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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.

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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.

Top U.S. Schools with Musical Theater Programs

1. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan (UM) is a public research university that ranked tenth on Washington Monthly's list of national universities in 2011. 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

The University of Arizona (UA), is a public institution that ranked 124th on U.S. News and World Report's 2012 list of Best Colleges in the Nation. 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

Emerson College (EC) is a private liberal arts school that ranked 14th on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Regional Universities in the North for 2012. 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.

List of Ten Good Musical Theater Schools in the U.S.

School NameDistinctionLocation
Adrian College Offers fine arts scholarships Adrian, MI
Emerson College Specializes in the arts and communications fields Boston, MA
Ithaca College Musical theater students can study abroad at Ithaca College's London Center Drama Program Ithaca, NY
Rockford College Study abroad opportunity for musical theater students at Regents College in LondonRockford, 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 Arizona School produces at least two musicals each season Tucson, AZ
University of Michigan The Department of Musical Theatre produces two musicals annually Ann Arbor, MI
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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  • School locations:
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    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
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      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
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    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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      • Musical Arts
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    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
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      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
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      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
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    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
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      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
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