The best theater colleges in the U.S., as ranked in 2012 by the Princeton Review, are often home to historic facilities and state-of-the-art costume and set production studios, sometimes located near metropolitan theater districts. The criteria used for the Princeton Review's rankings include the number of productions each year, facilities, faculty background, and student survey responses. At these schools, acting and performance students receive instruction from renowned voice coaches and actors, while design and directing majors learn about modern techniques and cutting-edge technologies used in theater.
State University of New York at Purchase
SUNY-Purchase College was named the no. 1 theater university in the U.S. by Princeton Review. The school offers several undergraduate degree tracks, including two Bachelor of Fine Arts tracks in acting and theater design/technology. SUNY-Purchase offers several theater minors, as well as a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater design. This school has been certified by the Consortium of Professional Theatre Training Programs, one of only four schools included in the consortium.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama, ranked Princeton Review's second best theater college, offers several fine arts degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. The program is known for its many different facilities, including state-of-the-art scene and costume shops, as well as a 450-seat proscenium theater. CMU's School of Drama was the nation's first theater conservatory training program, founded in 1914.
Located on Staten Island, Wagner College is home to the third best theater program in the U.S., according to the Princeton Review. The liberal arts college only offers undergraduate degrees through the Department of Theatre and Speech, with the emphasis on musical theater. Students can choose four concentrations, including performance or design, and the department stages several plays each year featuring student casts. In addition, students at the university can continue their studies in the college's Summer Music Theatre Institute.
Boston's Emerson College is home to the Princeton Review's fourth best theater program. The college's Department of Performing Arts offers several Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs in areas like acting, musical theater and stage design. Undergraduates can also earn Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater studies and theater education. The university's largest theater, The Cutler Majestic Theater, is an historic facility located in the heart of the city's theater district. One other noteworthy facility is the Paramount Center, which includes two theaters as well as student residences.
M.H. Davis is a writer based in San Francisco. He has worked for newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado and covered environmental issues for NewWest.net. Davis also writes a weekly blog for Edutopia.org.