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Christian Colleges with Musical Theatre programs

doctorjohndoctorjohn Registered User Posts: 606 Member
edited October 2012 in Musical Theater Major
Someone wrote to me today, asking about Christian colleges with musical theatre programs. I thought it was a good question, so I went to the Big List and pulled out the private colleges and examined their websites. As I’m sure you know, almost all private colleges in America were founded by churches, and the ones which weren’t were begun by men and women who wanted to include religious perspectives in the education they were offering to students. (Brandeis is the one exception I know of, founded by the American Jewish community in 1947, but deliberately non-sectarian in its orientation.)

Much has changed in the last 150 years, and many schools which were tightly tied to their founding churches have loosened those ties and expanded their mission statements. But some have not. “Christian” has a very wide meaning, but I looked for mission statements which seemed to be fairly explicit. Ouachita Baptist’s statement that, “The education and preparation of a student for the future is enhanced by people of authentic faith and genuine commitment to Christ” is a good example. I’ve included a piece of each school’s mission statement (or an equivalent) to give some flavor of the college.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the number of schools I found; I believe deeply in the need for diversity in approaches to education. Some students truly need to come at the work in theatre from their spiritual core, and could find themselves desperately unhappy at a school whose approach feels like a violation of their very being. (That's another thread for another day.)

What follows is not yet a comprehensive list of such schools. I encourage others to suggest additions, and I’ll collate the results into another list to be added to the MT FAQ’s. As with the other lists on that site, this one is intended to be a starting place for prospective students and their families who are looking for a particular kind of educational experience. It is only a beginning.

The one thing I ask is that we not get into theological debates about whether any of these schools "really" belong on the list. I intended the list to be fairly broad in scope. I think we can trust people to do their own research.

As always, I hope this helps.


Ouachita Baptist
Our learning takes place in a Christ centered community. The education and preparation of a student for the future is enhanced by people of authentic faith and genuine commitment to Christ.


Notre Dame de Namur
Founded upon the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and rooted in the Catholic tradition, Notre Dame de Namur University serves its students and the community by providing excellent professional and liberal arts programs in which community engagement and the values of social justice and global peace are integral to the learning experience.


Palm Beach Atlantic
Palm Beach Atlantic University is a comprehensive Christian university with a core emphasis in the liberal arts. Its purpose is to offer a curriculum of studies and a program of student activities dedicated to the development of moral character, the enrichment of spiritual lives and the perpetuation of growth in Christian ideals.


Shorter College
The College affirms a commitment to the Christian faith and strives to integrate Christian values within a nurturing community in its whole process of education.


Friends University exists to provide a high-quality undergraduate and graduate education that incorporates liberal arts instruction and professional studies within the context of the Christian faith.


Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible lifelong contributions to the global community.


The mission of Nazareth College is to provide a learning community that educates students in the liberal arts, sciences, visual and performing arts, and professional fields, fostering commitment to a life informed by intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and aesthetic values; to develop skills necessary for the pursuit of meaningful careers; and to inspire dedication to the ideal of service to their communities. Nazareth seeks students who want to make a difference in their own world and the world around them, and encourages them to develop the understanding, commitment, and confidence to lead fully informed and actively engaged lives. (Founded by Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester.)


Established in 1851, Catawba College is … a private, coeducational college, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which has deliberately chosen to remain a four year institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition. Its purpose is to enrich the educational experiences of students and to prepare these students for productive and meaningful lives of purpose following their graduation.

A Presbyterian-affiliated institution founded in 1900 to serve the educational needs of the Southern Appalachian region, Lees-McRae College continues to provide a quality, values-based education in an ecumenical environment, inspiring and enabling individuals to contribute to a changing society with integrity and civic responsibility. Through a curriculum rooted in a liberal arts core and emphasizing leadership and service, graduates obtain knowledge, skills, and a holistic understanding of themselves and the world.

Mars Hill
Mars Hill College is a place where faith and reason meet, where students, faculty and staff explore questions of faith reasonably in the spirit of Christ-like compassion and respect. While Mars Hill is not a church, our roots are Christian and our heritage is Baptist. We encourage students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and alumni in their practice and expression of faith. We honor the variety of denominations, faith traditions, worship practices, theological persuasions and spiritual disciplines represented among our constituencies.


Ashland University is a comprehensive university, associated with the Brethren Church, where Judeo-Christian values are the foundation of the educational and social environment. The University promotes the liberal arts and sciences as well as professional development for undergraduate and graduate students. Founded in 1878 in Ashland, Ohio, the University serves a diverse student population through its main campus, regional centers and Seminary.


It is the mission of DeSales University to provide men and women with quality higher education according to the philosophy of Christian humanism as developed by Saint Francis de Sales and his spiritual heirs. The University imparts knowledge about, and develops talents for, personal, familial, and societal living. DeSales University enriches the human community and enhances the dignity of the individual through its educational endeavors. In its work, the University fosters a vital and respectful dialogue between Roman Catholic faith and human culture.

Seton Hill
Seton Hill is a Catholic university rooted in Judeo-Christian values. In the tradition of Elizabeth Ann Seton we educate students to think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world


Abilene Christian
As a nationally recognized Christian university, our mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. We integrate faith and learning throughout the curriculum, reflecting the theological perspective of the broad mainstream of Churches of Christ.

Texas Christian
Our Mission: To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community. Our Vision: To create a world-class, values-centered university experience for our students. Our Core Values: TCU values academic achievement, personal freedom and integrity, the dignity and respect of the individual, and a heritage of inclusiveness, tolerance and service.


