Music Theater

Program of Study

From opera to Broadway musicals to experimental music theater, the many hybrids of singing, acting, and movement are among the most historically significant, socially relevant, and artistically adventurous forms of performance. With a liberal arts education as its base, Princeton’s Certificate Program in Music Theater encourages students to explore music theater as an intensely collaborative art form, as a key component of world cultures, and as an entertainment genre that shapes and is shaped by history, economics, politics, and technology.

The Program in Music Theater encompasses Princeton’s curricular tripartite of creation, performance, and study. Students in the Program take courses in Music, Theater, and Dance, as well as related courses in other departments, taught by faculty across the university who compose, write, create, perform, and research music theater’s various forms that combine music, dance, text, and design. Additional classes are taught by guest artists. Students can create new music theater work, participate in music theater production, and/or produce new scholarship in music theater history, theory, and criticism.


The Program in Music Theater is open to juniors and seniors who are committed to music theater practice and/or scholarship. Students may begin taking courses that count toward certificate requirements in their first year at Princeton.

Requirements for the certificate in Music Theater: 

(1) Coursework

  • 1 course in Theater
  • 1 course in Music
  • 1 course in Dance
  • 2 courses, either academic or practice-based, that focus specifically on a form of music theater, including opera, American musical theater, and experimental music theater. These courses need not be cross-listed with MTD (Music Theater).

Students may count courses for the music theater certificate that will be used to fulfill the requirements of the theater certificate and/or the musical performance certificate.

(2) Senior Independent Work:

This work might take the form of creating a music theater piece: composing the music and/or writing the lyrics and/or writing the book. It might be the direction of a production, the performance of a major role, or the design or dramaturgy of a production, under the supervision of faculty and professional staff, independently, or in conjunction with another campus-producing organization. This work might be an independent scholarly paper or another music theater-oriented project.

If the student’s department permits, the student might choose to complete one part of the departmental independent work (senior thesis) on a topic approved by the Program in Music Theater faculty dealing with some facet of music theater in relation to that department’s subject matter.This independent work could take the form of a textual, cultural, or theoretical study; or it could be a combination of research and practical work supervised by the program faculty and the student’s departmental adviser.

(3) A certain number of hours of technical work on theater productions staged by the Program in Theater

These are decided on a case by case basis depending on the Program in Theater’s production needs. Students can work in the costume or scene shop, help to build a set or hang lights or locate props, stage manage, run a light or sound board, work on the run crew, or many other jobs. As a benchmark, serving as the stage manager on one production typically fulfills the Program in Theater’s tech hours.

A student who fulfills the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in music theater upon graduation.

Students wishing to receive a certificate register online at any time prior to senior year. Register now

There is no application process — all students are accepted into the Program in Music Theater.


Check out a helpful visual guide and FAQs about pursuing a certificate in a program in the Lewis Center for the Arts »


The following courses will satisfy the elective requirement for two courses in music theater. Additional courses may be taken as electives with approval from the program director.

  • AMS 315/MTD 315/THR 344/AAS 309: Race & the American from Minstrelsy to Hamilton
  • ATL 494/MUS 301: Sounding Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Alchemy in Music Theater; Making Comic Opera (Note: Various other Atelier courses focus on music theater projects)
  • DAN 321: Special Topics in Dance History: Choreographers on Broadway
  • ENG 376 / THR 376: Curious Aesthetics: 20th Century American Musical Theatre
  • ENG 318/ THR 310 / MUS 338: The Musical Theatre of Stephen Sondheim
  • GSS 337 / MTD 302 / THR 347 / AMS 336: Gender Crossings in American Musical Theater
  • GSS 365 / THR 365 / ENG 365 / AMS 365: Isn’t It Romantic? The Broadway Musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim
  • MTD 335 / MUS 303: The Development of the Multi-Skilled Performer
  • MTD 341: Acting and Directing for Musical Theater
  • MUS/MTD 220: The Opera
  • MUS 223: The Ballet
  • MUS 214, 219: Projects in Vocal Performance (opera or musical theater topics)
  • THR 334: The Nature of Theatrical Reinvention

In addition to the courses listed above, the Department of Music offers many courses that can be used to satisfy their requirements for the Program in music history, theory, composition, and performance. For additional information on specific courses, students may contact Professor Jamie Reuland, Departmental Representative for the Music Department, at

The Princeton Atelier offers up to four courses a year. Atelier courses are onetime events built around a visiting artist’s newest work and current preoccupations. Various Atelier courses focus on music theater projects and may also be used to fulfill the elective requirement.

» View Music Theater Courses


Students in the Music Theater Program are provided with 5 hours of subsidized voice lessons with a Princeton University instructor. Students who wish to take additional private lessons may sign up on the Music Department website during registration period of the previous semester or during the first weeks of the semester. Students are billed for lessons at the current hourly rate. Students in Music Department ensembles are eligible for half subsidies. All students on Financial Aid receive full support for vocal and instrumental lessons. For information on Financial Aid, please contact Elizabeth Badger, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, at 

Singers in the program may also wish to consider auditioning for the Music Department’s choral ensembles. This is an excellent way to build musicianship and be exposed to a wide range of repertory. For more information, please contact Gabriel Crouch, Director of Choral Activities, at

Register for the MTD Certificate

Students wishing to receive a certificate register online at any time prior to senior year. There is no application process — all students are accepted into the Program in Music Theater. Register online.

If you have already submitted an application, you may edit/update the form to track your progress toward the Certificate in Music Theater here »