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A Guide to Studying Theater in Europe

Did you know that, as an international student, you can get a degree in Theater at a top-ranked European university? Best of all, it's taught entirely in English and costs less than 1 year of tuition at a US college.

What are my options?

European Bachelor's programs taught entirely in English.
European Master's programs taught entirely in English.

About this area of study.

If you pay attention and know what to look for, you'll notice that most people are actually very bad at expressing themselves. Using your voice, gestures, facial expressions, and movements to convey a feeling or idea is supposed to come naturally, but this isn't always the case. When talking about speaking eloquently in front of a group of people, well, that just doesn't seem instinctive at all to most people.

Great modern orators like Steve Jobs generally weren't born with this skill, but studied and practised it. Martin Luther King actually got only a C in public speaking in seminary school. In other words, learning to act is about more than appearing on stage or screen: it is a valuable life skill (and one most people don't possess). 

A theater degree is about way more than walking the boards, though. Not everyone wants to or can be a performer - hard as acting is, making a living doing it is even harder. Bachelor's programs in theater cover all aspects of the performing arts.

You're probably already thinking about things like scriptwriting, set design, choreography, and directing. These are supplemented by technical subjects, including lighting design, videography basics, and sound engineering. 

A less obvious aspect of a degree in theater is that it also covers the business aspects of producing a play or independent film: marketing, financial management, and media studies are some examples. Most theater curricula give students the option of specializing in different directions through elective modules, allowing you to prepare yourself for careers either in front of the audience or camera, or somewhere behind the scenes.

There are some pretty significant differences in how theater degrees are taught in the United States versus Europe. In the first place, American actors, especially in film and television, are supposed to be models first - in Europe, they're just expected to be good actors. Europe also has a much more vibrant local theater scene, which is comparatively rare in the U.S. aside from in a couple of cities.

American universities also tend to try and fit theater courses into the same mold as other degrees like engineering or social sciences. In Europe, curricula are more likely to be organized around themes rather than stand-alone modules. In either case, though, you can expect a lot of practical work, including creating your own costumes and a one-act play in your final year.

Careers options in this area of study.

After graduating, you can apply for various jobs in the performing arts and media. Note that what you say you can do isn't nearly as important as what you've already done: internships, independent projects, and references from lecturers and people you've worked with are immensely important especially when you're starting out.

Theater graduates often find work outside their academic specialty, too. They are valued for their public speaking, teamwork, and communication skills. These are particularly prized in fields like sales, marketing, advertising, human resources, education, and public relations. Actors earn an average of only $19,000 per year through acting jobs, but the median salary for theater graduates is around $55,000 annually. In other words, while the odds are against you becoming famous, theater is far from the useless degree it's often made out to be.

Admissions information.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport. Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

How to study in Europe.

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to find English-taught degrees.

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs and get started on your journey to Europe today.

Travel the world while you get your degree.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You shouldn't be! We're here to help in any way we can... and if it means running extensive searches and using our best judgement to lead the way, we're all for that too.

We get that choosing a program feels like committing to a major early on, but in reality it is more of a general direction. A Best Fit List gives you a unique list of 3 to 5 programs tailored to your needs, helping you take the headache – and heartache – out of choosing a program.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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