Acting Schools in Atlanta, GA with Degree Program Overviews

There are at least five schools near Atlanta that have acting and theater degree programs. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info at three schools within 25 miles of the city center and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Atlanta-Area Schools for Acting Training

Students who wish to study acting have a couple of options near Atlanta. This article looks at three schools that are no more than 35 minutes from downtown. All offer undergraduate programs in theater (spelled 'theatre' at some schools), and this article looks at what these programs require. There's a table of important information about each school that prospective students need to know, such as size, tuition and graduation rates. At the end of the article are some facts about two more Atlanta schools that offer acting programs.

  • About 18 miles south of downtown Atlanta, Clayton State University provides students the opportunity to develop their acting skills and work with local drama and theater institutions. It offers a bachelor's degree in theatre and also allows students to minor in theatre.
  • Emory University , just six miles from the city center, offers a bachelor's degree and a minor program in theater studies. Emory is home to Theater Emory, a resident company that teaches acting students through a variety of activities. Labs, tutorials and productions are all part of the educational process at Emory University.
  • Kennesaw State University offers a bachelor's program in theater with various concentrations, including acting. The university also has several performance venues and is about 24 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

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Comparison of Schools

Prospective acting students can refer to the following table to compare these schools in several important areas. This information may help them arrive at a decision regarding their training.

Clayton State University Emory University Kennesaw State University
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; private 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2014) 7,022 14,769* n/a
Campus Setting Large suburb Large suburb Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $5,340 in-state; $15,596 out-of-state* $46,314* $6,060 in-state; $16,636 out-of-state*
Percentage of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 93%* 59%* n/a
Acceptance Rate (2014) 42%* 27%* n/a
Retention Rate (2013-2014) 67% of full-time students; 66% of part-time students* 95% of full-time students* n/a
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (began 2008) 33% (27% transfer-out rate)* 89%* n/a

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

Clayton State University

The theatre department at this university provides instruction from industry professionals and opportunities for students to participate in drama pieces and productions. Notable faculty members include a 20-year veteran in professional theatre, a playwright for Alliance Theater and a 6-year veteran from the Walt Disney World resort.

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

This bachelor's degree program covers both foundational and specialized topics in theatre. Students will develop strong skills in communication, interpreting and acting. Some required courses include intro to acting, play development, stagecraft and acting styles. Students can choose multiple electives and related upper-division courses, such as acting for the camera, improvisation for theatre, Shakespeare and visual arts. The department also encourages students to minor in another field of study.

Minor in Theatre

Students who only wish to minor in theatre must take at least 18 credit hours of theatre courses. Required courses include directing, theatre appreciation and intro to acting. Students complete the minor by taking three upper-division theatre electives.

Emory University

Students from all areas of study are encouraged to take courses and electives in the theater studies and dance programs. In addition to the many performances Theater Emory produces, students can participate in their own theater projects. Many theater students also double major in another program. Students in Emory's theater programs have interned with a number of companies in Atlanta, and some students have even done internships in Los Angeles or New York.

Bachelor of Arts in Theater Studies

Students are not required to complete auditions to enter this program, which requires 30 credit hours of core courses. Topics include aesthetics and criticism, theater history, reading for performance and stagecraft. Students can choose to take multiple acting courses, including basic acting, acting fundamentals, acting scene work, and speeches and monologues for acting.

Minor in Theater Studies

Students must complete 22 credit hours for this minor program. Courses in acting, stagecraft and reading for performance are required, along with a theater practicum and theater colloquia. Aspiring actors can then take 2 electives in upper-division theater topics.

Kennesaw State University

This university has a bachelor's degree program with a focus in acting, and students can take a variety of courses in theatre, performance studies, theory and history. All theatre students must complete a senior seminar and an applied sequence.

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies (Acting Concentration)

Lower-division required courses include stagecraft, principles of acting and performance studies. The acting concentration allows students to take courses in acting for the camera, intermediate acting and acting styles. Toward the end of the program, students are required to complete an applied/professional sequence, which can consist of international study opportunities, internships, service-learning projects or other hands-on learning experiences.

Other School Options

Acting and drama courses are also available at Spelman College, which is a women's college located 2.2 miles from Atlanta's downtown area. Morehouse College, also located 2.2 miles from downtown, has a drama program as well.

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