13 Colleges to Consider if You’re Pursuing an Arts Degree


If you’re thinking about pursuing the arts in college, you have a lot of options! Think outside of the box and explore different cities and types of colleges. Here’s a list of different schools you might consider. Find out if the school has the right niche and opportunities for you. 

Fine Arts 

California College of the Arts - Oakland, CA

This Bay Area college has 22 undergraduate programs in the arts to choose from.  With a student-faculty ratio that is just 8:1, you’ll have the opportunity to really connect with professors and find a mentor to guide you along your journey to pursuing your Bachelor of Fine Arts. 

Pratt Institute - New York, NY 

Interested in living in New York City? Pratt Institute might be the right fit for you. With over 25 undergraduate programs and 6 programs leading to advanced certificates, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. 

Columbia University - New York, NY 

Students can select from a variety of concentrations, including photography, video, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Columbia’s robust alumni network and notable faculty members will allow you to build meaningful connections with professionals in your field.  

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts - Boston, MA 

“The SMFA at Tufts is one of only two art schools in the United States affiliated with a major museum.” Designed by artists and taught by practicing artists, SMFA at Tufts includes programs in painting, sculpture, video, performance, and photography. 



Rhode Island School of Design - Providence, Rhode Island 

Famous for having 2 out of 3 of the founders of Airbnb as graduates, Rhode Island School of Design was ranked #1 on Business Insider’s list of Top 25 Design Schools in the US. 

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

USC’s Roski School of Art and Design provides a BFA in design as an intensive, pre-profressional program. In addition to studio courses and a senior thesis project, undergraduate students who are “making exceptional progress may be invited to apply for the BFA/MFA Design progressive degree in their junior year.” 

Carnegie Mellon - New York, NY 

Carnegie Mellon provides programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level. Focused on “systems thinking” and problem-solving, Carnegie Mellon’s design school prepares students for future success. 


Curtis Institute of Music - Philadelphia, PA 

If you’re looking for a smaller student body, Curtis Institute of Music might be the right fit for you. With a student population of about 175 students, the acceptance rate is about 4%. Curtis Institute of Music allows students to learn by doing - “students present more than 200 public performances each year, giving them opportunities to hone their craft and shape their artistic point-of-view on stage.”

University of North Texas College of Music - Denton, TX 

The University of North Texas College of Music is “one of the largest music conservatories in the world.” The college presents over 1,000 performances a year. 

Eastman School of Music - Rochester, NY

Including graduate students, the Eastman School of Music has about 900 students in total, with an acceptance rate of about 13%. According to Music School Central, “Expect a complete and thorough education at Eastman.” See admissions requirements here


Nebraska Wesleyan University - Lincoln, NE

"NWU Theatre produces roughly 47 shows running on 200 nights each year” (On Stage Blog).  Nebraska Wesleyan University helps prepare you for life on and off the stage. NWU’s philosophy is, “If you can handle NWU Theatre’s pace, you’re ready for the demands of the profession.”

University of North Carolina School of the Arts - Winston Salem, NC

The Hollywood Reporter lists UNCSA as one of the top 5 undergraduate acting programs. Playbill.com lists UNCSA as the 9th school with the most alumni on Broadway. 

Emerson College - Boston, MA

At Emerson College, “Students learn pedagogical tools that can be applied to many vibrant vocations, including careers in professional theater, community outreach, and teaching at all levels.” This program includes a two year Actor Training Core and prepares students for teaching theatre as well.