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2021 Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts

Approximately 16,329 drama and theater arts degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a daunting task finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts ranking analyzed 173 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in drama and theater arts. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of schools for Drama & Theater Arts students.

Choosing a Great Drama & Theater Arts School

Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts The theater program you select can have a big impact on your future. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we consider a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 23% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 337 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

Drama & Theater Arts graduates from colleges on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. While the average drama and theater arts bachelors degree from U.S. schools results in an average starting salary of $20,591, graduates of colleges on this list average $23,748.

Starting Salary  ( 19645 to 26554 )
$0
$30,800

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Drama & Theater Arts students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other drama and theater arts students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized drama and theater arts related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Drama & Theater Arts students.

Best Schools to Study Drama & Theater Arts in the United States

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for drama and theater arts majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 25 Best Theater Colleges

University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a great decision for individuals interested in a Drama & Theater Arts major. UNCSA is a small public school located in the medium-sized city of Winston-Salem. This college ranks 168th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

There are approximately 82 drama and theater arts undergrads studying this degree at UNCSA. University of North Carolina School of the Arts drama and theater arts students receive $6,152 more than the standard theater student.

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It is hard to beat California Institute of the Arts if you wish to pursue drama and theater arts as a major. Located in the suburb Valencia, CalArts is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 555th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

A popular major for drama and theater arts undergraduates, there are about 86 individuals studying this program at CalArts. Grads of the theater program report average early career income of $22,300.

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#3

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Loyola Marymount University is among your top options if you're planning on studying drama and theater arts. Loyola Marymount is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 140 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Loyola Marymount is a great college overall.

Loyola Marymount University is one of the most popular college to study theater in United States with more than 105 graduates last year. Loyola Marymount University drama and theater arts majors receive $2,452 more than the typical theater student.

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#4

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

It's hard to beat Florida State University if you wish to study drama and theater arts. Located in the midsize city Tallahassee, Florida State is a public college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 160th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

For those interested in something more advanced, Florida State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the theater program state that they receive average early career wages of $23,500.

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Wisconsin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Madison. A Best Colleges rank of 76 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Wisconsin is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Wisconsin also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates from the drama and theater arts degree program at University of Wisconsin - Madison earn $4,252 more than the standard college graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

University of California - Los Angeles is one of the most popular college to study theater in United States exceeding 99 graduates last year. After graduating, theater students usually make an average of $23,300 in their early careers.

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Located in the small city University Park, Penn State University Park is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 112 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Penn State University Park is a great college overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Penn State University Park also offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Drama & Theater Arts majors from Pennsylvania State University - University Park receive an earnings boost of around $3,552 above the typical income of drama and theater arts majors.

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#8

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

Located in the medium-sized city Gainesville, U of F is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 85 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means U of F is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, U of F also offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Soon after getting their bachelor's degree, theater students typically earn around $22,200 in the first five years of their career.

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#9

New York University

New York, NY

NYU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 130 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means NYU is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the theater program make an average of $21,700 in their early career salary.

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#10

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Located in the medium-sized city Orange, Chapman is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 197th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Chapman offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Soon after graduating, theater students generally earn around $19,800 in their early careers.

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Located in the city Bloomington, IU Bloomington is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 141 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means IU Bloomington is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, IU Bloomington also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the theater program state that they receive average early career income of $19,700.

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Located in the large city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 124 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UMN Twin Cities is a great college overall.

There are roughly 65 drama and theater arts undergrads enrolled in this degree at UMN Twin Cities. Students who graduate from the theater program earn around $20,600 in the first couple years of working.

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#13

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Ithaca. This school ranks 156th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

A preferred choice for drama and theater arts undergraduates, there are roughly 73 learners enrolled in this degree at Ithaca. Grads of the theater program state that they receive average early career income of $22,400.

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Located in the city Lincoln, UNL is a public school with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 248th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Nebraska.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UNL also offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Graduates from the drama and theater arts degree program at University of Nebraska - Lincoln make $2,152 more than the standard graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Ohio State is a very large public school located in the city of Columbus. This college ranks 175th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in something more advanced, Ohio State also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the theater program state that they receive average early career income of $23,200.

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#16

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Located in the suburb Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Notre Dame is a great college overall.

There are roughly 65 drama and theater arts undergrads studying this program at Notre Dame. Drama & Theater Arts graduates from University of Notre Dame earn a boost of around $7,052 over the average income of drama and theater arts graduates.

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Located in the small city Champaign, UIUC is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 92 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UIUC is a great college overall.

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign is one of the most popular school to study theater in United States with over 49 graduates last year. Grads of the theater program report average early career earnings of $17,300.

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Cincinnati is a fairly large public school located in the city of Cincinnati. This school ranks 341st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Cincinnati also offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Students who graduate from the theater program make about $24,500 in the first couple years of working.

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#19

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

Located in the small city Iowa City, Iowa is a public college with a very large student population. This college ranks 190th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Iowa offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Graduates of the theater program state that they receive average early career wages of $22,300.

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#20

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Located in the small city Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 12 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Northwestern U is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Northwestern U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in drama and theater arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the theater program earn around $20,600 in their early career salary.

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Illinois State is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized suburb of Normal. This school ranks 331st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Illinois State offers a Master's Degree in drama and theater arts. Students who complete this degree state that they receive average early career wages of $23,100.

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#22

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Located in the city Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 33 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great school overall.

With 81 undergraduates, Carnegie Mellon University is one of most popular schools to study theater in United States. After graduation, theater students usually make around $24,400 in their early careers.

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UNLV is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Las Vegas. This school ranks 763rd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Nevada.

There are about 51 drama and theater arts undergraduates studying this program at UNLV. Students from the drama and theater arts program at University of Nevada - Las Vegas earn $6,652 more than the standard college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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Louisiana State University is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Baton Rouge. This college ranks 294th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Louisiana.

There are approximately 42 drama and theater arts undergraduates studying this program at Louisiana State University. Grads of the theater program report average early career income of $21,900.

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Located in the suburb Fullerton, Cal State Fullerton is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 542nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

A popular major for drama and theater arts undergrads, there are approximately 109 learners studying this degree at Cal State Fullerton. Grads of the theater program state that they receive average early career income of $22,400.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Drama & Theater Arts students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts award.

Rank College Location
26 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
27 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
28 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
29 Emerson College Boston, MA
30 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
31 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
32 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
33 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
34 San Diego State University San Diego, CA

Drama & Theater Arts by Region

View the Best Colleges for Drama & Theater Arts for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 9 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Drama & Theater Arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Theater

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 40,751
Design & Applied Arts 36,179
Music 26,968
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,756
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720

View All Theater Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Donald Judge. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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