Which Chicago Schools Offer Performing Arts Degrees?

Sing, dance, act, create. Chicago has a variety of performing arts degree programs for you to choose from. Read on to learn more about several schools in Chicago that can help you to showcase your talents and broaden your range. Schools offering Theatre degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

To take on a career in the performing arts obtaining a bachelor's degree or higher in the field will best prepare you. If you are considering this education path in the city of Chicago, you'll find plenty of program options at both the bachelor's and master's level.

What You Need to Know

Most of the schools in Chicago that offer degree programs in performing arts grant bachelor's degrees in this area. You can earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater, dance or communication, media and theatre. You could also pursue a Bachelor of Music. One school does offer a Master of Music and Master of Fine Arts in music or education/theater. In these programs, you will have the opportunity hone your acting, directing, playwriting or musical performance skills. You could participate in group studies, stage performances or concerts. The master's degrees can be earned in three years or less. More details about these schools and programs follow.

Performing Arts Bachelor's Degree Programs in Chicago

Northeastern Illinois University

The CMT program encourages you to take internships. You'll choose the theater minor, which covers a wide variety of performance classes, such as acting, directing, playwriting, oral interpretation, children's workshops, improvisation, stagecraft, makeup and other aspects of live performance. You'll also focus on communications, interpersonal, media, writing and speaking. With your CMT degree, you will be prepared to pursue both performance roles as well as a wide range of media and communication careers. The Bachelor of Arts in Music has a number of variations to tailor the program to your specific talents. You'll become immersed in your particular specialty, be it vocal, piano, or another instrument, while learning the history and various styles of music and/or dance.

  • Program Name: Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) / Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Specialization Options: CMT: Minor in Theater, Minor in Media, BA Music: vocal, piano, instrumental music performance, vocal education, musical instrument education, minor in dance
  • Program Length: Four years (120 semester hours)
  • Tuition: $9,351 per year for residents, $17,079 for non-residents (2015-2016)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 8,412 undergraduate students

DePaul University

You'll be interested in DePaul's programs if you seek a private school. You can focus on your craft here with instructors that are highly accomplished in their respective fields. You'll be interested to learn that DePaul hosts performances at top symphony halls and some of Chicago's major venues. If you are a theater person, DePaul's school of theater arts is highly competitive. You can major in acting, directing, or many of the other facets of stagecraft.

  • Program Name: Music Department - Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Arts in Music / Theater Department - Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Specialization Options: Music - Performance, Composition, Jazz Studies, Education, Management / Theater Arts - Directed Studies, Directing, Interdisciplinary Performance, Theater for Young Audiences, Acting
  • Program Length: Measured in quarter hours, 192
  • Prerequisites: Music department requires all applicants to audition; theater department requires an audition or interview.
  • Tuition: Full-Time $36,361 per year (2015-2016)
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; 16,153 undergraduates

University of Illinois at Chicago

You'll find the University of Illinois covers the wide range of performance-related studies. With competitive entrance into the programs, you'll want to prepare well before attempting the application process. Here you will receive an intense education focused on the theory and practice involved, with opportunities to shine in productions and concerts throughout the year. You will also take the required general education curricula, as this is a state university.

  • Program Name: BA in Music, BA in Theater, BA in Directing/Design, BFA in Theater Performance
  • Program Length: 120 semester hours
  • Prerequisites: Performance Major or Jazz Studies major requires an audition, BA and BFA in Theater also requires audition
  • Tuition: $13,664 per year for resident, $26,520 per year for non-residents (2015-2016)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 16,718 undergraduate students

Columbia College-Chicago

Also a private school, at Columbia you'll find a vibrant arts community. If you are a dancer, the Columbia program is highly immersive with many styles and facets of movement presented. If theater is your passion, Columbia programs specialize in acting, directing and musical theater. You'll want to inquire as to the various Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts tracks that are offered.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Specialization Options: Dance, Concentration in Dancemaking or Pedagogy - Theater, Concentrations in Acting, Directing, Musical Theater Performance
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Prerequisites: Department consent
  • Tuition: $24,344 per year (2015-2016)
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; 9,003 undergraduates

Performing Arts Master's Degree Programs in Chicago

DePaul University

If you've accomplished your Bachelor in Music, you'll look to taking your music education to the next level. Here you'll study history, theory and research topics related to your area of expertise. All the while, you will continue progressing with lessons, group study, ensemble performances and your core music curricula. If you've graduated with a BFA in one of the theater arts, you'll explore the advanced studies possible in the MFA program.

  • Program Name: Master of Music / Master of Fine Arts
  • Specialization Options: Music - Performance, Composition, Jazz Studies, Education / Theater - Acting, Directing
  • Program Length: Music, 48 quarter hours / Theater, three years
  • Prerequisites: Music department requires all applicants to audition; theater department requires an audition or interview.
  • Tuition: $17,904 per year (for 2015-2016 academic year)
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; 23,799 students, including 7,646 graduate students

To summarize, Columbia College, UIC, and Northeastern Illinois University all offer bachelor's degrees in fine arts, and DePaul University offers both bachelor's and master's degree programs. Program lengths range from 3 to 4 years.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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