2022 Best Music Schools

697 Colleges in the United States
25,677 Music Degrees Awarded
$25,639 Avg Early-Career Salary
If you plan on majoring in music, you won't be alone since the degree program is ranked #40 in the country in terms of popularity. As a result, there are many college that offer the degree, making your choice of school a hard one.

For its 2022 ranking, College Factual looked at 697 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for music students pursuing a degree. Combined, these schools handed out 25,677 degrees in music to qualified students.

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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

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

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
25th Most Popular In CA

Stanford University is a great decision for students interested in a degree in music. Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Stanford. A Best Schools rank of #3 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Stanford is a great university overall.

There were approximately 27 music students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from Stanford University

#2

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In IN

It is difficult to beat University of Notre Dame if you want to pursue a degree in music. Located in the suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #15 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were roughly 17 music students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent year we have data available.

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

#3

Duke University

Durham, NC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In NC

Duke University is one of the finest schools in the United States for getting a degree in music. Located in the large city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Schools rank of #9 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were approximately 19 music students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Duke University

#4

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
27th Most Popular In NY

Cornell University is one of the best schools in the United States for getting a degree in music. Cornell is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the small city of Ithaca. A Best Schools rank of #16 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were roughly 20 music students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Cornell University

#5

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
49th Most Popular In NY

Colgate is a small private not-for-profit university located in the town of Hamilton. A Best Schools rank of #30 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Colgate is a great university overall.

There were approximately 6 music students who graduated with this degree at Colgate in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Colgate University

#6

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
160 Music Degrees Awarded

Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Schools rank of #14 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were roughly 160 music students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent year we have data available. Those music students who get their degree from Northwestern University earn $3,694 more than the typical music student.

More information about a degree in music from Northwestern University

#7

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
147 Music Degrees Awarded

Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Schools rank of #8 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

There were about 147 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 earn about $21,800 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in music from Yale University

#8

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 Schools rank of #6 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

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

More information about a degree in music from Dartmouth College

#9

Lafayette College

Easton, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
24th Most Popular In PA

Lafayette is a small private not-for-profit college located in the suburb of Easton. This college ranks 6th out of 134 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There were approximately 4 music students who graduated with this degree at Lafayette in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Lafayette College

#10

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In TN
50 Music Degrees Awarded

Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Nashville. A Best Schools rank of #37 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Vanderbilt is a great university overall.

There were roughly 50 music students who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from Vanderbilt University

#11

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In VA
32 Music Degrees Awarded

University of Virginia is a fairly large public university located in the small suburb of Charlottesville. This university ranks 1st out of 73 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were about 32 music students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from University of Virginia - Main Campus

#12

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit college located in the city of Worcester. A Best Schools rank of #32 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Holy Cross is a great college overall.

There were about 4 music students who graduated with this degree at Holy Cross in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from College of the Holy Cross

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
76th Most Popular In CA

Located in the small suburb of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 13th out of 203 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were about 11 music students who graduated with this degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

#14

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
63rd Most Popular In NY

Hamilton is a small private not-for-profit college located in the suburb of Clinton. This college ranks 5th out of 160 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 9 music students who graduated with this degree at Hamilton in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Hamilton College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NC
50 Music Degrees Awarded

UNC Chapel Hill is a very large public university located in the city of Chapel Hill. This university ranks 4th out of 113 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were approximately 50 music students who graduated with this degree at UNC Chapel Hill in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

#16

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
39th Most Popular In PA

Located in the small city of Carlisle, Dickinson is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 10th out of 134 schools for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There were approximately 5 music students who graduated with this degree at Dickinson in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Dickinson College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
10th Most Popular In MO

Located in the suburb of Saint Louis, WUSTL is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #28 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means WUSTL is a great university overall.

There were about 12 music students who graduated with this degree at WUSTL in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from Washington University in St Louis

#18

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, CO
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In CO

Colorado College is a small private not-for-profit college located in the large city of Colorado Springs. This college ranks 2nd out of 39 colleges for overall quality in the state of Colorado.

There were approximately 3 music students who graduated with this degree at Colorado College in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Colorado College

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In NJ

Located in the suburb of Ewing, TCNJ is a public college with a medium-sized student population. This college ranks 2nd out of 49 schools for overall quality in the state of New Jersey.