Brigham Young
The mission of Brigham Young University is "to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life" … To this end, BYU seeks to develop students of faith, intellect, and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and to serve others throughout their lives. These are the common aims of all education at BYU. Both those who teach in the classroom and those who direct activities outside the classroom are responsible for contributing to this complete educational vision.


West Virginia Wesleyan
West Virginia Wesleyan College challenges its students to a life-long commitment to develop their intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and leadership potential and to set and uphold standards of excellence. Firmly rooted in the liberal arts tradition and closely related to The United Methodist Church, the College is a community of learning based on fundamental principles formed at the intersection of Christian faith and liberal education: intellectual rigor, self-discovery, human dignity, mutual support, social justice, self-discipline, mental and physical wellness, the appreciation of diversity and the natural world, and the judicious use of resources.


Carthage College
Carthage is a private college of the liberal arts and sciences, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America… Carthage boasts a long-standing commitment to educating the whole person by nourishing the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical dimensions of students' lives. The College offers:
a curriculum that challenges students to think critically and express themselves effectively;
a campus life that encourages involvement and service;
a community of faith that nurtures spiritual growth and develops moral responsibility;
co-curricular activities that inspire students to test their own limits and express their individuality.

Viterbo, a Catholic, Franciscan, ecumenical University, prepares students for leadership and service by providing a student-centered, values-based, learning-focused liberal arts education rooted in the values of human dignity and respect for the world.
Post edited by doctorjohn on

Replies to: Christian Colleges with Musical Theatre programs

  • onstageonstage Registered User Posts: 1,250 Senior Member
    There are a number of Wesleyan colleges -- I know of at least two others. Would they be similar to West Virginia Wesleyan as far as mission statements?
  • doctorjohndoctorjohn Registered User Posts: 606 Member
    Best thing to do is check. Don't assume.
  • soozievtsoozievt Registered User, ! Posts: 31,314 Senior Member
    What about Catholic University which offers a BM in MT and is in Washington, DC?
  • musicmom1215musicmom1215 Registered User Posts: 2,033 Senior Member
    Oklahoma City University: (copied & pasted from the web site)
    Oklahoma City University embraces the United Methodist tradition of scholarship and service and welcomes all faiths in a culturally rich community that is dedicated to student welfare and success. Men and women pursue academic excellence through a rigorous curriculum that focuses on students' intellectual, moral, and spiritual development to prepare them to become effective leaders in service to their communities.
  • doctorjohndoctorjohn Registered User Posts: 606 Member
    Good additions. Thanks.
  • OneSongGloryOneSongGlory Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Catholic University of America has an awesome program, check it out.
  • Defy_yourself_04Defy_yourself_04 Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    I go to a catholic school, Siena Heights University for musical theatre. Check us out :D
  • musicmind11musicmind11 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    Samford University is an active Baptist school in Birmingham, AL. They offer Musical Theatre and it is a really good program with great faculty.
  • natenate - Posts: 129 Junior Member
    Belmont University in Nashville Tennesse!
  • NotMamaRoseNotMamaRose Registered User Posts: 4,090 Senior Member
    Muhlenberg does not offer a BFA, but a student can fashion his or her own MT major by combining a major in acting/theater with double minors in dance and voice. On the MC web site, it says this: <<Honoring its historical heritage from the Lutheran Church and its continuing connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Muhlenberg welcomes and celebrates a variety of faith traditions on campus and encourages members of the College community to value spiritual life.>>
  • MelsmomMelsmom Registered User Posts: 1,040 Member
    Elon's "About Us" states in the first paragraph that they are founded by the Christian Church (now the United Church of Christ). I know they have weekly interfaith services and an active Catholic group too.
  • rebek59rebek59 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Anderson University in Anderson, SC (not the one in Indiana) has an awesome Musical Theatre major program and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • frantikifrantiki Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Marywood University, is affiliated with the Catholic church. They are located in Scranton, PA and offer an audition based BA in MT.
  • megpmommegpmom Registered User Posts: 3,114 Senior Member
    Everyone's definition of "Christian" college is different. Obviously, a Catholic college is very different from a Baptist college. So, here are the "top" United Methodist MT schools. There are others, but this is just from the top of my head.

    Ohio Northern
    Illinois Wesleyan
    Oklahoma City U
    Southwestern U
    American U

    Other UM schools with good theatre (but no MT degree): Boston U, SMU, Nebraska Wesleyan, McMurray (TX), Hendrix.
  • snapdragonflysnapdragonfly Registered User Posts: 646 Member
    Megpmom - Nebraska Wesleyan does now offer a BFA in musical theater. I am very happy to see you mention it on your list because it is one of the "we haven't ever heard anyone else talk about it but it looks really good to us and we might possibly be able to go there" schools on our list. :-) We are visiting in March and I'm very curious about it.

    We have also visited Southwestern in Georgetown and that is a real little gem of a school: if someone is wanting a seriously high quality overall liberal arts education as well as theatre training, that's one to look at. It's on the list of "colleges that change lives." Lovely.

    You didn't say anything about Texas Wesleyan - we are visiting next weekend and we have been told it has a good theater department. Do you know anything about it?

    Another we have run across is Missouri Valley College, which is a Presbyterian affiliated school not far from Columbia, MO that offers a BFA with an MT concentration.

    St Edward's in Austin, a Catholic university, does not have an MT concentration but it's theater program has a very good reputation and they do put on frequent musicals. You can, if you want, get your equity points there.
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