What Are the Best Schools for Acting?

If you're looking for a job that involves wearing many hats, you may want to be an actor. Read on to discover some of the top schools in the country, as well as what degree programs they offer. Find out what to expect from a top program. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of the Best Acting Schools?

Top acting schools provide you with physical, vocal and academic training. You may want to look for schools that offer programs that lead to union membership in Actors Equity. Programs should provide you with opportunities to perform in on campus and professional theatre productions. Theatre departments should offer a variety of productions and plays for you to choose from, which can allow you to display your acting strengths.

The best schools usually have opportunities for you to meet with film industry professionals so you can begin networking before you graduate. Additionally, you'll want to consider acting schools that boast illustrious alumni and award-winning programs.

What Are Three Great Acting Schools?

Florida State University in Tallahassee

The FSU undergraduate program gives you the opportunity to audition for performances in three different theatres at the school plus the chance to learn at the Theatre Academy London in your third year. During your final year, you get to be featured in the showcase held in Los Angeles.

The master's program gives you a chance to work with experienced faculty members, some of whom are members of Actors Equity and others who've written books or starred in theatrical releases. The 3-year graduate program is offered through the Asolo Conservatory, and the school provides a full tuition waiver and assistantship opportunities. By the time you graduate, you'll be eligible to join Actors Equity if you choose. FSU offers the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Master of Fine Arts in Acting

Pace University in New York City

Pace University's Master of Fine Arts program is the only one of its kind and is supervised by the prestigious Actors Studio. You get to perform in downtown Manhattan in your final year, giving you a chance to display everything you've learned at Pace University. Your program also includes weekly workshops that cover a variety of topics in theater, including auditioning, analyzing scripts and directing, as well as participate in craft seminars. The faculty members have been involved with many different sectors of the acting industry; some have worked alongside well-known actors, while others have directed or coached critically acclaimed actors.

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater

University of California - San Diego

The University of California - San Diego (UCSD) was ranked number 41 on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities. The UCSD is home to the La Jolla Playhouse, which is a Tony Award winning theatre, and the TheatreForum.

As an undergraduate student, you can audition for any of the shows produced within the theatre department and participate in the studio project. At the graduate level, you'll be performing at the La Jolla Playhouse and may have the opportunity to work with professional actors. The work of some of the faculty members has been presented in multiple countries and on Broadway. You can pursue the following degrees at UCSD:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
  • Master of Fine Arts in Theatre and Dance

Ten of the Best Acting Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
Yale University Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above New Haven, CT$53,000
The Juilliard School Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above New York, NY$45,000
New York University-Tisch School of the Arts Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above New York, NY$52,000
Carnegie Mellon University Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above Pittsburgh, PA$55,500
Old Globe, University of San Diego Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above San Diego, CA$49,000
Brown University Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above Providence, RI$55,500
Rutgers University-New Brunswick Public, 4 years and above New Brunswick, NJ$15,000
University of California-Los Angeles Public, 4 years and above Los Angeles, CA$13,000
University of California-Irvine Public, 4 years and above Irvine, CA$14,000
University of Southern California Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above Los Angeles, CA$56,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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:

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