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7 Best Masters in Theatre and Drama Degree Programs

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Best Masters in Theatre and Drama Degree Programs

Humanity has been enriched for generations by storytelling through performing art. The seven best master’s programs in theater and drama are listed below. They prepare actors for top-notch performances on stage and screen.

The realm of theater and drama, from Shakespeare to Spielberg, has aided in our understanding of people. Whether it’s a classic play or a strange film, the dramatic arts can serve as a brain-bending conundrum, a welcoming vacation, or an emotional release.

The seven best masters in theatre and drama degrees provide performers with specialized training that enables them to convey characters accurately and successfully.

The acting programs on the list below are fundamentally concerned with developing performing arts abilities including voice and movement. Additionally, they could give particular knowledge in fields like musical theater, interview techniques, and diversity in cinema. Students can anticipate getting practical stage experience in everything from short professional performances to lengthy ones.

These programs’ graduates may go on to work as actors in both stage and screen productions. They might work for regional theater organizations, Broadway productions, or movie sets. Graduates might also look for jobs in university theater departments. Actors can typically anticipate uneven, erratic schedules with lots of travel.

Masters in Theatre and Drama Degree

Salary and Career Outlook

As stated by the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly pay for actors in 2018 was $17.54, although some talented or very lucky performers can make far more. A faster-than-average growth rate of 12 percent is anticipated for the industry. The strong demand for and consumption of films and television shows is anticipated to continue increasing thanks to the present “golden age of television” and new platforms like Netflix.

Jobs you can do with Masters in Theatre and Drama


A theatre degree can help you develop into a fantastic playwright. A dramatic production’s blueprint must be written by a playwright. This position calls for a strong understanding of narrative strategies, including plot, theme, and character development. A master’s in theatre will give you a quantifiable way to demonstrate your comprehension of and familiarity with theatrical productions. A job as a playwright can be a good fit for you if you love to write and read.

Executive Director:

The CEOs of their plays are the executive directors. They use stagehands, producers, technicians, and actors to create theatrical shows. Executive director may be the appropriate position for you if you have the ability to see the big picture and get along with a variety of people.

The literary works offered by playwrights are visually unified and clear thanks to executive directors. They are in charge of ensuring that their crew gives each live event its all. Although actors frequently receive more attention from the public, there is no shortage of well-known directors in artistic communities.


Typically, when considering a career in theatre, actors are the first profession that comes to mind. Dramatic productions are driven by the actions, words, and expressions of the actors. A master’s in theatre can help you launch a successful acting career by giving you a solid grounding in a variety of ideas and stage acting methods.

These strategies can also be used in other performing arts that call for projecting a character onstage, such music and dance. No matter whatever audition you attend, you’ll be prepared to stand out with live practice sessions and performances.

Music Director:

A job as a music director might be gratifying if you enjoy musical arrangements and the feelings they evoke. Similar to the general director, musical directors are intimately involved in all element of a production, from talent management to script development.

Music directors frequently take part in auditions, work with voice students, and lead cast and instrumentalist rehearsals. A theatre degree can help you become a music director by acquainting you with every facet of a theatrical production. You will be able to go through a career as a music director more readily if you have a greater comprehension of how other teams operate.


Producers oversee a production’s logistical and financial limitations. Producers are in charge of choosing the budget and obtaining the finances, as well as controlling the directors’ expectations. Producers come in a wide variety, from the artistic to the legitimate. A theatre degree can give you the practical knowledge and experience with internal procedures and stakeholders that producers need.

Broadcaster or Voice Actor:

Broadcasters and voice actors both possess a flair for vocal acting. While broadcasters pursue professions in radio, sports, news anchoring, and more, they often read and record scripts for television, movies, audiobooks, and advertisements.

A thorough awareness of the target audience and tone is necessary for voice acting and broadcasting. The M.A. in acting program includes acting classes. You will be prepared to comprehend how to use tone and voice to convey emotion by taking a theatre class.

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Best Masters in Theatre and Drama Degrees Programs

These schools offer the best masters in theatre and drama degrees:

University of California Irvine

GSH rates the Master of Fine Arts in Acting program at the University of California, Irvine as the best in the country. Students are taught these skills as part of the core curriculum, which also includes movement, communication, and voice. Seminars on topics like acting theory, dramatic criticism, and script analysis are also included in the curriculum.

