Colleges With Great Performing Arts Programs in the East

Planning to study music, dance, or theater in college? These performing arts schools in the Eastern United States 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 Eastern 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. 

Albright College

Albright CollegeAlbright College is a church-affiliated liberal arts college on a 118-acre campus located at the edge of a residential section of Reading, Pennsylvania—45 miles from Philadelphia. Albright’s campus features digital CADD technology, recording and artistic studios, and a variety of musical, dance, and theatrical groups. Students can also showcase their work through the College’s art galleries, record label, and radio station. 

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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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Castleton University

Castleton University

Castleton University is a public coeducational university with a 165-acre campus in Castleton, Vermont. The University’s Art, Music, and Theater Arts Departments produce many plays, musicals, concerts, and exhibitions each year. Castleton also hosts some of the world’s finest artists and speakers and collaborates with outside partners such as Rutland’s Paramount Theatre. 

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Catawba College

Catawba CollegeCatawba College is a church-affiliated liberal arts college on a 276-acre campus in Salisbury, North Carolina—within 50 minutes of Charlotte. The School of Performing Arts offers majors in Music with multiple concentrations, including Music Business, Popular Music, and Worship Arts. Other majors include Musical Theatre, Theatre Arts (with multiple concentrations), Theatre Arts Administration, and Theatre Arts Education.

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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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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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Kean University

Kean UniversityKean University is a public university with a 240-acre campus in Union, New Jersey—just 12 miles from New York City. Kean offers 50+ undergraduate degrees and 70+ graduate program options, including those offered in the School of Fine and Performing Arts. You can reach New York City directly from campus via a 30-minute train ride, but Premiere Stages—one of seven theatres on campus—also offers world-class music, dance, and theatrical performances.

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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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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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Rowan University

Rowan UniversityRowan University is a Carnegie-classified public research institution located in suburban Southern New Jersey in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, with campuses in Glassboro, Camdon, and Stratford. The College of Performing Arts features world-class faculty who guide students in developing their skills as performers, educators, producers, directors, designers, collaborators, and entrepreneurs. Programs include Dance, Jazz, Music Education, Music Industry, and more. 

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Sacred Heart University

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

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Vanderbilt University

VanderbiltVanderbilt University is a private university with a 330-acre campus located just 1.5 miles from downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The Blair School of Music, an undergraduate-only school, offers conservatory-level training in Jazz Studies, Music Composition, Music Integrated Studies, Music Integrated Studies/Teacher Education, and Music Performance, all within the context of a strong liberal arts curriculum. Blair students enjoy access to world-class facilities, including superb acoustic spaces, performance halls, and sound-insulated studios.  

Connect me with Vanderbilt!

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

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