Washington, DC, Acting Schools
Acting students in the Washington, DC, area can find programs and classes at three private universities. The programs are available at the undergraduate and/or graduate level and can lead to a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Read summaries of the schools and their programs below, and find a table with essential school information. A paragraph about three other school options for aspiring actors follows the article.
- The Catholic University of America, located less than five miles from downtown Washington, DC, offers an undergraduate major and a minor in drama, as well as an MFA in Acting.
- At nearly a mile and a half away, The George Washington University is the closest to the downtown and offers both an undergraduate major and a minor in theatre.
- Howard University, located three miles from downtown Washington, DC, offers a minor and a BFA in Theatre Arts.
Comparison of Schools
Aspiring thespians can use this table to find out which school is the most selective, has the highest retention rate or graduates the most students. It may also help undergraduates decide which of the three featured universities is the most affordable option for them.
|Catholic University of America||The George Washington University||Howard University|
|School Type||4-year; private not-for-profit||4-year; private not-for-profit||4-year; private not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||6,023*||27,973*||9,392*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$44,060*||$53,518*||$25,697*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)||96%*||77%*||89%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||83%*||41%*||41%*|
|Retention Rate (2016-2017)||86% full-time*||91% full-time; 75% part-time*||94% full-time; 100% part-time*|
|Graduation Rate (students who began in 2011)||74%*||81%*||63%*|
Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics
Catholic University of America
Aspiring acting students have various programs available to them at this university. The minor and BA in Drama have acting courses and electives. Students in the graduate program will learn advanced techniques in acting.
Minor in Drama
Students in this program are required to complete at least six courses in the field. Required courses include theatre and acting. Electives include theatre topics, design or directing.
BA in Drama
Students in this drama program are required to take courses in theatre, acting, design, theatre production and directing. A senior seminar is also required. Those who want to learn specifically about acting can take electives in the field. Courses focus on works from Shakespeare, along with topics like monologues, speech communication, improvisation and performance movements.
MFA in Acting
This 3-year program puts students in the company of playwrights, professional actors and directors. Students learn how to express themselves naturally and take courses like dramatic structure, performance studio, voice, movement, acting and Shakespeare. All students in the program are required to audition for related productions. Acting graduate students must also participate in an artistic practicum and production crew work. This program only accepts students every three years.
The George Washington University
This university offers two undergraduate programs in theatre. Students who are pursuing the bachelor's degree are encouraged to participate in a study abroad or honors program.
Minor in Theatre
Students in this 18-credit-hour program are required to take courses in theatre history. Those who are inclined towards acting can take courses like physical performance skills, stage dialects and audition techniques.
BA in Theatre with an Emphasis in Acting
Course topics like introductory acting, scene study, dramatic literature and play analysis are common in this degree program. Students also can take upper-level coursework in acting, such as improvisation or a theatre practicum. The practicum lets students participate in a major production for performance experience on the stage.
Howard University has two undergraduate programs for students who are interested in acting. The minor program can teach students about general theatre studies and acting. Those who are applying to the bachelor's degree program must audition.
Minor in Theatre Arts
This program comprises 18 credit hours in theatre, technical production and play analysis. Students can also choose electives in acting.
BFA in Theatre Arts with a Concentration in Acting
Acting students take courses in acting techniques, acting character scene study, rehearsal, acting for TV/film and technical production. The program provides education at the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. A jury examination is required in all acting courses.
Other School Options
Acting programs are also offered at Gallaudet University, a school for the hearing impaired located 2.1 miles away from Washington, DC's, downtown. Another option is American University, which is located 4.0 miles from the downtown.