our everyday life

Top Dramaturgy Schools

by Amy Pearson, studioD

Although the field is highly competitive, a few top schools across the country train dramaturgy students to succeed in the theater industry. Stated simply, dramaturgy classes teach students how to develop a story so that it can be acted out. In addition to traditional coursework, students work with highly trained, industry-respected experts in various theatrical productions. Dramaturgy graduates work in a variety of positions, including as dramaturgs, theater critics, editors, production managers and writers.

Columbia University

Columbia University's School of the Arts dramaturgy program trains graduate students in theater history, production, directing, theory and literature. "U.S. News and World Report" ranked Columbia’s School of the Arts 10th in the nation in 2012 for graduate studies in the fine arts. Students develop and produce several plays while they study fundamentals of playwriting, theater history and directing. Graduates work as producers, screenwriters, artistic directors, production dramaturgy of film development, according to the school’s website.

Carnegie Mellon University

Ranked fourth in the nation by "The Hollywood Reporter," Carnegie Mellon University’s dramaturgy program focuses on history and criticism and provides undergraduate students with a thorough understanding of the industry. The university also offers graduate level training in dramatic writing, production technology and directing. Students are active in theater productions, research and classroom discussions. They work together to improve analytical abilities and artistic interests, according to the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama website.

Yale University

Yale University’s historic School of Drama prepares master's and doctoral students for careers as literary managers, artistic producers or as dramaturgs in a theater, the Yale University website reports. Graduates work as editors, teachers, actors or theater critics. Several well-known actors including Paul Newman and Meryl Streep are graduates of Yale’s prestigious School of Drama, according to "The Hollywood Reporter," which ranks the program second in the nation. During history, literature and theory courses and throughout various theater productions, students receive an overall understanding of the industry. The university’s criticism workshops are a focus of the program, designed to evaluate and improve the creative skills of each student.

American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training

The American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training, in conjunction with Harvard University, trains graduate students to work as playwrights, theater critics, directors or dramaturgs, the American Repertory Theater website states. Classes taught by successful dramaturgs coincide with theater experiences for all students. The program is ranked 19th in the world by "The Hollywood Reporter." Students also receive training in Moscow from Russian dramaturgs. They participate in all aspects of theater productions at A.R.T. and M.A.T., and help plan productions with directors, do pre-show talks and write journal articles. Students often are paid to work at Harvard University’s Dramatic Arts program as teaching assistants and are encouraged to sit in on Harvard lectures. Graduates work in a variety of careers, including playwriting, dramaturgy, criticism and theater administration.

About the Author

Amy Pearson earned dual bachelor's degrees in management and horticulture. She is a licensed elementary teacher for kindergarten through sixth grades. Pearson specializes in flower and vegetable gardening, landscape design, education, early childhood and child development.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images