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  • Kaitlyn Nicole

Top 10 Colleges and Universities for the Music Industry

Photo Credits: Berklee College of Music // Performance Center


Thinking about going to college for music? Whether it's for performing, songwriting, or even non-artist related fields like music business, this list of schools are the best of the best when it comes to modern and contemporary music studies.


10. New York University



It's no secret that NYU has incredible music and songwriting programs. Though they are definitely one of the top schools in the nation for performing arts, they are at number 10 for me because they are also very picky about who they choose to let into their school. Not only that, but they are one of the most expensive schools to choose from as well. They hold their students to a very high academic standard; and their degrees are considered prestigious. They are one of the most sought out schools for art. To apply for the Tisch School of the Arts and the Steinhardt School of Culture , you have to go through an extensive artistic review and / or provide a portfolio of your artistic work.


Programs of Study: Music, Songwriting, Music Business, Recorded Music (Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), Performance Arts, Music Composition, Music Technology, Music Education, Vocal Performance and Music Therapy


Pros: High Standards, Prestigious Degrees, Exposure to New York City


Cons: Extreme Acceptance Process, Low Acceptance Rate, High Tuition


Acceptance Rate: NYU as a whole- 13% ; Tisch - 26%. On the bright-side if you're going into songwriting, the school of Steinhardt is 42%.


Average Tuition: $60,438 per year (before aid)


9. Anderson University



Anderson University is based in South Carolina. Their school of arts is known for it's prestigious and award-winning professors. When it comes to modern music, they're one of the few university's that offer a "Commercial Music" degree that focuses on contemporary music styles - including studies of the music industry and music technology, as well as songwriting and performing. It's a degree that is structured to help you succeed in today's business.


Programs of Study: Music, Commercial Music, Music Performance


Pros: Classes are more modernized, High Acceptance Rate, More Affordable


Cons: Smaller Town, Not Religiously Diverse


Acceptance Rate: 59%


Average Tuition: $31,720 per year (before aid)


8. California Institute of the Arts



CalArts is a private university in Santa Clarita, California. It was founded by Walt Disney (yes, the Walt Disney) in 1961. They are the first college to offer degrees for only art related fields, with over 70 degree programs focusing on visual, performing, media and literary arts. They have a unique degree called 'Experimental Pop' that allows their music students to have more creative freedom in their music studies.


Programs of Study: Composition and Experimental Sound Practices, Experimental Pop, Music Technology, Voice


Pros: Classes focus on your field of study, exposure to the industry


Cons: Admission is competitive, No interdisciplinary options if your specific field of study doesn't work out, Expensive Tuition.


Acceptance Rate: 27%


Average Tuition: $53,466 per year (before aid)



7. University of Colorado (Denver)


Graduates from the University of Colorado Denver's College of Arts & Media have a high success rate in finding jobs. They've got graduates who've been hired at large, house-hold name companies like Rolling Stone, Disney, Apple, HBO and Google. The bustling city and culture allows for a great experience in performing. Their musical areas of study are more specific and detailed than most colleges.


Programs of Study: Music Business, Singer/Songwriter, Recording Arts, and Music Performance


Pros: Modernized Degrees, Affordable, High Acceptance Rate


Cons: N/A


Acceptance Rate: 72%


Average Tuition: $30,934 per year (before aid)


6. Columbia College Chicago



Columbia College Chicago is another college that focuses on Media and Arts degrees; except they have a lot more diversity to their areas of study - including radio, public relations and advertising. They are extremely affordable, especially for being in a major city. The music culture in Chicago is very alive, and can provide you many opportunities.


Programs of Study: Music, Music Business, Audio Arts, Musical Theatre, Music Composition, [Contemporary, Jazz and Popular Music], Music Technology, Radio


Pros: Specific Degrees, Affordable, High Acceptance Rate, Exposure to culture and performance in the city of Chicago


Cons: N/A


Acceptance Rate: 87%


Average Tuition: $27,786 per year (before aid)


5. University of Miami (Frost School of Music)



University of Miami has one of the most unique and innovative music curriculums in the game. They teach 'The Frost Method' which allows their music students to explore all areas of the music business and a wide range of genres. Their university gives music students access for world-class recording studios, rehearsal spaces, recital halls and more. Their way of teaching is clearly working, as about 91% of their graduate students find a career in their field within 6 months of graduating.


