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2021 Best Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree Schools

198 Colleges
$30,482 Avg Salary
$57,854 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree School for You

In 2018-2019, 153,295 visual and performing arts students received their degrees and certificates, making the major the #10 most popular in the country.

Today's students have lots of options to pick from when considering higher education opportunities. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. On top of that, there are a considerable number of trade schools that offer fast-track entry to many fields.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 198 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best master's degree programs for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Visual & Performing Arts Master’s Degree Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for visual and performing arts majors pursuing a master's degree.

Top 25 Top Schools for a Master's in Visual & Performing Arts

#1

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Our 2021 rankings named Cornell University the best school in the United States for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Ithaca.

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Out of the 198 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Delaware landed the # 2 spot on the list. U of Delaware is a very large public school located in the suburb of Newark.

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The excellent master’s degree programs at University of North Carolina School of the Arts helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best visual and performing arts schools in the United States. UNCSA is a small public school located in the midsize city of Winston-Salem.

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The excellent master’s degree programs at Northeastern University helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best visual and performing arts schools in the United States. Located in the city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

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#5

American University

Washington, DC

The excellent master’s degree programs at American University helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best visual and performing arts schools in the United States. The American University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

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Sam Houston State University landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. SHSU is a very large public school located in the town of Huntsville.

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Southern Methodist University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for visual and performing arts students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #7 on the list. SMU is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Dallas.

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#8

Chapman University

Orange, CA

With a ranking of #8, Chapman University did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Located in the midsize city of Orange, Chapman is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population.

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#9

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

With a ranking of #9, Carnegie Mellon University did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#10

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. Texas Tech is a very large public school located in the city of Lubbock.

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#11

New York University

New York, NY

New York University landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. NYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of New York.

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#12

Rice University

Houston, TX

With a ranking of #12, Rice University did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Rice is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Houston.

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#13

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN

Purdue University - Main Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for visual and performing arts students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #13 on the list. Purdue is a fairly large public school located in the small city of West Lafayette.

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#14

Tufts University

Medford, MA

Tufts University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Visual & Performing Arts Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the suburb of Medford, Tufts is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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#15

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for visual and performing arts students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #15 on the list. Syracuse is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Syracuse.

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With a ranking of #16, Colorado State University - Fort Collins did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Colorado State is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Fort Collins.

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University of Missouri - Columbia landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. Mizzou is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Columbia.

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University of Washington - Seattle Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for visual and performing arts students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #18 on the list. Located in the large city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public college with a very large student population.

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The University of Texas at Austin did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for visual and performing arts students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #19 on the list. UT Austin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Austin.

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University of California - Los Angeles landed the #20 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. UCLA is a very large public school located in the city of Los Angeles.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. Wisconsin is a very large public school located in the large city of Madison.

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University of Southern California came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Visual & Performing Arts Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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With a ranking of #23, Illinois State University did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Located in the suburb of Normal, Illinois State is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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With a ranking of #24, Rutgers University - New Brunswick did quite well on this year’s best schools for visual and performing arts students working on their master’s degree. Located in the small city of New Brunswick, Rutgers New Brunswick is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro landed the #25 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best master’s degree visual and performing arts programs. Located in the city of Greensboro, UNC Greensboro is a public school with a very large student population.

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Rest of the Top Best Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree Schools

#26

University of Houston

Houston, TX
#27

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#29

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

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 Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
30 Brown University Providence, RI
31 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
32 Boston University Boston, MA
33 Yale University New Haven, CT
34 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
35 University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA
36 Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY
37 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
38 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA
39 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX

Visual & Performing Arts by Region

View the Best Visual & Performing Arts Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Visual & Performing Arts Majors to Study

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
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720
Arts & Media Management 4,766
Dance 3,234
Other Visual Art 1,071
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 124

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 547,539
English Language & Literature 59,299
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 34,386
Theology & Religious Vocations 32,172
Philosophy & Religious Studies 16,252

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 Bonnielou2013.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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