Which Acting Schools Are in Virginia?

Learn about acting schools in Virginia. Get information about degrees available and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Post-secondary students in Virginia can pursue a bachelor's degree or master's degree in acting. Specializations and tuition costs vary, with some schools specializing in acting and others emphasizing musical theatre.

What You Should Know

Acting programs in Virginia are typically offered through 4-year universities and colleges. Several 4-year bachelor's degrees programs are available, including those in theatre & dance, acting and drama. If you already hold a bachelor's degree, you might be interested in a 3-year master's degree program in Shakespeare & performance, theatre or acting. An audition, DVD or portfolio are required for admittance to most programs. Read further to learn more about these acting programs offered in Virginia.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Virginia

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in performance or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Acting. An audition is required for admission to both programs, and once enrolled you are expected to complete an annual audition as well. Both of these programs offer courses in stagecraft, script analysis, theatre history and the basic principles of directing. However, the B.F.A. program includes twice as many acting courses as the B.A. program. In the B.F.A. program, you could also study stage fighting techniques and modern dance. In both programs, you are required to attend at least 40 theatre events in order to graduate.

  • Program: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance/Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Program Length: Four years full-time
  • Tuition: In-state, $9,480 per academic year, fees included; out-of-state, $26,220 per academic year, fees included (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Auditions for admissions and to continue in the program
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 20,115 undergraduate and 4,817 graduate students

Shenandoah University

This program encourages the Stanislavski acting method while comparing and contrasting other types of training techniques. Shenandoah also places an emphasis on classical Shakespearean training. You'll need to give an audition in order to be admitted. Your acting classes will include studies in diction, accents, movement and improvisation. You'll also study the workings of a production by taking classes like stage make-up, costuming, set construction and stage lighting. As part of your curriculum, you'll be required to audition for all non-musical theatre stage productions.

  • Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Specialization Areas: Musical theatre
  • Program Length: Four years full-time
  • Tuition: $30,760 per academic year, fees included (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Audition for admission
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 1,892 undergraduate and 1,801 graduate students

University of Virginia

As an acting major at the University of Virginia, you'd be able to participate in courses such as musical theatre performance, movement, stage combat, script analysis and theatre makeup. In addition, you would get the opportunity to work with texts from television and film. This program also offers a course known as 'acting out', which is a unique opportunity to develop scenes and monologues to be performed around the university's campus. You can also participate in electives, such as viewpoints, improvisation, acting for film and auditioning.

  • Program: Bachelor of Arts in Drama
  • Program Length: Four years full-time
  • Tuition: In-state, $15,192 per academic year, fees included; out-of-state, $44,365 per academic year, fees included (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Drama supplement (a DVD or portfolio of past work) for admissions
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 16,483 undergraduate and 7,249 graduate students

Master's Degree Programs in Virginia

Mary Baldwin College

Mary Baldwin College offers the unique graduate degree program in Shakespeare and performance. Through a partnership with the American Shakespeare Center, this college allows you to perform in a recreation of the Blackfriars Playhouse. While working with Shakespearean texts, you would get the opportunity to fine-tune your acting skills while also learning how to direct, write and teach. You can expect courses in the language of performance, Shakespeare pedagogy, textual culture and directing. Both programs require a master's thesis.

  • Program: Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance
  • Specializations: Acting, directing, dramaturgy, teaching
  • Program Length: Three years full-time
  • Tuition: $12,285 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 1,423 undergraduate and 331 graduate students

Regent University

Regent University offers both a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theatre and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Acting with a focus on becoming a Christian artist. You can concentrate in either general acting or in directing. Electives include improvisation, advanced scene study, voice and stage combat. The M.A. in Theatre requires courses on the theories and concepts of theatre production, aesthetics, text analysis and theatrical design. The M.F.A. degree program requires hands-on courses in Meisner technique, text analysis, voice and movement, screen acting, auditioning and Shakespeare.

  • Program: Master of Arts in Theatre/Master of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Fields of Study: General acting or directing
  • Program Length: Three years full-time
  • Tuition: $667 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree and audition
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; 2,374 undergraduate and 3,540 graduate students

University of Virginia

The M.F.A. program in acting at the University of Virginia admits only eight students every three years. The first year concentrates on the body and voice, encouraging you to act on your impulses and explore your speech, breath, alignment and sound production. The second year of study concentrates on developing technique through courses in text analysis, period styles, mask work and stage combat. The third year focuses more on performance and transitioning from academia to the workforce. You would be able to develop original pieces and collaborate with others to create performances.

  • Program: Master of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Program Length: Three years full-time
  • Tuition: In-state, $14,518 per academic year; out-of-state, $24,316 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree and audition
  • School Type: 4-year, public; 16,483 undergraduate and 7,249 graduate students

Students in Virginia planning to study acting can choose between the undergraduate and graduate programs offered at Old Dominion University, Shenandoah University, University of Virginia, Mary Baldwin College, and the University of Virginia.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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