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2021 Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools

407 Colleges
$21,403 Avg Salary
$26,932 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Drama & Theater Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 17,726 people earned a degree or certificate in drama and theater arts, making the major the #69 most popular in the United States.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Or you may find the programs at a trade school to be a better alternative for you.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. This report analyzed 407 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Theater

#1

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Our 2021 rankings named University of Notre Dame the best school in the United States for drama and theater arts students. Notre Dame is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Notre Dame.

The average amount in student loans that theater majors at Notre Dame take out is $19,500. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $202.

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#2

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Cornell University. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list. Cornell is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Ithaca.

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#3

Duke University

Durham, NC

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Duke University. The school came in at #3 on this year’s Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list. Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means University of Virginia - Main Campus is a great place for drama and theater arts students. Located in the small suburb of Charlottesville, University of Virginia is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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Out of the 407 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo landed the # 5 spot on the list. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of San Luis Obispo.

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#6

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Williams College ranked #6 on this year’s Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list. Located in the town of Williamstown, Williams is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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University of North Carolina School of the Arts did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for drama and theater arts students. It came in at #7 on the list. UNCSA is a small public school located in the medium-sized city of Winston-Salem.

While working on their degree, theater majors at UNCSA accumulate an average of around $44,250 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $498.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. Located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor, U of Michigan is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The average amount in student loans that theater majors at U of Michigan take out is $18,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $187, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Wisconsin - Madison landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best drama and theater arts programs. Wisconsin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Madison.

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KD Conservatory College of Film and Dramatic Arts came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. KD Conservatory is a small private for-profit school located in the city of Dallas.

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#11

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Fairfield University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for drama and theater arts students. It came in at #11 on the list. Fairfield U is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Fairfield.

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#12

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Vassar College landed the #12 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best drama and theater arts programs. Vassar is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Poughkeepsie.

On average, theater graduates from Vassar take out $17,000 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $176, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#13

Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Northeastern University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. Located in the city of Boston, Northeastern is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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#14

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Loyola Marymount University ranked #14 on this year’s Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list. Located in the large city of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

Theater majors at Loyola Marymount take out an average of $20,500 in student loans while working on their egree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $213, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#15

Valencia College

Orlando, FL

Valencia College landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best drama and theater arts programs. Located in the city of Orlando, Valencia College is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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#16

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

On average, theater graduates from Carnegie Mellon take out $45,250 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $510, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Concordia College at Moorhead landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best drama and theater arts programs. Concordia College Moorhead is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize suburb of Moorhead.

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#18

Taylor University

Upland, IN

Taylor University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for drama and theater arts students. It came in at #18 on the list. Located in the distant town of Upland, Taylor U is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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With a ranking of #19, University of Nebraska at Kearney did quite well on this year’s best schools for drama and theater arts students. Located in the distant town of Kearney, UNK is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

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The University of Texas at Austin did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for drama and theater arts students. It came in at #20 on the list. UT Austin is a very large public school located in the large city of Austin.

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#21

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best drama and theater arts programs. Located in the small city of Evanston, Northwestern U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

While working on their degree, theater majors at Northwestern U accumulate an average of around $14,250 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $148.

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University of Nebraska - Lincoln ranked #22 on this year’s Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Lincoln, UNL is a public school with a very large student population.

While working on their degree, theater majors at UNL accumulate an average of around $22,104 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $229.

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Southern Connecticut State University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools ranking. Located in the medium-sized city of New Haven, SCSU is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

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With a ranking of #24, Pennsylvania State University - Berks did quite well on this year’s best schools for drama and theater arts students. Located in the large suburb of Reading, Penn State Berks is a public school with a fairly small student population.

Theater majors at Penn State Berks take out an average of $26,025 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $270, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for drama and theater arts students. It came in at #25 on the list. Pitt is a fairly large public school located in the city of Pittsburgh.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools

#27

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY
#28

American University

Washington, DC
#31

Brown University

Providence, RI
#32

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles, MO
#34

Emerson College

Boston, MA
#36

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#38

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
#39

Yale University

New Haven, CT
#41

New York University

New York, NY
#42

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#48

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY
#49

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#50

Truman State University

Kirksville, MO

Additional 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 407 different United States drama and theater arts schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
52 Luther College Decorah, IA
53 University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Whitewater, WI
54 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
55 Boston University Boston, MA
56 West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX
57 Tufts University Medford, MA
58 University of Minnesota - Duluth Duluth, MN
59 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
60 Illinois State University Normal, IL
61 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Drama & Theater Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
62 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
63 Bradley University Peoria, IL
64 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
65 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Edwardsville, IL
66 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
67 Susquehanna University Selinsgrove, PA
68 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
69 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
70 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
71 Rutgers University - Newark Newark, NJ
72 Elon University Elon, NC
73 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
74 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
75 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
76 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
77 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
78 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX
79 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
80 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA
81 Wagner College Staten Island, NY

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

One of 9 majors within the area of study, drama and theater arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

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

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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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