Theatre Teacher Prep 4+1 Program | Salem State University Skip to main content

Theatre Teacher Prep 4+1 Program


Theatre Teacher Prep 4+1 Program

Are you interested in becoming a high school drama teacher? We have a great new program tailored just for you!

Combined Bachelor of Arts Theatre Arts/Master of Education Secondary Education


In 5 years you can graduate with:

  • BA in theater (performance or technical concentration)
  • Minor in secondary education
  • Fully endorsed MA initial licensure in: PK-12 theatre
  • Master of Education (MEd)

This combined 4+1 program allows theatre majors interested in teaching theatre to earn both a BA with a minor in teacher education and an MEd with endorsed PK-12 theatre licensure for Massachusetts. This integrated program between theatre and the School of Education includes, among other key features, a full year of teaching methods in theatre course work as well as a full year working in an educational setting  (student teaching and internship). 


Students are eligible for the program when they have completed between 30 and 90 credits. For most students this is means they would apply in the spring of their sophomore year and begin the program in the fall of their junior year. Successful completion of prior course work and passing certain state licensure tests are necessary. Thus students are encouraged to meet with the theatre education 4+1 program coordinator, professor Julie Kiernan, as early as possible in their university career.


If you would like more information please contact:

Julie Kiernan 

Assistant Professor
Coordinator, 4+1 master's program in theatre education

Eligibility Requirements


Eligibility requirements to the 4+1 program include, but are not limited to:

Initial requirements: (usually by spring of sophomore year)

  • Completion of between 30-90 credits with a 3.0 minimum overall GPA
  • A passing score on the Communication and Literacy portions of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  • Completion of EDC 115 with a grade of C or higher
  • Work habits faculty recommendation form
  • ·Completed application

If initial requirements are met students are then invited to:

  • Complete a 250-300 word essay
  • Participate in an interview

Upon successful completion of the eligibility requirements students begin with a cohort of students during the fall of their junior year and stay with that cohort until the end of their fifth year and successful completion of the program. 

Retention in the program is based on satisfactory academic progress (maintenance of a 3.0 overall and Theatre major GPA), the passing of specific MTEL tests required for licensure in the chosen field and periodic end of semester assessments.  Students who do not meet these retention guidelines must exit the program and complete a degree without licensure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If I think I am interested what should I do right now?

    If you are currently applying to Salem State University you should:

    • Enter as a THEATRE major (not an education major).
    • At orientation and/or electronically let the University know you want the 4+1 degree in Theatre Education.
    • Sign up to take EDC 115 in your first semester.

    Once on campus (or if you are already a Salem State student)

    • Contact Professor Julie Kiernan to set up a meeting
    • Fill out the “4+1 INTEREST” form
    • Sign up to take EDC 115 as soon as possible
  • What is the difference between this and a Elementary Education/Theatre Double Major?

    The 4+1 in theatre education gives you a PK-12 licensure to teach theatre. This means you are a specialist who teaches theatre. Job openings requiring this specific license are usually high school theatre/drama teacher, middle school theatre/drama teacher, and district theatre/drama teacher. It is rare (although not impossible) to have an elementary school that has funds to have a theatre teacher. The ‘district’ theatre/drama teacher would normally serve this role and would roam through all levels of schools in a district (town) teaching one or two classes at each one.

    A 4+1 in elementary education with a second major in theatre prepares you to be an elementary education primary teacher. This means that you have your own elementary classroom and you teach all the subjects to your students. While you could include fun theatre activities you would not be teaching theatre specifically. All elementary education majors must have a second major in a content area, yours would be theatre, but you would not be a teacher in an elementary school who teaches theatre. Main teachers in elementary school are required to take additional and different MTEL tests and their learning is focused on accommodating this very young learner and their needs. This degree is not licensed to teach middle or high school theatre.

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