Group of diverse students in black with professor doing performance exercises

Great Colleges and Universities for Performing Arts in the Northeast and South

Planning to study Music, Dance, or Theater in college? These performing arts schools in the Northeastern and Southern US are great places to earn your degree!

Whether you star in all your high school's musicals or spend your free time making homemade movies with friends, taking that next step into the academic world of performing arts presents myriad options. If you’re thinking about turning your passion for music, dance, or theater into a career, these schools are a great place to start your college search. All the colleges and universities on this list are located in the Northeastern and Southern United States and offer fantastic performing arts programs—and you can connect with them all quickly and easily! Just click the “Connect me” button underneath each featured school if you’re interested in learning more—then they'll reach out to you with more info. The perfect performing arts school for you could be right here, even if you haven’t heard its name before. 

Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of MusicBerklee College of Music is a prestigious music institution with an urban campus in Boston, Massachusetts. The College offers 12 undergraduate majors and teaches nine principal instruments. All students begin undeclared, giving you a full year to hone your craft and explore who you want to be before choosing your major. 

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The Catholic University of America

Catholic UniversityThe Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church, located on a 184-acre campus just north of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art has produced two Oscar, seven Tony Award, and two Pulitzer Prize winners. The School is home to a broad range of performing arts programs, including Acting, Drama, Composition, Music, Orchestral Instruments, and more.

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Coker University

Coker University logoCoker University is a private liberal arts university in Hartsville, North Carolina—70 miles northeast of Columbia. Many of the University’s 1,1000 total students choose to study in performing arts programs such as Dance, Dance Education, Music, Performance & Choreography, and Theatre. New Coker students also gain the benefits of the AccessCoker initiative, which gives you access to G Suite for Education, Blackboard discussion forums, campus social media channels, classroom apps, career resources, research platforms, and more. 

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College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross logoCollege of the Holy Cross is an exclusively undergraduate private liberal arts institution located on a 174-acre campus in Worcester, Massachusetts—around 50 miles from Boston. In addition to classes in theatre history and literature, acting students can choose to pursue an Acting or Design emphasis, minor in Dance, or they can create a self-designed major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Film Studies or Playwriting. Music students, on the other hand, can pursue areas of study in theory and composition, history and cultural studies, performance studies, classical music and popular music, world music and jazz, and audio engineering and music technology.

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Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist UDallas Baptist University is a Christ-centered, comprehensive liberal arts university with a 368-acre suburban campus in south Dallas, Texas. In addition to several majors and concentrations in the performing arts, DBU offers state-of-the-art facilities, including performance spaces, a multipurpose classroom with green screen and lighting, and a premier recording and mixing studio. Performance groups and opportunities include Grand Chorus, University Concert Chorale, LEGACY, GRAMMY U, and student-led Chapel worship. 

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Dean College

Dean CollegeDean College is a private, co-ed, residential college with a 100-acre campus in Franklin, Massachusetts—only 30 miles from Boston and Providence. Dean offers baccalaureate and associate degrees through four academic schools, including the School of Arts and the School of Dance. Majors include Dance (BFA and BA), Arts & Entertainment Management, Theatre (with multiple concentrations), Acting, and Musical Theatre. 

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Emerson College

EmersonEmerson College is a private coeducational institution located in Boston, Massachusetts. Emerson’s Department of Performing Arts undergraduate and graduate programs encompass a core liberal arts curriculum, promote civic engagement, and demand that students create with clarity, integrity, and conviction. Students work with active theatre professionals who have deep connections to the performing arts community in Boston and beyond.

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Marymount Manhattan College

Marymount ManhattanMarymount Manhattan College in New York City is a private liberal arts college with a one-acre campus in midtown Manhattan. The College offers several different majors and minors related to Performing Arts and Media Arts, including Acting; Cinema, Television & Emerging Media; Dance; Musical Theatre; and Theatre Arts. The campus is just a few steps or subway stops away from Broadway, the Museum Mile, and many major TV networks.

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New York University

NYUNew York University is one of the largest private universities in the country, located in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City, New York—with additional degree-granting campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Students can earn a BA, BFA, MA, MFA, MPS, or PhD in a wide range of disciplines, including Dance, Drama, Performance Studies, Cinema Studies, and more. Admission to the Tisch School of the Arts is highly selective, with applicants evaluated through a two-part admission process that includes an artistic review.

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Pace University

Pace UniversityPace University is a private comprehensive university with a three-acre urban campus in New York City and a 200-acre suburban campus 20 miles away in Pleasantville-Briarcliff, New York. The Dyson College of Arts & Sciences offers majors such as Acting for Film, Television, Voice-Overs, and Commercials as well as Musical Theater, Production & Design for Stage and Screen, and Stage Management. 

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Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University logoSacred Heart University is a private coeducational institution with a 350-acre campus in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Department of Media and Theatre Arts offers a major in Media Arts with concentrations in Film & Television, Journalism, and Performing Arts, as well as a Theatre Art major with concentrations in Acting and Musical Theatre. Students can also showcase their talents with band and orchestra, choral, dance, and theatre arts groups. 

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William Paterson University

WWilliam Paterson University logoilliam Paterson University is a public multipurpose university in Wayne, New Jersey—20 miles west of New York. The JPU Department of Music prepares students for careers in classical performance, jazz performance and composition, sound engineering arts, music education, music and entertainment industries, and popular music. Students can major in Jazz Studies, Music, Music Education, Music with an emphasis on Entertainment Industries, Music with an emphasis on Popular Music, Performance, or Sound Engineering Arts and join any of the University's 14 different music ensembles. 

Connect me with WPU!

Interested in earning a performing arts degree somewhere else in the countryCheck out all our featured Performing Arts School Profiles.

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