Best Performing Arts High Schools In California

Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Smile Ese

Most school rankings are based on standardized tests scores, college acceptance rates, and graduation rates. However, standardized test scores are not the end all be all of a student’s success. A school’s endeavors and extracurricular activities may have just as much – if not more – impact on how well students perform in the future.

If your information on Best Performing Arts High Schools In California in California, you are indeed in a right place, kindly and joyfully navigate down and explore to the end.

List of Top Performing Arts High Schools

What is Performing Arts?

Basically, art is the application of human creative skill and imagination. It is the ability to create a piece for an aesthetic view. Mostly in a visual form, art revolves around the beautiful act of sculpture or works produced primarily for beauty and emotional appeal.

Performing arts on the other hand is a form of art performed in front of an audience. Unlike sculpture and other forms of art that may not require the physical presence of an audience, performing arts refers to drama, music, and dance.

Inclusively, acting, dancing, physical theater, and sound designing are all examples of performing arts. Most times performing arts are done by professionals who have received some form of training or tutorial and can be performed in theaters, opera houses, open stages, tents, circuses, and even on the street.

performing arts high schools los angeles

LOS ANGELES COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL (LACHSA) – LOS ANGELES, CA

The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) offers a specialized program combining college-preparatory academic instruction and conservatory-style training in the visual and performing arts. Founded in 1985, the tuition-free public school is run by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in partnership with and on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).

Recognized as one of the premier public arts high schools in the U.S., LACHSA is the recipient of numerous awards, these include California Distinguished School for Academic Excellence, Golden Bell Award, Grammy Signature School, Bravo Award for excellence in arts education, and the Exemplary School Designation by the Arts Schools Network. LACHSA is also routinely identified as one of “America’s Best High Schools” by Newsweek Magazine and one of LA’s best high schools by Los Angeles Magazine.

American Academy of Dramatic Arts

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $36,480 per year

Degree Programs:

  • Associate of Occupational Studies: Two-Year Program
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies in Acting: For Third Year, after completing Associate
  • BA or BFA Degree: offered in conjunction with these universities

Antioch University Los Angeles

Academy students can enter Antioch with as much as half of their coursework toward a BA in Acting and Dramatic Arts degree completion. Students who complete one year at The Academy may also transfer their coursework credits of C- or better. The Academy Alumni are also eligible to participate under the terms of this agreement.

San Domenico School

Tuition: $58,350

Student Enrollment: 320

Acceptance Rate: 84%

San Domenico School is the oldest independent school in California. It is an art boarding school situated on 515 acres of land in California.

It runs day and boarding services for students in grades 9-12 with over 40% of its students living on campus.

This California art performing boarding high school incorporates arts into its robust College preparatory program.

Programs are designed to aid students to learn, study, harness their potentials, and discover their purpose early enough.

The school campus houses a world-class music conservatory, athletics center, art building a well as swimming pool equestrian, and tennis court.

These facilities help students get the best art experience that aids them to become excellent students, great people, and the next generation of global artists.

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best performing arts high schools in southern california

American Conservatory Theater

Location: San Francisco, CA

Tuition: $30,000 per year

Degree Programs:

  • MFA in Acting

Azusa Pacific University

Location: Azusa, CA

Tuition: $40,830 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen

California Institute of the Arts

Location: Valencia, CA

Tuition: $52,850 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BFA in Dance
  • MFA in Choreography
  • BFA, MFA, DMA in Music Performer-Composer
  • BFA and MFA in Music Composition
  • BFA and MFA in Jazz Studies
  • BFA and MFA in Winds
  • BFA and MFA in Brass
  • BFA and MFA in Percussion
  • BFA and MFA in Guitar
  • BFA and MFA in Harp
  • BFA and MFA in Piano/Keyboard
  • BFA and MFA in Strings
  • MFA in African Music and Dance Program
  • MFA in Balinese and Javanese Music and Dance Program
  • MFA in North Indian Music Program
  • MFA in World Percussion Program
  • BFA in World Music Program
  • BFA and MFA in Music Technology Program: Interaction, Intelligence and Design
  • BFA in Musical Arts Program
  • BFA and MFA in Voice Arts
  • BFA and MFA in Acting Program
  • MFA in Directing Program
  • MFA in Writing for Performance Program
  • BFA and MFA in Scene Design Program
  • BFA and MFA in Costume Design Program
  • BFA and MFA in Lighting Design Program
  • BFA and MFA in Sound Design Program
  • BFA and MFA in Technical Direction Program
  • BFA and MFA in Management Program

