Performing Arts Masters Degree Programs with Career Information

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in performing arts prepare graduates for a range of careers within the industry. Upon completion of the core fundamentals, students may choose to focus their education in the areas of dance, music, or film. Graduates can become performers, drama teachers, choreographers, stage managers, or theater consultants.

Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts

Applicants seeking admission into a master's degree program usually must have a bachelor's degree; however, special exceptions can be made. They must also submit a goals statement or proposal. Depending on the concentration of the master's program, other admission requirements can include a performance DVD, letter of recommendation, and portfolio. Students in a performing arts master's degree program will receive training in design technologies, production and directing techniques, as well as media and promotion. Common classes found in the MFA in performing arts degree program include:

  • Contemporary drama and camera acting
  • Media criticism and relations
  • Performance principles, acting theory and movement studies
  • Script analysis
  • Production design
  • Marketing

Popular Careers

Performing artists can find positions in variety of multimedia entertainment, film, and production companies. Graduates can be found in acting, directing, casting, and management roles. Career options for performing artists may include:

  • Actor
  • Choreographer
  • Impersonator
  • Playwright
  • Professor

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The job market for performing artists is very competitive, with more job seekers than actual openings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, employment growth for actors will be little or no change at 1% from 2018-2028. Median annual wages can vary greatly depending on the industry or company. Actors made a median hourly wage of $20.43 in May 2019.

Over the course of a master's degree program in performing arts, students learn about the production side of the industry as well as receiving training in areas such as contemporary drama and acting. When graduates enter the field, they have a multitude of career options available to them, include positions in management, directing and casting.

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