Is Ucla A Good School For Acting

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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Best Colleges For Acting

Getting a Master of Fine Arts in acting isn’t cheap — the average three-year degree costs about $114,000. Then again, that’s a little less than what the average TV star makes shooting a single episode — so do the math. Choosing the right school, however, can be as tricky as trigonometry. Is it better to attend one in New York or Los Angeles? How about Tennessee? What matters more: an Ivy League diploma or an Equity Card? To help sort through all these equations, THR consulted with deans, teachers, students, actors and other insiders to put together this year’s list of the top 25 drama schools.

The Top 30 College Acting/Performing Arts Programs for 2019-2020 — OnStage  Blog

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This story first appeared in the May 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Yale School of Drama

Yale produces more Oscar nominations than just about any other school (it’s easy when 20-time nominee Meryl Streep is an alum!). Paul Newman, Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand and Angela Bassett all passed through its campus (and affiliated Yale Repertory Theatre) on their way to becoming screen icons. Grads still consistently find work, with the school enjoying a hot streak lately among actors of color: While you already know Lupita Nyong’o (class of ’12), keep an eye out for class of ’13’s Winston Duke (he recurs on Modern Family and will be in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther) and class of ’15’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (he’s Black Manta in the now-filming Aquaman).

5 Tried-and-True Acting Colleges


Its MFA program is a relative toddler — just launched in 2012 — but Juilliard’s undergrad drama division has been molding the talents of superstars (including Viola Davis, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver) since 1968. Despite suffering a huge loss in 2016 with the death of the school’s drama director, James Houghton, from stomach cancer at age 57, Juilliard’s superb teaching staff, New York location and ongoing partnership with the Houghton-founded Signature Theater ensures grads will have a big leg up breaking into the big leagues.

Theater | UCLA Graduate Programs

NYU Tisch School of the Arts

There’s no question this school produces a dizzying number of notable alums: Christopher Guest, Debra Messing, Peter Krause and Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, to name a few. As with Juilliard, its Manhattan location puts students in front of the people who can give them work. Plus, it just launched an intensive five-week curriculum for film and television acting. One caveat: Its tuition ($61,622 a year) is among the highest on this list, so grads may be saddled with higher debt.

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

If you’re thinking about leaving the U.S. for a couple of years — and these days, who isn’t? — then you’re unlikely to find a better training ground than this 113-year-old London institution, where the classical education leans on “heightened text” (think Shakespeare and Greek tragedy) over contemporary drama. Its most famous alums tend to be British (Mark Rylance, Clive Owen and Ralph Fiennes), but a few American actors have learned a thing or two there as well (Allison Janney and Jon Cryer).

UC San Diego

Its association with the La Jolla Playhouse — a pro theater on campus where countless Tony-winning productions have been conceived, including Thoroughly Modern Millie and Jersey Boys — makes this program in San Diego one of the best. And the Tonys keep coming: Alumnus Michael Greif (from the directing program) is nominated this year for his work on Dear Evan Hansen, while white-hot Broadway star Jefferson Mays is up for his third acting award for Oslo (he already took one home for I Am My Own Wife, which began, funnily enough, at the La Jolla Playhouse).


For starters, it’s Brown — the elite university whose undergrads include John Krasinski (theater arts major), Laura Linney (acting), Emma Watson (English lit) and Carol director Todd Haynes (semiotics). But students get more than Ivy League parchment at Brown’s MFA program. The university’s three-year degree — provided in partnership with the well-regarded Trinity Repertory Company — offers one of the most rigorous curricula around. The Fiasco Theater, whose innovative Into the Woods reboot is currently touring the nation, was founded by graduates of Brown’s program.

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo all attended England’s oldest drama school, which was founded 156 years ago. Non-U.K. students are rarer but do exist: Donald Sutherland and John Lithgow are grads. This year, the school more than doubled the size of its London campus with a new $36 million training center, complete with new theaters and a state-of-the-art film and audio suite.

American Conservatory Theater

This nonprofit theater company and conservatory has a storied 52-year history, having set Denzel Washington, Annette Bening and Anna Deavere Smith on their career paths. The program boasts a strong faculty of working artists and a close connection to its home theater. However, in March, Carey Perloff, American Conservatory Theater’s artistic director for 25 years, announced her retirement, which leaves its future in question.


Located next to London’s Barbican Centre — home to the London Symphony Orchestra — Guildhall’s drama department has produced an impressive roster of stars, including Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom, Damian Lewis and Ewan McGregor. The buzz among West End directors is that the program has upped its game in recent years — especially when it comes to voice and movement work — providing a strong alternative to RADA and LAMDA.

USC School of Dramatic Arts

In 2016, multidisciplinary director David Bridel took over as dean and brought a slew of refreshing changes to the program (a musical theater lab, a partnership with Funny or Die) and some high-profile hires (Emmy-winning and Tony-nominated actress Kate Burton, daughter of Richard). Its Hollywood adjacency puts a special focus on screen acting, and its faculty is among the most diverse anywhere.

University of North Carolina

One theater insider praises the “seriousness” of the program at the nation’s second-oldest theater school (it was founded in 1925). A tight partnership with PlayMakers Repertory Company, a highly regarded regional theater, means students “will get onstage and speak lines,” often under the guidance of top directors brought in from New York.


Despite a reputation of offering a “loosey-goosey, hippy-dippy” approach to training, as one pro actor puts it, this school offers cutting-edge combinations of tech and theater. Daniel Passer, Cirque du Soleil’s lead clown and comedy conceptualist, joined the faculty this year. Famous alumni include Alison Brie, Cecily Strong and Don Cheadle.


“It’s close to New York without actually being in New York,” says one Broadway actor of this school’s convenient geography. It also has an outside-the-black-box thinker with its creative director, David Esbjornson (he directed The Normal Heart at New York’s The Public Theater and the world premiere of Angels in America), and an exchange program with Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London.

The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program

This joint venture between The Old Globe — a 1935-built Tudor temple based on Shakespeare’s original theater — and the University of San Diego offers a two-year, classics-heavy education. It’s a highly selective program that allows just seven students per class (about 2 percent of applicants). Jim Parsons is a grad.


Like USC, it offers a camera-heavy curriculum thanks to the school’s strong film department — which means students get plenty of opportunities to act onscreen. Ben Stiller, Milo Ventimiglia, Jack Black and Mariska Hargitay all got their degrees here.

National Institute of Dramatic Art

Australia’s most prestigious acting school boasts some top names from Down Under: Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington and Baz Luhrmann (who graduated from the acting department, not directing).

University of Missouri, Kansas City

Well-integrated with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, this program is run by a “first-class artistic director,” according to the dean of a (much-higher-ranked) competing school, in the form of Eric Rosen, who has mounted work at Steppenwolf in Chicago and The Public Theater in New York.


