Visual & Performing Arts

2022 Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools

983 Colleges in the United States
155,377 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded
$25,427 Avg Early-Career Salary
Visual & Performing Arts is above average in terms of popularity with it being the #10 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.

In 2022, College Factual analyzed 983 schools in order to identify the top ones for its Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools ranking. Combined, these schools handed out 155,377 degrees in visual and performing arts to qualified students.

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

Choosing a Great Visual & Performing Arts School

Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools The visual and performing arts program you select can have a big impact on your future. That's why we developed our collection of Best Schools for Visual & Performing Arts rankings. For our Best Overall Visual & Performing Arts School rankings, we roll up the results of our degree-level rankings, weighted by the number of degrees awarded at that level.

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

Pick Your Visual & Performing Arts Degree Level

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you. 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 Visual & Performing Arts 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 visual and performing arts 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 Visual & Performing Arts

#1

Stanford University

Stanford, CA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
49th Most Popular In CA
90 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 90 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Stanford in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Stanford University

#2

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
153 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

It is difficult to beat University of Notre Dame if you want to pursue a degree in visual and performing arts. 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 Schools rank of #15 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were about 153 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent year we have data available. Visual & Performing Arts degree recipients from University of Notre Dame earn a boost of around $5,373 over the typical income of visual and performing arts majors.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from University of Notre Dame

#3

Duke University

Durham, NC
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
73 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

It is difficult to beat Duke University if you want to pursue a degree in visual and performing arts. Located in the city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #9 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were about 73 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the visual and performing arts major at Duke University earn $13,873 more than the average college grad in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Duke University

#4

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
81 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

It's difficult to beat Cornell University if you wish to pursue a degree in visual and performing arts. Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Ithaca. A Best Schools rank of #16 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Cornell is a great university overall.

There were about 81 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Cornell in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the visual and performing arts degree program at Cornell University earn $12,573 more than the typical college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Cornell University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
109 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

American Film Institute is a fairly small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles.

There were roughly 109 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at American Film Institute in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the visual and performing arts degree program at American Film Institute Conservatory make $6,673 more than the standard college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from American Film Institute Conservatory

#6

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
82nd Most Popular In NY
45 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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 colleges nationwide means Colgate is a great university overall.

There were about 45 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Colgate in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Colgate University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
43 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

RPI is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Troy. This school ranks 8th out of 160 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were approximately 43 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at RPI in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the visual and performing arts degree program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earn $8,173 more than the typical graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

#8

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In NH
70 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Dartmouth is a medium-sized private not-for-profit college located in the remote 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 70 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Dartmouth College

#9

Lafayette College

Easton, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
19th Most Popular In PA
41 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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 41 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Lafayette in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Lafayette College

#10

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
32nd 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 30 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Holy Cross in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from College of the Holy Cross

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MO
162 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were approximately 162 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at WUSTL in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Washington University in St Louis

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
83 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 83 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the most recent year we have data available. Those visual and performing arts students who get their degree from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo earn $15,573 more than the average visual and performing arts graduate.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

#13

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
386 Visual & Performing Arts 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 about 386 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Soon after graduation, visual and performing arts degree recipients typically make an average of $27,150 in their early careers.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Northwestern University

#14

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In TN
92 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Vanderbilt is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Nashville. This university ranks 1st out of 50 schools for overall quality in the state of Tennessee.

There were roughly 92 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Vanderbilt University

#15

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
16th Most Popular In NC

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

There were about 27 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Wake Forest University in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Wake Forest University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
105 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 105 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at TCNJ in the most recent data year. Visual & Performing Arts degree recipients from The College of New Jersey get an earnings boost of approximately $11,723 above the average earnings of visual and performing arts majors.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from The College of New Jersey

#17

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
312 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Schools rank of #20 out of 2,576 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were approximately 312 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the visual and performing arts program at Carnegie Mellon University make $21,398 above the typical college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Carnegie Mellon University

#18

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, CO
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
12th Most Popular In CO

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

There were roughly 18 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Colorado College in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Colorado College

#19

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In VA
109 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were roughly 108.99999999999999 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from University of Virginia - Main Campus

#20

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
78th Most Popular In NY
35 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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 approximately 35 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Hamilton in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Hamilton College

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
63 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Atlanta, Georgia Tech is a public school with a very large student population. This school ranks 1st out of 80 colleges for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were about 63 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Georgia Tech in the most recent data year. Those visual and performing arts students who get their degree from Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus receive $22,073 more than the average visual and performing arts student.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

#22

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
363 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Located in the midsize city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly 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 363 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Yale in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the visual and performing arts program make an average of $21,333 in the first couple years of their career.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Yale University

#23

Dickinson College

Carlisle, PA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
50th Most Popular In PA
31 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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 roughly 31 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Dickinson in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Dickinson College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
527 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

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

There were about 527 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the visual and performing arts program earn an average of $24,700 for their early career.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

#25

Barnard College

New York, NY
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
57th Most Popular In NY
76 Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, Barnard is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. A Best Schools rank of #31 out of 2,576 schools nationwide means Barnard is a great college overall.

