Higher Education Arts Data Services (HEADS) Project

The Higher Education Arts Data Services (HEADS) Project is a joint effort of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), and the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). The HEADS Project is designed to provide comprehensive management data on the arts in higher education.

The HEADS Project, officially established in 1982, is a statistics system that collects, compiles, and reports data from member and non-member institutions. Participation in the Project is mandatory for accredited institutional members of NASM.

HEADS Data Surveys

The HEADS Data Survey form for degree-granting units requests statistical information addressing a number of areas including enrollment, degrees offered, operational budgets, faculty salaries, ethic breakdown of faculty and students, and the like.


Compiled data has been published annually in the form of HEADS Data Summaries since 1982.

New Platform

Although serving members faithfully for nearly forty years, it became evident that the platform on which the original HEADS Data System was built in 1982, was no longer sufficiently robust to support the advanced features and enhanced services desired. Therefore, in 2019, HEADS began the process of designing, building, and transitioning to a new platform. HEADS is pleased to announce that November 1, 2021 marks the release of the newly redesigned HEADS Data System.

As returning participants will observe, the new system maintains the HEADS Data Survey in its original form and function. The information requested and general layout remain the same; the HEADS Data Survey look and page navigation have been refreshed.

The HEADS Data Summaries and HEADS Special Reports, offered since 1982, have been retired (although HEADS Data Summaries for 2021-2022 and beyond may be replicated using navigable dashboards). Participating members will have access to HEADS Data Summaries published between 2003-2004 and 2020-2021 through the HEADS site, and to HEADS Data Summaries published between 1982-1983 and 2002-2003 through the National Office.

The new system, which includes an interactive interface, will provide to members the ability to sort, organize, and compare data points. This more flexible approach to working with and viewing data will be offered in the form of dashboards, which will replace the existing HEADS reporting functionality with custom reporting and data visualization tools that enable members to create customized report views in data tables and graph/chart formats. The option to export data graphs and tables into Excel, PowerPoint and .PDF formats will be offered.

In addition to the data collected during the 2021-2022 academic year, the database will be populated with HEADS Data Survey data collected through the HEADS Data System during the last five academic years (2016-2017 through 2020-2021), allowing members to create longitudinal views, comparisons, and reports. Access to all data through 2021-2022 will be made available at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 collection period anticipated to be late spring 2022.


All of the features of the HEADS Project as described above will be provided to all participating accredited institutional members of NASM as a service. Non-member participants, non-member non-participants, and the general public will be provided the opportunity to access aspects of the HEADS Data System for a fee.

Further Information

This website is intended to provide general assistance regarding the operation of the HEADS Project. Requests for further information may be directed to the National Office Staff.

For further information or to participate in the HEADS project, please click here.