DePaul, where Gillian Anderson and John C. Reilly were undergrads, has a sleek facility in Chicago encompassing two theaters, construction shops and rehearsal studios. But it accepts more MFA students than other programs, offering a less intimate experience. Also, without a partnership with an Actors’ Equity theater, students will have a much harder time scoring that all-important union card come graduation.

UC Irvine

This small school in Orange County is as much a boot camp as it is an acting conservatory. The curriculum includes five hours of physical training a day, supplemented by a heavy dose of acting theory, script analysis and dramatic criticism. Beth Malone, Tony nominee for Fun Home, is a graduate, as is Patrick Sabongui, who has made inroads in Hollywood with roles on Homeland and The Flash.

University of Tennessee

Conrad Ricamora (How to Get Away With Murder) is a recent graduate of this three-year program, which offers its eight students per year a full-ride scholarship plus a living stipend. Add to that the promise of up to 11 main stage productions, working with such pros as Dale Dickey (Hell or High Water), at the affiliated Clarence Brown Theatre, and Tennessee becomes an attractive option, with no student debt and an Equity card awaiting candidates at graduation.

University of Washington

The highly regarded and well-connected Todd London (he spent 18 years overseeing a playwright-driven theater company in New York) enters his fourth year as executive director of this three-year program. U-Dub has produced a few stellar grads through the years, including Jean Smart, Kyle MacLachlan and Joel McHale.

Southern Methodist University School of the Arts Division of Theatre

SMU’s modest-sized program offers an excellent three-year training, with plenty of performance opportunities at the affiliated Dallas Theater Center, which was the winner of the 2017 Tony for best regional theater. Stanley Wojewodski, dean of the Yale School of Drama from 1991 to 2002, is the current theater department chair. Kathy Bates and Stephen Tobolowsky are graduates.

Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

Sure, Florida State has a reputation for being a party school, but its acting MFA program is serious business. Also, every student in the three-year program receives a full tuition waiver plus a stipend — and in the second year, an all-expenses-paid chance to study in London.

Savannah College of Art and Design

SCAD is the only school on this list with its own in-house casting department. It’s also the only one run by a former casting director (Andra Reeve-Rabb, who used to be a CBS casting director). Not surprisingly, the school has placed hundreds of students in film and TV roles shooting in Georgia.


It’s an Ivy League school in Manhattan with a great guest speaker program. That’s the good news. But several insiders complain that it’s “poorly run” and leaves grads “in tremendous debt.” Despite this, a new facility that’s opening in the next year and the hiring of former Yale acting teacher Ron Van Lieu suggest the program is taking steps to right the course.

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The 10 Best Acting Schools in Los Angeles
By College Gazette -April 8, 2021

Best Acting Schools In The World 2020

  1. Chapman University
    Chapman University
    photo via Wikimedia Commons
    In Chapman’s Department of Theatre, aspiring actors can choose one of three paths: a BA in Theatre, BFA in Theatre Performance, or BFA in Screen Acting. The BA track is a broad liberal arts program with a major in Theatre. The BFA degrees are more pre-professional in natural, focusing on performance and industry readiness. Interestingly, the BFA in Screen Acting is offered in collaboration with the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

Regardless of which path students choose, they benefit from a strong, vibrant theatre community and curriculum. Students take part in high-quality performances and enjoy the close-knit camaraderie and access to faculty that a small university provides. Theater majors also get to experience real-world production first-hand by working onstage and backstage with organizations like Shakespeare Orange County.

Maybe you starred in every one of your high school’s plays, or maybe you’ve been cast in a few local commercials. Whatever your experience has been so far, you’ve fallen in love with acting—and now it’s time to figure out where to pursue your undergraduate theater degree. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 25 top acting colleges in the U.S., from NYU to UT Austin.

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These are some of the country’s best colleges for acting. Below, we’ll break down why these acting programs stand out—and what they can offer in terms of training, experience, and exposure for young actors.

Best Film Acting Schools

Bennington College
Boston University
Brown University
California Institute of the Arts
Carnegie Mellon University
DePaul University
Elon University
Emerson College
Ithaca College
Juilliard School
New York University
Northwestern University
Pace University
Rutgers University
State University of New York at Purchase
Syracuse University
University of California–Irvine
University of California–Los Angeles
University California–San Diego
University of Connecticut
University of Michigan
University of North Carolina
University of Southern California
University of Texas, Austin
University of Washington
Vassar College
SUNY New Paltz
Bennington College
Collaboration is key at Bennington drama, a program that believes there’s no one “right” way to study drama. At the small liberal arts college in Vermont, drama students are encouraged to take classes across the discipline—acting, directing, theater history, stage management, etc.—with classes often coming together to collaborate. This expansive education ensures Bennington students graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of every aspect of the production process (just ask Carol Channing, Alan Arkin, or Peter Dinklage). And for anyone looking to apply their learning in a real-world setting, every Bennington student spends at least seven-weeks honing their skills in a job or internship that complements their studies.

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RelatedHow To Choose and Apply To an Acting College
How To Choose and Apply To an Acting College
Boston University
If you’re undecided about how exactly you want to pursue an acting degree, BU’s College of Fine Arts is a good choice as it offers two B.F.A. options: acting, which focuses on the development of technique and skill through a broad “toolbox approach,” and theater arts, a more flexible, interdisciplinary approach. Classes are identical in the freshman year, after which students choose one of the more focused tracks. What’s more, acceptance is based 50 percent on audition and 50 percent on academics, a different weighting than most acting schools.

Brown University
At Brown University, the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (TAPS) places a high value on its students having a well-rounded understanding of drama as a discipline. What does this mean? Along with acting classes, students will also load up on theory and history courses after choosing a “track” to study within the concentration: Theatre Arts, Performance Studies, or Writing for Performance. This Ivy League program also offers the perfect setting for TAPS students to engage in extracurricular activities, from crewing mainstage plays to participating in student-run production workshops to taking in a Shakespeare on the Green performance to experiencing world premiers at Trinity Repertory Company.

California Institute of the Arts
Sometimes referred to as the “Juilliard of the West,” CalArts stands as one of the top acting programs in the world. Considered a conservatory, the curriculum leans a little further left than is traditional thanks to its edgy, experimental, and broad approach; 40 percent of classes are “critical studies” meant to expose students to a global cultural perspective, non-mainstream voices, and diverse expressions of art. It’s also 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, affording students relatively easy access to the Hollywood hub.

