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Quality of undergrad programs at schools with a graduate program?

octavian133octavian133 19 replies27 threads Junior Member
edited September 2014 in Theater/Drama Majors
Specifically Brown, Yale, and Columbia. They all have undergrad and graduate programs, and I've heard great things about them, but do the graduate students overshadow the undergrad students? Do they get more attention and such? I'm thinking about applying to all of them through QuestBridge, so if I get accepted to one of them, admission is binding and I don't have the means to tour them. So if anyone has any information about their experience in the undergrad program please reply. Thanks!

Edit: I'd like to go into Acting & Directing or technical theatre
edited September 2014
7 replies
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Replies to: Quality of undergrad programs at schools with a graduate program?

  • bisouubisouu 2408 replies145 threads Senior Member
    We were told specifically at our tour of UCI that the grad students were cast over the undergrads…which makes sense since they have had more experience. Hard enough to compete with your own classmates but to be up against the grad students seems to add an additional hardship.
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  • soozievtsoozievt ! 31650 replies378 threads Senior Member
    I highly suggest contacting faculty and students in these UG programs. Then, you'll get the direct information. I am not as familiar with Columbia's programs, but I am pretty sure that the UG Theater programs at Brown and at Yale are quite separate from the their renown grad programs and there are LOTS of opportunities for the UGs to be in productions, etc. that I believe ONLY have undergrads in them. But please do check. These two schools are ones I think better known for theater than Columbia.
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  • KatMTKatMT College Rep 4183 replies71 threads Senior Member
    The graduate programs are separate from the undergraduate programs at these schools (and Harvard as well if interested), and all have lots of performance opportunities for undergraduates. At Columbia I believe that the undergraduate theatre program is through Barnard.

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  • Times3Times3 1345 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I checked with a couple of former students who went to Yale undergrad in theater studies, and they both confirmed the comments above.
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  • arwarwarwarw 1291 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2014
    Yes, all undergrad theater courses at Columbia University are taught across the street at Barnard College.

    Yes, the grad programs at these schools are completely separate from the undergrad programs. Separate productions, separate faculty and separate students.

    The undergrad experience at these schools will be quite different from any BFA or MFA program. You should read this - it's also applicable to both Brown and Barnard/Columbia:

    http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/04/23/up-close-for-thespians-yale-degree-not-enough/
    the program reaffirmed what it sees as a defining characteristic of theater instruction at Yale. In Dorfman’s words: “This is not vocational training. We don’t see it that way.”

    Instead, the program will uphold its view of theater “as a branch of the humanities and as a complex cultural practice [that] claims a rich history and literature and an equally rich repertoire of embodied knowledge and theory,” as the Blue Book states.

    Yale’s promise to students of a liberal arts education is very different from what they might receive at more career-focused conservatory programs.

    According to Sarah Lovely, director of college counseling at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass., a conservatory education provides a “very high level of training at least five days per week, with the option of acting or singing or dancing in a lot of performances in between.”

    The Yale program is a far cry from that practice-oriented structure. Majoring in theater studies, students said, is not enough to learn the skills that are integral to a career in the field.


    edited September 2014
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  • arwarwarwarw 1291 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Here is one recent example of the benefit of a graduate program to the undergrads:

    https://news.brown.edu/articles/2014/09/sweeney
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  • soozievtsoozievt ! 31650 replies378 threads Senior Member
    ^^^That is a wonderful example! And it is even more amazing because Sock 'n Buskin puts on student run productions!

    (I have a daughter who attended Brown, not for theater, and loved it)
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