Theatre/Theater

Theatre school is about much more than just what spectators see on stage—theatre school encompasses a whole slew of majors, including acting, directing, stage management, writing, costume design, set design, history of theatre, dance, and house management. Theatre majors, in general, will study the dramatic works and everything that goes into performing them, from the house lights to set strike. Theatre degrees can be attained at all degree levels, including associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate.

Associate Level
Earning an Associate’s in Theatre is a stepping stone to a baccalaureate and can help students who are confident in the area of study but not the specific discipline within the area of study. The curriculum will likely include modern drama, writing plays, acting, and auditioning techniques, but there will also be room for learning about the dynamics of music, musicals, and more. 

At this level, there are two degree types available: an Associate of Arts (AA) in Theatre and an Associate of Science (AS) in Theatre. The AA will feature more liberal arts courses, whereas the AS will require more mathematics and science classes to graduate. If the end goal is to manage a theatre or a personal business, an AS may be beneficial. 

Baccalaureate
Bachelor’s in Theatre majors are typically more specialized. Students will choose what area of the theatre they’d like to work in, whether in acting or costume design or writing. One of the trademarks of theatre programs is that, no matter what concentration is chosen, students will likely dabble in it all. Dancers will learn how to run the light board, while writers will get experience running a fly system. Opportunities to stage manage will crop up, and everyone will pick up a hammer and needle at some point to build a set piece or sew a bustle. 

There are two types of degrees available at this level, either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre. The primary difference in these two degree types is the amount of time spent within major courses. It’s about a 60/40 split between major courses and liberal arts classes on a BFA, while the BA inverts that, with 60% of requirements being liberal arts classes and 40% in major-specific courses. BFAs will likely culminate in a thesis of some sort. For instance, some acting programs require students to write, organize, and perform their own one-man/woman show. 

Career paths for individuals with a Bachelor’s in Theatre are varied depending on the specific major chosen within the field. Theatre graduates can be found in any number of industries and the degrees are often lauded for providing a mentality and skill set useful in a wide variety of industries. Project management, improvisation, budget managing, the human aspect, presentation skills, and a can-do attitude are just a few. 

Master Level
A Master’s in Theatre isn’t typically required of any position in the theatre world, but can do one of two things: make graduates a competitive candidate and provide advanced knowledge into an aspect of the theatre world. Like both the baccalaureate and associate levels of this area of study, there are a number of degrees available, including in Costume Design, Dance History, Directing, Musical Theatre Writing, Scenography, and Stage Management. 

There are typically two degree types available, a Master of Arts in Theatre and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, which are similar in distinction to a BA and a BFA. The large difference at this level of education is that an MFA is a terminal degree, allowing graduates to teach at the university level. MFAs take, on average, three years to complete. An MA ranges between two and three years. 

Doctorate Level
Doctoral degrees in theatre are typically reserved those wishing to remain in academia, becoming professors. Programs take, on average, between four and six years to complete and and typically require a significant amount of time analyzing drama as a whole. Every program has a different approach to theatre, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly understand the mindset of the department before choosing. 
 

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Colleges

University of St Thomas

Named after the patron saint of students, the University of St. Thomas is 4-year Catholic school in the Twin Cities and the largest private non-profit university in Minnesota. St. Thomas hosts eight colleges and schools offering bachelor’s degrees in...

“…the university of saint thomas is a ten out of ten. the small class sizes are great for learning. the campus is beautiful and in a neighborhood setting.” – Whittney from Stillwater, MN

Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University is located on 90 acres of land in Grand Junction, CO, and offers 104 majors for its students, Mavericks, to choose from. CMU features liberal arts, professional, and technical programs at both the undergraduate and graduate...

“…i love colorado mesa university. the campus is beautiful and the curriculum is very good. it is also a great place to make new friends, and in some cases even family. ” – Kimberly from Salida, CO

Oakton Community College

Oakton Community College is a two-year college with two locations near Chicago’s North Shore, in Des Plaines and Skokie, Illinois. Offering 80 associate’s degrees and certificates, Oakton Community College offers facilities in the arts, health care,...

“…i personally feel that oakton community college is a school full of unique people. as i pass by students like me, they carry things like instruments and artwork to show others what they are passionate about. that is what i love about college: we are...” – Michelle from Des Plaines, IL

Concordia University, 81929

Concordia University is a comprehensive institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in Canada. Created by a merger between Loyola College and Sir George Williams University in 1974, Concordia operates out of two campuses in Quebec,...