Career Guide to JMU Majors: Musical Theatre

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds



Get the Facts

The Major

The Musical Theatre major is within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

The Musical Theatre major, is a Bachelor of Arts degree program and is offered by the School of Theatre and Dance.  The Musical Theatre Program curriculum includes coursework in acting, dance, voice, musical theatre performance and audition technique, theatre and musical theatre history, technical theatre, music theory, and piano. Students develop their skills in a structured program that includes one-on-one mentorship and guidance. The School of Theatre and Dance also offers majors and minors in Theatre and Dance.  

Tell me more about this field of study

As a student in the Musical Theatre Program at JMU, you will experience one of the most active production programs of any undergraduate theatre program in the country. We believe learning is only complete when applied to production. Students have the opportunity to audition for and perform in many productions each year including a faculty or guest directed main stage musical with orchestra, a faculty or guest directed studio musical or musical revue,  and student-produced musicals. Additional performance opportunities include recitals, staged readings, and workshop productions.

Tell me more about specialization

Students in the Musical Theatre major are expected to meet all of the program objectives:

  1. Recognize and understand the unique and complex requirements of integrating music, theatre, and dance into a unified production.
  2. Demonstrate expertise in specific performance techniques that are unique to musical theatre production to include: vocal skills, dance skills, song interpretation skills, and other specific skills appropriate to individual needs and abilities.
  3. Acquire knowledge of the allied genres of opera, light opera, and contemporary theatrical music.
  4. Obtain knowledge of the history, literature, and analysis of musical theatre, opera and other appropriate music areas as they relate to theatrical performance.
  5. Achieve proficiency in the fundamental principles of music theory and musicianship as they pertain to music theater performance.
  6. Participate regularly in music theatre performances of various scales and styles.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

Some common combinations are Art, Art History, Creative Writing, Cultural Communication, Film Studies, Jazz Studies, Modern Foreign Languages, Music and Writing.

Characteristics of Successful Students

A strong work ethic, an appreciation of the arts in general and their place in society, strong collaborative skills, a positive outlook and ability to promote themselves as artists and create employment opportunities for themselves.


Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Artistic Director
  • Opera Performer
  • Production Manager
  • Puppeteer
  • Stage Director
  • Storyteller
  • Studio Musician
  • Talent Scout
  • Theatre Critic
  • Theatre Actor
  • Theatre Manager
  • Theme Park Entertainer
  • Tour Manager
  • Voice Teachers/Tutors
  • Children’s Theatre Director
  • Community Arts Developer
  • Broadway Performer
  • Convention Director
  • Cruise Director
  • Drama Coach
  • Drama Critic
  • Drama Teacher
  • Dress Designer
  • Film / TV Actor
  • Movie Double
  • Musical Theatre Actor

Who employs graduates?

Amusement and Theme Parks, Children's Theatres, College/Universities, Commercial Theatres, Community Theatres, Cruise Ships, Industrial Shows, Newspapers & Magazines, Not-for-Profit Theatres, Primary and Secondary Schools, Public Relations Firms, Radio Stations, Regional Theatres, Show Groups, Talent Agencies, Television & Motion Picture Studios, and Touring Companies.

Internships and Practicum Experiences

Practicums are required in the musical theatre curriculums through main stage and summer productions. Theatre and Musical Theatre faculty assist students in finding and procuring internships throughout the USA in the various areas of theatre..

View our list of internship coordinators for each major.

Get the Facts

What are JMU graduates doing with this major? 
Dancers and Choreographers
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Music Directors and Composers
Producers and Directors
Art, Drama and Music Teachers, Postsecondary
Music Therapists
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