Advertising Portfolio Schools have made quite a name for themselves. In addition to shaping some of the top art directors and copywriters in the business, they grew significantly in the last decades. If you want to become an art director or copywriter and are looking for an alternative to college or universities, they are above all an excellent choice.

Here’s a compiled list of some of the best portfolio schools in the U.S to help you with your search.

Miami Ad School

What started as a tiny portfolio school in the heart of Miami Beach has become one of the top advertising schools globally. If Ad schools were people, Miami Ad School would be the popular kid with a cool tattoo sleeve on his left arm.

With campuses in 4 major cities in the U.S and 11 cities across the globe, Miami Ad School is definitely the Ivy League of Advertising Schools. They consistently win lots of student ad awards and place their students in top agencies across the globe.

Their portfolio program which lasts 2 years, however, they now offer Bachelors and Masters Degrees (in partnership with accredited universities), Boot Camps and training courses.

What we love about this school

Quarter-based enrollment

Students can pick when they enroll in the school, with quarterly enrollments in January, April, July and October.

Quarter Away Program

Students can choose to study or intern in up to 4 cities around the world in a remote campus or a partner ad agency. If that’s not awesome, we don’t know what is.

Small Classrooms and cool campuses

There’s something very homey about Miami Ad School’s Miami campus (we haven’t visited the others yet). The space is small, convivial and pet friendly, which makes you feel like…family. We also like the fact that classrooms are relatively small, meaning more attention given to you as a student.

High placement rate

With a 97%-100% placement rate, you are pretty much guaranteed a job if you make it through the entire program.


$19,400 per year (38,800 for the full 2-year portfolio program)

The Creative Circus

Coming in as a close second, Creative Circus boasts an incredible placement rate of 93% (2018 Academic Year).

Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, their colorful warehouse looks and feels like an ad agency. With an in-house photography studio, a gallery, a library and occasional dogs wandering about, it never gets boring.

What we love about this school

The Building

The space is designed to foster creativity and collaboration. It features a coffee-shop like lounging/working area, a gallery exhibit, labs, photo studios and a retro-looking diner. A truly inspiring space that breathes creativity.

Small Classrooms

Like most portfolio schools out there, classrooms are small, which is a really important advantage of Portfolio Schools in general.


$22,506 per year ($45,012 for the full portfolio program)

Portfolio CenterThe First Portfolio School in The World

If you head to the Portfolio Center’s website you’ll realize that they are part of Miami Ad School. Confusing, I know. The Portfolio Center was founded by the same owner as Miami Ad School: Ron Seichrist. In fact, he is the one who pioneered the model of the portfolio school with The Portfolio Center, making it the first ever portfolio school in the world. He later sold it and founded Miami Ad School, which bought the Portfolio Center back in 2015. Therefore, It goes without saying that the level of creativity and education is the same as Miami Ad School.


$19,400 per year (38,800 for the full 2-year portfolio program)

VCU Brandcenter

VCU Brandcenter is a bit different than the other portfolio schools on this list because it is a Master’s Program. That said, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to apply to this 2-year program.

According to Creativity Magazine, VCU Brandcenter is the Number 1 Graduate program for advertising in the U.S. In addition to this recognition, they have received the O’Toole Award for “Best Portfolio School” from the American Association of Advertising Agencies. On another hand, Ad Age ranks it amongst the Top 5 Digital Media and Marketing School.

What we love about this school

Real World Experience

During the program, students get to work on real projects for real clients and top agencies. We’re talking about Droga 5, Disney, Apple, Google, Wieden + Kennedy, and the likes.

Real World Mentors

On your second year, you are matched with a mentor who works in your field of study. While these mentors are likely alumni of the school, they are probably at the top of their game, and you get to receive advice and critique from them. Pretty Sweet if you ask me.


$25,643/year for in-state students and $26,303/year for out-of-state students.


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