Musical Theater

Musical Theater Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Theatre: Musical Theatre Concentration

Musical Theater

Study the craft of musical theater with professors who share your passion.

For students interested in acting, voice and dance, PennWest California offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater with a concentration in Musical Theater. PennWest California's musical theater concentration provides professional training and performance opportunities along with comprehensive liberal arts courses. You will train under knowledgeable professors with many years of performance and production experience, with the goal of becoming a well-rounded performer.

PennWest California has the distinction of being an Educational Affiliate with Estill Voice International. Our performance curriculum includes Estill Voice Training, which is studied by professional performers, including many Broadway and recording artists. EVT encourages those who seek vocal versatility to explore the full range of expression in the human voice, but not at the expense of vocal well-being. Today's professional theater can be quite vocally rigorous and requires artists with tremendous versatility and good vocal health. As a student of musical theater at PennWest California, you'll learn through Estill the tools for a sustained career as a performing artist.

Develop your talents through training and education.

  • Gain an invaluable scholarly background in theater history and theory .
  • Explore and strengthen all elements of musical theater performance through dedicated courses in voice, acting and dance.
  • Practice the craft learned through dedicated study while collaborating with peers in a real-world production environment.


A Trusted Approach: PennWest California is one of the only colleges in Pennsylvania to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre. The program has a long track record of producing professional performers.

Balanced Curriculum: While the musical theater concentration is designed to enhance the gifts of passionate performers, PennWest California's commitment to providing a quality liberal arts education ensures that degree recipients will leave with a broad knowledge base that improves employability.

Learn more about applying

Average salary for qualified drama and musical theater teachers, according to
Estimated number of people who visited live theatrical performances in the United States over the last 12 months. (Statistica)
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Degree Benefits

PennWest California's Musical Theater concentration melds an excellent educational foundation with ample opportunities to practice craft. PennWest California theater students may:  

  • Perform in a vibrant season which includes musical theater, straight shows and dance.
  • Secure internships and regional performance opportunities with guidance from top faculty.
  • Increase opportunities in the competitive market by honing audition skills, developing your headshot/resume/website  and learning from presentations and workshops. 
  • Become well-versed in design or theater technology, which enhances marketability.
  • Work with PennWest California's wide network of alumni to find meaningful summer and post-degree performance opportunities.
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Graduate Outcomes

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a better-than-average increase in actors by 2024 as a result of growing demand for television, film and new media performers. Theater and drama teachers are also in demand, as vacancies in that career track have increased 36% since 2004. Graduates of PennWest California's theater program are well-prepared to enter the competitive job market, and our alumni have gone on to prestigious careers as performers, teachers, and coaches in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Musical Theater Bachelor's Degree
A musical theater major sings during a PennWest California performance.

High-Level Performance Opportunities

PennWest California provides students with multiple quality performance opportunities, both in our own productions and across western Pennsylvania. Beginning in their freshman year, theater students travel with faculty to regional and national auditions and interviews. Faculty assist all students as they pursue summer and yearround professional opportunities and graduate study.

Musical theater majors at PennWest California practice in studio.

Experienced Teachers

Our theater professors not only have excellent scholarly backgrounds, but they've also had extensive hands-on experience as professional performers and production managers.

A PennWest California musical theater graduate sits on bench with cap and gown.

Why is PennWest California a Smart Decision?

Callifornia University of Pennsylvania is among the best values available in higher education. This is particularly important for actors, as Backstage magazine reports, because "actors who have (little or) no student debt have more freedom and flexibility to manage the typical lifestyle of an actor in the American theater."

Musical Theater Bachelor's Degree Courses

PennWest California's bachelor's degree with a concentration in musical theater produces a well-rounded performer with a broad liberal arts education.


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  Composition I
Public Speaking
CDC 201  Argumentation and Advocacy (recommended)  OR  any course on menu
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics or Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
HSC 315  First Aid and Personal Safety (recommended)  OR  any course on menu
Technological Literacy
THE 480  Digital Performance (recommended)  OR  any course on menu
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
MUS 104  Voice Class (recommended)  OR  any course on menu
Natural Sciences
CMD 221  Speech Science  OR  any course on menu
3 or 4
Social Sciences
PSY 100  General Psychology  OR  PSY 211  Social Psychology  OR  any course on menu
General Education Options
  • THE 140  Script Analysis (recommended)  OR  any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • General Education Options Courses (three courses)
Required Theatre Core Courses 27
DAN 131  Foundations of Dance 3
THE 131  Fundamentals of Acting 3
THE 141  Stagecraft I 3
THE 150  Introduction to Theatrical Design 3
THE 302  History of Theatre I 3
THE 304  World Drama  OR  ENG 425  Shakespeare Theatre  OR  THE 306  Modern Drama   3
THE 312  History of Theatre II 3
THE 320  Fundamentals of Directing 3
THE 450  Senior Thesis 3
Required Musical Theatre Core 15
Select 15 credits from the following:
  • DAN 132  Ballet Technique 
  • DAN 134  Tap Technique I 
  • DAN 133  Jazz Technique I 
  • DAN 233  Jazz Technique II 
  • DAN 260  Modern Dance 
  • DAN 301  Theatre Dance I 
  • DAN 302  Theatre Dance II 
  • MUS 215  Comprehensive Musicianship I 
  • THE 203  Musical Theatre Performance I 
  • THE 126  Makeup I 
  • THE 145-445  Private Instruction (4 credits)
  • THE 255  Puppetry 
  • THE 303  Musical Theatre Performance II 
  • THE 403  Musical Theatre Performance III 
  • THE 356  Practicum: Technical Practicum (3 to 6 credits)
Additional Electives/Minor 38
MUS 211  Keyboard Class (recommended) 0 or 3
THE 431  Acting in Musical Theatre (recommended) 0 or 3
THE 401  Finding Your Voice (recommended) 0 or 3
Student-Selected Electives/Minor Courses 29 to 38
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): Any 3-credit Special Experience Course
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): THE 312 Theatre History II AND Select from: THE 304, THE 306 OR ENG 425
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Course

Musical Theater

  • Theater (General)
    PennWest California offers a degree in theater for undergraduates who want a cosmopolitan blend of all aspects of theater with the flexibility of tailoring study to a student's specific interests.
  • Design and Entertainment Technology
    PennWest California theater majors with an interest in production design and entertainment technology often take advantage of this prescribed degree.
  • General Theater Minor
  • Theater History Minor
  • Musical Theater Minor
  • Dance Minor
  • Technical Theater Minor
  • Acting Minor

Additional Resources

What Can You Do With a Musical Theater Concentration

Performance Opportunities At PennWest California