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2021 Best Music Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

125 Colleges
15,747 Bachelor's Degrees
$29,731 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Music Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Music Colleges for Non-Traditional StudentsIn 2018-2019, 15,747 people earned their bachelor's in music, making the major the #34 most popular in the United States.

For this year's Best Music Colleges for Non-Traditional Students ranking, we looked at 125 colleges that offer a bachelor's in music. The schools that top this list are recognized because they have great music programs and a strong support system for non-traditional students.

Some of the factors we look at when determining these rankings are overall quality of the music program at the school, affordability, and non-traditional population. See our ranking methodology to learn more.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Music Schools for Non-Traditional Students list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. Test it out when you get a chance! You may also want to bookmark the link and share it with others who are trying to make the college decision.

2021 Best Music Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for non-traditional students studying music.

Top 15% Best Music Schools for Non-Traditional Students

#1

University of Houston

Houston, TX

University of Houston tops the 2021 list of our schools in the United States that are best for non-traditional music students. UH is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Houston. UH did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #1 on our Best Colleges for Music list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 3.1%. There are approximately 16,613 students at UH that take at least one class online. There are roughly 12,716 part time students in attendance at UH. UH does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize University of North Texas as the #2 school in this year's rankings. UNT is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Denton. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, UNT also did well on our Best Colleges for Music list. It's in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 7.4%. There are approximately 13,820 students at UNT that take at least one class online. About 9,800 of the students at UNT are attending part time. UNT does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#3

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University landed the #3 spot in our 2021 best music schools for non-traditional students. Michigan State is a very large public school located in the city of East Lansing. Michigan State not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #2 on our Best Colleges for Music list.

The student loan default rate at Michigan State is lower than is typical, just 3.4% of students default in three years. There are approximately 9,273 students at Michigan State that take at least one class online. There are roughly 6,488 part time students in attendance at Michigan State.

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#4

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

The #4 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Texas Tech University. Located in the city of Lubbock, Texas Tech is a public school with a fairly large student population. As a testament to the quality of education offered at Texas Tech, the school also landed the #6 rank in our Best Colleges for Music ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 6.0%. Approximately 15,508 students take at least one class online at Texas Tech. There are roughly 6,714 part time students in attendance at Texas Tech. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#5

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

George Mason University comes in at #5 in this year's ranking. GMU is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Fairfax. As a testament to the quality of education offered at GMU, the school also landed the #9 rank in our Best Colleges for Music ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.1%. Approximately 10,589 students take at least one class online at GMU. There are roughly 11,606 part time students in attendance at GMU. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Full Music at George Mason University Report

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#6

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

University of Utah earned the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings. U of U is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Salt Lake City. U of U not only placed well in our non-traditional rankings. It is also #4 on our Best Colleges for Music list.

About 2.7% of U of U students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 9,847 students at U of U that take at least one class online. 8,158 of U of U students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

Full Music at University of Utah Report

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The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley comes in at #7 in this year's ranking. Located in the small city of Edinburg, UT Rio Grande Valley is a public college with a very large student population.

About 8.4% of UT Rio Grande Valley students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 11,935 students at UT Rio Grande Valley that take at least one class online. 8,272 of UT Rio Grande Valley students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Rutgers University - New Brunswick landed the #8 spot in our 2021 best music schools for non-traditional students. Rutgers New Brunswick is a very large public school located in the city of New Brunswick. Rutgers New Brunswick also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Music list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

About 3.8% of Rutgers New Brunswick students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 10,368 students at Rutgers New Brunswick that take at least one class online. 7,501 students are part time. Rutgers New Brunswick does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Music at Rutgers University - New Brunswick Report

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Our rankings recognize Sam Houston State University as the #9 school in this year's rankings. Located in the town of Huntsville, SHSU is a public school with a fairly large student population.

The student loan default rate at SHSU is lower than is typical, just 5.8% of students default in three years. There are approximately 7,776 students at SHSU that take at least one class online. There are roughly 5,468 part time students in attendance at SHSU. SHSU does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize West Chester University of Pennsylvania as the #10 school in this year's rankings. WCUPA is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of West Chester. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, WCUPA also is in the top 15% of our Best Colleges for Music ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.9%. There are approximately 2,140 students at WCUPA that take at least one class online. There are roughly 3,448 part time students in attendance at WCUPA. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Our rankings recognize University of South Carolina - Columbia as the #11 school in this year's rankings. UofSC is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Columbia. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, UofSC has also earned the #7 rank in our Best Colleges for Music ranking.

The student loan default rate at UofSC is lower than is typical, just 3.3% of students default in three years. Approximately 8,099 students take at least one class online at UofSC. 3,525 of UofSC students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

Full Music at University of South Carolina - Columbia Report

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#12

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

James Madison University earned the #12 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the small city of Harrisonburg, JMU is a public college with a very large student population. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, JMU also is in the top 10% of our Best Colleges for Music ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.3%. There are approximately 1,087 students at JMU that take at least one class online. There are roughly 1,837 part time students in attendance at JMU. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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University of Nevada - Las Vegas comes in at #13 in this year's ranking. Located in the medium-sized city of Las Vegas, UNLV is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 6.5%. Approximately 11,188 students take at least one class online at UNLV. 8,916 students are part time. UNLV does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize The University of Texas at Austin as the #14 school in this year's rankings. Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public school with a very large student population. UT Austin also took the #5 spot in our Best Colleges for Music rankings.

About 2.6% of UT Austin students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 12,546 students take at least one class online at UT Austin. 3,290 students are part time. UT Austin does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Our rankings recognize Stephen F Austin State University as the #15 school in this year's rankings. Located in the town of Nacogdoches, SFASU is a public school with a fairly large student population.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 8.2%. Approximately 3,450 students take at least one class online at SFASU. 3,230 of SFASU students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro landed the #16 spot in our 2021 best music schools for non-traditional students. UNC Greensboro is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Greensboro.

About 6.4% of UNC Greensboro students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 6,278 students take at least one class online at UNC Greensboro. About 4,267 of the students at UNC Greensboro are attending part time. UNC Greensboro does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Illinois State University comes in at #17 in this year's ranking. Illinois State is a very large public school located in the suburb of Normal. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, Illinois State also did well on our Best Colleges for Music list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

About 3.9% of Illinois State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 3,895 students take at least one class online at Illinois State. 2,428 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#18

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University landed the #18 spot in our 2021 best music schools for non-traditional students. Florida State is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Tallahassee. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Florida State is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Music list.

About 2.4% of Florida State students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 14,515 students at Florida State that take at least one class online. 6,270 students are part time. Florida State does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Music at Florida State University Report

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Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Music Colleges for Non-Traditional Students award.

Rank College Location
19 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
20 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
21 Boston University Boston, MA
22 West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX
23 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
24 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX
25 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN

Music by Region

View the best for non-traditional students Music colleges in a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 9 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Music has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Music

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 33,643
Design & Applied Arts 29,541
Drama & Theater Arts 16,329
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 14,870
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,265

View All Music Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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