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
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.
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.