University of the Arts (Philadelphia)

University of the Arts Philadelphia - first year self portrat
University of the Arts students all complete a sculptural self-portrait during their foundation year.

Located in the Center City district just a few blocks from iconic City Hall, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts is a great place for students who want to be part of a collaborative creative community, fully focused on art.  UArts has about 1800 students, 600 of whom live in on-campus housing, and attracts more of the “indie” artist – those who are interested in working with unusual media and pushing boundaries to create art in a different way.

UArts offers majors in all five artistic areas:  music, theater, dance, creative writing and visual art/design (including film) – in fact it’s one of only three schools that offer these five disciplines as a standalone institution.

There is a core curriculum:  all students must take one English course, one science OR math, 2 history classes (which focus on the context and cultural/historical influences on art) – one pre-1800 and one post-1800.  Several humanities courses are required, and if a good number of students are interested in taking a particular course, the University will bring in an adjunct professor to teach it.  All students have the opportunity to stay one additional year and receive a Master’s degree in art or music education, so they can teach.

University of the Arts Philadelphia - Marie - Master's candidate
We met University of the Arts Master’s Degree candidate Marie as she was waiting for her final visual art critique.

UArts is home to the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy, which helps art students bring their business aspirations to life through entrepreneurship training and financial support.

Visual arts concentrations include printmaking/bookbinding, illustration, game art, book art, graphic design, fiber/textiles, glass blowing and jewelry making.  All visual arts students take a first year foundation sequence.

UArts’ dance program is very diverse and well regarded, with more men in their dance major than most other programs.  The musical theater program is very strong and highly selective, with an incoming class of 50 students each year.

University of the Arts – Admissions Requirements

The admissions process requires applicants to submit 15-20 pieces of visual artwork, and observational drawings are encouraged.  They are interested in seeing each applicant’s full range of work in different media, looking for combination of creativity and technical ability.

The performing arts programs require an audition and/or interview.  UArts is part of the Unified Auditions, which host auditions for a consortium of colleges in cities across the U.S. in January and February each year for seniors.

Applicants must also submit their high school transcript, and UArts is looking for college prep courses.  The average admitted student has a 3.0 average GPA, but there’s no minimum.  At the moment they still require test scores but this might be changing.  Students who apply to UArts frequently also apply to MICA, Pratt, Point Park and SCAD.  It’s definitely for the true aspiring artist!

Evelyn visited UArts in spring, 2016.  You can see all of our photos of this urban Philadelphia campus here.

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