Acting Classes in Boston, MA with Course and Program Overviews

Feb 17, 2019

The Boston area has five colleges that offer acting programs, including three located within five miles of the downtown. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for the three schools to make an informed education decision.

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Boston, MA, Schools with Acting Classes

The following resource includes a summary of the acting programs available at the three featured schools, as well as a fact-filled table with school information. At the end of the resource, students will also find the names of two other universities that provide training in acting.

  • Boston University is located a little over 3.5 miles from the city's downtown and offers undergraduate programs in performance, theatre arts and acting.
  • Located in the immediate downtown, Emerson College includes a theatre department with a variety of undergraduate programs and facilities for acting students.
  • Suffolk University, also located in the downtown, has undergraduate liberal arts programs in theatre.

Comparison of Schools

The following table is designed to help students compare the cost of attendance at the three private schools featured in this article, as well as weigh their chances of being admitted to the college of their choice. Notable statistics include the wide range of enrollments.

Boston University Emerson College Suffolk University
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 33,355* 4,459* 7,201*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $52,082* $44,832* $37,270*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 55%* 76%* 93%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 25%* 46%* 84%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 93% for full-time students; 50% for part-time students* 88% for full-time students* 77% for full-time students; 71% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (students who began in Fall 2011) 87%* 81%* 60%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Boston University

This university offers several undergraduate programs with acting courses. The theatre arts programs are meant for students who want to study other fields, like the liberal arts. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Acting program is meant specifically for students who want to work in theatre, film or television. Students who want to major in acting or theatre arts must complete an audition and an interview. Admittance to the undergraduate programs is highly selective.

Minor in Theatre Arts

This customizable minor program requires students to complete courses in dramatic literature and theatre electives. Required courses are acting/performance, stagecraft, aesthetics/dramatic literature and Greek dramatic literature. Those who are interested in acting can take ten credits in performance electives. Topics may include movement for theatre and collaborative theatre ensemble. Students do not need to audition to minor in theatre arts.

BFA in Acting

Acting students receive a strong foundation in the arts and are challenged to develop their vocal, imaginative, intellectual and performance skills. Students take a variety of acting coursework like voice and speech, movement, stagecraft and performance. Their work is supplemented by courses in the Alexander technique and a film/TV lab course. Students are required to complete a senior thesis project as well.

BFA in Theatre Arts - Performance

This degree program is suited for students who want a liberal arts education in addition to their theatre training. Students are required to take courses in rehearsal/performance, theatre ensemble and dramatic literature. The program is flexible and allows students to choose electives in design, performance and general education. A thesis development course and an internship are also required.

Emerson College

This college offers a wide variety of acting and theatre art programs, including theatre education, theater studies, musical theatre and acting. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs include acting classes, while the BFA programs are designed for students who want to become professional actors. All students applying to these programs must turn in a resume and audition.

BFA in Theatre Education

This flexible degree program not only prepares students to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade, but it also provides several acting opportunities. Students complete two years of acting projects and take courses like drama as education, directing, world drama and introductory acting. Future teachers must take additional coursework to fulfill licensure requirements.

BFA in Theatre

In this theatre program, students focus on one area of theatre, such as acting, playwriting or directing. To enroll in the acting program, students must first audition. Students can customize their degree programs and may be able to complete internships or study abroad. Required courses include world drama and languages of the stage. Students can also choose electives, such as introductory acting, acting movement and advanced drama.

BFA in Acting

This is an intensive program in acting. Students' performances are continually monitored, and they must re-audition several times during their first two years. Coursework includes acting movement, acting voice and text, improvisation, advanced drama and acting studio.

BFA in Musical Theatre

This degree program puts an equal emphasis on acting and musical technique. Students learn about drama, stage, acting movement and acting voice/text. Courses include music analysis, American musicals, musical theatre dance and musical theatre studio.

Suffolk University

Suffolk University offers undergraduate theatre programs and classes for all students, regardless of their major. Students are not required to audition to enter the degree programs. Theatre students can get practical experience in department productions, theatre projects and enrichment programs.

Minor in Theatre

Students can tailor this 20-credit program to meet their interests. Course requirements include an acting course, introductory theatre arts courses and a theatre practicum for actors. Students may choose two upper-level elective courses.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Theatre

This liberal arts degree program is flexible, and students can choose from a variety of courses designed to improve their analytical, creative and interpersonal skills in the theatre arts. Students may take courses in acting, play analysis, performance studies and stagecraft; courses in dramatic literature, studio art and musical theatre are also available. A practicum requirement may also give additional experience for acting students.

Other School Options

Acting courses and programs are also offered at Brandeis University, located about 14 miles west of downtown Boston, and at Salem State University, which is located about 15 miles north of downtown Boston.

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