Performing Arts Schools in Phoenix, AZ with Degree Descriptions

Jan 04, 2019

Phoenix Performing Arts Programs

Performing arts hopefuls have many options to choose from in the Phoenix area, including both undergraduate and graduate programs. This article highlights the performing opportunities and required coursework at three colleges; a table of school statistics for comparison is also provided. For even more options, a little info is included on a couple of other colleges in the area.

  • Arizona State University is situated about eight miles from downtown Phoenix, in Tempe. This school offers several bachelor's and master's degree programs in dance, music and theater. Doctoral degrees in music conducting and theatre are also available.
  • Glendale Community College is located about 10 miles from central Phoenix. The two-year school offers certificates and associate's degrees in dance, the music business and theater.
  • Phoenix College is a two-year school located in Phoenix and is within four miles of the downtown area. Students can earn certificates in music, theatre or the music business. Associate's degree programs in theatre and the music business are offered as well.

Comparison of Schools

Before exploring the performing arts offerings at the schools, take a look at the table below to get additional details on the institutions. The facts on costs, acceptance rates, student enrollment numbers and other areas could help you decide which one best fits your needs.

Arizona State University Glendale Community College Phoenix College
School Type 4-year; public 2-year; public 2-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 51,164* 19,033* 11,428*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large suburb Large city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $10,792 in-state
$27,372 out-of-state*
$2,094 in-state
$7,878 out-of-state*
$2,094 in-state
$7,878 out-of-state*
% of Full-Time Beginning Undergraduates Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 91%* 68%* 74%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 84%* N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2017) 87% of full-time students; 53% of part-time students* 66% of full-time students; 42% of part-time students* 63% of full-time students; 42% of part-time students*
Graduation Rate 63% (for those who began their studies in 2011)* 18% (for those who began their studies in 2014)* 18% (for those who began their studies in 2014)*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics.

Arizona State University

Performing arts programs are available through the university's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Programs include dance, music and theater. Some courses are even available online. The faculty is comprised of about 15 members in dance, 70 in music and 35 in theater and film.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance

This interdisciplinary program is based on creativity and research. Would-be dancers need to pass an interview to enter the program. Courses include movement practices, moving histories and dance practices. All students also complete a transition project over the course of their final year.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

This 4-year degree takes a look at the human history of music including social behavior and cultural significance. Coursework includes studio and piano instruction, music theory and music history. Students may also be required to attend specific concerts. Candidates for this program must take part in undergraduate auditions.

Bachelor of Music in Performance

Prospective students must apply to the university and the School of Music. Live auditions are required. Aspiring musicians can choose from specializations in collaborative piano, guitar, jazz, keyboard, music theater, voice or an orchestral instrument. The student ensemble program offers additional educational experiences to students. Ensembles may be available in choir, jazz, instrumental, percussion or opera.

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

Applicants take part in an audition and interview/portfolio review for program admittance. The program can provide experience in performance, design, production and theater for youth. The school is fully equipped with production shops, a playhouse, two theaters and instructional/rehearsal areas. Concentrations in acting or design and production are also available.

Master of Fine Arts in Dance

Professional dancers who want to look into new possibilities in dance might be interested in this 60-credit program. Students and their advising committees design the culminating projects for degree completion, usually based on future career goals. The program requires an applied project, which is designed with the help of their advising committee.

Master of Music in Performance

Voice applicants to this program need to upload a video recording to be considered for live auditions. Keyboard and instrumental candidates can take part in live auditions or upload recorded auditions that meet the school's requirements. This program is comprised of 32 credits hours, including 8 hours of studio instruction, eight to nine hours in an area of concentration and 15-16 hours of music theory/history/electives. All students need to complete the written comprehensive exam to graduate from the program.

Master of Arts in Theatre

This graduate program is geared towards K-12 teachers, students who plan to continue their studies at the doctoral level or individuals who want to expand their theater knowledge. This 30-credit program requires students to complete a thesis and a written comprehensive examination. A scholarly writing sample is required as part of the application package.

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre

Areas of concentration for this master's degree include dramatic writing, theatre for youth, directing, interdisciplinary digital media and performance. Each program spans 3 years and requires the completion of 60 credits.

Doctor of Musical Arts in Music (Conducting)

This program offers emphases in wind band, choral conducting and orchestra and opera conducting. Most students entering the program have a master's degree in music. Highly-qualified musicians who aspire to become scholars and conductors complete 90 credits of coursework along with written/oral exams, research papers and performances.

Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre (Theatre for Youth)

Applicants to this PhD program must submit samples of scholarly writing; interviews are also recommended. This 90-credit program includes a 30-credit core with 24 credits for the dissertation and 6 hours of study in research methodology. Students are required to complete a foreign language exam, the finalized dissertation and written/oral comprehensive exams.

Glendale Community College

There are multiple options for students to enroll in performing arts. Students can choose from dance, music business and theatre, among other choices.

Associate of Fine Arts in Dance

This intense two-year program is aimed at aspiring dancers who plan to transfer to a 4-year school or pursue a career in dance. This degree program includes dance training in jazz, modern and ballet.

Associate in Applied Science in Music Business

This program is designed for students who wish to become performers or work on the business side of the music industry. Students can expect to take courses in music recording, music history and music promotion. All students also participate in a music internship.

Associate in Arts, Fine Arts - Theatre

This program assists students in fulfilling a performance or portfolio requirement for future admissions to a 4-year school. In addition to general education requirements, learners complete fine arts and theater courses.

Phoenix College

This two-year school offers performing arts programs in music and theater. Phoenix College has one of the oldest theater programs in the state, and some the associate's degrees are transferable to 4-year schools.

Academic Certificate - Music

Students can learn fundamental skills in music theory, composition, history and performance. While earning the 44.5-45.5 required credits, students also put together a portfolio or performance repertoire that can be used to gain admittance to a 4-year program. This program is focused on broadening a student's musicianship and is not designed for a particular career field.

Academic Certificate - Electronic Music

This program offers students the opportunity to study topics like electronic studio setup, MIDI specifications and computer-based sound technologies. Students will be responsible for 40 credits of coursework. Additional topics include music theory, aural perception, studio music recording and live sound reinforcement.

Certificate of Completion - Music Business

Emphasizing marketing and business studies, this program can be useful for performers and business students alike. Students must complete 26 credits' worth of courses, including music industry entrepreneurship, merchandising, studio music recording and self-promotion. The program also requires an internship.

Certificate of Completion - Technical Theatre

This 55- to 56-credit program includes training in the technical aspects of the theater, such as set design and construction, lighting and sound. Students can also learn skills for working with backstage personnel. Many of the courses in this program can be used to satisfy the requirements needed to earn an Associate of Fine Arts.

Associate in Applied Science - Music Business

Students interested in learning about the business side of music must complete 60-63 credits for this associate's degree. Performers or business students can learn about accounting, marketing and small-business ownership. The program also features courses specifically related to the music business, such as music merchandising and studio recording.

Other Schools

South Mountain Community College is located about seven miles from downtown Phoenix, while Paradise Valley Community College is situated about 18 miles from the center of the city. Between these two schools, students who wish to delve further into the world of performing arts can find certificate or two-year degree programs in dance, theater and music business.

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