Group of four female ballerinas practicing in class with female teacher

Great Colleges and Universities for Performing Arts in the Midwest and West

Looking for a college or university with great Performing Arts programs? These schools across the West and Midwest may have just what you're looking for.

Interested in studying film, theater, dance, music, or something similar in college? Luckily, there’s no shortage of schools out there—but enrolling in a performing arts school isn’t a shortcut to a lifelong career. You must have a genuine passion for your craft, take advantage of all the resources and opportunities at your college, and dedicate yourself to your dream, whether it’s center stage or behind the scenes. 

All the colleges and universities listed below are great places to start this journey. They all offer dynamic performing arts programs in the Western and Midwestern part of the United States, 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 about them—then they'll reach out to you with more information. Check out all the great opportunities at these colleges and consider adding them to your list as you search for your best-fit performing arts school. 

Cleveland State University

Cleveland StateCleveland State University is a public university with an 85-acre campus located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Students can choose from a variety of performing and creative arts–based majors through the Department of Theatre and Dance, the School of Music, the Department of Art and Design, and the School of Film and Media Arts. The University’s Arts Campus includes over 120,000 square feet of studios, rehearsal space, classrooms, and production shops, with faculty from the top arts institutions in town, like the Cleveland Orchestra.  

Connect me with Cleveland State!

Miami University

Miami U, OxfordMiami University is a public coeducational institution with a 2,100 acre campus in Oxford, Ohio. The College of Creative Arts (CCA) houses five departments, each with multiple degree programs, as well as interdisciplinary programs in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship, Art Therapy, and Fashion. The CCA’s #thrivingartist network provides a supportive group of arts alumni in major US cities like New York City and Los Angeles for résumé reviews, job shadowing, informational interviews, mentorship for new graduates, and collaboration in key metropolitan areas. 

Connect me with Miami U!

Ohio University

Ohio UniversityOhio University is a public comprehensive institution with a 1,800-acre campus in Athens, Ohio—75 miles southeast of Columbus. The University offers more than 250 academic programs in Music, Theatre, Dance, Film, and more. Students can also design their own major through the Bachelor of Specialized Studies program, join the University-wide OHIO Honors Program, or choose from study abroad opportunities around the world.

Connect me with OHIO!

University of Cincinnati

U of CincinnatiThe University of Cincinnati is a public research institution on a 250-acre campus located two miles from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the largest single source of performing arts presentations in the entire state of Ohio. In addition, the Musical Theatre program was ranked #2 in the nation by Buzzfeed, and the University is one of the top five most represented colleges on Broadway, according to Playbill

Connect me with U of Cincinnati!

University of Colorado Boulder

CU BoulderThe University of Colorado Boulder is a comprehensive public university with a 600-acre campus in Boulder, Colorado—27 miles northwest of Denver. The College of Music at CU Boulder is one of the country’s top public Music programs, while the Department of Theatre & Dance fosters artistic discipline, exploration, creativity, and interpersonal communication. The University is also home to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF), one of only two University-based groups in the world to have completed the entire canon of 37 plays. 

Connect me with CU Boulder! 

University of Iowa

U of IowaThe University of Iowa is the state’s first public institution of higher education and sits on a 1,700-acre campus immediately adjacent to downtown Iowa City, Iowa. Majors include Art, Cinema, Dance, English and Creative Writing, Music, and Theatre Arts. Students also have access to performance venues such as the newly renovated, 1,800-seat Hancher Auditorium and the Voxman Music Building, which features numerous soundproof practice rooms, a digital music production lab, a music library with over 90,000 scores of music, a 700-seat recital hall, and a 3,883-pipe Klais organ—the only one of its kind in the United States. 

Connect me with U of Iowa!

Looking for performing arts programs on the other side of the country? Check out our list of Great Colleges and Universities for Performing Arts in the Northeast and South.

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
Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.



High School Class of 2021

For a long time, I've been searching everywhere to find the perfect website I can get scholarships and information from. Needless to say, I could never find the right one. That was, until I found CollegeXpress. Through my journey of finding the right scholarships for me, I was able to find articles about different things. They've all been helpful, especially in times like this! I was even able to connect with some of my favorite colleges! I love CollegeXpress. Thank you!

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.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress really helped me by letting me know the colleges ratings and placements. They gave me accurate information on my colleges tuition rates and acceptance. They even let me know the ration between students and faculty and the diversity of the college. Overall they told me everything I needed and things I didnt even think I needed to know about my college and other colleges I applied for.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

New York University - Abu Dhabi Campus

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

High Point University

High Point, NC

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

New York University

New York, NY