The Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture comprises faculty from the disciplines of art history, music, theater, film history, and museum studies. Offering a wide range of courses, from historical surveys to theory to performance, on the lower-division, upper-division, and graduate levels, the department’s goal is to provide our students with a knowledge of the tools, vocabulary, styles, history, concepts, and values that characterize the arts in order to provide a balance to the technical thrust of a student’s education at RIT. Our curriculum emphasizes analysis, interpretation, and practice as ways to develop intellectual breadth and to promote awareness and appreciation of the diversity of human experience and expression. We believe that the study of fine arts empowers our students to use technology in creative and innovative ways.

Students interested in the fields of performing arts and visual culture can obtain a BA in Museum Studies or minors in the fields of Music Performance, Music Technology and Theater.

At RIT, you’ll have the opportunity to study and perform in several music or theatre ensembles that offer academic credit.  There are eight ongoing music ensembles:  orchestra, chamber 
orchestra, concert band, two jazz bands, RIT Singers, RIT Chamber Singers, and the World Music Ensemble.  Those interested in theatre can register for the Theatre Ensemble (Fall, Spring and Intersession) offered in conjunction with faculty directed theatre productions.  In addition, you can join extracurricular student groups including RIT Players, Pep Band, Drumline, Gospel Ensemble, RIT Student Music Association, Tech Crew and the fan-favorite a cappella groups: Eight Beat Measure, Brick City Singers, Encore, Surround Sound, Vocal Accent, Proof of Purchase and Kaminari. 


There are also 40 music and theatre course offerings in the College of Liberal Arts varying from Music Theory to Modern European Theater to an entire course on Beethoven.  The theatre curriculum is continuing to expand with new courses, including internships and study abroad offerings, in development.

Whether you want to get involved in a performance group or just simply enjoy them as a spectator, RIT’s performing arts have something to offer everyone.