The Top 10 Musical Theatre Colleges In the Country

Find any Broadway musical playing today and I’ll show you a cast that, almost entirely, attended a reputed musical theatre program for their undergraduate degree.

In today’s hyper-competitive world of musical theatre, a degree in musical theatre is practically essential for employment in the top musicals worldwide.

The best schools offer training in three major areas – singing, dancing, and acting.

While we have compiled a ranking today of the top 10 musical theatre schools, the most important part is finding the “right-fit” school for you.

One way to start this journey is by looking at the credits involved in the program you will be taking. Some schools focus more on acting, others music, others dance. Generally, a Bachelor’s of Music will have a greater focus through total credit hours on music than a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts.

We made this list by “averaging out” several other rankings list found online of the top musical theatre schools. We sourced other published lists online and scored schools in each list based on their positions. The lists we used to make this list are available at the end of the article.

All of these schools are well-represented not only on Broadway by their alumni, but also in award-winning television shows, plays, off-Broadway productions, and more.

Here are the top 10 schools for musical theatre in the country.

10. Pace University School of Performing Arts (New York, NY)

Pace’s Theatre – Public domain photo by JRodz15 via Wikimedia Commons

Pace is among the top schools in the country for both acting and for musical theatre.

What makes Pace unique is its faculty are not just “academicians,” but also working professionals; they have performed on Broadway, on television, and have taught a generation of students who have risen to the top of their craft.

Due to Pace’s location in New York City, the school is an obvious choice for the aspiring musical theatre student.

According to Playbill, nearly two-dozen alumni of Pace are active in Broadway musicals this year.

At the end of a student’s four years at Pace, seniors stage a showcase attracting directors, agents, and other industry professionals from NYC and LA.

9. Pennsylvania State University School of Theatre (State College, PA)

Penn State
George Chriss, Penn state old main summer, CC BY-SA 3.0

Alumni of Penn State University can be seen everywhere. They are starring in The National Tours of Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Book of Mormon, 42nd Street, and dozens of other top shows.

The program at Penn State is characterized by exceptionally small class sizes. The entire undergraduate musical theatre program has just 48 students, or about 12 per class.

Eleven faculty members serve these 48 students, making the student:teacher ratio here just 4:1, perhaps the most favorable ratio of all top-tier musical theatre programs.

As the class size is so small, admissions is highly selective; many hundreds of students apply to Penn State each year, and only a fraction gain admission.

The faculty here are as experienced as one can find at any school; they comprise professional dancers, actors, musicians, and more.­

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