Drama & Theater Arts

2023 Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools

443 Colleges in the United States
17,341 Theater Degrees Awarded
$23,190 Avg Early-Career Salary
If you plan on majoring in drama and theater arts, you won't be alone since the degree program is ranked #59 in the country in terms of popularity. This means you won't have too much trouble finding schools that offer the degree.

For its 2023 ranking, College Factual looked at 443 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for drama and theater arts students pursuing a degree. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 17,341 degrees in drama and theater arts during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Jump to one of the following sections: * Degree-Level Rankings

Choosing a Great Drama & Theater Arts School

Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools Your choice of drama and theater arts school matters, so we have put together these rankings to help you make your decision. For our Best Overall Drama & Theater Arts School rankings, we roll up the results of our degree-level rankings, weighted by the number of degrees awarded at that level.

You may want to choose one of the degree levels below to find the schools of most interest to you.

Pick Your Drama & Theater Arts Degree Level

Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings, including this Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you. You can also filter this list by location to find schools closer to you.

In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat, our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.

More information on how we come up with our rankings can be found here: College Factual's Data Methodology.

Best Schools for Drama & Theater Arts in the United States

The schools below may not offer all types of theater degrees so you may want to filter by degree level first. However, they are great for the degree levels they do offer. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools in Theater

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
124 Theater Degrees Awarded

It is difficult to beat Northwestern University if you wish to pursue a degree in drama and theater arts. Northwestern is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. A Best Colleges rank of #5 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Northwestern is a great university overall.

There were roughly 124 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Northwestern in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the theater program make about $23,935 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Northwestern University

#2

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
58 Theater Degrees Awarded

University of Notre Dame is a good decision for students interested in a degree in drama and theater arts. Located in the large suburb of Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #16 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great university overall.

There were approximately 58 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Notre Dame in the most recent year we have data available. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from University of Notre Dame receive an earnings boost of approximately $18,692 over the typical earnings of drama and theater arts majors.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Notre Dame

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
74 Theater Degrees Awarded

Carnegie Mellon University is a great decision for students pursuing a degree in drama and theater arts. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #8 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Carnegie Mellon is a great university overall.

There were approximately 74 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Carnegie Mellon in the most recent data year. Those drama and theater arts students who get their degree from Carnegie Mellon University receive $3,804 more than the standard theater graduate.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Carnegie Mellon University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
175 Theater Degrees Awarded

University of Southern California is one of the finest schools in the country for getting a degree in drama and theater arts. USC is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of #18 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

There were approximately 175 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at USC in the most recent data year. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from University of Southern California receive an earnings boost of about $6,637 over the average income of drama and theater arts graduates.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Southern California

#5

New York University

New York, NY
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
453 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 143 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

There were about 452.99999999999994 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at NYU in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the drama and theater arts major at New York University make $12,553 above the standard graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from New York University

#6

Duke University

Durham, NC
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
19th Most Popular In NC

Located in the large city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #3 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were roughly 5 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Duke University

#7

Boston University

Boston, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
86 Theater Degrees Awarded

Boston U is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Boston. This university ranks 5th out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 86 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Boston U in the most recent year we have data available. Those drama and theater arts students who get their degree from Boston University make $2,669 more than the typical theater student.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Boston University

Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
72 Theater Degrees Awarded

U-M is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of #25 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means U-M is a great university overall.

There were roughly 72 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their degree from the theater program report average early career income of $24,105.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
41 Theater Degrees Awarded

UC Berkeley is a fairly large public university located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of #17 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were approximately 41 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent data year. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from University of California - Berkeley earn a boost of around $7,877 over the typical income of drama and theater arts graduates.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of California - Berkeley

#10

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
12th Most Popular In GA

Located in the large city of Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 69 schools for overall quality in the state of Georgia.

There were roughly 9 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Emory University

#11

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In NH

Dartmouth is a medium-sized private not-for-profit college located in the town of Hanover. A Best Colleges rank of #22 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Dartmouth is a great college overall.

There were approximately 8 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Dartmouth in the most recent data year.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Dartmouth College

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
87 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #29 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were about 87 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the theater program report average early career wages of $25,166.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of California - Los Angeles

#13

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type

Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #15 out of 2,241 schools nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

There were approximately 17 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Yale in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the drama and theater arts degree program at Yale University earn $10,090 above the average college grad in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Yale University

#14

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
112 Theater Degrees Awarded

Loyola Marymount is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Los Angeles. This university ranks 21st out of 170 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 112 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Loyola Marymount in the most recent data year. Soon after graduating, theater degree recipients usually make an average of $23,556 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Loyola Marymount University

#15

Chapman University

Orange, CA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
105 Theater Degrees Awarded

