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Careers in the Arts

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Saint Louis University provides students with a challenging educational foundation that prepares them for all manner of future studies and jobs while allowing them an opportunity to follow their passions and grow in their creative capacities. Some of our students have decided to take on opportunities in teaching and service. Some go on to positions in galleries, museums, auction houses, theaters, universities, arts organizations, and non-profit foundations. Others have become doctors, lawyers, counselors, therapists, and development officers. Still others have become artists, arts administrators, media coordinators, actors, directors, writers, and designers.

What can you do with a degree in the arts?

Being able to think visually, listen to music critically, and express themselves creatively allow all of our graduates to be prepared for a wide range of careers in which those skills are crucial. All of our majors provide students with skills in thinking critically, writing expansively, speaking in public, collaborating as a team, advocating for their ideas, using and applying digital technologies, and, most important, finding solutions to problems in creative and unconventional ways that employers and colleagues will be happy to have in a future worker by their sides. 

To learn about the incredible value of an arts degree, see the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a national arts data and research organization. Since 2008, SNAAP has collected and analyzed data from over 200,000 arts graduates from across North America. SNAAP data have helped change the national conversation on the value of an arts degree. To learn data about the many bonuses for arts graduates, view this brief video:

Uncle Henry Is Wrong — There's A Lot You Can Do With An Art and Design Degree

How does SLU prepare its arts students for their futures?

In addition to academic courses, we prepare our majors to grow as future professionals in the fine and performing arts by offering a variety of preparatory classes regarding careers in their major field. In those classes, students carry out activities such as listening to the experiences of practitioners in their field, preparing a portfolio, writing an artist statement, and crafting a resume.

One of the great advantages to studying the arts at SLU is the complimentary strength and breadth of our overall liberal arts Core Curriculum. A new Core Curriculum, launched in Fall 2022, will allow all students across the university to have courses in common, will establish their knowledge in a range of disciplines, and will expose students to topics and materials that will foster their intellect as engaged citizens of our world. 

Many arts majors and minors add a major or minor in another discipline to enhance or to contrast with their arts studies. The fact that we offer the degree of Bachelor of Arts in our arts programs in Visual and Performing Arts enables and encourages students to take the time (and credit hours) to pursue other majors and minors in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, education, public health, and business in areas ranging from psychology, marketing, communications, history, and chemistry. We also encourage our majors and minors to study complimentary topics such as foreign languages to be prepared for communicating in our global community in the next steps of their lives.

Is graduate school useful for the arts?

Because many careers require an advanced degree to practice in the field, one step for many students after college is graduate school. Our faculty consider how best to prepare our undergraduates for a wide range of future graduate and professional schools. After graduation from SLU, some of our students go on to distinguished graduate programs in art history, music, theater, dance, studio art, library studies, and museum studies, while others go on to professional school in law, psychology, business, or medicine. We offer guidance to students as undergraduates to best prepare for additional studies, discussing potential graduate programs and connecting them with resources to help them prepare applications and make informed choices. We support students as well with letters of recommendation, informed by the close connections we gain with our students.

How can you prepare outside of the classroom for a career in the arts?

We encourage our undergraduates in Visual and Performing Arts to conduct an internship while at SLU to enhance their education and provide valuable experience. To learn more about internships, see our Internships in the Arts page.

View the Arts Internships Page

What careers have alumni from SLU Visual and Performing Arts Department followed?

To learn more about the wide range of positions held and paths taken by our graduates, please visit our Alumni Voices page.

View the Arts Alumni Voices Page

What resources are there at SLU to help students determine their careers? 

In addition to faculty guidance, the Career Center at SLU is a great resource for polishing a resume or conducting job searches, using the Handshake database to make connections with SLU alumni and those interested in hiring SLU students and graduates. Please contact the Career Center, where a designated career counselor for the arts is available to help our students on their next steps. Contact Career Services at 314-977-2828 or with any questions.