Undergraduate Major

Visual & Performing Arts Major (BA)

As a visual and performing arts major, you'll hone your craft in music, dance, visual art, or art administration, while simultaneously developing critical and creative thinking skills.

    Fine Art Hero

    Program Overview

    Majoring in visual and performing arts will prepare you for many creative, unique career paths as you explore unique ways to communicate both concretely and abstractly through image, sound, and movement.

    As a visual and performing arts major, you'll choose an area of focus in arts administration, dance, music, or visual arts. Upon graduation, your diverse portfolio of work and engaging learning experiences will enhance any career path you choose.

    Why Study the Arts at Widener?

    • You'll learn to communicate your unique understandings and interpretations of concepts and ideas to a larger audience.
    • Each semester, you'll put your work on display through collaborations with distinguished professional artists.
    • You'll acquire skills employers are looking for like the ability to see, listen, communicate, and think critically.
    • You'll have the option to participate in rewarding internships, civic engagement opportunities, and study abroad to enhance your creative work. 

    Program Options

    Visual and performing arts students study art history, music history, and dance, developing skills in critical thinking and analysis through classroom discussions, scholarly essays and research papers, and formal presentations. 

    View Loading... for all visual and performing arts majors.

    As a visual and performing arts major, you'll complete a core curriculum to prepare you with foundational knowledge, in addition to selecting an area of focus tailored to your personal interest. 

    Regardless of your chosen path, you'll gain important observational abilities as well as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.

    Arts Administration
    The arts management area of focus allows students to combine their love of visual and performing arts with an eye toward the business side of the field. Students take classes in the arts and in the School of Business Administration preparing them for work in not-for-profit arts organizations.

    Dance, Music, or Visual Art
    Each of these three areas of focus will allow you to focus on your craft in devoted studio and classroom time while developing other important skills needed for a variety of professions such as medical, business, non-profit, arts, and law.

    Widener's pre-professional pathways give you the flexibility to follow your interests while preparing for a professional career.

    Visual and performing arts majors can participate in the following pathways:

    Enhance your degree with a related minor:

    You may also choose from our expansive list of additional minors and certificates for undergraduate students to find unique combinations for the career path of your dreams.

    Communication studies is a natural pairing for visual & performing arts majors. This double major enables students to combine a love of visual art with graphic design.

    View Loading... for the visual and performing arts and communication studies double major.

    Interested in pairing this major with a second College of Arts & Science major? That's possible too! You can share your interest in pursuing more than one major in your application.

    In addition to selecting a concentration in visual and performing arts, you'll also have the option to pursue a concentration in digital humanities.

    Digital humanities is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field that incorporates new tools and methodologies for pursuing modes of inquiry and producing forms of scholarship and engagement in the humanities. It seeks to apply humanistic reasoning and research to important questions related to technology, such as social sustainability, big data, and privacy. Work in digital humanities includes public humanities, data mining/visualization, web design, textual analysis, educational technology, and ethics and technology. The concentration in digital humanities is open to all humanities majors.

    Loading... requirements for the digital humanities concentration.

    Admissions Information

    Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

    Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

    When to Apply​

    We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

    Key dates to keep in mind:​

    • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
    • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

    What to Expect After Applying​

    Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

    Learn more about the application process

    If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

    • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
    • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
    • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
    • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

    All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

    Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

    Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to transfer@widener.edu and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

    Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

    Learn more about applying as a transfer student

    Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

    Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

    This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

    Learn more about applying as an international student

    Program Highlights

    Though you'll specialize in one creative field, you'll be exposed to all fine arts contextual courses like music and art history. These courses will inform the historical and cultural context of your creations and help you discover unexpected connections between various arts.

    music students perform guitar duo

    Engaging Campus & Philadelphia Arts Opportunities

    Throughout the year, you will be invited to many on-campus arts events from students and faculty. Widener also hosts an exclusive recital series featuring free performances from world-renowned musicians. Philadelphia is also just a short drive away, granting access to world-class museums and renowned music and dance performance groups. The city is an ever-evolving hub for artists so you'll feel like an insider with internship opportunities at institutions like the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology.

    Fine Arts Performance Ensembles

    Unique Performance Ensembles

    Beyond the classroom, you're encouraged to join music and dance performance groups on campus. Some groups like Chamber Ensemble are led by faculty; others are student-led, like the acapella group Keepin' It Trill and Widener Dance Company. You'll become a leader collaborating with your peers to put on spectacular performances each semester.

    students perform with FreshBaked Children's Theatre

    Immersive Community & Cultural Learning Experiences

    As a visual and performing arts major, you'll use your creative knowledge to explore and positively impact the world around you. Civic engagement opportunities like the Dance for Parkinson's program and clubs like the FreshBaked children's theatre will engage you with your community and abroad.

    visual and performing arts student at museum with mentor

    Hands-On Internship Experiences

    Expand your education with an internship experience. In addition to the vast network of arts and culture opportunities that Philadelphia provides, students can also find engaging local internships with organizations such as the Community Arts Center in Wallingford and the Chester Made program. 

    Clubs & Organizations

    Visual & Performing Arts majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Marching Band, the Gospel Choir, and many more.


    From day one, you'll be supported in your creative endeavors and make connections with internationally-recognized faculty. Our faculty will seek to know you both personally and professionally as you receive individualized instruction and continual feedback.

    Your Inside Track to Success

    Your Inside Track to Success

    With an abundance of creativity and problem-solving skills, you'll graduate prepared for a meaningful job not only in the arts but across a wide range of occupations.

    Outlook & Outcomes

    Potential Careers

    • Performance
    • Not-for-profit management
    • Museumology
    • Education
    • Healthcare

    Any & All Careers

    Visual and performing arts majors bring their humanities skills to a wide variety of industries. Our graduates have worked in advertising, consulting for multimedia outlets, law, and the medical field in physical and occupational therapy.

    In-Demand Skills

    • Collaboration
    • Critical thinking
    • Complex problem solving
    • Persistence
    • Observation
    • Listening

    Recent Employers

    • Philadelphia Museum of Art
    • Abilities4Work
    • Easter Seals Philly
    • Elsevier Inc
    • Lyneer Search Group

    Take the Next Steps


    Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.