The University of the arts


Mission + History

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Continuing Education supports the mission of the University of the Arts by facilitating access to innovative educational opportunities and resources for a diverse population of adult learners; including credit and non-credit courses, workshops and certificate programs designed to anticipate and meet the changing professional, academic and lifelong learning needs of individuals in the greater Philadelphia region.


Continuing Education Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will engage and take responsibility as active learners, recognizing the value of education throughout their life.
  • Students will develop skills and successfully apply acquired classroom knowledge in professional and personal settings.
  •  Students will find engagement in Continuing Education courses and workshops conducive to their academic, professional and personal enrichment goals.


The University of the Arts is the first and only university in the nation devoted exclusively to education and training in design, media and the visual and performing arts.

The University traces its founding to 1876 and the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia.  The Centennial Exposition became the first major World’s Fair hosted by America and showcased emerging, cutting-edge industrial technologies and how these new technologies could be applied to the creation of art. Today the spirit of innovation remains vibrantly strong at the University as students and faculty members continue to utilize technologies as well as traditional techniques to create art, influence culture and impact society.

The Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) was established in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and was originally known as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, created in response to the growing interest in art and art education. This initial version of the University was modeled very closely on the South Kensington Museum of London (now the Victoria and Albert Museum, London). The school, sometimes then called the School of Applied Art, eventually became the University of the Arts College of Art and Design, and the museum became the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Though never housed in the same location, the school and museum were founded as one institution.

In 1987, through the merger of two century-old Philadelphia institutions: the Philadelphia College of Art with the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, the University of the Arts was officially created with the current name. Offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in art education, crafts, dance, fine arts, industrial design, media arts, multimedia, museum education, museum exhibition design, music, theater, writing and more, the University prepares students for careers in traditional and emerging arts and related fields. Over 2,500 students from all fifty states and thirty-five countries are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Division of Continuing Studies and its Continuing Education program represent the University’s long tradition of community outreach programming. For decades, we have offered a range of courses for lifelong learning, professional development, creative enrichment, personal exploration, career preparation and more. Our courses are designed to empower and nurture creative thinking and innovation across a variety of disciplines for a wide range of learners.  We are proud to continue this tradition today.