RelatedEverything You Need to Know About the CalArts School of Theater
Everything You Need to Know About the CalArts School of Theater
Carnegie Mellon University
The oldest acting conservatory in the U.S., Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama is hyperfocused on making sure students truly understand and embody their characters through deep material analysis. With small classes, highly individualized attention, and a faculty of working theater professionals, the program is divided into four yearlong phases: freshman year introduces foundational skills, sophomores work on more complex material, junior year expands technique through work with graduate playwrights and directors, and seniors focus heavily on performances to prepare them for work immediately after graduation.

RelatedCMU’s Director of Enrollment Breaks Down the Drama School’s Application Process
CMU’s Director of Enrollment Breaks Down the Drama School’s Application Process
DePaul University
With a 1-to-6 faculty-to-student ratio, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more intimate B.F.A. experience than the Theatre School at DePaul University. The specialized program fosters a “learn by doing” approach to acting, encouraging students to balance required curriculum with hands-on experience outside the classroom, all while taking in the vibrant Chicago theater scene. And a commitment to fostering and nurturing diversity and community means the Theatre School is a safe, supportive environment for all.

Elon University
Offering “conservatory-style training in a liberal arts setting,” students in Elon University’s Department of Performing Arts receive an education that goes beyond stage acting. Nestled in a historic North Carolina campus, the program covers everything from vocal control to the history of theater, makeup technique to script analysis. And since only 16 new students are accepted to the acting program each year, the opportunity for performance experience is vast, whether students are preparing for a career in film, stage, or television.

Emerson College
A crucial component to any acting career is the ability to contextualize a work’s place in culture and society, which is exactly how students are trained at Emerson College’s Department of Performing Arts. Learning does not take place in a bubble at Emerson; theater majors are encouraged to explore the comprehensive course offerings and the rich Boston arts scene to inform their craft. The campus is also one of the most LGBTQ-friendly in the country, with its GLBTQ Student Life program promoting visibility and acceptance and providing support, services, and resources to all students.

Ithaca College
The alma mater of some of Broadway’s most well-known performers (Jeremy Jordan, Kerry Butler, and Aaron Tveit to name a few), Ithaca College’s Department of Theatre Arts offers five conservatory-style degrees and two minors at the upstate New York campus. The first two years of study consist of foundational classes in voice, movement, and scene study, followed by two years of advanced courses in acting for camera, speech, dialects, styles of acting, audition techniques, and basic business practices. What’s more, the Department of Theatre Arts distributes nearly $2 million to incoming students, with tuition awards for all four years ranging from $2,000 to $18,000 per year depending on artistic potential.

Related10 College Musical Theater Programs You Should Know
10 College Musical Theater Programs You Should Know
Juilliard School
Possibly the most well-known school on the list (and for good reason), Juilliard offers an intense four-year conservatory program in actor training. Through courses in acting, movement, voice, and other aspects of the craft, students at Juilliard learn and interpret a wide range of dramatic repertoire in a very small class setting (only 20 new students are accepted each year). Freshman and sophomores focus on developing skills across multiple techniques, encouraging students to develop their own process. An important thing to note for anyone thinking of applying: the live auditions consist of four memorized monologues and a singing audition, so you better be prepared.

New York University
At NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, acting students are placed in one primary studio—Adler, Atlantic, Experimental, Meisner, Strasberg, New Studio on Broadway—where they remain for their first two years. During the second two years, students can choose another studio, such as the Atlantic Acting School, Experimental Theatre Wing, or Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, or stay in their original studio. This studio approach also means they admit far more students than most other acting programs (about 300 every year), which also means a seriously vast alumni network. And the New York City locale certainly doesn’t hurt.

RelatedEverything You Need to Know About NYU Tisch’s Department of Drama
Everything You Need to Know About NYU Tisch’s Department of Drama
Northwestern University
If flexibility is what you crave, the School of Communication at Northwestern University is as versatile as they come. Acting students are encouraged to diversify their curriculum and take a broad range of classes (sometimes across departments and schools), developing highly nuanced performance abilities alongside a deep knowledge of literature, history, analysis, and theory. The campus’ proximity to Chicago also offers a direct line to the city’s art scene and the cultural climate that influenced many successful actors at the very start of their careers, including Warren Beatty, Zach Braff, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, David Schwimmer, and more.

Pace University
A freshman class of only 18 students all but ensures highly-individualized attention and learning opportunities at Pace’s School of Performing Arts. Before auditioning for the BFA in Acting program, students must first be accepted into Pace’s general undergraduate class, meaning the university places a high premium on academics alongside professional training. The New York City locale also means free Broadway shows, priority tickets to the Actors Studios, and the opportunity to audition professionally while still a student, something most other acting colleges restrict.

Rutgers University
With proximity to New York City, a small-school-on-a-big-campus feel, and alumni who are successful across TV, film, and stage, the B.F.A. program at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts is not to be overlooked. Focusing exclusively on the Meisner technique, acting students at Rutgers develop “a truthful instrument” by identifying personal meaning in everything they do. And an emphasis on creating a global context for their craft culminates in the third year, which is spent abroad studying and performing Shakespeare at the historic Globe Theatre in London. (Bonus points for offering a course in clowning to make sure students are as well-rounded as possible.)

State University of New York at Purchase
Want to have something in common with Stanley Tucci, Melissa Leo, and Edie Falco? The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase is your in. As one of only four schools in the Consortium of Professional Theatre Training Programs, the curriculum is designed as a professional actor training program, which means anywhere from 27–40 hours of work each week (both in and out of class). With only 18 students in every freshman class, SUNY offers intense, individualized training in topics such as movement, speech, theater history, dramatic literature, improvisation, and Lecoq technique. It’s also one of the most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly campuses in the country!

Syracuse University
Though freshman pursuing a BFA in Acting at Syracuse University aren’t permitted to perform during their first year, the intense first-year course load and requirement to work tech on a mainstage show keeps them more than engaged. The combination of conservatory-style training, the toolbox approach to technique, and Wednesday Lab—a weekly event and speaker series hosted by the drama department that informally teaches students about creating theater—offers Syracuse students an incredibly well-rounded BFA education. And if Broadway is your ultimate goal, Syracuse is among the top schools in the country to produce the largest numbers of actors who end up on the Great White Way.

University of California–Irvine
What sets UC Irvine apart from other schools on this list is its offering of a drama major, as opposed to one in acting. While the program is not acting-specific to start, all drama majors have the opportunity to apply for the Honors in Acting program after their freshman year, putting their first-year coursework into practice. From Euripides to August Wilson, students at UCI’s School of the Arts receive a strong foundation in the sprawling study of drama and its role in society. The school also consistently ranks highly on the list of most affordable drama and theater programs in the country thanks to their generous and numerous scholarships.

