Comparison of San Diego Acting Schools
Acting classes are widespread throughout the San Diego area, and students can pursue programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. This article looks at three public schools that are 20 minutes or less from the downtown area. It also includes a table that allows prospective students to easily compare important aspects of the schools, and there is a brief paragraph of information about several other San Diego-area schools that offer acting courses.
- About 15 miles from downtown, the University of California - San Diego in La Jolla offers acting training through bachelor's and master's degree programs.
- San Diego State University, approximately 11 miles from downtown San Diego, also provides acting programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Its offerings include an undergraduate program in youth theatre and a graduate program in musical theatre.
- San Diego City College, which is located right in the heart of the city, offers an associate's degree program in theatre that can provide students with basic acting skills.
Comparison of Schools
There are many factors that students should consider when deciding on a college. The following table provides facts about the three schools profiled here and makes it easy to compare them.
|University of California - San Diego||San Diego State University||San Diego City College|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, public||2-year, public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||35,772*||35,158*||15,569*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$14,018 in-state; $42,032 out-of-state*||$7,460 in-state; $19,340 out-of-state*||$1,142 in-state; $5,894 out-of-state*|
|% of Beginning Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2017)||59%*||59%*||87%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||34%*||35%*||N/A - open admissions|
|Retention Rate (2017)||94% for full-time students*||89% for full-time students*||66% for full-time students*|
|Graduation Rate||85% (for students beginning in fall 2011)*||74% (for students beginning in fall 2011)*||23% (for students beginning in fall 2014)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.
University of California - San Diego
The Department of Theatre and Dance at University of California - San Diego offers bachelor's and master's degree programs. The department puts on several theatrical productions and dance concerts each year. Spaces are also available for students who are interested in creating their own shows. The school's theatre arts master's degree program offers several acting classes.
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program offers students an opportunity to learn about the craft of acting and develop the skills to portray a variety of characters. Available courses include classes in rehearsing Shakespeare, Chekhov acting, improvisation for the theatre, singing for actors and freeing the voice. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of program activities, including cabarets, theatre productions and studio workshops.
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
The acting concentration at the graduate level focuses on the refinement of students' acting skills through studio courses in speech, stage combat, camera acting, movement, acting theory and rehearsal. Graduate students gain hands-on experience through workshop attendance, class productions and auditions in Southern California and New York. Students can participate in a showcase for managers and agents. A residency with the La Jolla Playhouse is also required.
San Diego State University
The largest university in the city that offers acting courses, San Diego State University provides a variety of programs through its School of Theatre, Television and Film. The bachelor's degree program in theatre arts offers specializations in general theatre arts, performance, design and technology for theatre, design for television/film and youth theatre. Master's degree programs are available in theatre arts and musical theatre.
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts: Performance
At San Diego State University, all theatre students must first complete 21 credits in theatre preparation courses. These include two introductory acting classes and a beginner-level course in the effective use of one's voice. These classes are mixed with various technical, design and humanities courses. Theatre majors with a performance concentration must also complete additional coursework in speech and acting, focusing on topics such as stage movement, improvisation, auditioning and even directing. Opportunities are available to participate in study abroad programs and theatre internships.
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts: Youth Theatre
After completing prerequisite classes in acting, voice projection and storytelling, students pursuing an emphasis in youth theatre must take multiple courses in drama and creativity as applied to children's productions. Courses include productions for young viewers, theatre history and stage management.
Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre
The Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program is a 2-year course of study that emphasizes voice lessons and stage movement. These opportunities train students to become performers and performance specialists, such as choreographers. The experience culminates in a studio class in musical theatre that combines acting with singing, dancing and other elements unique to musical performance. Students can sharpen their acting skills through staged readings, cabaret performances and other performance-related events.
Master of Arts in Theatre Arts
Graduate students at San Diego State University can sample classes from a broad range of upper-division offerings, study various acting styles and master the challenges of movement and mannerisms while in costume. This program also offers a course in dramaturgy. Students can gain the skills necessary to work as teachers and help other artists develop their talents.
San Diego City College
San Diego City College offers educational and vocational opportunities in the arts, humanities and communications fields. Students can enroll in several programs related to the visual and performance arts, including dance, photography, music technology, graphic design and fine art.
Associate in Arts in Visual and Performing Arts: Theatre
Students who pursue the associate's degree in visual and performing arts with a theatre emphasis can gain fundamental acting skills that might prepare them for auditions or further study in a bachelor's degree program. In addition to acting courses, students can also learn about auditioning, take performance workshops and participate in independent study. The program offers students the chance to act in community theatre productions.
Other School Options
Students in San Diego can also pursue a theatre minor at Point Loma Nazarene College and theater undergraduate or graduate degrees at the University of San Diego, which are both within ten miles of downtown San Diego. Schools with theatre and dramatic arts associate's degree programs near San Diego include Southwestern College, which is about 13 miles from San Diego, Palomar College, which is about 36 miles from the city, and MiraCosta College, which is approximately 40 miles away.