Top Colleges for Songwriters [2024]

Dr. David Lee Fishsongwriting

Music is a universal language, and songwriting is the art of weaving stories and emotions into this language. If you’re an aspiring songwriter, looking to translate your passion into a profession, this guide will be your stepping stone. We’ve curated a list of the best universities and programs that offer prestigious songwriting degrees and provide a launchpad for your music career.

Why Choose a Songwriting Degree?

In today’s music industry, talent alone often isn’t enough. To craft chart-topping hits, songwriters need to hone their skills, understand the intricacies of the music business, and stay updated with state-of-the-art technology. That’s where a songwriting university degree comes in.

A songwriting degree not only equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills but also exposes you to the industry’s experts and professionals. These programs offer access to top-tier recording technology, helping students gain real studio experience.

Moreover, they foster a collaborative environment where budding artists can broaden their horizons, experiment with different styles, and push the boundaries of music genres. If you’re ready to embark on this journey, let’s explore some of the best songwriting university degrees.

Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Columbia College Chicago

For those looking for a diverse education in various modern musical styles, you can’t go wrong with Columbia College Chicago. Their Bachelor of Music in Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music, backed by a faculty of seasoned professionals, provides an in-depth view of the industry. The school’s Music Center offers spaces for practice and performances, and their Digital Music Label has everything a songwriter needs to record their music.

Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro, TN)

Middle Tennessee State University’s commercial songwriting program boasts a faculty of industry professionals. Alumni include Grammy-nominated songwriter Shelly Peiken and founding member of The Revolution, Dez Dickerson. This university has paved an effective path to success for its students.

University of Colorado at Denver (Denver, CO)

University of Colorado at Denver

At the University of Colorado at Denver, students learn not only the fundamentals of musicianship but also the art of writing. The university offers a cross-disciplinary approach to songwriting, with courses in music marketing, artist management, and music publishing. Students can also gain inspiration from UC-Denver’s Entertainment Industry Collection at the Volkmann Klapholz Memorial Library.

California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA)

California Institute of the Arts

The California Institute of the Arts, a leading name in the field of animation, production, and filmmaking, also offers a top-tier songwriting program. The program encourages students to experiment and innovate, offering mentorship as they tread their creative paths.

Belmont University (Nashville, TN)

Nashville’s Belmont University has been training aspiring musicians and songwriters since 1979 with its commercial music degree. The program offers areas of interest in songwriting, composition, arranging, performance, and music business and technology.

New York University

New York University

The New York University Steinhardt is one of the best art schools in the country, offering multiple tracks for songwriting students. Aside from honing their composition and songwriting skills, they also get the chance to collaborate with industry professionals and experts.

University of Miami Frost School of Music (Coral Cables, FL)

University of Miami Frost School of Music

The Modern Artist Development and Entrepreneurship (MADE) program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music offers a unique immersive approach to teaching modern music. The program boasts a faculty of professionals and top-level facilities, preparing students for a successful career in music.

Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA)

The songwriting program at Berklee College of Music offers students the chance to learn under professionals like Sarah Brindell and provides access to state-of-the-art recording facilities. The college’s Popular Music Institute focuses on live performance and trains students for music festivals, offering a comprehensive experience.

University of Southern California Thornton School of Music (Los Angeles, CA)

University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

The popular music program at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music is renowned for its focus on diverse music genres and its creative spirit. The university encourages collaborations and provides facilities like the Roland Drumlab, aiding students in their musical journey.

Choosing the right songwriting program can be a game-changer in your music career. These universities provide a solid foundation, industry insights, and practical experience to help you take your songwriting skills to the next level. So, tune your guitar, sharpen your pencil, and start your journey to becoming a professional songwriter today.

About the Author

Dr. David Lee Fish

Dr. David Lee Fish, Ph.D. is the founder of College Music Major. A veteran figure in music and education whose extensive career spans decades, he's known for his unique approach to music and for sharing his passion with others. His expertise ranges from performance and songwriting to education and private consulting.