Oct 27, 2020  
2006-2007 University Catalogue 
2006-2007 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

College of Performing Arts

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments

Richard Lawn

Marianne Mele
Assistant to the Dean

The College of Performing Arts (CPA) is comprised of the Schools of Dance, Music, and Theater Arts. Its curricula combine the performance emphasis of the traditional conservatory, stressing individualized training, practice, and discipline, with a liberal arts education.

Founded in 1870 as the Philadelphia Musical Academy and merged with the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1962, the College has long been regarded as one of America’s foremost professional schools of higher education. In 1976, the institution was renamed the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, thereby signaling its intention to expand its program to include all three of the performing arts disciplines – Music, Dance, and Theater.

In 1977, The Philadelphia Dance Academy joined the College to become the School of Dance. Founded in 1947, The Philadelphia Dance Academy was one of the foremost conservatories of dance in the nation and one of the first three institutions in the country to grant a degree in dance. The School of Theater was initiated in 1983.

The College of Performing Arts thus became Pennsylvania’s first and only independent college dedicated exclusively to the performing arts and one of the first of its kind in the United States. Its philosophy is founded on the principle that there is a common bond among artists, whatever their discipline, and that artists must interact with each other for their inspiration and growth. Indeed, many of the College’s students have developed interdisciplinary careers that require familiarity with all the performing arts, as well as the visual and media arts.

Major Areas of Study

All students are assigned to a faculty advisor. Lists are posted in each of the Schools’ offices during the first week of the academic year. Appointments are made at the mutual convenience of the student and the faculty advisor.

Students should feel free to see their advisor at any time concerning problems they may encounter.

School of Dance

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance Education
  • Certificate in Dance (two-year program)

Dance Majors

    • Ballet
    • Jazz Dance
    • Modern Dance
    • Dance Education

School of Music

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Music (BM in Jazz Studies) in Composition
  • Bachelor of Music (BM in Jazz Studies) in Instrumental Performance
  • Bachelor of Music (BM in Jazz Studies) in Vocal Performance
  • Diploma in Jazz Studies
  • Certificate in Jazz Studies (two-year program)


  • E-Music
  • Music Education

Graduate Programs

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Music Education
  • Master of Music (MM), Jazz Studies

Areas of Concentration

  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Woodwinds
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Guitar
  • Electric and/or Upright Bass
  • Violin
  • Cello
  • Percussion
  • Drums
  • Piano
  • Voice
  • Composition

School of Theater Arts

Undergraduate Programs

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theater Arts

Theater Majors

    • Acting
    • Applied Theater Arts
    • Musical Theater
    • Design and Technology

CPA Minors

The College of Performing Arts offers minors that enable a student to focus on a specific discipline through organized electives.

Students wishing to include a minor are governed by the following guidelines:

  1. Students must meet eligibility requirements, which may include a satisfactory grade-point average, prerequisites, and departmental portfolio review.
  2. An intent to complete a minor is declared by filing the completed Minor Declaration Form with the Office of the Registrar. The forms are available in the Office of the Registrar.
  3. A student may not major and minor in the same program, except where indicated.
  4. Courses applied to the minor may only be applied toward elective requirements.
  5. All minors require a minimum of 15 credits, with the exception of E-Music for Music majors. Generally, no substitutions to the minor requirements are allowed. In exceptional situations where substitutions are granted, they must have the approval of both the major and minor program advisors.
  6. The requirements of the minor must be completed prior to graduation.
  7. A student pursuing a minor may be required to complete more than the minimum number of credits required to complete the undergraduate degree in order to also complete the minor.
  8. Minors are available only to undergraduate students.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments