Revealed: The 10 Best Colleges for Acting, Theatre, and Drama

HONORABLE MENTION: University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston-Salem, NC)

photo by William Davis via Wikimedia Commons

UNCSA, perhaps the most impressive institution in the country for acting and drama, is a unique program granting degrees not just at the undergraduate level, but also at the high school and graduate school level.

The high school drama program is an intensive one-year program for high-school seniors. This lauded program gives students the technical skills they need, while also encouraging creative development.

Some of the most noted professors teach at UNCSA.

An Acting professor, Tanya Belov, was the first woman in USSR to receive a prize for her work in comedy. This was a historical accomplishment opening the doors for other women in the arts field.

Krisha Marcano, a Musical Theater Dance instructor, starred as ‘Squeak’ in the original Broadway production of The Color Purple.

In fact, many alumni of UNCSA are currently on Broadway in shows such as The Book of MormonChicago, and even the Spongebob Squarepants musical.

The school itself is stacked with incredible opportunity for students. Eleven performance and screening spaces comprise this program, the most noted being the Stevens Center, a 10 story venue seating nearly 1,400 people designed for large scale symphonic and theatrical productions.

Alumni of the school are integral part of the world’s greatest companies and casts.

2. New York University Tisch School of the Arts (New York, NY)

photo by atp_tyreseus via Wikimedia Commons

The Tisch School of The Arts at NYU prides themselves on an empowering academic curriculum, combined with the cultural resources of the surrounding area.

The location alone is a huge draw for students; interdisciplinary curriculum is the icing on the cake.

Tisch places an equal emphasis on theater studies and general education courses, so theater students select this program for the well-rounded college experience.

The drama department at NYU Tisch believes that courses in the humanities and sciences are essential to the student’s development and success.

Students come into their freshman year already possessing the creative ability, and Tisch Drama trains them to engage with the industry in a way that is intellectual and professional.

For this reason, the alumni of Tisch have been successful not only as actors, but also as writers, designers, and directors. Students are given a strong foundation of knowledge of the field during time at NYU, but also given substantial support to build their futures.

The Drama Department regularly hosts internship fairs, which gave students direct access to casting offices, production and theatre companies, and more.

1. Juilliard School (New York, NY)

Alice Tully Hall of Juilliard – photo by Ajay Suresh via Wikimedia Commons

What can be said of Juilliard’s acting program that has not been covered in mainstream media countless times before?

The program is consistently and indisputably ranked at the top of lists for acting as well as any of the performing arts, including dance and music.

Many of the world’s most beloved actors started their careers at Juilliard, including Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammar, Kevin Kline, Jessica Chastain, Val Kilmer, Marcia Cross, and countless more.

The audition process for Juilliard is among the most rigorous and selective in the country. To even be considered for an audition, students must submit a prescreen recording to the school.

Once Juilliard has determined your prescreen is audition-worthy, you will be invited to present four memorized monologues as well as possibly singing, though, according to their website, a trained voice is not essential for admission to Juilliard Acting.

Based in the most important arts capital of America, accepted students get to work alongside the brightest talent as well as the world’s leading teachers and faculty.

Featured image by Bobak Ha’Eri via Wikimedia Commons

For this article, we assigned a score to each school based on their position on other lists. These are the lists we sourced to make this ranking:

Hollywood Reporter


OnStage Blog

Ace Your Audition


College Factual

Rankings sourced in the first week of August 2019.


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