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2021 Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools

122 Colleges
$24,577 Avg Salary
$26,968 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best General Visual & Performing Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 5,720 people earned a degree or certificate in general visual and performing arts, making the major the #142 most popular in the United States.

Today's students have lots of options to pick from when considering higher education opportunities. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Or you may find the programs at a trade school to be a better alternative for you.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools ranking. Our analysis looked at 122 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students. Factors related to overall quality of the school, post-graduation earnings, average student debt, and more accumulated were considered when coming up with this list.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for visual arts majors pursuing a .

Top 15% Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools

#1

Duke University

Durham, NC

Our analysis found Duke University to be the best school for general visual and performing arts students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham.

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#2

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means University of Florida is a great place for general visual and performing arts students. U of F is a fairly large public school located in the city of Gainesville.

After completing their degree, visual arts graduates from U of F carry an average student debtload of $15,361. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $159, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#3

Valencia College

Orlando, FL

Out of the 122 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Valencia College landed the # 3 spot on the list. Located in the city of Orlando, Valencia College is a public school with a very large student population.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means Northeastern University is a great place for general visual and performing arts students. Located in the large city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#5

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

Out of the 122 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Texas Tech University landed the # 5 spot on the list. Texas Tech is a very large public school located in the city of Lubbock.

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#6

Stonehill College

Easton, MA

Stonehill College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general visual and performing arts students. It came in at #6 on the list. Stonehill is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Easton.

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#7

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general visual and performing arts students. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general visual and performing arts students. It came in at #8 on the list. Located in the small city of Troy, RPI is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population.

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CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general visual and performing arts programs. Located in the city of New York, BMCC is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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University of Missouri - Columbia came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools ranking. Mizzou is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Columbia.

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#11

Rice University

Houston, TX

Rice University landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general visual and performing arts programs. Rice is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Houston.

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University of Southern California came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

On average, visual arts graduates from USC take out $21,937 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $228.

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University of Wisconsin - Stout landed the #13 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general visual and performing arts programs. Located in the distant town of Menomonie, UW - Stout is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

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Arizona State University - West landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general visual and performing arts programs. Located in the city of Glendale, ASU - West is a public college with a small student population.

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Iowa State University ranked #15 on this year’s Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools list. Iowa State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Ames.

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#16

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general visual and performing arts students. It came in at #16 on the list. Boston U is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston.

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Pennsylvania State University - University Park ranked #17 on this year’s Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools list. Located in the city of University Park, Penn State University Park is a public school with a very large student population.

After completing their degree, visual arts graduates from Penn State University Park carry an average student debtload of $26,125. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $271, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#18

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

With a ranking of #18, George Mason University did quite well on this year’s best schools for general visual and performing arts students. Located in the suburb of Fairfax, GMU is a public school with a very large student population.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best General Visual & Performing Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
19 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
20 SUNY Oneonta Oneonta, NY
21 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
22 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
23 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
24 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA

General Visual & Performing Arts by Region

View the Best General 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

General Visual & Performing Arts is one of 9 different types of programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Visual Arts

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 40,751
Design & Applied Arts 36,179
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,756

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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 Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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