University of California–Los Angeles
When it comes to the talent level of its students, UCLA’s Theater BA program is hard to beat: the audition accounts for 80 percent of the admissions decision, so you know you’ll be among the best of the best. This emphasis on talent continues throughout the years, as Theater students are only granted enrollment in subsequent acting classes if their professors approve it. But the very long list of successful graduates (James Dean, Francis Ford Coppola, Rob Reiner, Ben Stiller, and Mayim Bialik just to start) proves UCLA’s standards are worth it. Students are trained both in acting (primarily screen work) and “the business,” so they graduate with a deep understanding of how the two work together.


Behind the Scenes at UCLA’s Theater Auditions

University California–San Diego
For students who think they may want to pursue a degree in acting, but aren’t ready to commit 100 percent just yet, UC San Diego is a great option. Offering both a major and minor in theater, the Department of Theatre and Dance doesn’t require students to apply specifically to the program or audition ahead of time; any student accepted to UCSD can claim a theater major. Once the major has been declared, it’s incredibly flexible: the curriculum is structured in a way that it can meet the needs of a student seeking a liberal arts education in theater or one who plans to pursue acting after graduation. To help with the latter, undergraduates have the opportunity to audition for graduate shows, which are often directed by prestigious guest artists.

University of Connecticut
A program with one of the smallest class sizes on this list (typically 12 individuals), the BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut offers an intense, conservatory-style program within a larger university environment (18,000+ undergraduates). Training is based on the core aspects of Stanislavski’s technique, but is also heavily influenced by the dance and movement styles of Le Coq and Dell ‘Arte International School of Physical Theatre. What’s more, students are given the opportunity to perform and work with professional actors and directors at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, meaning they can graduate with Equity points.

University of Michigan
Though the Ann Arbor university may be best-known for its football team, their School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is nothing to scoff at. While pursuing a BFA in acting, students are trained for the physical and mental demands of theater thanks to a faculty of working professionals (actors, directors, designers, technicians, and published scholars), a low student-to-faculty ratio, and a core curriculum that includes acting, voice and speech, dialects, movement, and stage combat classes. And thanks to the city’s bustling arts scene, students have many opportunities to take in world-class performances, as well as perform for international audiences.

RelatedEverything You Need to Know About the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre + Dance
Everything You Need to Know About the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre + Dance
University of North Carolina
Another program that doesn’t require auditions, the Department of Dramatic Art at UNC, Chapel Hill offers both a major and minor in Drama. Students in the DDA dedicate their studies to a deep understanding and appreciation of theater on all levels, from performance to production, history to theory, with the ultimate goal being a full comprehension of the impact of culture, society, and language on drama. And to make sure their students are uber-prepared to enter the competitive professional industry, seniors take part in mock auditions with visiting agents and casting directors.

RelatedEverything You Need to Know About UNCSA’s School of Drama
Everything You Need to Know About UNCSA’s School of Drama

University of Southern California
At USC’s School of Dramatic Arts, students interested in acting have the option of pursuing either a BA in Dramatic Arts, which combines a liberal arts education with an intensive study of the dramatic arts, or a BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media, an approach that marries classical theatre with innovative training for contemporary performing artist (like units on motion capture and creating for digital mediums). An emphasis is also placed on truly understanding the business of acting, so many students graduate with representation thanks to the widely-regarded senior showcase each year. And since it’s located in the heart of Hollywood, students are routinely treated to guest lectures and surprise appearances by renowned film directors and successful alumni.

RelatedUSC’s School of Dramatic Arts: What to Know + How to Get In
USC’s School of Dramatic Arts: What to Know + How to Get In
University of Texas, Austin
Though it’s one of the newest programs on this list—founded in 2013 as the Actor Training Program—UT Austin’s BFA in Acting is quickly making a name for itself. The fact that it is only four years old means it was designed with an ultra-modern approach to acting in mind: conservatory-style teaching is woven together with training in fields like voiceover-for-video-games for a unique approach to learning. Students also have the option to participate in an L.A. residency for first-hand experience in the industry. If you’re looking for an intimate learning experience within a larger university located in a funky city, consider UT Austin.


5 Top College Performing Arts Programs Outside of L.A.
University of Washington
Though its home is a large public university, the School of Drama at the University of Washington feels more like a private liberal arts enclave. Boasting six theaters, a dedicated drama library, and numerous costume and scene shops, there’s no shortage of facilities and resources for the school’s drama majors. And though acting is certainly a large part of the course of study, nearly half of it is dedicated to theater history, literature, and criticism, which in turn creates the perfect foundation to pursue a graduate education in acting. Close ties to the Seattle theater community also ensure students have constant access to and engagement with professionals.

Vassar College
Vassar college’s drama department’s mission is to “balance the practice of theatre-making with the study of theater history, theory, and dramatic literatures.” Drama majors at Vassar are given a wide and diverse education that is guided by the student. The college offers several acting classes from Chekhov to Shakesphere, but students may also take classes in directing, design, writing, and folklore. The college’s goal is to give their students a wide yet specific education in world theater. Once a drama major leaves Vassar, they will be an expert in world theater in all aspects from ancient Greece all the way up until today. Alumni are as varied as Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Oscar-nominated director Noah Baumbach, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour, and Tony nominee Ethan Slater.

SUNY New Paltz
For those who wish to study acting but want to do it on a budget, SUNY New Paltz is the perfect choice for New York residents. The Department of the Theater Arts offers Bachelors of Arts in Theater with the option of concentrating in performance, design/tech, and theater studies. For the SUNY price and with faculty who are working professionals, students can expect to study the classic teachings of Stanislavsky, Hagen, Chekhov, and Meisner but also partake in character development and musical theater training as well. Students will also get the full theater education and take classes that relate to backstage departments such as scene design and directing.

When you go to college, you want to make sure that you are taking the appropriate classes, which will help you to pursue the career of your dreams. When you want to become an actor or an actress, there are certain degrees that make the most sense. Although not all actors or actresses receive formal college educations, there are certain programs that will enhance your career in this field. Many times, studying various aspects of the entertainment industry will open hidden doors of interest that will lead to future success. If you intend to become an actor or an actress, here are 10 of the smartest degree options to consider. Each has a unique tie to the acting world and may help you to enhance your living in this career field.

Recommended Online Degrees in Entertainment
Earn your degree at home or on the go!

London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science
Designed by LSE, earn an online BSc Business and Management from the University of London, without relocating. Ranked #2 in the world for social sciences and management, analyse international and local managment issues through the lens of various social science disciplines.


  1. Communication Degree
    A degree in communications is a smart choice for an individual who is looking to become an actor or an actress. This type of program focuses on teaching the most effective means to communicate with others in a variety of ways, including the written word, social media, and the spoken word. If you are a person who enjoys talking to others and wants to learn how to connect with a diverse group of people, this degree will be useful. Also, it will help you deliver messages that are important to you as you act.

