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Undergraduate Admission

School of Drama

Where scene stealers and world builders make the stage.

Dress rehearsal for School of Drama performance.
"My favorite class at CMU was definitely Dramaturgy 4, where my professor asked us to each create our own mock theater company. The fact that our professor gave us the space and time to imagine ourselves as artistic directors showed me that she was invested in our futures as arts leaders."
Sabrina '22

College of Fine Arts

School of Drama

Since 1914, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama has been known as a place for wildly talented and technically masterful scholars of the performing arts. Here, you’ll be plunged into new realities alongside visionaries in every aspect of the craft — weaving together both storylines and costumes, building both characters and sets. Ultimately, you may be among the many CMU graduates who have gone on to win Tony Awards or Emmy Awards. But with or without the hardware, you’ll launch a career that’s creatively fulfilling. 

School of Drama Majors, Minor and More

Choose the path that fits you best. Browse all current School of Drama curriculums and courses.


Bachelor of Fine Arts

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is a rigorous Conservatory program providing classical theater training while incorporating contemporary changes to the discipline. In the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, you’ll pursue a selected concentration, but you’re encouraged to take courses throughout the school. As part of your training, you’ll work as a team to produce full-length dramatic works, musicals, one-acts, and more. Whether your talents lie on the stage, in the shop, or behind the script you’ll always be a part of Carnegie Mellon’s commitment to excellence in the global performing arts community.

With a general drama minor, non-majors get professional-level exposure to the theater arts as you supplement your major with a range of courses that involve acting, directing, playwriting and design, along with a series of related courses in theater history. You’ll also have the opportunity to be a crew member for various drama productions.

BXA Intercollege Degree Programs

Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts
Bachelor of Humanities and Arts
Bachelor of Science and Arts

At Carnegie Mellon, you’ll find creativity woven into the curriculum of every program. But nowhere is this truer than the BXA programs, which combine different academic areas with the arts in inventive, visionary ways. Each program’s focus is unique, but any of them will give you the creative, technical, academic and practical skills you need to innovate across disciplines in ways that are all your own. 

Acting and Music Theater


If you’re planning to pursue a career in acting or musical theater, the school’s Acting and Music Theater program will prepare you to shine. Each year, your courses will build on what you’ve previously learned, introducing you to a broad range of theater-making styles and techniques. It all culminates in Showcase, which gives you the opportunity to perform before industry professionals in New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. 

Costume Design


Great characters are essential to drama — and great costumes are essential in making those characters. In this program, you’ll learn and apply skills for this specialized field, and have the chance to design your own productions. You’ll also learn the art of production, gaining practical knowledge about the craft and marketable skills for your future career. 



In the John Wells Directing Program, you’ll learn the practice, theory and discipline of directing. As a directing student, you’ll interact with all theatrical disciplines, developing visual sophistication and a deeper understanding of practical production situations, stage management, criticism, playwriting and more. 

*Please Note: Admission to the John Wells Directing Program has been paused for fall 2024.*



There’s more to a production than what’s shown on stage or screen — and as a dramaturgy student, you’ll explore the rich history and deeper context of stories, characters and pieces, so that you can advise actors and crew on how to bring them to life accurately and effectively. Through a core curriculum of drama courses, supplemented by electives and dedicated dramaturgy courses, you’ll learn what it takes to become a professional dramaturg. And with a required internship with one of our partner theaters, you’ll put your skills to practice on real productions.

Lighting Design


Learn what it takes to create illuminating sets and inspiring work in the Lighting Design program, where you’ll explore all aspects of light as a visual design element. Here you’ll develop a unique vision and a creative voice, collaborating with other production elements to create a set that strikes just the right tone. You’ll also become an expert in the latest technology, including automated lighting fixtures, LED fixtures, visualization software programs and media design software, as well as in tools and techniques like focus and cueing, Vectorworks, and AutoCAD drafting. 

Production Technology


Technology plays a lead role in today’s live productions, and in this program, you’ll gain the knowledge of today’s technology, and the skills to excel in future innovations, too. As a production technology student, you’ll be an active part of the creative process, both in the classroom and on real, live productions. Your coursework will balance theory and practice, covering audio, lighting, scenic automation and the intersections between all of these disciplines. And you’ll have ample opportunities in professional situations with local theaters and production companies, including the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet, the City Theatre Company and more.  

Scenic Design


This program turns artists with a vision into imaginative, collaborative design thinkers who can build new worlds on stage, on screen and in all forms of media. As a scenic design student, you’ll be empowered to develop and explore your own creative pathways, taking classes in script analysis, devised creation activities, drawing, painting, model-building, multimedia, computer applications and installation techniques. You’ll also collaborate with people from nontraditional theater disciplines like robotics, art and architecture, to bring creative works to life and transport audiences to other places and times. 

Sound Design


As a student in this program, you’ll learn how to create sound design that makes sets, stories and scenarios feel more real. From conceptualizing the idea to learning the technology to put it into practice, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the physics of sound and how to harness it for storytelling — applying your skills through class work, productions, internships and interdisciplinary collaborations across campus. 

Stage and Production Management


In this program, you’ll gain a firm grasp of all things about the stage, learning what it takes to become a pro at managing productions for theater, television and more. With a curriculum that unites comprehensive classroom training and a rigorous series of production assignments, you’ll develop communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills. And with production opportunities — both on campus and in the Pittsburgh community — you’ll put your skills to the test in real-world theater settings, working with full production teams to bring powerful stories to life. 

Technical Direction


This program trains technologists of the future to become experts in their craft, through an intensive undergraduate conservatory curriculum that covers both academic development and production experience. On top of communication, problem-solving and collaboration skills, you’ll encounter a range of theatrical environments and resources, preparing you for a career as a leading professional in the entertainment industry. 

Video and Media Design


In this intensive course of study, you’ll gain a solid footing in both the historical and modern issues surrounding media technologies, as well as practical experience through class work and productions. Working with a faculty advisor, you’ll create a schedule of courses that lets you dabble in everything from animation to robotics, 3D image capture and creative coding. Ultimately, you’ll graduate with the skills to excel in a broad range of disciplines, including theater, film, television, dance, opera and events. 


School of Drama

Purnell Center for the Arts
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 School of Drama Website

Fact Sheet (PDF)(opens in new window)


Classes of 2021-2023, Six Months After Graduation


Employed or in Grad School


Average Salary

Recent Employers


City Theatre Company

Amazon Studios

Texas Shakespeare Company

High School Course Requirements

4 years English
10 electives

Mix It Up

You’re not just one thing. You’re a scientist. An artist. A technologist. A maker. A writer. Carnegie Mellon has been mixing it up for decades, and whatever you want to pursue, we’ve got the right mix for you.