive up to or walk into a SCAD building, you’re likely to be in awe.

Especially in Savannah—where the university has transformed the city by rehabilitating more than 60 buildings, many in the historic downtown district—SCAD facilities gleam like jewels in the one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. The SCAD Museum of Art, a premier teaching museum and highly regarded exhibition space, is itself a work of art, having been built in such a way as to preserve the site’s history—it was formerly the Central of Georgia Railway terminal—while beautifying Savannah’s skyline. Additionally, SCAD’s very first building, Poetter Hall—once the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory—sits off historic Madison Square and houses ShopSCAD, where student, alumni, and faculty art is available for public purchase, and SCADstory, a museum-meets-amusement-park ride of sorts, which tells the history of the university and SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace.

In Atlanta, FORTY—a newly unveiled, high-rise residence hall—dots the city skyline like a brilliant sculpture. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean, the French Provençal village of Lacoste has been transformed by restorations like La Maison Basse, which sits in the lush Luberon Valley and basks in the brilliant natural light loved by tourists and artists alike.

Yet SCAD has another campus—SCAD eLearning—which is the university’s suite of award-winning online degree programs. In recent months, during the pandemic, SCAD eLearning—and, indeed, the entire SCAD curriculum—transformed online learning with virtual events such as Guests & Gusto and a digital commencement ceremony, both of which proved SCAD’s acumen for creating compelling virtual venues and environments.

Engaging Education

Perhaps what is most apparent about SCAD is its commitment to students’ professional careers. As the SCAD mission states, the university “prepares talented students for creative professions through engaged teaching and learning in a positively oriented university environment.”

Accordingly, all SCAD degree programs feature hands-on coursework taught in some of the finest classroom and laboratory facilities in the country. Fashion students have access to next-generation dye and pattern printers, not to mention exclusion design rendering software such as CLO 3D—the same tech used by high-end companies. Industrial design students benefit from cutting-edge 3D and laser printers in state-of-the-art fabrication labs. Meanwhile, film and television students and sound design students work with industry leaning camera and editing equipment—it’s no wonder SCAD students have recently taken home the top prizes in both the Coca-Cola Regal Films and Disney Imaginations Design Competitions. From A to Z, here are all 40+ degree programs available at SCAD:

  • Accessory design
  • Advertising
  • Animation
  • Architectural history
  • Architecture
  • Art history
  • Branded entertainment
  • Business of beauty and fragrance
  • Cinema studies
  • Creative business leadership
  • Design for sustainability
  • Design management
  • Dramatic writing
  • Equestrian studies
  • Fashion
  • Fashion marketing and management
  • Fibers
  • Film and television
  • Furniture design
  • Graphic design
  • Illustration
  • Immersive reality
  • Industrial design
  • Interactive design and game development
  • Interior design
  • Jewelry
  • Luxury and fashion management
  • Motion media design
  • Painting
  • Performing arts
  • Photography
  • Preservation design
  • Production design
  • Sculpture
  • Sequential art
  • Service design
  • Social strategy and management
  • Sound design
  • Television producing
  • Themed entertainment design
  • Urban design
  • User experience design
  • Visual effects
  • Writing

Clearly, students in creative professions have no shortage of options, yet what’s really apparent is the success that SCAD graduates have. Every year, the university surveys all recently graduated (with the past 10 months) alumni to see where they land professionally. And, as the 2019 study showed—for the third year in a row—99% of SCAD alumni either gained employment or pursued further education after graduating. In addition, 92% of 2019 graduates acquired jobs in a creative discipline, either the field in which they studied or a related area.

Relevant Renown

Complementing—really, enhancing—SCAD’s dozens of dynamic degree programs is SCADpro, the university’s own research-and-design, prototyping, and innovation arm. SCADpro exemplifies the SCAD experience: students from myriad majors team with professors (themselves proven industry leaders) to help brand-name companies—think BMW, Google, Hermès, Fox Sports, NASA, and many more—solve design challenges and invent futuristic products.

SCADpro assignments, as they’re called, usually last 10 weeks and often result in viable prototypes and, sometimes, ready-for-market products. Students even find themselves employed—whether through follow-on internships or jobs upon graduation—by the very companies they partnered with in SCADpro. What’s more, companies like Uber and Lenovo often invites SCADpro student groups to their corporate headquarters to pitch their concepts and ideas to high-level leaders and top creative minds.

The hands-on, real-world nature of SCADpro design challenges are further complemented by SCADamp, the university’s professional communication studio that teaches SCAD students how to pitch, present, and propel their ideas by compelling audiences, large and small, to action. SCADamp studios were unveiled just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education online in the spring, but they were quickly transitioned for virtual learning. However, the studios themselves feature augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) equipment that simulates presentations to large audiences, as well as an amphitheater set up as a teaching stage, complete with video playback capabilities that monitor presenters’ body language and gauge audiences’ reactions. SCADamp is staffed by professional communication coaches, who came to SCAD from various creative industries and have expertise in acting, speaking, and other techniques.

Enthralling Events

Just as SCADpro and SCADamp are real-time, real-world learning experiences, so too are SCAD signature events—where students rub shoulders with celebrities and make life-changing professional connections that shape their creative careers for years to come.

Take SCAD Savannah Film Festival, for example: some of the finest actors, from Elisabeth Moss to Aldis Hodge, from Olivia Wilde to Hugh Jackman, take part in intimate screenings and Q-and-A’s, not to mention serve on panels and teach masterclasses. Savannah feels like Hollywood during the fall festival, and the world comes to watch what films will contend come time for the Oscars.

Similarly, SCAD deFINE ART brings together the world’s finest artists and emerging luminaries in captivating exhibitions and compelling gallery talks. From Marilyn Minter to Lawrence Weiner, living legends of the artworld gather for panel discussions and classroom visits.

From SCAD aTVfest to SCAD Animation Fest, from SCAD GamingFest to SCADstyle, the university has no shortage of ways to connect students with the people and companies who shape the creative professions. And yet, the public also benefits from the educational experiences and, of course, revels in the glamour of such events.