The Cliffe College of Creative Arts

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Phyllis M. Paul, Ph.D., Dean
Joy Christiansen Erb, M.F.A., Associate Dean

A Community of Artistic and Academic Excellence

The Cliffe College of Creative Arts (CCCA) is a dynamic and integral component of the Youngstown State University campus and a major regional arts resource. Our vibrant and inclusive community of artists, educators, and scholars is engaged in nationally accredited programs of instruction, innovative and immersive experiences, and professional performances and exhibitions. Students not pursuing degrees in Cliffe College of Creative Arts are welcomed and encouraged to participate in special opportunities in art, dance, music, or theatre as a means of broadening and complementing their university experience. We are dedicated to creating deep educational experiences that provide inspiration, empower innovation, and develop leadership, thus preparing our students for successful careers, no matter where their aspirations lie. 

Our Mission

The Cliffe College of Creative Arts provides a dynamic learning environment in the visual and performing arts to strengthen and broaden the intellectual and cultural horizons of a diverse community in support of the goals of Youngstown State University.

The College is dedicated to:

  • demonstrating the values and principles inherent to the arts and challenging students to experience and appreciate the various forms of artistic expression;
  • recognizing scholarship and teaching as integral and interrelated activities of the College demonstrated by a faculty and staff of active artists and scholars, providing a lasting and sustainable contribution to aid students in achieving an enriched and fulfilled life;
  • utilizing music, visual arts, theater, and dance to present a highly visible presence reaching beyond the University community;
  • creating an innovative environment that cultivates its faculty, staff, and students to become leaders in their professional and civic lives.


Youngstown State University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the National Association of Schools of Music.


Cliffe College of Creative Arts offers four bachelor's degrees and one graduate degree:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  • Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
  • Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.E.)
  • Master of Music (M.M.)

Academic Areas and Majors

Department of Art

Greg Moring, Interim Chair


  • Art Education PreK-12, Multi-Age License (B.S.E.)
  • Studio Art (B.F.A.)
    • Digital Media/Photography 
    • Graphic + Interactive Design
    • Interdisciplinary Studio Art 


  • Minor in Art History for Non-Art Majors
  • Minor in Digital Media for Non-Art Majors
  • Minor in Graphic Design for Non-Art Majors
  • Minor in Interdisciplinary Game Studies
  • Minor in Photography for Non-Art Majors
  • Minor in Studio Art for Non-Art Majors

Dana School of Music 

Dr. Joe Carucci, Director 


  • Music (B.A.)
  • Music Composition (B.M.)
  • Music Education (B.M.)
    • Instrumental
    • Instrumental Jazz
    • Choral
  • Music Performance (B.M.)
    • Instrumental
    • Jazz
    • Music Recording 
    • Piano
    • Voice


  • Minor in Interdisciplinary Game Studies
  • Minor in Music


  • Jazz Studies (M.M.)
  • Music Composition (M.M.)
  • Music Education (M.M.)
  • Music Performance (M.M.)

University Theatre

Dr. Joe Carucci, Director


  • Theatre (B.F.A.)
    • Music Theatre
  • Theatre Studies (B.A.)
    • Film/Video Track (B.A.)


  • Minor in Dance
  • Minor in Film Studies
  • Minor in Musical Theatre
  • Minor in Puppetry for Non-Theatre Majors
  • Minor in Puppetry for Theatre Majors
  • Minor in Theatre


The activities of the college are primarily conducted in Bliss Hall, which houses the college's administrative offices as well as over 150,000 square feet of specialized learning, making, exhibiting, and performing spaces. State-of-the-art facilities include theaters, art studios, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, concert halls, laboratories, industry-standard technology and equipment, the John J. McDonough Museum of Art, Solomon Gallery, and more. In addition, students, faculty, and guest artists are regularly featured in numerous regional venues, including The Butler Institute of American ArtDeYor Performing Arts CenterRobins Theatre, and Stambaugh Auditorium.

Student Life

Our innovative academic experiences empower our students to succeed in their educational and professional endeavors. Students in Cliffe College have the opportunity to participate in national and international performances and exhibitions, study abroad programs, internships with regional and national businesses–including the Youngstown Business Incubator, Cafaro Company, Pittsburgh Ballet Company–and more. We understand that the college experience isn't just about a degree, and Cliffe students are also active outside the classroom. They are involved in university and community events and join professional and student organizations

Community Engagement

Cliffe College and its programs are a vital cultural asset to Youngstown State University and is a major regional arts resource. Our over 250 events each year feature faculty and students as well as internationally acclaimed visual and performing artists such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ken Rinaldo, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Julie Mehretu, Phillip Huber, David Krakauer, Al Bright, Harlem String Quartet, Marlene Aron, Karim Sulayman, and Teri Frame.  The College also sponsors the Pipino Performing Arts Series, MUSE New Music Series, Red Press Collaborative, Department of Art Lecture Series, and The Dana Ensemblea professional group comprised of Dana School of Music faculty–that is in residence at the School. 

Alumni Success

Graduates of Cliffe College enjoy fulfilling and broadly diverse careers as visual and performing artists. They are employed as lead designers by international corporations–e.g., The Walt Disney Company, Facebook, Weather Channel–performers with organizations such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Opry Band, and multiple professional and military ensembles across the globe, as well as in hundreds of university and school classrooms across the country. Our highly accomplished alumni have won Grammy® and Emmy® Awards, ASCAP awards, the Purchase Prize for Sculpture, are enshrined in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and more.

Degree Requirements

High School Preparation

In the Undergraduate Catalog under Admissions, please refer to the "New Freshman Applicants" page.