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Drama Teacher Degree Programs with Course Info

Students who enjoy theater and acting might be interested in becoming drama teachers. Relevant degree programs may emphasize dramatic literature and the performance aspects of dramatic productions. There are a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs available to drama students.

Essential Information

Depending on the program level, students will be exposed to a variety of practical theatre coursework, stagecraft, and production development.

  • Program Levels in Drama Education: Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, Ph.D. degrees
  • Prerequisites: A high school diploma or associate's degree is often necessary for candidates entering the program, as well as transcripts. Those seeking Master's degrees or above may need teacher certification.
  • Program Length: This depends on the program level, with the highest-level degree (Ph.D.) taking up to four years to complete, whereas a bachelor's degree can take four years or fewer.

Bachelor's Degree in Theater Education

A bachelor's degree in introduces students to a wide range of theater-related topics. Most programs can be completed in four years or fewer and involve both theoretical and practical theater coursework. Some programs may lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Theater Education. Others may lead to a bachelor's degree in theater arts or fine arts with an emphasis on education. Students must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and most programs require official transcripts from an applicant's high school. Some bachelor's degree programs may require students to complete an associate degree before enrolling.

The curriculum of most bachelor's degree programs in theater or drama education involves a combination of general education and core theater coursework. Below are some of the topics that may be included in such a degree program:

  • Theater history
  • Basics of directing
  • Drama as a form of education
  • Modern American theater
  • The craft of staging

Master's Degree in Theater Education

A master's degree in theater education is designed to provide students with the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree that combines technical theater and educational coursework, as well as an opportunity to teach at the university level. Most programs lead to the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theater Education. Some programs may lead to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) with a concentration in theater education. The majority of theater education master's degree programs require that students hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some programs ask that applicants have a teacher's certificate.

The curriculum of a master's degree in theater education generally exposes students to teaching methodology and a wide range of theater-related topics. Below are some of the subjects that may be included in the curriculum of such a degree:

  • Movement and voice
  • Theater education strategies
  • Technical theater issues
  • Theater for youth
  • Theories of performance

Doctor of Philosophy in Theater

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theater is considered the most advanced degree program in the field and introduces students to advanced theater theory. Most programs take approximately four years to complete, and require that students have completed a master's degree in a related field. However, some programs may be set up to accept bachelor's degree graduates. Students who hold only a bachelor's degree may be asked to complete certain prerequisite theater courses before enrolling in a Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. programs are geared towards students who wish to pursue an academic or scholarly career in a theater-related subject. Students may study a variety of drama theory and history courses in seminar style classes. An original doctoral dissertation is required before graduation. Some of the possible courses of a Ph.D. program in theater are listed below:

  • Theatrical conceptualization
  • History of costume
  • Directing historical drama
  • Script development
  • Advanced sound design
  • Post-realist drama

Popular Career Options

Graduates of Ph.D. programs in theater may work in academic or scholarly institutions. Some of the possible positions available to Ph.D. in theater graduates are listed below.

  • College theater educator
  • Theater curator
  • Drama historian

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) expects that all postsecondary teachers may have a 19% job growth for the years 2012 through 2022. Drama, art and music postsecondary teachers made median annual wages of $64,300 in May 2014.

Continuing Education Info

Graduates of master's degree programs in theater education may choose to pursue additional educational opportunities, such as a doctoral program in theater or a related field. They may also choose to specialize in a particular area of theater, including light design education or theater history.

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