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School of Dance
School of Design and Production
Visual Arts Program
School of Drama
School of Filmmaking
School of Music
Academic Programs
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School of Dance


  • Students concentrate in ballet or contemporary dance; however, they study in both areas.
  • Renowned faculty have danced with the finest ballet and contemporary dance companies in the world, from American Ballet Theatre to the Limón Dance Company.
  • Guest artists have included Lar Lubovitch, Alonzo King, Jacques d’Amboise, Alvin Ailey, Daniel Ulbricht, Gillian Murphy, Irina Baronova (Lucia Chase fellow), Jose Manuel Carreno (Lucia Chase fellow), Amanda McKerrow, John Gardner, Johan Kobborg, Douglas Becker, Raymond Lukens, Franco DeVita, Diana Wright, Deborah Wingert, Millicent Hodson and Dede Miles Burger, among others.
  • UNCSA is the exclusive Educational Affiliate School of American Ballet Theatre, and a partner school of the Prix de Lausanne.
  • Highly competitive, the school accepts fewer than half (35 percent) of its applicants.
  • Students have more than 40 performance opportunities a year, including fully mounted productions such as “The Nutcracker.”
  • Exemplary facilities for dancers include nine air-conditioned dance studios with sprung floors and two performance spaces (1,380-seat Stevens Center and the more intimate Agnes de Mille Theatre).
  • Dance students and alumni have won awards and recognition from the Prix de Lausanne, International Ballet Competitions, the Princess Grace Foundation and the Youth America Grand Prix Competition.
  • Majority of Dance alumni are performing or have performed in most major dance companies in the United States and many throughout the world. They include Gillian Murphy, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre; Trey McIntyre of Trey McIntyre Project; Claire Kretzschmar, New York City Ballet; Katita Waldo, principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet; Manelich Minnifee, Pilobolus; Dwana Smallwood, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
  • Offers a Preparatory Dance Program, an after-school pre-professional training program for elementary and middle school students.


School of Design and Production


  • The only independent, degree-granting school of theatrical design and production in the country.
  • Concentrations offered in costume design, costume technology, lighting design and technology, scene design, scenic painting, sound design, stage automation, stage management, stage properties, technical direction and wig and makeup design.
  • Curriculum emphasizes hands-on instruction. Students work on more than 20 productions a year – plays, musicals, operas, ballets and contemporary dance concerts, as well as student films.
  • Distinguished faculty of professionals who have designed for or worked in theatre, dance, film and opera around the world, from Broadway to Seattle Rep to San Francisco Opera. More than two dozen full-time Design and Production faculty members.
  • Facilities are among the most extensive and sophisticated of any school or professional company in the country. More than 80,000 square feet of production facilities.
  • More than 95 percent of students find employment in their field after graduation. Many have jobs lined up before graduation, assisted by the school’s annual Job Fair.
  • Alumni can be found working on Broadway, in national touring companies and regional theatre, and with dance and opera companies across the country, as well as with well-known organizations such as Disney, Universal Studios and Cirque du Soleil.
  • Guest artists have included: Shawn Gresser, stage manager, Blue Man Group; Brad Fields, lighting designer, American Ballet Theatre; Jose Varona, international opera and ballet scenic and costume designer; Donald Holder, lighting fesigner and two-time Tony Award-winner; Peter Lawrence, production dupervisor and Tony Award-winner; Curtis Kasefang, producer, Cirque du Soleil; Howell Binkley, Tony Award-winning lighting designer; Lynne Pectal, author of “Drawing and Painting for the Theatre”; Susan Crabtree, scenic artist and author of “Scenic Art for the Theatre”; Paul Tazewell, multiple Tony nominee for costume design; and Terry Ganley, stage manager, Metropolitan Opera.


Visual Arts Program


  • High school program of the School of Design and Production.
  • An exploratory program designed for high school juniors and seniors who have an artistic interest, dedication and enthusiasm they wish to pursue in a structured course of study.
  • The carefully planned curriculum promotes intellectual, aesthetic and emotional growth.
  • Studio art classes offered cover a broad range of drawing, graphics, color theory, two-dimensional design, and sculpture, as well as survey classes in art history, tracing visual arts from prehistory to contemporary philosophies.
  • Studio assignments are designed to introduce the student to a variety of media and the nature of the creative process and art objects.
  • Exceptional facilities include two art studios with clerestory lighting, a gallery, and a separate sculpture studio.
  • Alumni are currently working in the fields of animation, architecture, art education (primary through college levels), art therapy, fashion design, film and video production, graphic design, illustration, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, toy design, and other arts-related fields.


