What Are the Best Colleges for Singing Degrees?

Review the characteristics of a good degree program in vocal music. Read about three top schools with singing degree programs, and check their national rankings. Find out what kind of singing and vocal music degree programs you could pursue at each school. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of the Best Colleges for Degrees in Singing?

Schools with strong singing programs tend to have excellent facilities and instruction and ample performance opportunities. A dedicated, talented faculty and the addition of guest performers and lecturers will help in exposing you to a wide range of music and performers. You also might want to consider schools that offer special or dual degree programs or opportunities to study abroad.

The type of degree you seek will depend upon your skill level. Graduate-level programs, such as the Master of Music (M.M.), as well as those leading to the artist diploma and performance certificate, contain an intensive music curriculum and may require that you already have a substantial amount of skill. A Bachelor of Music degree, on the other hand, is appropriate for undergraduates embarking on a singing career. Finally, the Bachelor of Arts degree will suit you if you're a singing undergraduate student seeking a well-rounded education.

What Are Three of the Best Colleges for Singing Degrees?

Boston University

U.S. News & World Report ranked BU 42nd among national universities in 2019. At BU's School of Music, you can obtain a Bachelor of Music in Performance for voice. You can also train for both performance and music education in a 5-year program or earn a joint music and B.A. degree in another area. You can also enroll in a double major in musicology, music education, or composition and theory.

The non-degree Artist Diploma in Performance offers voice training during two years in residence. BU also hosts the Opera Institute, a 2-year intensive training program for future opera singers. Through the study abroad program, you could enroll at London's Royal College of Music in your junior year. These voice degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Performance
  • B.M./Master of Music (M.M.) in Education
  • M.M. in Performance
  • Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Performance

University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign

UI tied for 46th in the 2019 ranking of national universities by U.S. News & World Report. UI's Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosts over music events annually, and the Chicago Symphony has taken advantage of exceptional acoustics in its Great Hall to make recordings. The School of Music hosts a specialty library for choral works and orchestral ensembles.

Voice students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in voice performance and choral music. You might study in Vienna through the Austria-Illinois Exchange Program. Audio and video recording and archival services are offered through the Audio Department. These degrees are available:

  • B.M. in Vocal Performance
  • Bachelor of Music Education, Choral
  • Master of Music Education
  • M.M. in Choral Music
  • M.M. in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching
  • DMA in Choral Music
  • DMA in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

UM was ranked 27th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report in 2019. The School of Music, Theatre and Dance's Department of Voice offers bachelor's through doctoral degrees in voice.

The Bachelor of Musical Arts is designed for voice students with secondary music-related fields of interest. At the graduate level, you could enroll in a Master of Music program in performance, which will require you to study French, German and Italian as well as opera, choral conducting and musicology. In this program, you'll also participate in university choirs and perform in a recital. A music performance specialist program requires three terms in residence and participation in an opera production. These degrees are possible:

  • B.M. in Performance: Voice
  • B.M. in Performance: Voice with Teacher Certification
  • Bachelor of Musical Arts
  • M.M. in Performance: Voice
  • M.M. in Music Education with Certification in Voice Performance
  • DMA in Performance: Voice

Ten Other Schools with Singing Degrees

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Berklee College of Music4-year, PrivateBoston, MA$43,000
Cleveland Institute of Music4-year, PrivateCleveland, OH$46,000
Curtis Institute of Music4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA$3,000
The Juilliard School4-year, PrivateNew York City, NY$45,000
University of North Texas4-year, PublicDenton, TX$7,000
University of Tennessee4-year, PublicKnoxville, TN$13,000
University of Maryland4-year, PublicBaltimore, MD$16,500
Lee University4-year, PrivateCleveland, TN$13,000
San Francisco Conservatory of Music4-year, PrivateSan Francisco, CA$46,000
The New England Conservatory of Music4-year, Private Boston, MA$48,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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