California Baptist University

Location: Riverside, CA

Tuition: $34,918 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre
  • BM in Composition
  • BM in Instrumental Performance
  • PM in Keyboard Accompanying
  • BM in Music Education
  • BM in Piano Performance
  • BM in Vocal Performance
  • BM in Commercial Performance
  • BM in Studio Production

California Lutheran University

Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

Tuition: $45,500 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Church Music
  • BA in Composition
  • BA in Music Education
  • BA in Music Technology
  • BA Musical Theatre
  • BA in Performance
  • BA in Technical Theatre

Chapman University

Location: Orange, CA

Tuition: $58,250 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Dance
  • BA in Music
  • BA in Theatre
  • BFA in Dance Performance
  • BFA in Theatre Performance
  • BM in Music in Composition
  • BM in Music in Performance

CSU, Chico

Location: Chico, CA

Tuition: $7,912 per year ($17,368 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre
  • BA in Musical Theatre
  • BA in General Music
  • BA in Recording Arts
  • BA in Music Industry
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CSU, East Bay

Location: East Bay, CA

Tuition: $6,995 per year ($12,935 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Acting
  • BA in Dance
  • BA in Musical Theatre
  • BA in Theater and Dance for Children and Community

CSU, Fresno

Location: Fresno, CA

Tuition: $6,995 per year ($12,935 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • MA in Music
  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • BA in Theatre Arts (Dance Option)

CSU, Fullerton

Location: Fullerton, CA

Tuition: $6,660 per year ($12,600 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • BFA in Theatre Arts
  • MFA in Theatre Arts
  • BA in Dance
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Musical Theatre
  • MFA in Design & Technical Production & Direction

CSU, Long Beach

Location: Long Beach, CA

Tuition: $6,660 per year ($12,600 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Dance
  • Bachelor of Arts in Dance – Option in Dance Science
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance
  • Master of Arts in Dance
  • Master of Fine Arts in Dance
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts Information
  • Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts – Option in Acting
  • Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts – Option in Technical Theatre/Design
  • Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts – Option in Theatre Management
  • Master of Business Administration/Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Bachelor of Music – Music Education: Instrumental Music and Choral-Vocal Music Options
  • Bachelor of Music – Option in Instrumental Music
  • Bachelor of Music – Option in Choral-Vocal Music
  • Bachelor of Music – Options in Performance, Composition and History & Literature Information
  • Bachelor of Music – Option in Performance
  • Bachelor of Music – Option in Composition
  • Bachelor of Music – Option in History and Literature
  • Master of Arts in Music
  • Master of Music Degree

CSU, LA

Location: LA, CA

Tuition: $6,782 ($16,286 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BA in Theatre Arts and Dance
  • BA in Theatre Arts Option
  • BA in Dance Option
  • BA in Theatre Arts and Dance Minor
  • BM in Composition Option
  • BM in Jazz Studies Option
  • BM in Vocal Performance Option
  • BM in Instrumental Performance Option
  • BM in Keyboard Performance Option
  • BM in Music Education Option
  • BM in Commercial Music Option
  • BM in Credential Program
  • MA in Music
  • MA in Theatre Arts and Dance
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Dramatic Writing
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CSU, Northridge

Location: Northridge, CA

Tuition:$6,660 per year ($12,600 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music Education
  • BA in Music Industry Studies
  • BA in Music Therapy
  • BA in Breadth Studies in Music
  • BM in Orchestral Strings Performance
  • BM in Classical Guitar Performance
  • BM in Winds & Brass Performance
  • BM in Percussion Performance
  • BM in Keyboard Performance (piano and organ)
  • BM in Vocal Arts
  • BM in Composition
  • BM in Commercial and Media Writing
  • BM in Jazz Studies
  • MA in Music Industry Administration
  • MM in Composition
  • MM in Conducting (choral or instrumental)
  • MM in Collaborative Piano
  • MM in Instrumental
  • MM in Organ
  • MM in Piano
  • MM in Voice
  • DMA
  • BA and MA in Theatre

CSU, Stanislaus

Location: Stanislaus, CA

Tuition: $7,644 ($13,584 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BM in Music Education – Choral
  • BM in Music Education – Instrumental
  • BM in Instrumental Performance
  • BM in Jazz Performance
  • BM in Piano Performance
  • BM in Vocal Performance
  • BM in Composition
  • BA in General Music
  • BA in Music Technology
  • BA in Theatre