There were about 17 music students who graduated with this degree at TCNJ in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in music from The College of New Jersey

#20

Luther College

Decorah, IA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
52 Music Degrees Awarded

Luther is a small private not-for-profit college located in the remote town of Decorah. This college ranks 7th out of 45 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There were roughly 52 music students who graduated with this degree at Luther in the most recent year we have data available. Those music students who get their degree from Luther College receive $7,761 more than the standard music student.

More information about a degree in music from Luther College

#21

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
8th Most Popular In VA

Located in the city of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 3rd out of 73 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There were approximately 16 music students who graduated with this degree at Virginia Tech in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Virginia Tech

#22

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
23rd Most Popular In MA

Boston College is a fairly large private not-for-profit college located in the small city of Chestnut Hill. This college ranks 8th out of 72 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 6 music students who graduated with this degree at Boston College in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Boston College

#23

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
28th Most Popular In NC

Wake Forest University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the city of Winston-Salem. This university ranks 2nd out of 113 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There were roughly 2 music students who graduated with this degree at Wake Forest University in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Wake Forest University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
190 Music Degrees Awarded

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. This university ranks 1st out of 67 schools for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There were about 190 music students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. After graduating, music degree recipients usually make an average of $21,300 in the first five years of their career.

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

#25

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
23rd Most Popular In MA

Located in the fringe town of Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Schools rank of #23 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Williams is a great college overall.

There were roughly 9 music students who graduated with this degree at Williams in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in music from Williams College

Rest of the Top 50 Best Music Schools

#25

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
#26

St Olaf College

Northfield, MN
#28

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
#29

Barnard College

New York, NY
#30

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
#31

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

#32

Rice University

Houston, TX

#33

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY
#35

Boston University

Boston, MA
#36

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA
#37

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, PA
#39

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA
#40

Tufts University

Medford, MA

#41

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

#44

Auburn University

Auburn, AL
#45

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH
#46

Rhodes College

Memphis, TN
#48

Wheaton College Illinois

Wheaton, IL
#49

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Music Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 697 different United States music schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
51 Moravian College Bethlehem, PA
52 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
53 Occidental College Los Angeles, CA
54 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
55 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
56 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
57 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
58 Lebanon Valley College Annville, PA
59 New York University New York, NY
60 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
61 Truman State University Kirksville, MO
62 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
63 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
64 St Lawrence University Canton, NY
65 William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
66 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
67 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
68 University of Delaware Newark, DE
69 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
70 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
71 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
72 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA
73 Lawrence University Appleton, WI
74 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
75 University of Houston Houston, TX
76 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
77 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
78 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
79 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN
80 Brown University Providence, RI
81 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
82 Winona State University Winona, MN
83 Furman University Greenville, SC
84 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
85 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
86 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
87 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI
88 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
89 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA
90 Belmont University Nashville, TN
91 Drake University Des Moines, IA
92 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
93 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
94 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
95 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
96 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
97 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
98 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
99 George Washington University Washington, DC
100 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
101 Chapman University Orange, CA
102 Montclair State University Montclair, NJ
103 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
104 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
105 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
106 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
107 Wheaton College Massachusetts Norton, MA
108 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX
109 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
110 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
111 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
112 West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX
113 American University Washington, DC
114 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
115 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
116 Carleton College Northfield, MN
117 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA
118 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
119 Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL
120 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
121 University of North Texas Denton, TX
122 Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
123 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
124 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
125 Iowa State University Ames, IA
126 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
127 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
128 University of Puget Sound Tacoma, WA
129 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
130 Towson University Towson, MD
131 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
132 Illinois State University Normal, IL
133 Taylor University Upland, IN
134 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
135 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
136 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
137 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
138 University of Maryland - Baltimore County Baltimore, MD
139 Texas A&M University - Kingsville Kingsville, TX

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
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 11,379
Music Performance 7,348
Music Technology 1,493
Other Music 1,235
Music Theory & Composition 1,094
Voice Performance 670
Jazz Studies 526
Keyboard Instruments 499
Stringed Instruments 492
Music Pedagogy 192

View All Music Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 33,317
Design & Applied Arts 30,023
Drama & Theater Arts 16,685
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 15,516
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,811
Arts & Media Management 4,746
Dance 3,237
Other Visual Art 937
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 103
Community/Environmental/Socially-Engaged Art 3

View All Music Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • 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).

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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