When an actor or an actress takes the stage, he or she assumes a role and tells a story to the audience. With the knowledge that was learned from classes taken to complete a communications degree, a person will be able to effectively play a part in any show. Mastered methods will help an actor or an actress uncover the best ways to research a particular part and to play it in a believable manner.

Click here to request free information about London School of Economics and Political Science’s online BSc Business and Management program.

  1. Drama Degree
    Obviously, it makes a great deal of sense to pursue a drama degree when you want to become an actor or an actress. Although this type of program does not automatically guarantee that a person will earn a role in a major production, it will definitely prepare an individual to take the stage and to pursue an acting career. Most colleges that offer this type of program include classes that help students hone their acting techniques while playing a variety of roles. Offerings may include theater design and screenwriting. These offer information and a taste of all parts of production.

By studying drama and the taking classes that are commonly associated with a drama degree, you will gain many different skills. For instance, you will enjoy increased confidence and enhanced presentation skills. Also, it will help you to learn self-discipline. Since most advanced actors and actresses need to develop a thick skin, especially with critics, preparation and training in this type of degree program will help. Having a degree in drama will fill the gaps for people who are between roles so that it is possible to supplement income. For example, a drama degree provides a background in a variety of industries like film, video, and television.

  1. Film Degree
    If you want to be an actor or an actress, a degree in film will be a useful tool. Careers within this industry are quite competitive, so it essential to maintain dedication and resilience. Networking is a great way to obtain opportunities. Making contacts from the beginning will bring higher chances of success. Studying film offers a mixture of technical and theoretical knowledge. Pursuing a degree in his area will help you to develop a portfolio of work and to showcase your talent.

In particular, a film degree comes with a few learning objectives. A student is taught how to deliver a believable performance and to exhibit great emotional depth. Also, it offers a critical analysis of the international standard of literature that transforms film. Things like trends in writing and the history of film is explored. Many times, an actor will benefit from a background in production and lean on this as another career opportunity. When an individual exhibits competency in the technical side of video and film production, it will help to forge a successful career in acting.

Besides teaching a person various methods of acting and the theory behind film making, a degree in film may offer some important business information. It may prepare a individual to enter the industry and to enter a particular niche that meets personal strengths. Along with acting, a person will have the ability to work as a cinematographer or video editor.

Click here to request free information about London School of Economics and Political Science’s online BSc Business and Management program.

  1. Musical Theater Degree
    A musical theater degree is perfect for a person who loves to sing and dance and wants to pursue a career in the acting field. If this describes you, it is smart to consider this type of education. An acting major who concentrates on musical theater learns valuable lessons from well-known playwrights and directors. On this path, you will be taught the correct “voice” for various acting parts and will receive lessons in music, singing, and dance. A student prepares to work as an actor or an actress in musical theater productions. It is a valuable degree for anyone who dreams of taking a Broadway stage or a similar venue. Besides the famous New York theaters, an actor or actress with a musical theater degree may wish to gain employment in the movies, on cruise lines, or with amusement parks.

With a degree in musical theater, an actor or actress will have heightened confidence during auditions. It is important to select a school that has teachers who are experienced and who continue to be directly involved in the craft. A professor who heightens a student’s proficiency will help him or her gain success in the competitive world of acting.

Finally, a musical theater degree provides advice and guidance concerning the business aspect of the acting field. In this manner, you will learn the best way to create an individual “brand” and to build a resume that impresses future employees. When you understand how to market yourself to agents and to different casting directors, it becomes easier to gain roles that fit your personality. Also, it stops wasting time spent trying to get roles that do not fit your style of acting.

  1. Costume Design Degree
    Although it may seem inconsequential for an actor or actress to pursue a degree in costume design, it can bring many benefits and offer invaluable education. A costume designer is always surrounded by actors and actresses. This includes film sets and play sites. Costume design plays an essential role in any type of acting activity. If a person can’t find work in an actual acting role, a great way to get his or her foot in the door is through costume design. As a designer, an individual will learn how to make costume choices that fit certain characters and to enhance scenes in dramatic entertainment events. As a actor or actress, a person learns how to fully embody a role.

Throughout degree study, you will learn how to sketch and draw design ideas. It will be necessary to research specific time periods and to learn the fashion of those days. This degree is a smart option for someone who is very creative. It is essential to have skills that allow a person to translate a sketch and idea into reality. Classes will include instruction about various fabrics and how to sew and construct the costumes. Sometimes, intricate designs are necessary.

As discussed, acting is never a job with guaranteed hours. There may be times when an actor or actress may need supplemental income. With a degree in costume design, a person has a number of opportunities to work within the industry while waiting to land a new role.

  1. Stage Management
    Another degree for a potential actor or actress includes stage management. A professional stage manager plays a key role in all performances and works alongside directors. The ideal candidate for this degree has excellent communication skills and is extremely organized. Studying stage management prepares a person to understand the inner workings of a play or a show, especially behind the scenes. Training helps a student lean how to properly block scenes, organize rehearsals, and ensure that props are available and in the correct places. In most cases, a person will complete both academic courses and hands-on theater experience.

If you want to become an actor or an actress, a degree in stage management will heighten respect for the people who are responsible for the organization of any show. You will get a look at other sides of a production, including the backstage conditions and the side of the audience. Having this type of degree makes an actor more appreciative about the support and organization that is supplied by the stage manager. Also, it is will help an actor become more organized and not so dependent on another person to facilitate communication with the production staff. It helps an actor or actress make a seamless transition from behind the curtain to in front of it.

  1. Screenwriting Degree
    Many actors and actresses love to immerse themselves in juicy roles. Often, these same people enjoy writing stories, plays, shows, and movies. Pursuing a screenwriting degree can help to improve the skills that involve both of these mediums. In a scholastic setting, a student is nurtured and is helped to identify the most exciting way to write, which is necessary to create a top script. Students are encouraged to explore various subject matter as well.

Screenwriting is not as simple as putting pen to paper. From an acting perspective, it is essential to practice critical thinking and to analyze scripts from an ethical standpoint. A degree in screenwriting will make a person a stronger actor or actress. A student will be guided by experts in a variety of media landscapes and will gain wisdom and knowledge around all aspects of television and film writing.

There are a multitude of famous actors and actresses who started their careers as screenwriters. For instance, Sylvester Stallone was behind the well-known “Rocky” movies. Also, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote “Good Will Hunting.” All of these individuals starred in their particular movies and gained great success. Their writing abilities catapulted their careers in the acting world.

