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2024 Best Music Schools

489 Colleges in the United States
25,910 Music Degrees Awarded
$27,160 Avg Early-Career Salary
Music is above average in terms of popularity with it being the #43 most popular degree program in the country. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

College Factual looked at 489 colleges and universities when compiling its 2024 Best Music Schools ranking. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 25,910 degrees in music during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Jump to one of the following sections: * Degree-Level Rankings

Choosing a Great Music School

Best Music Schools Your choice of music school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. We derive our Best Overall Music School rankings by rolling up our degree-level rankings after weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each school.

You may want to choose one of the degree levels below to find the schools of most interest to you.

Music Rankings by Degree Level

Associate Degrees in Music
Bachelor's Degrees in Music
Master's Degrees in Music
Doctor's Degrees in Music

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 list to help you make the college decision. If you'd like to restrict your choices to just one part of the country, you can filter this list by location.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. 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.

If you want to learn more about how we derive our rankings, see College Factual's Methodology.

Best Schools for Music in the United States

If you aren't interested in a particular degree level and want to know which schools are the overall best at delivering an education for the music degrees they offer, see the list below. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in Music

1
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
156 Music Degrees Awarded
$29,755 Median Starting Salary

It's hard to beat Northwestern University if you want to pursue a degree in music. Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were about 156 music students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Music degree recipients from Northwestern University earn a boost of about $2,595 above the typical income of music majors.

More information about a degree in music from Northwestern University

2
Rice crest
Rice University
Houston, TX
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
87 Music Degrees Awarded
$28,275 Median Starting Salary

It is difficult to beat Rice University if you wish to pursue a degree in music. Rice is a medium-sized private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Houston. A Best Colleges rank of #16 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Rice is a great university overall.

There were about 87 music students who graduated with this degree at Rice in the most recent data year. After graduating, music degree recipients generally make around $28,275 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in music from Rice University

3
Yale crest
Yale University
New Haven, CT
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
141 Music Degrees Awarded
$20,839 Median Starting Salary

Yale University is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in music. Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #8 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

There were approximately 141 music students who graduated with this degree at Yale in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the music program make an average of $20,839 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in music from Yale University

4
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
182 Music Degrees Awarded
$22,775 Median Starting Salary

It's hard to beat University of Southern California if you wish to pursue a degree in music. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of #11 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

There were roughly 182 music students who graduated with this degree at USC in the most recent data year. Soon after graduation, music degree recipients usually make an average of $22,775 in their early careers.

More information about a degree in music from University of Southern California

5
Emory crest
Emory University
Atlanta, GA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In GA

Located in the city of Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 68 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were about 22 music students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Emory University

6
Michigan State crest
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
208 Music Degrees Awarded
38.0% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city of East Lansing, Michigan State is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 57 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There were roughly 208 music students who graduated with this degree at Michigan State in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the music major at Michigan State University earn $15,518 above the standard graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in music from Michigan State University

7
Vanderbilt crest
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
44 Music Degrees Awarded
$26,788 Median Starting Salary

Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Nashville. A Best Colleges rank of #19 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great university overall.

There were roughly 44 music students who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the music program make an average of $26,788 for their early career.

More information about a degree in music from Vanderbilt University

8
NYU crest
New York University
New York, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
197 Music Degrees Awarded
$27,868 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. This university ranks 4th out of 142 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 197 music students who graduated with this degree at NYU in the most recent data year. Soon after graduating, music degree recipients generally make an average of $27,868 in their early careers.

More information about a degree in music from New York University

9
Juilliard crest
The Juilliard School
New York, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
208 Music Degrees Awarded
$18,174 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city of New York, Juilliard is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

There were roughly 208 music students who graduated with this degree at Juilliard in the most recent year we have data available. After graduating, music degree recipients usually make about $18,174 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in music from The Juilliard School

10
Duke crest
Duke University
Durham, NC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In NC

Located in the large city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #7 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were approximately 13 music students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from Duke University

11
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In IN
19.0% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #20 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were roughly 21 music students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from University of Notre Dame

12
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
199 Music Degrees Awarded
4.0% Growth in Graduates

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the city of Ann Arbor. This university ranks 1st out of 57 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There were roughly 199 music students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent year we have data available. Soon after graduating, music degree recipients generally earn around $20,849 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in music from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

13
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
140 Music Degrees Awarded
2.9% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 115 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were about 140 music students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the music program at The University of Texas at Austin earn $11,448 above the average college grad in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in music from The University of Texas at Austin

14
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
94 Music Degrees Awarded
16.0% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #9 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were roughly 94 music students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the music program earn an average of $22,609 for their early career.

