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. 

Connect me with Berklee!

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. 

Connect me with Castleton!

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.

Connect me with Catawba!

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.

Connect me with Catholic U!

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. 

Connect me with Coker!

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.

Connect me with Holy Cross!

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. 

Connect me with DBU!

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. 

Connect me with Dean! 

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.

Connect me with Emerson!

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University logoJohns Hopkins University is a private university in a residential area of Baltimore, Maryland. With more than 5,000 undergraduates on campus, Johns Hopkins offers 50+ majors and 40+ minors, including Music and Theatre Arts through the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. Students can also join 50+ student groups in dance, music, and theater, participating in more than 120 major performances on campus every year.

Connect me with Johns Hopkins!

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.

Connect me with Kean!

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.

Connect me with Marymount Manhattan! 

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.

Connect me with NYU!

Connect me with NYU Shanghai!

Connect me with NYU Abu Dhabi!

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. 

Connect me with Pace!

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. 

Connect me with Rowan! 

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. 

Connect me with Sacred Heart!

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.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.

Leah Maciel

Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find the school I am currently attending by consistently sending me emails of other schools. This allowed me to do research on other schools as well as the one I am in now!

Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has been a huge help! The website is very organized with finding the right scholarship for anyone and anything. With CollegeXpress, I've been able to find many scholarship opportunities to apply for. Not only that, I'm also able to search for the colleges I have interest in and see what’s required and what scholarships they offer. I've learned a lot from CollegeXpress. They've helped me in many ways to achieve my goals!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Ohio University

Athens, OH