Online Masters in Theatre Graduate Programs and Degrees

For the student who is both ready to take their education and technical skills up a notch as well as enthused with the performing arts, earning an online Masters in theatre degree may be a great fit. Enrolling in a MFA theatre program online can be a wonderful way to open different career paths whether as actors, directors, stage managers, playwrights, dramaturges, administrators, teachers, and theatre critics.

Masters in Theatre Online Degree Program Student Skills

What is an Online Masters Degree in Theatre?

Broadly, the term theatre refers to a production form in the fine arts where actors and performers present a theme in front of a live audience. Sometimes this can involve dancing, singing, or recitation of lines. It is a collaborative process that involves not only the creative elements of production, playwriting, and acting, but also the collective of talents that it takes for set designing such as lighting, costumes, stage managers and sound producers, and directors. Theatre and Drama professionals may take on any number of different roles such as in production, the artistic processes, or as an academic theatre scholar who interprets, researches, or teaches. Typically, mfa theatre programs online are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in the world of theatre in any one of these avenues and who need the flexibility of a distance-learning format in order to do this.

Potential advantages to earning an Online Masters in Theatre

In the case of professionals currently working in theatre who want to balance study with other elements in their schedule, earning a masters degree in theatre online could be a convenient way to update skills and technical knowledge, and potentially jump-start a career or job search.

Since you do not have to commute to class, this format is flexible. Typically, students log into a course management system when they can, and complete their work assignments on the schedule provided by the curriculum. New digital tools keep you connected to your classmates and professors, and online study tools are used as well, so there is still a feeling of interaction as if you were on a college campus.

If this sounds like it might be for you, you can begin searching for mfa theatre programs online by location. Use the tabs on and enter a city, state or country to determine where you could study. Or you can just browse results for online masters in theatre graduate programs.  Whether you are interested in an online MA in Theatre Education, or an online Master of Arts in Theatre, you have potential options to explore.

What can I learn in an Online Masters in Theatre Graduate Program?

Curriculums in online Masters in Theatre graduate programs are likely to vary between schools and individual program concentrations. Some of the topics that students in theatre and drama masters programs might learn can include:

  • Theatrical production
  • Theory
  • Criticism
  • Analysis of dramatic literature
  • Fundamentals of research
  • Playwriting
  • Set Design
  • Acting
  • Directing

What kind of education do I need to pursue a career as a theater professional?

Depending on what kind of job you are interested in pursuing, there may be different levels of education, experience, technical knowledge or proficiencies required. Here are a few examples, referenced in BLS data that might be of interest to masters in theatre graduates:

  • Broadcast technicians typically need an associate’s degree, and should take courses that emphasize practical skills such as video editing and production management[i]
  • Actors often enhance their skills through formal dramatic education, and long-term training is common[ii]
  • Directors and Producers usually have a Bachelor’s degree; many stage directors complete a degree in theatre and some go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree[iii]
  • Art directors need at least a Bachelor’s degree, and in order to take on a more creative or managerial role, may complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree[iv]
  • Writers and authors in salaried writing positions are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree[v]
  • Postsecondary teachers most commonly have a PhD[vi]

What kind of career paths are there for Online Masters in Theatre graduates?

The Masters in Theatre graduate may choose from a variety of professions, depending on what he or she's most passionate about, as it may be a versatile credential for potential career paths such as actors, producers, directors and production roles[vii]. According to the BLS, industries in the performing arts could include four basic processes[vii]:

  1. Producing and presenting events
  2. Organizing, promoting and managing events
  3. Managing and representing entertainers
  4. Providing the artistic, creative, and technical skill necessary to the production of these events.

Ready to pursue an Online Master in Theatre degree?

Whether you are drawn to theatre because you enjoy analyzing and teaching drama, acting or performing, wearing the directors cap, writing a play, or working as sound or art director, earning an Online Master in theatre could be a degree that has  potential. Why not look through the different mfa theatre programs online on to find the one that matches your aspirations!

Sources: [i] | [ii] | [iii] | [iv] | [v] | [vi] | [vii]

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