There are electives available in subjects like clowning, dancing, musical theater, and audition skills. Core classes start at 10 a.m., Monday through Thursday. to 3 p.m. Nine quarters, or three years, make up the program. The majority of program graduates go on to work in university theatre departments or act on stage or in films.

In order to serve the student body of the baby boom generation, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of the ten campuses in the University of California system is the public research university. U.S. UCI is ranked No. 45 in Most Innovative Schools by News World Report, No. 33 in National Universities, and No. 7 in Top Public Schools by the publication. The university is also ranked No. 33 for graduate programs in the fine arts.

New York University:

Through the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University offers a Master of Arts in Performance Studies. Students are encouraged to consider performance in relation to gender and sexuality, ethnicity and diversity, literature, and other topics as part of the degree program’s interdisciplinary approach.

34 points of departmental coursework are needed for the degree, including the two prerequisite courses Projects in Performance Studies and Introduction to Performance Studies. During the program, students are only permitted to enroll in one practical workshop, which is often the department’s Performance Composition. Students enroll in the program in June and complete it in May of the following year, making three semesters of study in all.

Albert Gallatin, a former secretary of the Treasury, founded NYU in 1831. It is a private, international research university nowadays. It has schools in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai in addition to its iconic campus in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Additionally, the institution runs educational facilities across the globe, in places including Sydney, Berlin, Florence, London, and Paris.

One of the largest university research budgets in the country is managed by NYU and includes funding from organizations like Google, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. According to U.S. News World Report, NYU is ranked No. 48 for graduate programs in fine arts, No. 30 for national universities, and No. 37 for the most innovative schools. Read on for more masters in theatre and drama degrees!

Masters in Theatre and Drama Degree

Brooklyn College

A master’s degree in fine arts in performance and interactive media arts is given by Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. The majority of students begin the program with an existing career in the performing arts or with a specific career objective in mind.

The college’s departments of art, cinema, television, and radio, computer and information science, performing arts, and the Conservatory of Music have joined forces to create the multidisciplinary degree program.

Students receive instruction in performance art philosophy, technique, and practice. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on mentorship, technology, diversity, and teamwork. It ends with the production of a group thesis in a setting appropriate for professionals. The four full semesters of the degree program are allocated for study.

The City College for Teachers was expanded into Brooklyn College in 1930. When it combined with the Downtown Brooklyn and City College of New York campuses of Hunter College, it became Brooklyn College. Brooklyn became New York City’s first public liberal arts institution as a result of this merger.

The Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at the institution was New York City’s first graduate film program open to the general public. In partnership with Brooklyn’s Steiner Studios, the biggest studio on the East Coast, the school offers classes on a movie set. Brooklyn College is ranked No. 19 in Top Public Schools and No. 74 in Regional Universities North by U.S. News World Report. There are more masters in theatre and drama degrees programs available, read on!

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University of San Diego

In association with the Old Globe Theatre, the University of San Diego offers a Master of Fine Arts in acting degree. Seven students are accepted each year into the degree program, allowing for individualized attention. It is a professional actor training program that places a strong emphasis on classical training and involvement in Globe productions.

The training curriculum is focused on Shakespeare because The Old Globe is modeled after Shakespeare’s Globe in London. The program offers its participants the chance to see a London theater. Each student also receives a stipend from the Globe in addition to a full university scholarship. The two-year intense curriculum includes year-round study.

San Diego College for Women, which later became USD, was established in 1949. It is now a research university that is private and Roman Catholic.

The campus, which includes Spanish Renaissance architecture and overlooks San Diego’s Mission Bay from a mesa, has been dubbed one of the most attractive educational buildings in the country. USD is ranked No. 66 in the category of Best Value Schools and No. 85 among national universities by U.S. News World Report. Balboa Park in San Diego is where you can find the Old Globe Theatre. Read on for more masters in theatre and drama degrees.

