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Northwestern School of Communication

Music Theatre Certificate

Each year, second-year theatre, dance and performance studies students audition for a spot in the Music Theatre Certificate program. This interdisciplinary program prepares students for careers as music theatre performing artists, choreographers, composers, lyricists and directors. 

Students who are admitted to the program on the basis of their vocal and dance auditions develop the versatile performance skills demanded by this specialized art form. Students take specialized courses in music theatre techniques, as well as acting, voice, musicianship and dance. Students also study the history and creation of music theatre.

Music theatre is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in America—and one of the toughest to break into. Alumni of Northwestern and the Music Theatre Certificate program can be seen on Broadway and in national tours of hit productions.

For policies and advising, see Office of Undergraduate Programs and Advising.

If you are applying to the Northwestern University School of Communication Theatre Major and are interested in pursuing admittance to the Northwestern University Music Theatre Certificate Program, you are encouraged to submit an optional Music Theatre Supplement.*

*This is an optional part of the application process. The Music Theatre Supplement is not required. It is a tool that the Music Theatre faculty uses to advise the admission process.

If you are interested in Music Theatre and are applying to the Bienen School of Music, you DO NOT need to submit this Music Theatre Supplement. The MT Supplement is not considered for music majors.

Supplemental Materials

The Music Theatre Supplement is LIVE as of Wednesday, September 13, 2023.

The Music Theatre Supplement can be submitted online here.

A complete MT Supplement Application includes the following:

  1. A completed Information Form
  2. *Personal Statement (video) 

    We want to get to know you and learn about what you are interested in. 
    Please make a video recorded response to the following prompt--feel free to exercise your CREATIVITY:

    "How do you see yourself contributing to the future of music theatre as a field?"

    What artistically inspires you? 
    How can music theatre have a creative impact on the world?  
    How do you see collaboration as an important aspect of the arts?
    How would you define yourself as an artist?

    (This video can be recorded in any view.)

  3. *Performance Selections (video)

    Please prepare two contrasting musical selections that you love to sing. Feel free to include any style or genre. Please keep the total duration of your performance videos to a maximum of 1.5 minutes each. Choose material that authentically reflects different aspects of you. Please memorize your material.
    Songs may be unaccompanied or accompanied (with live or recorded accompaniment).

    (This video should be recorded in full body view.)

Optional Supporting Materials

If there is anything else you would like to share with us, feel free to also send in any of the following optional materials: video of a monologue, dance, instrumental skills, etc.

We prefer un-edited “one take” videos that are not professionally produced. Feel free to use a smart phone to record your video. Accepted file types for videos are: avi, m4v, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, vob, wmv, mkv.

Admission to the Music Theatre Certificate Program

Admittance to Northwestern University and the Department of Theatre does not ensure admittance to the Music Theatre Certificate Program. In-person auditions and interviews for the Music Theatre Certificate Program occur in winter quarter, and the course of study begins in fall of junior year.


Music Theatre Supplement deadlines coincide with standard Northwestern Undergraduate application deadlines:
Early Decision: November 1
Regular Decision: January 3

If you are a Transfer Applicant, you may submit the Music Theatre Supplement at the time of your application.


Please contact the Dr. Ryan T. Nelson ( with your questions regarding the Music Theatre Certificate Program or the Music Theatre Supplement process.

The Certificate in Music Theatre provides the opportunity for School of Communication students majoring in theatre, dance, or performance studies and Bienen School of Music students majoring in voice to create a second area of specialization that is important to their development as musical theatre artists.

Visit the major's Academic Catalog listing to see specific requirements for SoC students, which include:

  • Program requirements specify that students must take and pass 9 specific THEATER and DANCE courses: 3 Applied Voice courses, 3 Music Theatre Techniques courses, 2 Theatre courses and 1 Dance sequence(Different courses are required for voice students from Bienen School of Music.) 
  • Students must remain in the theatre, dance, performance studies, or voice major to remain in the Music Theatre Certificate Program; students who leave an eligible major for a noneligible one will be required to leave the program.