School of Drama


  • Undergraduate conservatory providing professional actor training with classes in acting, voice, speech, dialects, Shakespeare, movement, dance, singing, stage combat, improvisation, masks, Meisner technique, acting for the camera, audition skills and business practices in the profession. Also undergraduate conservatory directing program for a limited number of qualified students, providing advanced training in directing, dramatic literature and theory.
  • Classical values affirmed in the training process, while recognizing 21st century demands such as film, television and other media.
  • Ranked No. 6 Actor Training Program in the world according to the Hollywood Reporter in 2014 and 2015.
  • Auditions more than 500 students each winter to form an incoming class of 26 students.
  • Students receive broad performing experience through workshops and major productions from the classical repertory through the 21st century, including musical theatre.
  • Professional faculty has acted, directed, taught and coached nationally and internationally, from L.A. to Broadway and from London to Moscow.
  • Recent guest directors have included Jesse Berger (Artistic Director, Red Bull Theatre), Jack Cummings (Artistic Director, Transport Group), Laura Braza (Artistic Director, Attic Theater Co.), Timothy Douglas (Artistic Associate, Cincinnati Playhouse), Jeremy Skidmore (Helen Hayes-nominated director), Gus Kaikonnen (Artistic Director, Peterborough Players), and Gaye Taylor Upchurch (world premieres and off-Broadway).
  • Sends its graduating college seniors to L.A. and New York City each spring to present a showcase for agents, managers casting directors and other entertainment industry professionals. Recent graduates have signed with ICM, William Morris, Gersh, Abrams Artists, Innovative Artists, BRS/Gage, Harden-Curtis, and many other representatives.
  • State-of-the-art facilities include Performance Place, which features thrust, arena and black box theatres; a drama gym; a movement studio; a theatre laboratory for student work; and six dedicated rehearsal spaces.
  • Drama alumni have received awards and nominations for the Tonys, Golden Globes, Obies, Drama Desk and Helen Hayes Awards in recent years.
  • Offers a high school drama program for 12th-grade students interested in discovering a conservatory environment in the midst of a challenging academic institution.
  • Acclaimed alumni include: Elizabeth Lail ("Once Upon a Time"), Dane DeHaan (THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2), Anna Camp (PITCH PERFECT), Joe Mantello (Broadway director), Erich Bergen ("Madam Secretary"), Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds"), Billy Magnussen (BRIDGE OF SPIES), Chris Parnell ("30 Rock," "Saturday Night Live"), and many others acting in theatre, film, television, on the web, and in all phases of the entertainment industry. Directing alum John Langs was recently named the Artistic Director of ACT in Seattle.


School of Filmmaking
  • Curriculum stresses hands-on experience in film and digital video, to prepare students for careers in the film and television industries.
  • Offers undergraduate concentrations in animation, cinematography, directing, editing and sound, producing, production design, screenwriting, and graduate programs in film music composition, creative producing, and screenwriting.
  • Credits of the faculty include 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, A WALK TO REMEMBER, ANACONDA, BEETLE JUICE, BLANK CHECK, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CABIN FEVER, DEATH WISH II, HOFFA, JUMANJI, MADAGASCAR, MRS. WINTERBOURNE, NIAGRA, RAGING BULL, SET IT OFF, SISTER ACT 2, STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION, THE BLUES BROTHERS, THE HUNGER GAMES, and VALLEY GIRL as well as many more. Credits also include television series such as "The Simpsons" and "The Sopranos" to all manner of media including commercials, documentaries and music videos. Faculty includes members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers, International Cinematographers Guild, Society of Camera Operators, Picture Editors Guild, Audio Engineering Society, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Art Directors Guild, International  Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Association of Animators, Puppeteers of America, Puppetry Guild of the Carolinas, Association of Moving Image Archivists, and the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Guest artists have included directors Spike Lee, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill and Saul Zaentz; editors Steve Mirrione, Zene Baker and Michael Tronick; sound designer Charles Maynes; production designer Jim Bissell and visual effects producer Helen Elswit; screenwriters Matthew Carnahan and Nevin Shreiner; cinematographers Robert Elswit and Dean Cundey; animator Rob Koo; as well as studio executives Richard Cook from Walt Disney Pictures, Michael Flaherty from Walden Media and John Tarnoff from Dreamworks.
  • The only undergraduate program in the country that provides 100 percent of funding for students to make their films and lets students begin directing, shooting, editing, animating, producing, designing, and writing films in their first term.
  • Film school's “Studio Village” was built to resemble and function like a Hollywood studio “back lot,” featuring state-of-the-art production, post-production, and exhibition facilities and equipment.
  • The Moving Image Archives is one of the top 10 nonprofit educational archives in the country.
  • Fourth-year productions are screened for the industry in Los Angeles, where graduating students have a week of meetings and workshops designed to develop contacts in the profession.
  • Students have had production internships on feature films including: THE HUNGER GAMES; MIRROR, MIRROR; IRONMAN 3; THE SMURFS; THE SMURFS 2; MICHAEL CLAYTON; LEATHERHEADS; GET LOW; THE LAST SONG; DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YAYA SISTERHOOD; and television shows including "The Walking Dead," “The Closer,” “One Tree Hill,” "Dawson’s Creek” and “Army Wives.”
  • Approximately 80 percent of students find employment in their field after graduation.
  • Though the film school is only 22 years old, students and alumni have distinguished themselves in all areas of the film and television industries. They include David Gordon Green, director/producer, OUR BRAND IS CRISIS, MANGLEHORN, JOE; writer/actor, Danny McBride, “Eastbound and Down," YOUR HIGHNESS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS; Randolph Benson, director of the Student Academy Award-winning film MAN AND DOG; Mel Robertson, producer of Student Academy Award-winning film CHRISTMAS WISH LIST; Tim Orr, cinematographer, CYMBELINE, SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD; Will Files, sound designer, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, THOR, THE SMURFS; Craig Zoebel, writer/director, Z for ZACHARIAH, COMPLIANCE; Jeff Nichols, writer/director, MUD, TAKE SHELTER; Jody Hill, writer/director, OBSERVE AND REPORT.


