Mission & Overview

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama produces innovators, practitioners and industry leaders in the arts and entertainment professions who indelibly impact how people experience the world at large.

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama is the first degree-granting drama institution in the United States of America. The school combines established practice with progressive pedagogical and technological advancement across all disciplines. The School is committed to enriching a myriad of arts practices, championing interdisciplinary collaborations, and exploring new forms of creative expression. We strive to create an environment that encourages a diversity of opinions, voices, perspectives, and experiences and honors the identities (inclusive of race, gender, class, sexuality, religious belief, and ability) of all members of our community. We seek to promote the creative theatrical storytelling of a variety of cultures. The school’s conservatory program within the university is one that prepares students intellectually, artistically and practically to be leaders in their chosen professions, whether it be on stage, in film, television, or within the expanding realm of new media.

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama Core Values

We seek to be a community of educators, learners, leaders, and artists who cultivate an equitable, diverse, open, and inclusive community based on empathy and integrity in order to:

  • Promote artistic and individual growth through exploration, experimentation, iteration, and creative play.
  • Pursue rigorous collaborative and artistic creation, synthesizing histories and innovation.
  • Foster courage, curiosity, resilience, adaptability, and the joy of work.
  • Nurture and maintain wellness through sustainable personal, professional, and ecological practices.


Research Centers

Many individual research projects are undertaken at the School of Drama in the form of collaborations between faculty and students or faculty among colleges. There are also centers affiliated with the school devoted to interdisciplinary artistic research.

The Entertainment Technology Center

The Entertainment Technology Center offers a Master’s of Entertainment Technology, a degree conferred jointly by Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science. ETC’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to become entrepreneurs that combine technology and fine arts to create new processes, tools and visions for storytelling and arts entertainment.

The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry

The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University is a laboratory for atypical, anti-disciplinary, and inter-institutional research at the intersections of arts, science, technology and culture.

The Center for the Arts in Society

The Center for the Arts in Society is dedicated to energizing research and teaching that links the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with the College of Fine Arts. Various members of the School of Drama are part of the center.

Practicing Art

Young artists are challenged daily in a school committed to ongoing progressive engagement with all forms of theater. The program aims to inspire students to create signature work in their chosen discipline and to celebrate unique voices from diverse cultures. The school also fosters curiosity about the fusion between other art forms and progressive theater practice, including exploring the storytelling and entertainment potential of new technologies.


The focus of the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs is to study and create theater and performance work that is constantly connected to an ever-evolving world. Theater as an art form has never been more influenced by technology, by economics and by larger cultural developments than now. As artists, School of Drama graduates must engage with compelling ideas about society, science, history, and culture from varied perspectives.

Fulfilling Our Mission

The school actively encourages diverse opinions, voices and ethnic backgrounds, and promotes the creative canons of other cultures.

The school’s Visiting Artists Program exposes students to a broad cross-section of practicing artists, educators, researchers and theoreticians with the aim of expanding students’ creative imaginations and vocational arts horizons.

The collegiate environment at Carnegie Mellon University allows students to study in a setting where creative artists, computer scientists, philosophers, scientists, engineers and business personnel work side by side.


In addition to regular curriculum coursework, the School of Drama offers students multiple opportunities to learn collaboratively and further develop interests.

The Performance Program enables students to work on all areas of dramatic production including: classic, contemporary, cross-disciplinary and new work projects. Also, the Visiting Artists Program exposes all students to a wide variety of artistic leaders and performance specialists who build upon the faculty’s broad experience.

Additionally, the Study Abroad Program offers students the opportunity to live and learn in a foreign country and to interact with international artists, teachers and communities.

The school encourages students and faculty to make connections off-campus, within the Pittsburgh region, nationally and internationally. Working with faculty mentors and visiting artists, the students develop a personal connection with a wide variety of arts and entertainment practitioners and companies. The School of Drama’s eminent facility and staff work out of the Purnell Center for the Arts, the physical center of campus. Students take part in over 15 productions each year that are accessible to the university and wider Pittsburgh community.