Drama Classes, Colleges and Training Programs

There are many drama career options to consider, from acting to drama therapy. Read on to learn more about drama education and training programs, which may offer concentrations in playwriting, technical design, theatrical directing and more. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Though some institutions are devoted exclusively to the performing arts, most drama schools are part of a standard college or university. Well-endowed colleges and universities with a tradition in the dramatic arts have the resources for professional-quality stage productions.

Degrees Bachelor of Arts in Drama, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts, Master of Fine Arts in Acting/Professional Acting, Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies
Classes Acting, scene design and construction, stage lighting, sound design, critical analysis of theatre, plays and styles, ethnic studies in drama
Schools Yale School of Drama, University of California School of Arts, DePaul University Theatre School

What Can I Expect from a Drama School?

Like professional theatres, drama schools stage several productions per year, which provide fledgling actors, as well as costume designers, props masters and others, with abundant opportunities to develop their craft. Some drama schools have more than one theatrical venue to stage multiple performances. A conservatory may produce hundreds of public performances a year. Additional facilities may include shop facilities, script libraries and sound design studios.

Which Undergraduate Drama Degrees Could I Earn?

You could earn either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Drama. Drama is a broad field of study, and you'll be able to choose from among several concentrations within it. If you aspire to a performing career in theatre, you might choose either one, depending on which school you attend. If you plan to pursue another career in drama, such as playwriting, dramaturgy (the process of adapting materials for the stage) or technical design, you'll most likely choose a B.A. program.

What Are My Options for a Master's Degree?

You might choose a Master of Arts (M.A.) program in drama if you plan to pursue a career in drama education, theatre criticism or history, theatrical directing or producing. If you plan to be a performer, you'll probably choose a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program. To pursue a career in drama therapy, look for a Master of Arts in Psychology program with a drama therapy concentration.

What Classes Will I Take?

Your undergraduate coursework would typically include drama theory and dramatic literature. You may also take technical courses such as costume design or theatrical makeup. If you concentrate on scene design, you might take architecture history and art history classes. In a musical theatre program, you'll study singing and dancing. You might be studying these topics as well:

  • Acting
  • Voice
  • Directing
  • Stage lighting design
  • Set design
  • Drawing
  • Fine arts

What About Graduate Coursework?

As a master's-level drama student, you'll take advanced courses in the subjects you studied as an undergraduate. If you decide to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Drama, which will prepare you to teach drama at the college or university level, you'll pursue a program of independent research and student teaching. These topics might be covered in your graduate program:

  • Teaching drama
  • Playwriting for young audiences
  • Directing styles

Are Online Classes Available?

Since this type of program depends so much on in-person performance, 100% online programs aren't viable for this major. However, you may be able to take courses that cover theoretic and historic concepts of drama online. These may include classes in the following areas of interest:

  • Theatre foundations
  • History of American theatre and drama
  • Ancient drama
  • Dramatic theory
  • Criticism
  • Acting in film
  • Play analysis

What Will I Learn in a Training Program?

You can learn specific acting, theatre directing or playwriting skills through training programs offered by community theatres and adult education facilities. You might choose a drama training program to complement your education, to gain the experience you'll need to enter a drama therapy program, for personal enrichment or to enhance your communication skills. Course offerings vary by program and instructor, but some of the courses you might find through drama training programs include:

  • Voice
  • Dialect
  • Safe stage combat
  • Physical movement
  • Improvisation
  • Singing for actors

What Will I Learn in a Drama Therapy Program?

As a drama therapy student, you'll study the way drama can make changes in clients' lives by helping them heal from psychological wounds and explore themselves. You'll learn about dramatic play, roleplay, psychodrama, dramatic ritual and theatre techniques. You'll learn to apply these techniques to counseling children, adults and geriatric populations with a variety of developmental, cognitive and mental health issues.

You can apply to a master's degree program in drama therapy after earning a degree in drama, theatre arts, psychology, social work, counseling, a health care field or education. If you major in a field other than drama as an undergraduate, you'll still be expected to have hands-on drama experience.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

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  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Saint Joseph's University

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    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    • Master

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