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Musical Theater University Programs

Musical theater degree programs can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Find out the typical entry requirements for a degree program in this field as well as coursework and performance requirements.

What Might I Learn in a Musical Theater Degree Program?

An undergraduate or graduate program in musical theater can prepare you for work as a professional on-stage performer. As a musical theater student, you'll likely undergo intensive training in three areas - dance, theater and music - which combine to form the art of musical theater. The dance portion of your studies might train you in a variety of dance styles, including tap and ballet, while the part of your curriculum related to music might educate you in both vocals and instruments, such as the piano. In addition to training that can make you a better performer, you may learn about the history of theater in general, as well as the specific history of musical theater.

In most cases, musical theater curricula include a combination of classes, practical training and participation in live performances. You also might learn to script musical theater performances.

Program Topics Dance styles, vocals, instruments, theory history and scripting
Entry Requirements A background in musical theater, skills in dancing, acting and singing, and possible piano proficiency
Degree Requirements Completion of coursework, internships, faculty-evaluated performances, research and script analysis
Median Salary (2018)$49,630 (Music Directors and Composers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% growth (Music Directors and Composers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Entry Requirements?

Entry into a musical theater program can be competitive, and you'll likely need a background in musical theater performance before you apply. The application process is different at every school, but all programs have some common requirements, such as displaying your skills in acting, dancing and singing. Some colleges and universities may require you to demonstrate proficiency in piano as well. While many schools require a live audition, others may accept a video application.

What Are the Degree Requirements?

Graduation requirements for your musical theater program will depend on the school you attend and the level of degree you're pursuing. While the most common degree you can earn is a bachelor's degree, graduate programs also are available in musical theater and musical theater writing. In general, requirements for an advanced musical theater degree include completion of coursework and one or more theater internships, as well as faculty-evaluated performances. Other requirements may include research, script analysis or a thesis project.