There were about 76 visual and performing arts students who graduated with this degree at Barnard in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in visual and performing arts from Barnard College

Rest of the Top 50 Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools

#25

Barnard College

New York, NY
#26

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA
#27

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
#28

Williams College

Williamstown, MA
#30

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
#31

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

#34

St Olaf College

Northfield, MN
#36

New York University

New York, NY
#37

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY
#38

Luther College

Decorah, IA
#40

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, VA

#42

Tufts University

Medford, MA
#43

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
#44

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, NY
#47

Boston University

Boston, MA
#48

Wellesley College

Wellesley, MA

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 983 different United States visual and performing arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Emerson College Boston, MA
51 Rice University Houston, TX
52 Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY
53 Northeastern University Boston, MA
54 Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston, MA
54 Teachers College at Columbia University New York, NY
56 Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York, NY
57 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
58 Borough of Manhattan Community College New York, NY
59 Iowa State University Ames, IA
60 Stonehill College Easton, MA
61 Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI
62 Occidental College Los Angeles, CA
63 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
64 Belmont University Nashville, TN
65 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
66 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
67 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
68 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
69 Moravian College Bethlehem, PA
70 Wheaton College Illinois Wheaton, IL
71 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI
72 St Lawrence University Canton, NY
73 Endicott College Beverly, MA
74 Rhodes College Memphis, TN
75 Muhlenberg College Allentown, PA
76 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
77 College for Creative Studies Detroit, MI
78 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
79 University of Georgia Athens, GA
80 William & Mary Williamsburg, VA
81 Queensborough Community College Bayside, NY
82 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
83 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
84 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
85 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
86 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
87 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
88 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
89 Art Center College of Design Pasadena, CA
90 Truman State University Kirksville, MO
91 Concordia College at Moorhead Moorhead, MN
92 Messiah University Mechanicsburg, PA
93 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
94 Clemson University Clemson, SC
95 Chapman University Orange, CA
96 Oberlin College Oberlin, OH
97 Towson University Towson, MD
98 Westmont College Santa Barbara, CA
99 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
100 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
101 Auburn University Auburn, AL
102 University of Delaware Newark, DE
103 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
104 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
105 American University Washington, DC
106 Brown University Providence, RI
107 University of North Carolina School of the Arts Winston-Salem, NC
108 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
109 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
110 John Tyler Community College Chester, VA
111 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
112 Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI
113 Lebanon Valley College Annville, PA
114 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
115 FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
116 Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
117 University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI
118 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
119 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse La Crosse, WI
120 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
121 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
122 Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI
123 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
124 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
125 Pratt Institute - Main Brooklyn, NY
126 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
127 County College of Morris Randolph, NJ
128 Carleton College Northfield, MN
129 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
130 Illinois State University Normal, IL
131 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
132 DePauw University Greencastle, IN
133 Wheaton College Massachusetts Norton, MA
134 Smith College Northampton, MA
135 Winona State University Winona, MN
136 Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY
137 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
138 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE
139 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
140 Taylor University Upland, IN
141 Siena College Loudonville, NY
142 Austin Community College District Austin, TX
143 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
144 Holyoke Community College Holyoke, MA
145 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
146 Drake University Des Moines, IA
147 George Washington University Washington, DC

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Visual & Performing Arts students that almost earned our Best Visual & Performing Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
148 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
149 Saint Mary’s College of California Moraga, CA
150 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
151 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
152 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
153 Western Washington University Bellingham, WA
154 Goddard College Plainfield, VT
155 Fordham University Bronx, NY
156 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
157 Lawrence University Appleton, WI
158 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
159 Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD
160 Valencia College Orlando, FL
161 Furman University Greenville, SC
162 LaGuardia Community College Long Island City, NY
163 Denison University Granville, OH
164 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
165 Connecticut College New London, CT
166 University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL
167 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
168 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
169 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
170 University of Wisconsin - Platteville Platteville, WI
171 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA
172 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
173 Gustavus Adolphus College Saint Peter, MN
174 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
175 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
176 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
177 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
178 Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL
179 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
180 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
181 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
182 Wagner College Staten Island, NY
183 New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ
184 University of North Texas Denton, TX
185 University of Houston Houston, TX
186 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
187 Longwood University Farmville, VA
188 School of Visual Arts New York, NY
189 Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA
190 Millersville University of Pennsylvania Millersville, PA
191 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
192 Seattle University Seattle, WA
193 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
194 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX
195 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
196 American Academy of Dramatic Arts - New York New York, NY

Visual & Performing Arts by Region

View the Best Visual & Performing Arts 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 >

Visual & Performing Arts Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 39,860
Design & Applied Arts 36,854
Music 27,047
Drama & Theater Arts 18,124
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 17,506
General Visual & Performing Arts 6,359
Arts & Media Management 5,059
Dance 3,397
Other Visual Art 1,039
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 129

View All Visual & Performing Arts 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).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Bonnielou2013.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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