This is the ranking of the best colleges for the performing arts. These are the degree programs in physically expressive arts such as performing arts, dance, drama and theater arts. At many universities, these are grouped together in a performing arts or dramatic arts department.
50 Best Colleges for Performing Arts, Drama and Dance Majors
This is our RealRankTM ranking of the best colleges in the fields of performing arts, dance and theater arts.
|1||The Julliard School||New York||NY|
|2||Yale University||New Haven||CT|
|3||Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh||PA|
|4||University of Florida||Gainesville||FL|
|5||University of Tennessee||Knoxville||TN|
|6||Florida State University||Tallahassee||FL|
|8||University of California - San Diego||San Diego||CA|
|9||University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)||Los Angeles||CA|
|10||New York University||New York||NY|
|11||Columbia University||New York||NY|
|12||California Institute of the Arts||Santa Clarita||CA|
|13||Southern Methodist University (SMU)||Dallas||TX|
|15||University of Texas||Austin||TX|
|16||University of Southern California||Los Angeles||CA|
|18||University of North Carolina||Chapel Hill||NC|
|20||Boise State University||Boise||ID|
|21||University of Connecticut||Storrs||CT|
|22||Stanford University||Palo Alto||CA|
|24||University of Rochester||Rochester||NY|
|25||University of Iowa||Iowa City||IA|
|26||University of Maryland||College Park||MD|
|27||California State University - Fullerton||Fullerton||CA|
|28||University Of Wisconsin||Madison||WI|
|29||University of Michigan||Ann Arbor||MI|
|33||University of Missouri - Kansas City||Kansas City||MO|
|34||University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley||CA|
|35||Curtis Institute of Music||Philadelphia||PA|
|36||Pace University||New York||NY|
|37||Louisiana State University (LSU)||Baton Rouge||LA|
|38||Penn State||University Park||PA|
|39||Arizona State University||Tempe||AZ|
|40||University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||AL|
|41||Mississippi State University||Starkville||MS|
|42||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||Lincoln||NB|
|43||University of Central Florida||Orlando||FL|
|44||University of Colorado||Boulder||CO|
|45||Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||CA|
|46||University of Utah||Salt Lake City||UT|
|47||University of Miami||Coral Gables||FL|
|48||Michigan State University||East Lansing||MI|
|49||University of Illinois||Champaign||IL|
|50||University of South Florida||Tampa||FL|
You can find more information on our RealRank analyses used in creating this ranking on the About page. The underlined colleges in the list link over to the rankings profile specific to that institution. If your college is not profiled as yet, contact us using the contact form.
Have you attended any of these programs? What has been your experience at these universities?
What is a Performing Arts Major?
Performing arts is a broad field that can include all different disciplines of physical art forms and creativity. The types of majors typically offered at top performing arts colleges include the following degree programs.
- Sound design
- Screenwriting / Playwriting
- Music composition
- Stage and set design
- Theater Arts, including theater management and theatrical production
Performing Arts Careers
A major in one of the performing arts opens up a wide range of career paths involving music, theater, and motion pictures. Some of these careers like acting, dancing and screenwriting attract large numbers of people with big dreams, so can be relatively difficult financially. The consequence of that is incurring college debt, with a relatively small chance of a career path that can support that expense. So, we are trying to flag that career path here so our readers can go in with appropriately adjusted expectations.
Among the career paths available are:
- Dancer / Stage dance / Ballet
- All aspects of theatrical and motion picture production:
- Camera operator
- Stage Designer
- Costume Designer
- Production Assistant
- Theater administrator
- Broadcasting presenter.