  1. Directing/Theater Production
    A director must have the ability to visualize a script and guide the technical crew and actors in the same direction. A director selects the cast and is in charge of the design and creative aspects of a film or production. Pursuing a degree in directing or theater production trains a person to harness his or her creative potential and to move into a role of supervision and control. If you enjoy acting and hope to follow this path for your career, having a directing degree may be useful.

Many actors often take the reigns as directors. For instance, Bradley Cooper and Kevin Costner are two notable men who began as actors and expanded their talents in a new direction. With a degree in directing, it will be easy for you to make the switch as well. In one study that examined the time period between 1988 and 2015, it was found that one-third of directors have the same number of acting credits as directing credits. It is not necessary to become a director after acting. However, it is helpful to have specific training in times when an actor or actress wants to spread his or her wings in this area.

  1. Theater History Degree
    Theater history is the basis of acting. It is important for a person who wants to dedicate his or her life to the acting profession to understand the roots of theater and how it has evolved. It is essential to examine the classical works of literature and playwrights to become a better artist. This is exactly why a theater history degree is a smart choice for any actor or actress.

When a student studies the history of theater, it provides a complete overview of the field of drama. It helps an actor or an actress choose better roles and opens the possibilities during the audition process. Taking the time to learn and to specialize in the history of this field offers the ability to become closer to the individuals who share common goals and interests within the acting profession.

While pursuing a degree in theater history, you may gain a better understanding of the various directing and performing methods that an actor or actress can implore. Comprehending the background of these methods will help you apply them to the context of specific projects. As you look to gain success as an actor or an actress, it is essential to sharpen your mind and to take advantage of the history of theater and how it affects today’s entertainment. This will be an invaluable way to make the most of your potential opportunities.

  1. Media Studies Degree
    Media is all around us. Even though it is commonly used for marketing purposes, it is the communication tool that delivers information to others, including in the setting of cinema or broadcasting. If you want to become an actor or an actress, a background in media may be a strong benefit. Studying this area will help to increase creativity and analytical skills that assist in today’s entertainment environment. Also, it will help to adapt to the way that things will develop in the future.

Within media studies, a person will take classes in communication and marketing. This helps a student master technologies needed to design, create, and implement ideas. It is a background in storytelling, which is what an actor and actress manifests on stage. A person will learn how to engage an audience through interactive narrative. This includes conventional storytelling and methods of production.

Although most people think of media as a job that entails work behind the camera, it is a craft that involves acting as well. If you intend to specialize in commercial acting, media studies will be a beneficial path to follow. Also, pursuing a major in media studies is a great way to step into film or television as a director or producer. Comprehending media and its influences on others will be a useful skill within the acting world. You will be able to fill multiple positions on and off of the stage.

Today, many people attend colleges and universities around the country in order to gain training and certification in specific fields of study. To become an actor or actress, it is not necessary to pursue further education after graduating high school. However, many different degree programs enhance knowledge and give students extra help finding employment. The above degrees are 10 of the most common programs that offer valuable classes for individuals who are looking to work in the entertainment industry. If you want to be an actor or an actress, you should consider one of these options. They will broaden your appreciation of your craft and make you a more versatile player in the world of showbiz.

Twenty is a number much broader than five, which means that a chance of getting into one of these drama schools is also bigger, therefore, let’s look at the best acting schools in the world list of Top 20.

We’ve already provided you a bunch of tips on how to prepare and succeed when applying for one of these best acting schools in the world, regardless of your location (you can find all these tips in our Beginner’s Guide linked below).

Further helpful tips and advice on acting:

Acting for Beginners Guide
How to NOT Get an Agent
How to Approach Acting Agents
How to Have a Successful Agency Meeting
If you haven’t seen my more narrow list of Top 5 top acting schools in the world, you might start from there. Who knows, maybe you’ll pick a top institution from that list, set your mind to it and get accepted. Get into one of the best acting schools in the world would be a dream come true for any actor, so if you think you can do it, I say don’t waste your time on reading this article — just do it!

However, I believe some readers are here just out of curiosity because they want to see what schools I have picked for my best acting schools in the world list and most likely criticize those choices.

I would like to remind to those people that just like I did with my lists of Best Acting Schools in the UK, Best Drama Schools in London, Best Drama Schools in UK and Drama Clubs in London, I have done my research and based the choices on a lot of criteria. I’ve also been in the industry long enough, everyday searching through the same topics all over and over again, which made me into sort of an acting industry critic or reviewer.

“I look at the school, and anyone who tells you they don’t is lying to you.” – Todd Black, Producer

And now to skip the fluff and get into the list of best acting schools in the world that is composed in absolutely no particular order…

Best Acting Schools in the World: Top 20
Tisch or TSOA as the school is also known, is part of the New York University. It was founded in 1965 and is now one of America’s leading centers for studying performing arts. Aside from well-know screen actors, Tisch trained a significant amount of the most famous Broadway stars and is considered to be the top “supplier” of musical actors in the country, and maybe even the world. It’s a big school with over 3,000 undergraduate and about 1,000 postgraduate students. The huge amount of students is explain by school having multiple artistic departments. If you can graduate with a diploma from TSOA, consider yourself an alumni of one of the best acting schools in the world that trained today’s world-class names.

Graduates: Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Joel Coen, Whoopi Goldberg, Marisa Tomei, Alec Baldwin, Jeffrey Wright, Bridget Fonda, Anne Hathaway, Adam Sandler

Finally an Australia school on our best acting schools in the world list. NIDA was started in 1958 in the suburbs of Sydney, with just 23 students and two teachers. Over time it grew into the biggest drama school in Australia and definitely one of the best acting schools in the world, having brought a significant amount of great actors to both the United States and the United Kingdom. As it is said, only 4% of applicants pass their NIDA auditions; just like every other great drama school, it’s not easy to get into, and it’s not easy to stay either. Mel Gibson said: “I mean, I loved NIDA and hated it.” If you can get the chance, having NIDA on your resume will undoubtedly put you on the map.

Graduates: Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Judy Davis, Baz Luhrmann, Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington

Oxford’s drama school is one of the youngest acting schools in the United Kingdom. While it has been around for only about 26 years, it has already produced a respectable amount of talented and famous performers. It’s a relatively small school with just 18 students on a course, so the competition for a place at this school between elite wannabe actors is a fierce one. This drama school is absolutely independent and is not attached to any of the Universities of the United Kingdom, and to get accepted means training at one of the best acting schools in the world.

Graduates: Lee Boardman, Christina Cole, Catherine McCormack, Will Adamsdale, Claire Foy, Anna Galvin

No doubt one of the best acting schools in the world for training actors is Yale that has opened their doors in 1900. It’s one of the most famous drama schools that not only is a privilege to get accepted to, but it’s just as difficult to stay and train there. If you choose it, and get in, then forget about auditioning for 4 years — you won’t have the time or the energy. This drama school is also very well known for rejecting talented actors just because they considered them not talented enough; those are actors that have gone to build themselves successful careers. So yes, keep in mind — it’s more difficult to get accepted into this drama school than it is to get into a summer’s blockbuster movie.