DePaul University

Through its Theatre School, DePaul University provides a Master of Fine Arts degree. Graduates of the degree program are ready for both the stage and the screen. The first year of instruction emphasizes voice, movement, and imagination. Students engage in production work, self-directed ensemble presentations, and an ensemble studio performance under the direction of a guest artist. In their second year, students continue to develop their acting skills while studying both contemporary and classic plays.

Students in their second year join the school’s acting company. Students have the chance to network with professionals in the field and learn about the business side of acting during their third year. The written thesis serves as the program’s capstone. Throughout the course of the program, each student can anticipate taking part in seven productions.

Catholic Vincentians established DePaul in 1898. The private university is currently the biggest Catholic institution in the country. Its universities are situated in Chicago, Illinois’s Lincoln Park and Loop neighborhoods. First-generation students and those from marginalized communities are given special attention in the university’s recruitment efforts.

The oldest theater school in the Midwest was established in 1925 at DePaul University. The school emphasizes production participation as part of its “learning by doing” concept. Actors John C. Reilly and Gillian Anderson are DePaul graduates. The University is ranked No. 54 among the Best Value Schools by U.S. News World Report.

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Yale University

Through the School of Drama, Yale University provides a Master of Fine Arts in Acting degree. The degree program combines considerable stage work with classroom instruction.

Each class of actors trains as an ensemble, which then joins forces with two other ensembles to form a bigger acting company. Drama 50, a three-week workshop cooperation involving first-year actors, directors, playwrights, and others, is one of the production chances. Additionally, students can take part in Yale Cabaret, Shakespeare Repertory Projects, the Langston Hughes Festival of New Work, and other events.

Drama students have the opportunity to perform in numerous plays that are produced annually by the Tony Award-winning Yale Repertory Theatre. Three years of residency are typically needed for the degree program.

Yale University was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the country and one of the nine colonial institutions built before the American Revolution.

The private Ivy League research university can be found in Connecticut’s New Haven city center. It also manages a campus in West Haven and various New England environmental reserves. The Collegiate Gothic structure where the Yale School of Drama is located dates back to its founding in 1955. Actors Edward Norton, Lupita Nyong’o, and Meryl Streep are notable Yale alums. Yale is ranked No. 3 among national universities and No. 4 among best value schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Emerson College

Masters in theatre and drama degrees or Master of Performing Arts in Theatre Education Applied Theatre are available at Emerson College. Theatre and Community or Theatre Teacher Education are two options for students to choose from. The philosophy and practice of theatre arts are integrated into the curriculum.

The 36-credit MA program can be finished in one to two years of full-time study or two and a half years of part-time study. The 48 credit hour MFA program can be finished in under three years of full-time study or in three and a half years of part-time study. Graduates of either program or track can become licensed theatre teachers in Massachusetts for grades pre-K through 12. Students pursuing an MFA can also get certified to instruct college-level courses.

Emerson was established in 1880 as a “oratory school” with a concentration on public speaking. It is now a private college with a liberal arts background with a concentration on the arts and communications.

With satellite locations in Los Angeles and the Netherlands, the campus is situated in Boston’s famed Washington Street Theatre District. The Cutler Majestic Theatre, the Paramount Center, and the Tufte Performance Production Center are all located on the main campus.

The institution is a founding member of the ProArts Consortium, a group of six Boston-area institutions committed to collegiate art education. U.S. Emerson is ranked No. 10 in Most Innovative Schools and No. 6 in Regional Universities-North by News World Report.

Masters in Theatre and Drama Degree

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Graduates with a major in Theater paid well?

Graduates with a major in theatre earn an average salary of $50,427 per year, or $24.24 per hour, in the US. The greatest compensation for theatre major graduates is in San Francisco, CA, where the average yearly salary is $64,094. In San Francisco, California, the typical entry-level wage is $30,000.

How many years does theatrical school last?

The majority of performing arts undergraduate degrees last three to four years, but this will primarily depend on where you study. Typically, they are granted as bachelor of arts (BA) degrees, though less frequently as bachelor of performing arts degrees (BPA).

Why is studying theater and drama important?

Through the study of theatre, students are encouraged to explore the world from a variety of angles while honing their artistic abilities and expanding their capacity for teamwork, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and effective communication.


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