Programs of Study: Music, Music Engineering Technology, Vocal Performance, Music Industry, Modern Artist Development and Entrepreneurship, Media Scoring and Production, Music Education, Music Therapy


Pros: Wide Variety of Degree Choices, High Success Rate After Graduation, Modernized Curriculum


Cons: Low Acceptance Rate, High Tuition


Acceptance Rate: 28.5%


Average Tuition: $54,760 per year (before aid)


4. Full Sail University



Full Sail is another Media and Arts focused University based in Florida. They're one of the only schools that offer online programs for music related fields as well. They're known for their modern and high-tech way of learning. They have graduates in the Hall of Fame, Grammy Winners, Oscar Winners, as well as alumni who work for Disney, HBO, MTV, Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, and many other large companies.


Programs of Study: Audio Production, Music Business, Music Production, Recording Arts, Show Production


Online Degrees: Audio Production and Music Production


Pros: Extremely Easy to be Accepted, Cost of Tuition is Average


Cons: Low Graduation Rate (30%), Difficult Curriculums, No Performance Degrees


Acceptance Rate: 100%


Average Tuition: $41,537 per year (before aid)


3. Belmont University



Belmont University is based in Nashville, Tennessee. It's been recognized as one of the United States' best colleges for music; especially for their songwriting program. They've been highly accredited for their distinctive music related curriculums. They have a graduation rate of 72% and a large sum of alumni have found success in the industry after attending Belmont University.


Programs of Study: Songwriting, Music Business, Audio Engineering Technology, Creative and Entertainment Industries


Pros: High Success Rate After Graduation, High Acceptance Rate, Average Tuition Cost, Exposure to performing and music culture in Nashville


Cons: Not Religiously Diverse


Acceptance Rate: 88%


Average Tuition: $38,430 per year (before aid)


2. University of Southern California (Thornton School of Music)



The Thornton School of Music, of the University of California is internationally recognized as one of the top music colleges. They're one of the oldest, continuous college programs in Los Angeles, starting in 1884. They're known for their blended curriculum of both traditional studies of music with modernized training for the cities upcoming musicians. They're also one of the first ever colleges to offer a degree in the Music Industry.


Programs of Study: Music Industry, Music Technology, Popular Music, Vocal Arts & Opera


Pros: Exposure to Los Angeles, High Success Rate After Graduation, Tight Community


Cons: Very Low Acceptance Rate, Competitive Admissions, High Tuition


Acceptance Rate: 12.5%


Average Tuition: $61,503 per year (before aid)


1. Berklee College of Music (and Berklee Online)


Berklee College of Music is based in Boston, Massachusetts but they have campuses online, in Spain and in New York City. They only offer music related degrees, and are known as one of the best music schools in the world, right under Julliard. Their alumni have a high success rate after graduating. They have many Grammy Award winning graduates. Some names you may recognize that attended Berklee are Charlie Puth, John Mayer, Lizzy McAlpine, Eric Andre, Melissa Etheridge, Quincy Jones, Betty Who, and St. Vincent. They are also the first successful college to have a full music program online, allowing anyone in the world to attend Berklee at an affordable price.


Programs of Study: Professional Music, Songwriting, Performance, Music Production and Engineering, Music Business/Management, Electronic Production and Design, Contemporary Writing and Production, Independent Recording and Production, Music Therapy, and Music Education


Online Degrees: Music Production, Music Business, Electronic Music Production and Sound Design, Songwriting, Songwriting and Producing Music, Voice Performance


Pros: High Success Rate After Graduation, Interdisciplinary Options, Go to College Online for Cheaper, Gain Connections with other Like-Minded Artists


Cons: N/A


Acceptance Rate: 52%


Average Tuition: $46,800 per year (before aid)

Online: $21,210 per year (before aid)



What college are you thinking about attending? Follow us below and let us know!


Written By Kaitlyn Nicole



*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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