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2024 Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools in California

39 Colleges in California
2,809 Theater Degrees Awarded
$24,344 Avg Early-Career Salary
A degree in drama & theater arts is more popular than many other degrees. In fact, it ranks #59 out of 395 on popularity of all such degrees in the nation. So, you have a fair amount of options to choose from when looking for a school.

College Factual reviewed 39 schools in California to determine which ones were the best for degree seekers in the field of drama & theater arts. Combined, these schools handed out 2,809 degrees in drama & theater arts to qualified students.

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

Choosing a Great Drama & Theater Arts School

Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools in California The theater program you select can have a big impact on your future. That's why we developed our collection of Best Schools for Drama & Theater Arts rankings. In order to come up with a best overall ranking for drama & theater arts schools, we combine our degree-level rankings, weighting them by the number of degrees awarded at each 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

Associate Degrees in Theater
Bachelor's Degrees in Theater
Master's Degrees in Theater
Doctor's Degrees in Theater

The theater school you choose to invest your time and money in matters. To help you make the decision that is right for you, we've developed a number of major-specific rankings, including this list of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools in California. More interested in schools in a specific area of the country? Filter this list by region or state.

To further help you make the college decision, we've developed a unique tool called College Combat that allows you to compare schools based on the factors that matter the most to you. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

Read more about College Factual's methodology.

Best Schools for Drama & Theater Arts in California

Although we recommend filtering by degree level first, you can view the list below to see which schools give the educational experience for the theater degree levels they offer.

10 Top California Schools in Theater

1
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
175 Theater Degrees Awarded
$29,827 Median Starting Salary

University of Southern California is a wonderful decision for students interested in a degree in drama & theater arts. USC is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of #11 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

There were roughly 175 drama & 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 earn a boost of about $5,483 over the average earnings of drama & theater arts majors.

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

2
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
32 Theater Degrees Awarded
$31,067 Median Starting Salary

Every student who is interested in drama & theater arts has to look into University of California - Berkeley. UC Berkeley is a very large public university located in the midsize city of Berkeley. A Best Colleges rank of #18 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UC Berkeley is a great university overall.

There were roughly 32 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Berkeley in the most recent year we have data available. Degree recipients from the drama & theater arts program at University of California - Berkeley get $6,723 above the average graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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

3
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
94 Theater Degrees Awarded
3.2% Growth in Graduates

University of California - Los Angeles is a good decision for students pursuing a degree in drama & theater arts. Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #26 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were about 94 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Soon after graduation, theater degree recipients generally make about $25,166 at the beginning of their careers.

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

4
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
151 Theater Degrees Awarded
25.8% Growth in Graduates

It's difficult to beat Loyola Marymount University if you want to pursue a degree in drama & theater arts. Loyola Marymount is a large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of #135 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Loyola Marymount is a great university overall.

There were approximately 151 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Loyola Marymount in the most recent year we have data available. Students who receive their degree from the theater program earn an average of $23,556 in their early career salary.

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

5
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
103 Theater Degrees Awarded
$25,083 Median Starting Salary

UC Irvine is a fairly large public university located in the city of Irvine. A Best Colleges rank of #61 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UC Irvine is a great university overall.

There were roughly 103 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Irvine in the most recent year we have data available. Soon after graduation, theater degree recipients typically earn around $25,083 in their early careers.

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

6
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
114 Theater Degrees Awarded
7.9% Growth in Graduates

Chapman is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Orange. This university ranks 32nd out of 168 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

There were approximately 114 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Chapman in the most recent data year. Drama & Theater Arts degree recipients from Chapman University earn a boost of around $2,034 above the average earnings of drama & theater arts majors.

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

7
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
66 Theater Degrees Awarded
7.6% Growth in Graduates

UCSD is a fairly large public university located in the city of La Jolla. A Best Colleges rank of #38 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means UCSD is a great university overall.

There were about 66 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UCSD in the most recent data year. Degree recipients from the drama & theater arts major at University of California - San Diego earn $4,776 more than the average graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a degree in drama & theater arts from University of California - San Diego

8
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
$25,006 Median Starting Salary
$13,000 Median Student Debt

Located in the small suburb of Davis, UC Davis is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #52 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UC Davis is a great university overall.

There were roughly 26 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UC Davis in the most recent year we have data available. Graduates who receive their degree from the theater program earn about $25,006 for their early career.

More information about a degree in drama & theater arts from University of California - Davis

9
Doctor's Degree Highest Degree Type
33 Theater Degrees Awarded
$24,656 Median Starting Salary

Located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public university with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #45 out of 2,217 colleges nationwide means UCSB is a great university overall.

There were approximately 33 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at UCSB in the most recent year we have data available. Students who graduate with their degree from the theater program report average early career earnings of $24,656.

More information about a degree in drama & theater arts from University of California - Santa Barbara

10
Master's Degree Highest Degree Type
$23,856 Median Starting Salary
$19,500 Median Student Debt

Located in the large suburb of Malibu, Pepperdine is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of #94 out of 2,217 schools nationwide means Pepperdine is a great university overall.

There were about 15 drama & theater arts students who graduated with this degree at Pepperdine in the most recent data year. Graduates who receive their degree from the theater program earn around $23,856 in the first couple years of their career.

More information about a degree in drama & theater arts from Pepperdine University

Best Drama & Theater Arts Colleges in the Far Western US Region

Explore all the Best Drama & Theater Arts Colleges in the Far Western US Area or other specific states within that region.

StateCollegesDegrees Awarded
Washington300230
Oregon266176
Nevada19282
Hawaii16420
Alaska11913

View All Rankings >

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

Theater Concentrations

MajorAnnual Graduates
Theater Arts1,862
Acting381
Playwriting & Screenwriting326
Theater Design & Technology134
Musical Theater48
Costume Design26
Other Dramatic/Theatre Arts & Stagecraft24
Directing & Theatrical Production6
Comedy Writing and Performance2

View All Theater Focus Areas >

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts6,800
Design & Applied Arts4,768
Film, Video & Photographic Arts4,479
Music3,501
General Visual & Performing Arts1,286
Dance498
Arts & Media Management335
Other Visual Art45

View All Theater Related Majors >

Notes and References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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