Acting Classes in Orange County with Course and Degree Overviews

There are 50 schools within the Orange County area that have acting and theater degree programs. Read an overview of 10 of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Students who plan on pursuing an acting career will want to explore Orange County, California's 2-year colleges and 4-year universities that grant degrees in acting, theatre, music and drama. There are a number of schools within 50 miles of Orange County that feature relevant associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Several areas of emphasis may be offered, and the programs may allow students to act in campus-sponsored productions. Profiled below are the ten largest acting schools in Orange County.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Acting Degree Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)
California State University - Fullerton 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Concentration,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Musical Theatre Concentration
In-state: $6,850, out-of-state: $18,730*
California State University - Long Beach 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Option,
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Option
In-state: $6,730, out-of-state: $18,610*
California State University - Northridge 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Theatre,
Master of Arts in Theatre
In-state: $6,875, out-of-state: $18,755*
El Camino Community College District 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Arts in Theatre In-state: $1,142, out-of-state: $5,846*
Long Beach City College 2-year, public; large city Associate of Arts in Theatre In-state: $1,188, out-of-state: $7,500*
Orange Coast College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate of Arts in Theatre In-state: $1,186, out-of-state: $7,690*
Santa Monica College 2-year, public; small city Associate of Arts in Theatre Arts In-state: $1,142, out-of-state: $8,558*
University of California - Irvine 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Drama,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre,
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
In-state: In-state: $13,738, out-of-state: $41,752*
University of California - Los Angeles 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a Concentration in Acting,
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
In-state: $13,261, out-of-state: $41,275*
University of Southern California 4-year, private, not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting for Stage, Screen & New Media,
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
$54,259*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

California State University - Fullerton

California State University's Fullerton branch enrolls over 40,000 students. The school has 110 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The school offers bachelor's degree programs for students who want to earn a degree in acting. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre program has an acting concentration. Students in this program will need to earn at least 132 units. In order to earn a spot in this program, students will have to audition. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre program also offers a musical theatre concentration. This program also requires students to complete 132 units of coursework. Courses cover acting, auditions, various types of dance, performance and reading music.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Concentration,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts - Musical Theatre Concentration
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $6,850, out-of-state: $18,730*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

California State University - Long Beach

California State University in Long Beach was named by U.S. News and World Report as the third best public school in the western United States. The school is home to over 37,500 students. The university offers two degrees for acting students: a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts. Each of these programs has an acting option. The bachelor's program requires that students complete 120 units. Courses offered include history of theatre and drama, beginning voice and speech, and dramatic theory and criticism. Graduate acting students will have the opportunity to study repertory theatre, dramaturgy, voice and theatrical theory.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Option,
    Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting Option
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $6,730, out-of-state: $18,610*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

California State University - Northridge

The California State University branch in Northridge enrolls over 41,000 students. CSU Northridge offers two degree programs geared for students who are interested in acting. Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program will complete 54 units in major courses in addition to 66 units in general education and additional courses. Bachelor's students will study movement, voice, and color and design in addition to classes like acting and text and musical theatre. The Master of Arts in Theatre degree program requires students to complete 30 units in classes like popular theatre and entertainment, theatre aesthetics and child drama.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre,
    Master of Arts in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $6,875, out-of-state: $18,755*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

El Camino Community College District

At El Camino Community College in Torrance, students can earn the Associate of Arts in Theatre degree. The program offers emphases in acting, technical theatre, and production. Students in this theatre program will take courses like fundamentals of acting, audition and cold reading and stagecraft. The program also offers intermediate acting classes, as well as classes in acting Shakespeare and improvisation. Students will have a chance to perform in campus production; these occur at least five times a year.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Arts in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $1,142, out-of-state: $5,846*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large suburb

Long Beach City College

Long Beach City College is located in the city of Long Beach. More than 24,500 students attend the 2-year college every year. The school awards an Associate of Arts in Theatre degree. Theatre students interested in acting will take courses offered through the school's acting academy. In addition to acting classes, students will study rehearsal and performance, improvisation, and theatre or jazz dance. Theatre students will also participate in a campus production. Students in Long Beach's associate's program will need to complete at least 51.5 credits to graduate.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Arts in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $1,188, out-of-state: $7,500*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; large city

Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College is located in the city of Costa Mesa. The 2-year, public college has an enrollment of over 22,100. The school offers an Associate of Arts in Theatre through its Department of Theatre. More than 500 students at OCC sign up for theatre courses, and the department has 180 students that major in theatre. The school offers courses in the fundamentals of acting, comedy performance, technical theatre and Elizabethan production. Students also have the opportunity to participate in campus productions.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Arts in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $1,186, out-of-state: $7,690*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; midsize city

Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College in the city of Santa Monica offers associate's degrees and certificates. The school serves about 30,000 students. Aspiring actors can enroll in the Associate of Arts in Theatre degree program. Students in the theatre program will need to earn at least 60 units. Santa Monica offers courses such as history of world theatre, voice development for the stage, and a variety of acting courses.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Arts in Theatre Arts
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $1,142, out-of-state: $8,558*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

University of California - Irvine

The University of California branch in Irvine enrolls over 35,200 students. UC Irvine acting students can earn bachelors or master's degrees in their field. Undergraduate students can enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Drama or the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre program. Students who are interested in a spot in the music theatre program will need to enroll in the school's music theatre workshop and audition for a spot in the B.F.A. program. Students in this program will study singing, acting, dance, and script and score. Graduate students can audition for the Master of Fine Arts in Acting program. The audition consists of two monologues and a number of acting exercises.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Drama,
    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre,
    Master of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $13,738, out-of-state: $41,752*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of California - Los Angeles

The University of California in Los Angeles, or UCLA, is a well-known school with an enrollment of more than 44,000. The school awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre and acting. Undergraduate students in the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in acting program will study production, performance, acting for the camera and theatre history. Students in this program can also study musical theatre. Graduate students can enroll in the Master of Fine Arts in Acting program. Master's students will take advanced acting courses as well as voice and speech and movement courses.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in acting,
    Master of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): In-state: $13,261, out-of-state: $41,275*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of Southern California

Located in central Los Angeles, the University of Southern California offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting for Stage, Screen & New Media, and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. Undergraduate students specializing in acting receive training through various classes in acting, voice and body movement. Other required coursework may include theatre history, contemporary theatre, theatrical production, comedy, performance for camera and theatre practicum. Additional available courses include directing, Greek and Roman Theatre, Shakespeare, the performing arts, acting theory and African American theatre, among other classes. The curriculum for the 3-year MFA program in acting includes advanced movement, advanced acting, textual studies for performance, advanced voice diction, performance for the camera, diction and dialects, dramatic analysis, creative production projects and a professional seminar.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting for Stage, Screen & New Media,
    Master of Fine Arts in Acting
  • Tuition & Fees (2017-2018): $54,259*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; large city
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