The art colleges originated from the Art schools. Art school is a colloquial term for an educational institution that offers either graduate or undergraduate or both degree programs. The art colleges focus particularly on the visual arts. This would include graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, and sculpture. They are distinguished from larger institutions which may also offer majors or degrees in the visual arts, but only as part of a broad-based program; such as the liberal arts and sciences. If accredited as a art colleges, most art schools grant a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Students in art colleges are typically thought to be more eccentric in their value systems and their lifestyles. The pursuit of their own lifestyle usually leads them down a road of liberalism, free speech and many social issues to tackle. For many years the students of art colleges were stereotyped into this free spirit so to speak lifestyle. The decades of the 60s and 70 lead most "mainstream" older individuals to describe the students of art colleges as individuals that were using drugs and bringing down the morals an values of society.
Most professional art colleges maintain curricula with liberal arts requirements necessary for granting BFA or MFA degrees. Students attending art colleges are not only painting or sketching all day, but they must also maintain a well rounded schedule jut like those students attending other colleges and working towards their bachelor degrees.
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the sole agency able to evaluate professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: B.A., M.A, and Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.