The Top 10 BFA Acting Programs in the Country for 2017-18

This is usually a time where college seems to be on everyone's mind. Whether it's incoming freshmen getting ready to move into their residence halls or high school seniors preparing their applications, college is a constant discussion. 

For theatre students, where you attend can certainly have an impact on your career with the type of training you receive. It's also important to note that while each school listed here is excellent, a college degree doesn't guarantee success nor is one required to become successful in this industry. 

Here at OnStage, we take months to research the best BFA programs to come up with our own lists. We base it off cost vs. scholarships, curriculum, performance opportunities, facilities, the experience of faculty, career support, everything you yourself would consider before making a college choice. We even have gone as far to call admission offices to ask them questions. 

Once we collect all of the data, it's loaded into a matrix scoring system which determines where schools are ranked. Trust us when we say that some of the results even surprised us. 

10. Pace University - New York, NY

Fast Facts: The BFA Acting has an incoming class of 26-28 per year and they do not have a cut system. Freshman BFA Acting students will perform in a scene festival at the end of their Spring semester. 

9.  Millikin University - Decatur, IL

Fast Facts: Performance opportunities are available to students beginning in their first semester. All B.F.A. performance majors are required to audition for our mainstage season and freshmen are eligible for casting. The School of Theatre and Dance invites a variety of artists to campus to share their perspectives with our students. Guest artists have included:  Alum Sierra Boggess, Alice Ripley, Sheri Sanders (Rock the Audition) and Bob Mason (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre).

8. University of Miami - Miami, FL

Fast Facts: The Department of Theatre Arts facilities are housed in two complexes — the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre and the Hecht Rehearsal and Studio Complex. One course in the program is titled "The Theatre Industry". It looks at producing trends on Broadway, the Road, and Regional Theatre. The basics of producing, managing, and marketing a play from securing the performance rights to closing night.

7. Otterbein University - Westerville, OH



Fast Facts: The first two years of their Otterbein experience focuses on self-exploration, script analysis, characterization and discovery of personal working methods. BFA Acting majors also take diction and dialects, movement (Alexander and Feldenkrais), voice for stage (Fitzmaurice), scenework, acting for TV/Film and styles including Shakespeare. Acting majors are required to take a year of dance, and may take more. The senior year is highlighted by a ten-week internship centered around the students' interests.

6. Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY

Fast Facts: Facilities include The Syracuse Stage/Drama Theater Complex, also known as the Regent Theater Complex, which houses the Department of Drama and Syracuse Stage. It contains three theaters and a cabaret space as well as dance studios, performance/rehearsal studios, lecture rooms, seminar rooms, musical practice rooms, locker rooms, and showers.

5. University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA

Photo: Craig Schwartz

Photo: Craig Schwartz

Fast Facts: The BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media connects the foundation of classical theatre with innovative training for the contemporary performing artist, including on-camera techniques, voice over, motion capture, the digital landscape for actors and much more. An emphasis on professional development and networking culminates this groundbreaking new degree offering in the heart of Hollywood, which promises to be the standard-bearer for the next generation of acting programs.

4. The Juilliard School - New York, NY

Fast Fact: Training in the Drama Division is rigorous and the standards for self-discipline and satisfactory achievement are high. Each student's progress, achievement, and effort are discussed and evaluated periodically by the faculty shortly after each rehearsal or performance project is completed. While the entire focus of the training will be stretching and sharpening skills as an actor, continuing enrollment in the program is contingent not only on achievement, but also on conscientious effort, including regular and prompt attendance at all scheduled classes, rehearsals, and Drama Division activities.

3. Boston University - Boston, MA

Fast Facts: Program features immersive studio classes in voice, speech, movement, and Alexander Technique provide the foundation for the Acting major and encourage students to develop a profound connection to themselves. Students are exposed to a wide range of acting and movement techniques and are encouraged to embrace the unknown and to be open to new and varied approaches to the creative process. Also features guaranteed casting in the School of Theatre’s 35+ Productions each season, twice a semester beginning in the sophomore year. These rehearsal and performance opportunities provide students the opportunity to apply the dynamic work of their classes in practice.

2. NYU Tisch School of the Arts - New York, NY

Fast Facts: Upon acceptance into the Department, students are placed into one of eight different primary studios where they begin intensive conservatory training towards a strong foundation in technique. Students remain in their primary studios for two full years (four consecutive semesters). Once primary training is completed, students have many options for advanced training. It is important to understand that you are applying to Tisch Drama and not to a particular studio. The studio placement decision lies with the Department. 

The eight primary studios are listed below.

1. Depaul University - Chicago, IL

Fast Facts: The Theatre School at DePaul University is one of America's oldest and most respected theatre conservatories. Each year The Theatre School produces more than 30 productions - of varying shapes and sizes - to give students ample opportunity to synthesize what they are learning in the classroom. In addition to the theatre training curriculum, students complete 52 quarterly credit hours in the university's Liberal Studies Program. Courses are taken in theatre history, writing, quantitative reasoning and technological literacy, philosophical inquiry, religious dimensions, scientific inquiry, understanding the past, multiculturalism in the United States, and electives.