Chapman is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the medium-sized city of Orange. This university ranks 32nd out of 170 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 105 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Chapman in the most recent data year. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from Chapman University receive an earnings boost of about $3,188 above the typical income of drama and theater arts graduates.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Chapman University

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
42 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #14 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were approximately 42 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent data year. Those drama and theater arts students who get their degree from Columbia University in the City of New York make $7,878 more than the typical theater student.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Columbia University in the City of New York

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
102 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the large city of Austin, UT Austin is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 116 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There were roughly 102 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UT Austin in the most recent data year. Those drama and theater arts students who get their degree from The University of Texas at Austin receive $6,393 more than the typical theater graduate.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from The University of Texas at Austin

#18

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
Bachelor's Degree Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit college located in the medium-sized city of Worcester. This college ranks 12th out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were roughly 12 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Holy Cross in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from College of the Holy Cross

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In WI

Located in the large city of Madison, UW - Madison is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 46 colleges for overall quality in the state of Wisconsin.

There were about 26 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UW - Madison in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Wisconsin - Madison

#20

Brown University

Providence, RI
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type

Located in the city of Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #11 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide means Brown is a great university overall.

There were approximately 22 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Brown in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the theater program earn about $22,550 in their early career salary.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Brown University

Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
129 Theater Degrees Awarded

UC Irvine is a fairly large public university located in the large city of Irvine. This university ranks 14th out of 170 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There were roughly 129 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Irvine in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the theater program report average early career income of $25,083.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of California - Irvine

#22

Emerson College

Boston, MA
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
143 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Boston, Emerson is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 14th out of 63 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There were approximately 143 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Emerson in the most recent data year. Students who receive their degree from the theater program earn about $22,766 for their early career.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from Emerson College

#23

The Juilliard School

New York, NY

Located in the large city of New York, Juilliard is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

There were approximately 22 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Juilliard in the most recent data year. Those drama and theater arts students who get their degree from The Juilliard School receive $26,045 more than the average theater student.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from The Juilliard School

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
57 Theater Degrees Awarded

Located in the city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a very large student population. This university ranks 1st out of 51 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There were about 57 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UW Seattle in the most recent data year. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from University of Washington - Seattle Campus receive an earnings boost of approximately $3,092 over the typical income of drama and theater arts majors.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Washington - Seattle Campus

Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
48 Theater Degrees Awarded

UMCP is a fairly large public university located in the suburb of College Park. This university ranks 2nd out of 34 schools for overall quality in the state of Maryland.

There were roughly 48 drama and theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UMCP in the most recent year we have data available. After graduating, theater degree recipients generally earn an average of $21,114 in their early careers.

More information about a degree in drama and theater arts from University of Maryland - College Park

Rest of the Top Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools

#26

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#29

Lafayette College

Easton, PA
#31

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

#32

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

#34

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#35

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL
#36

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#37

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA
#38

Drake University

Des Moines, IA
#39

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
#40

Muhlenberg College

Allentown, PA

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 443 different United States drama and theater arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Purchase College Purchase, NY
51 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
52 American University Washington, DC
53 Tufts University Medford, MA
54 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
55 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
56 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
57 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
58 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
59 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
60 DePaul University Chicago, IL
60 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
62 Belmont University Nashville, TN
63 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
64 University of Evansville Evansville, IN
65 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
66 Towson University Towson, MD

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
67 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
68 George Washington University Washington, DC
69 Tulane University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA
70 The University of the Arts Philadelphia, PA
71 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
72 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
73 Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City, OK
74 Columbia College Chicago Chicago, IL
75 The New School New York, NY
76 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
77 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
78 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
79 Baylor University Waco, TX
80 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
81 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
82 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
83 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
84 Illinois State University Normal, IL
85 University of Nevada - Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
86 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
87 Shenandoah University Winchester, VA
88 Williams College Williamstown, MA

Drama & Theater Arts by Region

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

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

View All Rankings >

Drama & Theater Arts is one of 10 different types of Visual & Performing Arts programs to choose from.

Theater Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Theater Arts 11,385
Acting 1,793
Theater Design & Technology 1,164
Musical Theater 995
Other Dramatic/Theatre Arts & Stagecraft 862
Playwriting & Screenwriting 683
Directing & Theatrical Production 219
Theatre and Dance 94
Costume Design 52
Theatre Literature, History & Criticism 51

View All Theater Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 37,413
Design & Applied Arts 36,301
Music 25,910
Film, Video & Photographic Arts 16,778
General Visual & Performing Arts 6,355
Arts & Media Management 4,788
Dance 3,288
Other Visual Art 912
Crafts, Folk Art & Artisanry 119
Community/Environmental/Socially-Engaged Art 10

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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