Dominican University

Location: San Rafael, CA

Tuition: $34,950

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BFA in Dance

Humboldt State University

Location: Arcata, CA

Tuition: $6,660 per year ($12,600 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Composition Option
  • BA in Education Option
  • BA in Music Studies Option
  • BA in Performance – Instrumental Emphasis
  • BA in Performance – Guitar Emphasis
  • BA in Performance – Piano Emphasis
  • BA in Performance – Vocal Emphasis
  • BA in Theatre Arts

Occidental College

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $57,830 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BA in Theatre 

Pepperdine University

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $59,450 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • BA in Theatre and Screen Arts
  • BA in Theatre and Music

Pomona College

Location: Claremont, CA

Tuition: $56,284 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Dance
  • BA in Theatre

San Diego State University

Location: San Diego, CA

Tuition: Undergraduate $8,136 ($20,016 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BFA in Dance
  • BFA in Dance (BFA)
  • BA in Dance (BA)
  • BM in Composition
  • BM in Jazz Studies
  • BM in Music Education
  • BM in Performance
  • BM in Professional Studies
  • BM in Professional Studies: Music Entrepreneurship and Business
  • BM in Professional Studies: Music Recording Technology and Audio Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • MA in Ethnomusicology (currently not accepting applications)
  • MA in Musicology (currently not accepting applications)
  • MA in Music Theory (currently not accepting applications)
  • MA in Piano Pedagogy (currently not accepting applications)
  • MM in Performance
  • MM in Composition
  • MM in Conducting
  • MM in Jazz Studies
  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • MA in Theatre
  • MFA In Design and Technical Theatre
  • MFA In Musical Theatre

San Francisco State University

Location: San Francisco, CA

Tuition: $7,484 ($13,424 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BM Music
  • BA in Music
  • MA in Music
  • MM Music
  • BA in Dance
  • BA in Drama
  • MA in Drama
  • MFA in Theatre Arts
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San Jose State University

Location: San Jose, CA

Tuition: $7,484 ($13,424 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BM in Bachelor of Music, Concentration in Composition
  • BM in Bachelor of Music, Concentration in Performance
  • BM in Bachelor of Music, Concentration in Music Education
  • BA in Creative Arts (Interdepartmental)
  • BA in Dance
  • BFA in Dance
  • MA in Music
  • BA in Theatre Arts
  • BA in Theatre Arts, Preparation for Teaching
  • MA in Theatre Arts

Sonoma State University

Location: Rohnert Park, CA

Tuition: $7,952 ($19,832 for non-California residents)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Acting
  • BA in Dance
  • BA in Tech Theatre
  • BA in Theatre Arts

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA

Tuition: $55,473 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Ph.D. in Theatre & Performance Studies
  • BA in Music
  • MA in Music, Science and Technology
  • Ph.D. Musicology
  • Ph.D. Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics

University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, CA

Tuition: $14,100 (California resident) $43,900 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • BA Music
  • MA/Ph.D. or Ph.D. in composition and scholarship
  • BA Theatre & Performance Studies
  • BA Dance & Performance Studies
  • MA/Ph.D. in Performance Studies

University of California, Davis

Location: Davis, CA

Tuition: $14,646 (California resident) $44,400 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theatre & Dance
  • BA in Music
  • Ph.D. in Musicology
  • Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology
  • MA in Conducting
  • Ph.D. in Composition and Theory
  • MA/Ph.D. in Performance Studies
  • MFA in Dramatic Art

University of California, Irvine

Location: Irvine, CA

Tuition: $11,442 (California resident) $41,196 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • B.A. Dance
  • B.F.A. Choreography
  • B.F.A. Performance
  • B.A. Drama
  • B.F.A. Music Theatre
  • B.A. Music
  • B.Mus. Performance
  • M.F.A. in Dance
  • M.F.A. in Drama, with emphasis in Acting, Directing, Design or Stage Management
  • Ph.D. in Drama and Theatre
  • M.F.A. in Music with emphasis in Collaborative Piano, Guitar/Lute Performance, Instrumental Performance, Piano Performance, Vocal Arts, Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT), or Musicology
  • M.A./Ph.D. in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT)
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UCLA

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $13,258 (California resident) $43,012 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theater
  • BA in Music
  • MM and DMA in Performance and Conducting
  • MA and Ph.D. in Composition
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Design for Theatre and Entertainment Media
  • MA in Theatre
  • Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies

University of California, San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA

Tuition: $14,733 (California resident) $44,487 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BA in Music Humanities
  • BA in ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts – Music)
  • BA Theatre
  • BA Dance
  • BA Theatre & Dance
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Dance Theatre
  • MFA in Design
  • MFA in Directing
  • MFA in Stage Management
  • Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama
  • MA in Music
  • Ph.D. in Music
  • DMA

University of California, Santa Barbara

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Tuition: $12,570 (California resident) $42,324 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Theater
  • BA in Dance
  • BFA in Acting
  • BFA in Dance
  • Ph.D. in Theater Studies
  • MA in Theater Studies
  • BA in Music Studies
  • BM in Keyboard
  • BM in Strings
  • BM in Woodwinds
  • BM in Voice
  • BM in Brass
  • BM in Percussion
  • MA and Ph.D. in Composition, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, and Theory.
  • MM and DMA in Conducting, Keyboard, Piano Accompanying, Strings, Voice, and Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion.

University of California, Santa Cruz

Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Tuition: $14,070 (California resident) $43,824 (non-resident)

Degree Programs:

  • Music: M.A., D.M.A., Ph.D.
  • Theater Arts: M.A.
  • BA or BM in Music
  • BA in Theater Arts

University of San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA

Tuition: $52,120 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BA in Music
  • BA in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
  • MFA in Dramatic Arts
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University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Tuition: $60,446 per year

Degree Programs:

  • BFA in Dance
  • BA in Theatre
  • BFA in Acting
  • BFA in Design
  • BFA in Sound Design
  • BFA in Stage Management
  • BFA in Technical Direction
  • BA in Visual & Performing Arts
  • MFA in Acting
  • MFA in Dramatic Writing
  • BA in Choral Music
  • MM in Choral Music
  • MM in Sacred Music
  • DMA in Choral Music
  • DMA in Sacred Music
  • BA in Music (Guitar)
  • BM in Performance (Guitar)
  • MM in Performance (Guitar)
  • GCRT Performance (Guitar)
  • DMA in Performance (Guitar)
  • BM in Composition
  • MM in Composition
  • DMA in Composition
  • MM Keyboard Performance
  • DMA in Keyboard Performance
  • BA Music – Piano
  • BM in Piano Performance
  • MM in Piano Performance
  • DMA in Piano Performance
  • BA in Organ Music
  • BM in Performance
  • MM in Performance
  • DMA in Performance
  • BA in Strings Music
  • BM in Double Bass Performance
  • BM in Harp Performance
  • BM in Violin, Viola and Cello Performance
  • MM in Strings Performance
  • DMA in Strings Performance
  • BA in Vocal Arts Music
  • BM in Vocal Performance
  • MM in Vocal Performance
  • DMA in Vocal Performance
  • BA in Winds and Percussion Music
  • BM in Winds and Percussion Performance
  • MM in Winds and Percussion Performance
  • DMA in Winds and Percussion Performance
  • BA in Jazz Studies Bachelor of Arts
  • BM in Jazz Studies
  • MM in Jazz Studies
  • DMA in Jazz Studies Performance
  • BA in Popular Music Performance
  • MM in Studio Jazz Guitar Performance
  • DMA in Studio Jazz Guitar Performance
  • MA in Early Music Performance
  • DMA in Performance in Early Music Performance
  • Ph.D. in Musicology

List of all Acting colleges in California

SchoolAverage TuitionStudent-Teacher RatioEnrolled Students
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA    22 : 148,321
University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA    28 : 138,736
Chapman University Orange, CA    18 : 19,850
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA    10 : 11,520
Pepperdine University Malibu, CA    22 : 18,824
California Baptist University Riverside, CA    31 : 111,045
Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA    45 : 19,812
University of San Diego San Diego, CA    19 : 19,181
New York Film Academy Burbank, CA    13 : 11,892
Pacific Union College Angwin, CA    12 : 1909
American Conservatory Theater San Francisco, CA    9 : 143
Theatre of Arts Hollywood, CA    28 : 128

How Much Does it Cost to Attend a Performing Arts Boarding School?

According to a boarding school review, the average boarding school tuition is $56, 875 per year for U.S citizens. Basically, boarding schools set up their price ranges based on a number of factors that are greatly influenced by the quality of service rendered.

Private performing art boarding high schools tend to cost more than public schools. The cheapest boarding schools in the US like Christian High school, Lustre MT charge as low as $20, 000 or less. Generally, tuition for boarding high schools ranges from $9,600 per year to more than $90,000 per year.

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