Top Schools for Musical Theater

Learn about musical theater programs, which is the study of voice, dance, performance and production. Find information about degrees and training at three leading institutions, as well as a useful table that lists other noteworthy colleges and universities in the United States that offer programs in musical theater.

School Information

The three schools profiled below include two public and one private institution that offer Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Musical Theater programs. Qualified graduates may pursue careers as actors, producers, directors, set designers or theatrical instructors.

1. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

School highlight: The University is affiliated with the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, headed by actor Jeff Daniels.

UM's School of Music, Theatre and Dance offers a BFA in Musical Theatre. In addition to studying voice, acting, dancing and audition techniques, students learn about the career strategies that can help them succeed in the field. The musical theater program is very competitive; only about two percent of all applicants are admitted to the program.

2. University of Arizona in Tucson

School highlight: The School of Theater & Television uses the Stanislavsky system to train actors.

UA offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater through the School of Theater, Film and Television. Degree requirements include eight semesters of voice training. Each semester, students also take a dance class in the UA School of Dance.

3. Emerson College in Boston, MA

School highlight: Emerson boasts five performance spaces, including the newly renovated Paramount Center and the 1,200-seat Cutler Majestic Theatre.

EC offers a BFA in Musical Theatre through the Department of Performing Arts. The program is designed for students seeking careers in production, performance and stage management. Students study the history of the American musical and take courses in stage production, costume design and scene construction.

Top Musical Theater Programs

School NameDistinctionLocation
Adrian College Each year students attend the regional Kennedy Center's/American College Theatre Festival where they compete for prizes and awards. Adrian, MI
Ithaca College Musical theater students can study abroad at Ithaca College's London Center Drama Program Ithaca, NY
Rockford College Offers multiple scholarships for performing arts and theaterRockford, IL
Shenandoah University The University's Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre produces four musicals each summer Winchester, VA
Texas State University, San Marcos Broadway professionals teach performance classes San Marcos, TX
University of Tampa Has a 1,000 seat historic theater Tampa, FL
Western Michigan University Seniors in the Musical Theatre Performance program create their own cabaret Kalamazoo, MI

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