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Colleges for a Singing Career in the U.S.

Students interested in a singing career have a variety of programs to choose from. Many of these programs include live performances, in addition to coursework.

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A post-secondary education isn't required for those seeking a career in singing, but many singers do pursue a degree. Relevant degree programs include music, music theory, and music performance.

Schools with Degree Programs for Singers

The following highly respected universities are among those that offer degree programs for aspiring singers and musicians:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)
University of Missouri Columbia, MO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $9,509 (residents), $25,166 (nonresidents)
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $48,436
University of Rochester Rochester, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $48,280
Berklee College of Music Boston, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $40,082
Miami University Oxford, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $14,287 (residents), $30,987 (nonresidents)
University of Houston Houston, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $8,759 (residents), $20,519 (nonresidents)
Juilliard New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $39,720
Washburn University Topeka, KS 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,350 (residents), $14,222 (nonresidents)
University of North Texas Denton, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,730 (resident), $19,090 (nonresidents)
University of South Florida Tampa, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $6,410 (residents), $17,324 (nonresidents)

Sources: NCES, School websites

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Jazz
  • Music Composition and Theory
  • Music History and Literature
  • Music Merchandising and Management
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Performing
  • Musical Conducting
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Piano and Organ
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Voice and Opera

College Selection Criteria

Students seeking a degree in this field should also consider:

  • The size and reputation of the school. Individualized attention and small class size are important for performing arts education programs like singing.
  • The quality of a college's facilities and the amount of student performance opportunities.
  • The faculty members of a college's music department. It would be most beneficial to attend classes with instructors who are themselves talented performers or at a college that welcomes guest performers.
  • The career placement services that a school offers. Access to networking opportunities, industry events, performances and industry insiders might help students get a foot in the door. A school's relationship with music, theater and performance companies also could impact a student's decision in choosing a school for singing.

Bachelor's Degrees

Many bachelor's degree programs vary depending on the type of music that a student specializes in. For example, some programs may require students majoring in vocal performance to take extensive foreign language requirements. These programs are typically divided into applied study courses and recitals. Depending on the major, a capstone requirement of a project or senior recital will also be required.

Although a degree may not be strictly necessary for a career in singing, attending a college with a strong music program can help students receive individualized instruction, have abundant performance opportunities, and make important career contacts.

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