8. Boston University College of Fine Arts (Boston, MA)
BU’s acting program is characterized by selectivity. The entire undergraduate BFA program across all four years, at any given time, has no more than 33 students, according to their website.
One unique benefit of the program is guaranteed casting in a BU production twice a semester starting sophomore year. This level of hands-on experience students have at BU ensures excellence in acting technique over a four-year period.
Although primarily known as an acting program, BU does have a musical theatre concentration.
What we particularly like about Boston University’s acting program is its Professional Theatre Initiative. In this initiative, select students can participate inside one of the many professional venues in Boston.
Perhaps the most famous alumni of BU’s acting program are Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis as well as Seinfeld cast member Jason Alexander.
7. Northwestern University School of Communication (Evanston, IL)
Home to one of the most beloved college acting programs, alumni of this prestigious program have included David Schwimmer of Friends fame, Stephen Colbert, Zach Braff, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and countless more household names.
In the undergraduate program at Northwestern, students have a showcase opportunity their senior year to perform in New York City as well as nearby Chicago.
One unique advantage of Northwestern is actually musical theatre; indeed, students can opt into a musical theatre certificate while studying acting at the school. The power of an acting background combined with music and dance study allows them to become a true triple threat when auditioning for roles.
In addition to stage acting, students can opt into class specifically designed to teach film and television acting.
6. Yale School of Drama (New Haven, CT)
A graduate-only program, Yale’s School of Drama is as prestigious as it gets in the world of acting.
One of the unique characteristics of Yale’s Drama program is that it teaches nearly every important aspect of drama. Besides acting, there are classes in directing, dramaturgy, scenic design, playwriting, stage management, and more.
A valuable partnership exists between Yale’s School of Drama and the Yale Repertoiry Theatre, an acclaimed regional theatre where students get pre-professional acting experience while pursuing a Master’s degree.
The student:teacher ratio is unusually small at just 2.7:1 – such a small ratio ensures students get significant one-on-one instruction with faculty in the program.
Some of the most well-known alumni include Paul Newman, Frances McDormand, Dan Ackroyd, and Paul Giamatti.