Graduates: Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Newman, Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Henry Winkler, Charles Dutton, Dick Cavett, John Turturro

ACT, as it’s also known, was first founded in 1965 in Pittsburgh. It’s a resident company of top shelf professional actors that drew attention of 7 million people to theater’s Tony award winning shows. What’s more important, is that students get an opportunity to audition for real productions of ACT and they do get cast, this way receiving a massive exposure and experience from the top notch production in the acting industry. ACT is on the best acting schools in the world list also because like most of top drama schools in America, it has trained actors whose names will not be alien to you, and might inspire to actually submit a form for an audition to get into the school.

Graduates: Delroy Lindo, Anna Deavere Smith, Denzel Washington, Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, Winona Ryder, Nicolas Cage, Danny Glover, Teri Hatcher, Benjamin Bratt, Darren Criss

It’s great to be able to include GSMD once again, and it’s all the way up there with other best acting schools in the world, no doubt. This drama school is one of the most prestigious in the United Kingdom, rubbing shoulders not only with great musicians like Jacqueline du Pre and James Galway, but also actors that made a name for themselves both in UK and US markets. Dominic West says of GSMD: “Guildhall gives a broad training — it’s not prescriptive. We’re able to be versatile.” Michelle Dockery said: “Getting in was like winning the lottery.”

Graduates: Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans, Orlando Bloom, Eileen Atkins

USC, as a research University, has been founded in 1880 in Los Angeles. While University’s research department is extremely famous by itself and the USC’s not exclusively drama based, their drama department is considered to be strong enough to hold their own against other best acting schools in the world. It is ranked among the top theater programs in the United States for a good reason, as throughout the years it has graduated some very successful actors. The reason why I like USC is because students there are already trained not only in acting, but in the business as well, because that’s what it takes to make it here. Who better would know this that people from Los Angeles.

Graduates: Forest Whitaker, Kelly Preston, Lisa Ling, John Wayne, Michael Landon, John Ritter, LeVar Burton, Rob Estes, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Selleck, Ally Sheedy, Cybill Shepherd, Sophia Bush, Robert Stack, Robert Zemeckis

Straight up next on the best acting schools in the world list comes another Los Angeles based research University with extremely strong resume of successful actors on their hands. It was established in 1882 and since then grew to be a very important part of the state of California. In addition, UCLA produced some of the greatest names ever in the industry, some of whom most likely inspired you to become an actor. Just like USC, UCLA’s actor training emphasizes screen work and understanding the business; there’s no way around it for an actor who wants to make it in Hollywood. Their world class drama department is one of the greatest study opportunities an actor can ever get.

Graduates: James Dean, Tom Skerritt, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Englund, Elizabeth Berkley, Lloyd Bridges, James Coburn, Jayne Mansfield, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Jaleel White, Mayim Bialik, Jack Black

Best Acting Schools in the World
Best Acting Schools in the World: Top 20

Of course, it had to be also on the list of best acting schools in the world, and I know you were waiting for it. Considered to be the best drama school in the world, Juilliard comes up first on our list of best acting schools in the world in no particular order. Julilliard was established in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Art. At the moment, they train about 800 students per year and have produced some of the world’s most notable alumnus. It is actually harder to get into Juilliard than it is to get accepted into Harvard. Like I said, it can’t get more prestigious than that.

Graduates: Kevin Spacey, Robin Williams, Val Kilmer, Christopher Reeve, Ving Rhames, Kelsey Grammer, Eriq La Salle, Kevin Kline, William Hurt

Italia Conti was founded in 1911 and is named after its founder Italia Conti, who was an established female actor at the time. This drama school has always provided a modern approach to actor’s training based on the core of traditional skills, which means a strong emphasis on screen acting. Many professionals at this school are working in the industry and that means great connections after you graduate.

Graduates: Noel Coward, Russell Brand, Leslie Phillips

And here comes UK’s royalty for the list of best acting schools in the world in no particular order. RADA was founded in 1904 and in addition to being considered one of the best acting schools in the world, it’s probably one of the hardest to get into in the UK. It is named this way for a reason, as it radiates royal reputation. There are classes that involve just one teacher and up to three students. It is said that The Beatles were famous because their RADA-trained manager taught them how to be dramatic. If you’re able to get in, after graduation you’ll be definitely on agents’ and casting directors’ radar.

Graduates: Peter O’Toole, Mike Leigh, Joan Collins, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Vivien Leigh

LAMDA is one of the oldest drama schools in the world. After being founded in 1861, it has produced some absolutely great talent. Graduates of this drama school has already taken 19 BAFTAs, 4 Academy Awards, 16 Golden Globes, 36 Olivier Awards and 12 Tonys. Apart from this school looking strong, someone who can manage to get LAMDA onto their resume will score some major points in the great training and showbiz connections department.

Graduates: Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Jim Broadbent, Swoosie Kurtz, Brian Cox

Mountview, as it is often referred to, is currently one of the leading drama schools in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1945 and who’s current president is our beloved ‘M’, Dame Judi Dench. The school places a strong emphasis on professional stage training, but of course introduction to related industries is also there. There are claims that Mountview also supports their alumnus months and even years after they have graduated. So if that is something you are looking into (connections for years to come, why not?), then you should definitely consider applying to Mountview. Make sure you have what it takes though to get a place one of the best acting schools in the world.

Graduates: Brendan Coyle, Denise Welch, Eddie Marsan

Another one of research Universities on our best acting schools in the world list due to its extremely strong theatrical department worth to be put up against any other drama school in the world. Established in 1898, DePaul is now the top institution for actors in the second best theater city in America, Chicago. Like most other Universities and drama schools on this list, DePaul trained well-known and talented actors and deserves to stay on the list. “There’s something in the water in Chicago. It’s a great place for actors, and so is DePaul,” said producer Laurence Mark.

Graduates: Elizabeth Perkins, John C. Reilly, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Anderson, Judy Greer, Karl Malden, Joe Mantegna

I have skipped this school on every other list of mine, but I’m glad to finally get an opportunity to include The Actors Studio in the list of best acting schools in the world. This drama school has gone through some major changes, most recently joining the Pace University in 2006. A lot of actors call Actors Studio a “sacred place”, and you can understand why after looking at the graduates list that I couldn’t finish completely. With the most powerful history of all drama schools in the world and built from the basis of world-famous Group Theater, Actors Studio had some of the best teachers: Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman, Elia Kazan, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Robert Lewis. Its current co-presidents are Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. Co-artistic directors are Mark Rydell and Martin Landau.

