Are you a brainiac and a future Broadway star?! Maybe you’ve felt the pressure to choose between pursuing musical theatre and metaphysics? Maybe you’re seeking rigorous academic and artistic stimulation? If any of these sound like you, keep on reading…

We all know the storied legacy of those eight historic institutions in the Northeast: Ivy-laden brick buildings, extremely selective admissions, preeminent academic achievement but…theatre programs? I know what you’re thinking...”really?” The answer is yes, Ivy League schools have theatre programs, and while they might not be a conservatory-style BFA MT program, half of these institutions offer graduate theatre degrees (in addition to their undergraduate offerings) and many sport impressive partnerships with some of the finest regional theatres nationwide. Check out the list below as we dive into the theatre programs at each of the 8 Ivy League Schools:

Brown University | Founded in 1764

Brown University houses The Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (also known as “TAPS”) where faculty and students explore theatre, dance, speech, performance art, and more. The department offers an undergraduate Theatre Arts and Performance Studies concentration, with students choosing to pursue one of the following tracks: Theatre Arts, Performance Studies or Dance. In addition to offering a doctoral program in Theatre and Performance Studies and an MFA program in Playwriting, Brown bestows an MFA in Acting and Directing through a joint program with the award-winning Trinity Repertory Company.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Theatre and Performance Studies

  • M.F.A., Playwriting / Acting / Directing 

  • Ph.D., Theatre and Performance Studies

Columbia University | Founded in 1754

Columbia University is broken down into a number of smaller colleges in which two of these colleges, Columbia College and
Barnard College, offer a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts and a BA in Theatre, respectively. While each student must adhere to the
overall requirements of their particular college, the coursework of both programs is identical and allows students to concentrate in: Drama and Theatre Studies, Acting, Design, Directing, Dramaturgy, Playwriting or Stage and Production Management. The School of the Arts at Columbia University is purely for graduate students and offers an MFA in Theatre with concentrations in: Acting, Playwriting, Dramaturgy, Directing, Stage Management, and Theatre Management and Producing

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Drama and Theatre Arts / Theatre

  • M.F.A., Theatre

Cornell University | Founded in 1865

Within their College of Arts & Sciences, Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) offers a BA in Performing and Media Arts along with the following minors: PMA, Theatre, Film and Dance. Additionally, Cornell offers a doctoral program that bestows a PhD in PMA.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Performing and Media Arts

  • Ph.D., Performing and Media Arts


Dartmouth University | Founded in 1769

Dartmouth University offers a BA in Theater major with courses divided between theatrical practice and theory. Students have the opportunity to pursue a variety of concentrations or pursue a multifaceted approach to their course offerings. Dartmouth also boasts an impressive array of Theater alumni, such as  Mindy Kaling, David Harbour and Shonda Rhimes.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Theater

Harvard University | Founded in 1636

Students can officially declare their pursuit of Harvard University’s BA in Theater, Dance, and Media (TDM) in their sophomore year. Combining intense practical instruction from professionals at the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) with abstract and theoretical studies of theater-making, Harvard’s TDM programming presents a wide variety of professional collaboration opportunities, master classes, and both professional and student-led productions. A Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) is also offered in the field of Dramatic Arts.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Theater, Dance, and Media

  • A.L.M., Dramatic Arts

University of Pennsylvania | Founded in 1740

The University of Pennsylvania’s BA in Theatre Arts program provides a broad-based education in theatre. Comprised of seven required classes plus six electives and one production practicum, the Theatre Arts program is also commonly completed in tandem with another major.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Theatre Arts

Princeton University | Founded in 1746

Princeton University offers certificate programs in both in Theater and Music Theater through their Lewis Center for the Arts which engages students in courses on all aspects of theatre. A partnership with the McCarter Theatre offers real-world experience and exposure to supplement the scholarly exploration of the theatrical art form that occurs in the classroom. Students are encouraged to declare their intent to pursue these certificates no later than their Sophomore Spring.

Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate, Theater / Music Theater

Yale University | Founded in 1701

Yale University offers a BA in Theater and Performance Studies that incorporates a wide array of curricula, including the Dance curriculum, Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater and the Computing and the Arts curriculum. The newly renamed David Geffen School of Drama at Yale boasts alumni such as Meryl Streep and Lupita Nyong’o and offers an MFA in: Acting, Design, Directing, Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Playwriting, Stage Management, Technical Design and Production, and Theater Management. The institution also plays host to the Yale Repertory Theatre in residence at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.

Degrees Offered:

  • B.A., Theatre and Performance Studies

  • M.F.A., Acting / Design / Directing / Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism / Playwriting / Stage Management / Technical Design and Production / Theater Management


If your heart lies both in arts and academics, maybe one of these Ivy League theatre programs might be for you!  If you’re interested in some free resources to help you throughout your college audition journey, be sure to visit our College Audition Podcast in addition to our newly released Spotlight App by clicking here! Serving primarily as a searchable database with over 750+ Acting, Theatre, and Musical Theatre programs, Spotlight consolidates critical details such as audition requirements/deadlines, financial aid resources, and both academic and artistic contact information for each program.


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