Top Schools for Visual and Performing Arts

Find out about some universities that offer degree programs in the visual or performing arts. Review the program offerings at four high-profile schools, and see highlights of other colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer programs for fine arts or theatrical arts students.

School Overview

Two of the schools highlighted below are Ivy league institutions and national universities that have enjoyed high rankings from U.S. News and World Report. The first school on the list offers programs in both performance studies and the visual arts; graduate programs in the fine arts are available at Yale University.

1. Brown University in Providence, RI

School highlight: Students at Brown can also take courses at the affiliated Rhode Island School of Design.

The Department of Visual Arts offers programs in painting, sculpture, digital imaging and photography. Through the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, aspiring professionals can study performance art and theory, dance, dramatic texts and writing, among other related subjects.

2. DePaul University in Chicago, IL

School highlight: The Theatre School at DePaul is known to have a premier professional theatre training program with the oldest theatre conservatory in the Midwest.

Undergraduate majors at DePaul's Theatre School are designed especially for aspiring actors and scriptwriters. These include a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program that prepares them for stage and screen work. Every semester focuses on a variety of theatre-related topics, such as body movement, technique and production.

3. Yale University in New Haven, CT

School highlight: The website for The School of Art is a wiki, maintained and contributed to by art students of all disciplines.

At the Yale University School of Art, students can pursue bachelor's degree programs in printmaking, painting and graphic design. Majors in film, video and photography are also available. Similar courses of study can be found at the graduate level and can lead to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). In addition to classroom instruction, individual programs may provide students with job training.

Top Visual and Performing Arts Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Cameron University Facilities include a Theatre Arts Complex Lawton, OK
Cerritos College Associate's degree in visual arts offered Norwalk, CA
Clemson University Features a Center for Visual Arts Clemson, SC
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania Majors offered in theater and drama East Stroudsburg, PA
George Mason University Opportunities given to students to study abroad Fairfax, VA
Longwood University Distance learning available Farmville, VA
MiraCosta College Certificates and associate's degree programs offered in visual arts Oceanside, CA

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