Expand mobile version menu

Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General. A program that focuses on the general study of dramatic works and their performance. Includes instruction in major works of dramatic literature, dramatic styles and types, and the principles of organizing and producing full live or filmed productions.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

Theater and drama students know there's no business like show business. But before they're ready for Broadway or Hollywood, actors need to learn the craft. There are many educational options for a career on stage or screen.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in drama or theater. Students can also opt to do a master's or PhD. Most students who take a PhD want to teach at the college or university level.

You can also take a two-year program at the community college level. Many of these programs will give you two years of credit at a university if you decide later that you want to do a four-year degree.

There are also many private theater schools that focus entirely on theater training, rather than the broad curriculum you get at a college or university.

One example is the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which operates campuses in New York and California. It offers a two-year professional program leading to an associate's degree, as well as evening, weekend and summer programs.

You may want to enroll in a program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theater. While accreditation is not mandatory, accredited programs have met certain academic standards.

Theater classes cover set design, costume design, history of theater, stage management, acting, technique and music. A drama or theater student can expect to become well-rounded in culture and communication.

Students who major or minor in theater develop more than just acting, producing and directing techniques.

"Students will have the ability to understand the different styles of acting and theater, [the] ability to communicate honestly and openly and a good foundation of knowledge of technical theater and construction," says Carrie Morgan. She is a theater professor at Oswego University in New York.

Consider acting in high school. Do as many productions as possible. This includes acting as well as stage management and scriptwriting. Public speaking courses are also helpful.

Paul Mulholland is the academic counselor for the drama department at a university. He recommends not only performing in productions, but also attending as many theater performances as possible.

"I would suggest that prospective students should try to attend as much theater as they can, and if possible follow this up with analytical evaluation of the various aspects of the productions seen," he says.

Besides tuition, theater students can expect to shell out money for books. Other fees include student organization membership fees and fees for things like costumes and make-up.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Actors

For more information related to this field of study, see: Producers and Directors

Playbill Online
Magazine focusing on Broadway theater

American Academy of Dramatic Arts
An example of a school offering related training

Talkin' Broadway
Find out what's playing and read some reviews


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733