Continuing your study of the arts after high school can deepen your knowledge, sharpen your creative, technical, and critical thinking skills, and help you succeed in college and beyond. In the visual and performing arts, typical careers include studio artist, musician, dancer, and actor. But the arts can also prepare you for careers in architecture, design (graphic, fashion, and industrial), filmmaking, media arts, marketing, writing, arts history and teaching, curating, library science, the recording industry, and arts-related businesses.
Below are some resources you can use to plan for further study of the arts.
Chicago-area Post-Secondary Schools Offering Arts Degrees and Programs
- Chicago State University – Art and CMAP: graphic design, interactive media, 2D/3D studio art, art education K-12, public relations, radio, television, performance, digital filmmaking, screenwriting, media management, theatre, directing, acting
- Chicago State University – Music: music studies, Gospel music, commercial music and technology, music education K-12
- City Colleges of Chicago: visual and performing arts, music, music technology, theatre, graphic arts, media communications, creative writing, culinary arts (see website for which programs are offered where)
- Columbia College: visual and performing arts, music and sound, cinema and television arts, communication and writing, graphic design, fashion design, interior architecture
- DePaul University Media Arts and Film: media and cinema studies, communication and technology, journalism, public relations, advertising, sports communication
- DePaul University Music: performance, composition, jazz studies, music education, sound recording technology, performing arts management
- DePaul University Theatre: acting, comedy arts, costume design, lighting and scene design, music and production design, playwriting, dramaturgy and criticism, stage management, theatre arts and technology, theatre management
- Harrington College of Design: graphic design and communication, interior design, photography, web design and development
- Illinois Institute of Art Chicago: graphic and web design, advertising, media arts and animation, photography, filmmaking and video production, game design and technology, fashion design, culinary arts
- Illinois Institute of Technology – Architecture: architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning
- Loyola University Chicago Media Arts: advertising and public relations, communication studies, film and digital media, multimedia journalism
- Moraine Valley Community College: art, digital art/design, animation, music, theater
- Northeastern Illinois University: art, art education, art history, public relations, journalism, film and television studies, theatre, dramaturgy, dance, creative writing, graphic design, music, photography, audio and visual production, stage design and production
- North Park University: fine arts, graphic design, curatorial studies, art education, art therapy, music, music education, theatre
- Northern Illinois University: studio art, photography, graphic design, animation, art history, art education, dance, acting, theatre design and technology, fashion design, screenwriting, filmmaking, journalism, media studies, web design and programming
- Northwestern University Music: composition and music technology, conducting and ensembles, jazz studies, musicology, music education, music theory, voice and opera
- Northwestern University Media Arts and Theatre: acting, dance, film and television, creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, sound design, theatre directing and design, comedy arts, gaming and interactive media
- Northwestern University Visual Art: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, digital art, video art, conceptual art
- Roosevelt University: acting, music composition and performance, music history and education, jazz and contemporary music, musical theatre, dance, voice, opera
- Robert Morris College: graphic design, drafting and design technology, culinary arts
- St. Xavier University: studio art, graphic design, art education, art history, music
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago: animation, architecture, art education, art history , arts administration, art and technology, ceramics, comics, graphic novels, fashion design, curatorial studies, film, video, painting, drawing, performance, photography
- Southern Illinois University – College of Mass Communication and Media Arts: cinema production and studies; screenwriting; documentary, experimental, narrative, and animated production and studies; fine arts and commercial photography; journalism (advertising, news, photojournalism, sports media); digital media arts and animation; electronic journalism; electronic sports media; media industries; radio/audio production; TV/video production
- Southern Illinois University – College of Liberal Arts: BFA with specialization in art education, ceramics, communication design, drawing, glass, industrial design, metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, musical theatre, theatre; BA in art history, general studio, music business, liberal arts-music; BM in music education, music theory/composition, keyboard, instrumental, voice, guitar, or studio jazz
- Southern Illinois University – College of Applied Arts and Sciences: architectural studies, fashion design & merchandising, interior design
- University of Chicago: visual arts, art history, cinema and media studies, music, theatre and performance studies, creative writing, poetry and poetics, film studies
- University of Illinois at Chicago – College of Architecture, Design and the Arts: architecture, art history, studio arts, photography, filmmaking, digital animation, video, new media arts, art education, museum and exhibition studies, interdisciplinary arts, graphic design, industrial design
- University of Illinois at Chicago – School of Theatre and Music: theatre studies, acting, movement and voice, musical theatre, set, costume and lighting design, playwriting, performance, stage management, music, jazz studies, opera, music education
- Vandercook College of Music (at IIT): music education, music fundamentals and theory, composition, performance
Arts Colleges and Careers Beyond Chicago
Many colleges and universities in other cities and states offer quality programs in the visual and performing arts. Students and parents can learn more about them via the resources below.
- The Chicago Performing & Visual Arts College Fair: This free event, held annually in October, allows students to meet admissions representatives from a wide range of post-secondary schools offering arts programs.
- The Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD): Admissions information and profiles of schools and colleges offering programs in art and design.
- National Portfolio Day (NPD): A free public college fair specifically for visual artists and designers, NPD Chicago is held annually in October at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
- National Association of Schools of Music: A list of music programs at schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities that this organization accredits.
- Educational Theatre Association: ETA’s College Resource Center is a one-stop shop for finding the right college theatre program. The Center has tips and other helpful information for students interested in exploring theatre in college.
As you think about further study in the arts, you may also find it helpful to check out the following resources.
- CPS College & Career Planning: CPS-provided tools and resources to help students at every grade level engage in thinking about their future and exploring options and opportunities.
- Audition and Portfolio Review Tips: Suggestions for how to prepare and do your best when auditioning or sharing your artwork during a portfolio review.
- National Association of Schools of Music FAQs: Questions put together by NASM that students and parents may have about applying to or attending a college-level music program.