School of Music


  • The only music school in the nation that offers residential college, graduate, and high school programs in performance.
  • Offers concentrations in instrumental performance, vocal performance, composition, and conducting.
  • Curriculum is designed to provide the broadest possible performance opportunities for each student, from Symphony Orchestra to Contemporary Ensemble to Opera.
  • The basis of student instruction is studio work with the major teacher. Music faculty members are distinguished artists who maintain active careers, including artistic directorships at the Meadowmount School of Music and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony.
  • The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, based in the School of Music, provides world-class training for emerging opera professionals.
  • Endowed professorships in organ, opera, vocal coach/accompanist, and guest artists.
  • Guest artists have included Bernard Rands, Itzhak Perlman, Frederica von Stade, Richard Goode, and the Emerson String Quartet, among many others.
  • Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is partner of the new Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute for graduate students.
  • Performance venues include the 1,380-seat Stevens Center; the 590-seat Crawford Hall, with a 35-stop C.B. Fisk organ; the 300-seat Watson Chamber Music Hall; and the 38-seat Hood Recital Hall. Richard Goode recently commented, “Watson Hall is the best small hall I have ever played.”
  • Music alumni are performing with symphony orchestras, opera companies, chamber music ensembles and in solo careers throughout the world. They include violinist Lisa Kim, New York Philharmonic; hornist Stefan Jezierski, Berlin Philharmonic, tenor Rene Barbera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Ulla Jorgensen, principal flue, Danish Radio Symphony; Tichina Vaughn, mezzo-soprano, Stuttgart Opera; Robert Oppelt, principal double bass, National Symphony; Karl Mailand, trumpet, Army Band, and many others.
  • UNCSA’s Community Music School provides private and group music lessons to students in the Piedmont Triad, from toddlers (Musikgarten and Suzuki programs) to senior citizens, as well as teaching opportunities for upper-level students.



Academic Programs


  • The university’s founders believed in the importance of a broad, liberal arts education for the complete development of the professional artist.
  • Courses in languages, literature, mathematics, humanities, and the natural, physical, and social sciences are offered at the high school and college levels.
  • The academic faculties are committed to the unique challenges of teaching students in an arts conservatory environment by offering a solid academic foundation within the context and mission of the UNC School of the Arts.
  • Compared to those at most universities and high schools, UNCSA’s academic classes are small, allowing for substantial student-teacher interaction.
  • All academic faculty members have post-graduate degrees in their fields; all full-time undergraduate academic faculty have doctorates. They maintain not only active academic careers – authoring publications, presenting papers and winning grants – but artistic careers as well.
  • SAT and Advanced Placement® Exam scores for high school students far exceed state and national averages. SAT averages of incoming college freshmen are among the highest in the UNC system.
  • Each year, more than 95 percent of the school’s high school graduates are accepted to four-year colleges, universities, and conservatories. Roughly 8 percent of high school graduates enter professional careers in the arts.


Division of Student Affairs


  • UNCSA is a residential community with separate housing for high school and college students, as well as on-campus and adjacent off-campus apartment complexes for college students.
  • Students of all arts disciplines live together, generating a creative, interdisciplinary dynamic.
  • Professional staff members provide high school and college students with support and supervision for their age groups.
  • Student Engagement offers student leadership opportunities that put students at the table with university officials and working with the community.
  • Students can get free tickets to the school's 300 concerts, recitals, plays, operas, and film screenings each year.
  • The hub of student life is the Hanes Student Commons, which includes a dining hall, snack bar, lounge areas, mail center, computer lab and Wellness Center.
  • Licensed health care providers (including athletic trainers and a nutritionist) and counselors are available to students on campus at the Wellness Center.
  • A separate Fitness Center features an aerobics/yoga room, a weight room with Cybex equipment, a cardiovascular workout area, and a full-court gymnasium.
  • UNCSA is a safe and secure environment with its own campus police force of commissioned officers, who provide community-based policing.