Graduates: Marlon Brando, Julia Roberts, Montgomery Clift, Robert DeNiro, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Walken, Sidney Poitier, Jack Nicholson, Eric Stoltz, Jane Fonda, Shelley Winters, Gene Wilder, Mickey Rourke, Carroll Baker, Steven Hill, Paul Newman, Eli Wallach, Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Ellen Burstyn, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Chazz Palminteri, Tennessee Williams, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, Karl Malden, Bradley Cooper

Another one on the list of best acting schools in the world is a drama school for actors in Scotland. RCS (formally RSAMD for Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) is a strong drama school founded as long ago as 1847. Prince Charles is currently a patron of the Academy, helping to maintain a school’s place as a vibrant conservatoire. Apart from great undergraduate and post-graduate courses, RCS also has Junior Academy of Drama for under 18 year old youngsters looking to get a head start in their acting career. It is definitely one of the world-famous places you will not regret being trained.

Graduates: Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, Billy Boyd, Angela Lonsdale

Founded by Andrew Carnegie, the institution has been alive since 1900. During the period since they’ve developed their drama department, CMU has done enough to deserve a place on the best acting schools in the world list. What have their done? They trained some of the greatest American actors there are that won 6 Oscars and 96 Emmy awards. Zachary Quinto was quoted saying about the joy of studying at CMU: “It was a four-year playground.” Holly Hunter added: “I loved to be able to take a script apart in purely technical terms to learn about a character using this very pragmatic tool. That’s where I learned it.” Definitely a good addition to our best acting schools in the world list.

Graduates: Steven Bochco, Paula Wagner, Ted Danson, Rob Marshall, Patrick Wilson, John Wells, Zachary Quinto, Holly Hunter

CSSD is making its appearance once again on best acting schools in the world list, and it’s well deserved. CSSD is a very highly regarded theater and drama school that was founded in 1906. T0 say that you were able to fill a place in Central, as it’s also known, is a statement to be proud of. Throughout the years this drama school has produced some extremely talented actors that were successful both on stage and in film/TV. This is one of the most unique centers for aspiring actors in London that always there to offer a new form of training in theater and film acting.

Graduates: Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, Peggy Ashcroft, Harold Pinter, Vanessa Redgrave

Making a transfer from UK’s top list into our best acting schools in the world list is RWCMD. Established in 1949 in Cardiff Castle, RWCMD — the National Conservatoire of Wales — is on the top level with all other great drama schools of the United Kingdom, and even the world. From what I have read about this school, they really take care of their students during and after the studies to get them onto their feet in the industry. The school has strong connections to local TV broadcast stations, constantly invites casting directors and stages over 300 public performances per year. If you are anywhere near Cardiff or Wales, consider applying to this drama school — satisfaction is guaranteed.

Graduates: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones

Another drama school from best acting schools in the world list that’s very close to Hollywood is a well-known CalArts. Established in 1961 in Valencia, Los Angeles County, CalArts is responsible for bringing a good amount of talented actors in the US market. Following Travis Preston’s quote, CalArts is now referred to in the sense of “the hub of a vast network of artistic and professional relationships that traverses the globe.” As it is claimed, students of CalArts get to work with the likes of the Wooster Group, Andre Gregory, Magnetic Fields composer Stephin Merritt and avant-garde dramatist Richard Foreman.

Graduates: Katey Sagal, Don Cheadle, Ed Harris, Condola Rashad, Eliza Coupe, Alison Brie

Best Acting Schools in the World — How to get into one?
A little disclaimer first: for this little best acting schools in the world list we have picked out best drama schools only from English speaking countries. We are definitely aware of the great actors training in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as French, Italian, Spanich and other schools of acting and their philosophical and physical approach.

However, we’re trying to give as much information as possible to our UK and US based aspiring actors looking to get into one of the best acting schools in the world where they can still maintain the ability to communicate in their native language, because our guess is that majority of them will be interested in training in their native language. We hope our foreign friends will forgive us.

As expected, of course, best acting schools in the world are mostly from United States and the United Kingdom. Obviously, London and New York City, two best theater cities with the longest and most in-depth theatrical history, are dominating the scene. Best screen acting training though belongs to California based drama schools, all four of them, which is no surprise in my opinion. And like I said, America’s actors training is very different from UK’s, as a lot of current actors don’t bother with diplomas and are getting training in private acting schools.

I would like to remind once again that the list is in no particular order. I’ve also tried to mix up all schools compared to other lists so that you could see one drama school in the top position while it was at the bottom on another list. It’s also important for you to understand that hard work prevails over anything else, and if you can get into ANY of these schools, you might be as successful as any of those graduates. Success is all about you, and very little if at all about the place you are studying at.

For more specific choices than just best acting schools in the world, you can take a loot at my lists of Best Acting Schools in the UK, Best Drama Schools in London, Best Drama Schools in UK and Drama Clubs in London. An actor from the United Kingdom might definitely find this to be a useful Intel.

The Department of Theatre aims to ready students for the profession by emphasizing strong professional ethics and career preparation.

  1. University of California, Los Angeles
    photo via Wikimedia Commons
    UCLA is known as one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States, with an overall acceptance rate of just 14%. US News and World Report ranks UCLA #20 nationally (ahead of famous rival UC Berkeley), and the acting program definitely lives up to UCLA’s luminous reputation.

UCLA offers a Theatre major with an emphasis in acting. Students who choose the acting specialization are exposed to various techniques and methods in acting, vocalization, and stage movement under the guidance of accomplished faculty.

The UCLA Theatre program emphasizes that this is not a conservatory training program; this is a liberal arts degree program with a focus on theatre. UCLA Theatre majors are simultaneously scholars and artists who want to not only study and practice theatre, but also benefit from the wide-ranging resources of a top research university.

Famous alumni of UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television include Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Black, Jim Morrison, James Dean, James Franco, and Ben Stiller.

  1. University of Southern California
    University of Southern California
    photo via Wikimedia Commons

The University of California offers aspiring actors the best of all worlds: it’s located in the heart of LA, it’s a nationally top-ranked university (#24) with worldwide renown, it’s home to household name actors, and it’s cultivated many notable alumni.

Some successful actors who call USC their alma mater include Suits’ Patrick J. Adams, Roswell’s Shiri Appleby, Pretty Little Liars’ Troian Bellisario, and renowned Hollywood producer Todd Black.

Within the School of Dramatic Arts, students have many avenues to customize their experience and play to their strengths. Students can pursue a traditional BA degree or a more practice-oriented BFA, and can specialize in anything from musical theatre to sound design to tech. USC truly combines the best of tradition with the best of progressive, forward-thinking, hands-on education.

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