More information about a degree in music from Carnegie Mellon University

15
Dartmouth crest
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NH

Dartmouth is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit college located in the town of Hanover. A Best Colleges rank of #25 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There were about 8 music students who graduated with this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Dartmouth College

16
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
176 Music Degrees Awarded
$18,024 Median Starting Salary

Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of #23 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were about 176 music students who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent data year. Soon after graduation, music degree recipients typically make around $18,024 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in music from Johns Hopkins University

17
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
114 Music Degrees Awarded
8.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #26 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were approximately 114 music students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the music major at University of California - Los Angeles earn $5,180 above the standard graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in music from University of California - Los Angeles

18
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
17th Most Popular In NY
47 Music Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #14 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were roughly 47 music students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Columbia University in the City of New York

19
Oberlin crest
Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
107 Music Degrees Awarded
$20,910 Median Starting Salary

Located in the town of Oberlin, Oberlin is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 8th out of 96 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There were about 107 music students who graduated with this degree at Oberlin in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the music program state that they receive average early career earnings of $20,910.

More information about a degree in music from Oberlin College

20
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
16th Most Popular In TX
54 Music Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Fort Worth, TCU is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 5th out of 115 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were about 54 music students who graduated with this degree at TCU in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Texas Christian University

21
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
69 Music Degrees Awarded
11.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 46 colleges for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

There were roughly 69 music students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent data year. Those music students who get their degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison make $13,272 more than the average music graduate.

More information about a degree in music from University of Wisconsin - Madison

22
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
374 Music Degrees Awarded
$26,314 Median Starting Salary

IU Bloomington is a fairly large public university located in the city of Bloomington. This university ranks 3rd out of 42 schools for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

There were roughly 374 music students who graduated with this degree at IU Bloomington in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the music program make about $26,314 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in music from Indiana University - Bloomington

23
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
80 Music Degrees Awarded
8.8% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large suburb of Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 4th out of 115 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were about 80 music students who graduated with this degree at SMU in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the music program state that they receive average early career earnings of $25,103.

More information about a degree in music from Southern Methodist University

24
U Miami crest
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
192 Music Degrees Awarded
22.9% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city of Coral Gables, U Miami is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 77 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

There were roughly 192 music students who graduated with this degree at U Miami in the most recent year we have data available. Soon after graduation, music degree recipients usually make an average of $23,323 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in music from University of Miami

25
Boston U crest
Boston University
Boston, MA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
109 Music Degrees Awarded
$29,744 Median Starting Salary

Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Boston. This university ranks 6th out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were about 109 music students who graduated with this degree at Boston U in the most recent year we have data available. Those music students who get their degree from Boston University make $2,583 more than the typical music graduate.

More information about a degree in music from Boston University

Rest of the Top Best Music Schools

26
27
28
29
30
UPenn crest
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
31
32
Messiah crest
Messiah University
Mechanicsburg, PA

33

34
Florida State crest
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL
35
UF crest
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
36
Belmont crest
Belmont University
Nashville, TN
37
38
39
40
Brown crest
Brown University
Providence, RI
41

42

43
44
45
46
Lafayette crest
Lafayette College
Easton, PA
47
Temple crest
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
48
49
New School University crest
The New School
New York, NY
50
St. Olaf crest
St Olaf College
Northfield, MN

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Music Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 489 different United States music schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Manhattan School of Music New York, NY
52 San Francisco Conservatory of Music San Francisco, CA
53 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
54 Luther College Decorah, IA
55 The Graduate Center, CUNY New York, NY
56 The New England Conservatory of Music Boston, MA
57 University of North Texas Denton, TX
58 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
59 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
60 University of Georgia Athens, GA
61 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
62 University of Denver Denver, CO
63 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
64 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
65 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
66 Drake University Des Moines, IA
67 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
68 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
69 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
70 University of Delaware Newark, DE
71 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
72 Cleveland Institute of Music Cleveland, OH
73 Tufts University Medford, MA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Music students that almost earned our Best Music Schools award.

Rank College Location
74 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
75 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
76 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
77 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
78 University of Missouri - Kansas City Kansas City, MO
79 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
80 University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK
81 California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA
82 University of Redlands Redlands, CA
83 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
84 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
85 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
86 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
87 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
88 Baylor University Waco, TX
89 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
90 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
91 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
92 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
93 Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City, OK
94 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
95 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
96 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
97 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN

Music by Region

View the Best Music Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Other U.S. Territories
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

Music is one of 10 different types of Visual & Performing Arts programs to choose from.

Music Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
General Music 11,232
Music Performance 7,335
Music Technology 1,788
Music Theory & Composition 1,175
Other Music 1,117
Voice Performance 656
Jazz Studies 574
Keyboard Instruments 523
Stringed Instruments 507
Music Pedagogy 308

View All Music Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 37,413
Design & Applied Arts 36,301
Drama & Theater Arts 17,341
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,778
General Visual & Performing Arts 6,355
Arts & Media Management 4,788
Dance 3,288
Other Visual Art 912
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 119
Community/Environmental/Socially-Engaged Art 10

View All Music Related Majors >

Notes and References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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College Rankings
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Degree Guides by Major
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