With several private nonprofit and public colleges and universities offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre, students can choose to specialize in acting, performance, or musical theatre. They can also gain acting instruction as part of a general theatre program. Students gain practical instruction through lab and studio courses, and by participating in on-campus productions. In addition, some programs may require students to complete internships, projects or theses.
In order to gain admittance to a theatre program, students may need to pass an audition, complete an interview or present a portfolio. Profiled below are ten of the largest Florida colleges offering such programs. A table at the end allows for a comparison of programs and tuition costs across schools.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University is located in Boca Raton. The school enrolls over 29,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees for those interested in acting. Pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre - Performance track requires students to complete a total of 139 credit hours, 95 of which are theatre credits. In addition to acting classes, students learn about theatre history, script analysis, theatrical makeup, and stage management. B.F.A. students can participate in departmental performances alongside master's-level students. Acting and movement coursework is also part of the university's Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Theatre - General Education program. A minor in theatre is available as well.
Graduate students can earn a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Theatre Arts with a concentration in acting. This program requires students to complete 57 credit hours. Students take acting, voice and speech, and movement courses; they also complete a creative thesis. Applicants to the M.F.A. program should hold a B.A., B.F.A. or a comparable degree. Prospective students must submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement; they also need to complete both an audition and an interview.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Myers. The school serves more than 12,000 students per year. Acting students in the B.A. in Theatre program need to earn at least 120 credit hours. Required courses for theatre majors include theatre and performance theories, play directing, and foundations in civic engagement. Acting classes are available as electives, and students can learn about audition techniques, voice and movement, performance art, and stage makeup as well. Students also complete a senior project in theatre.
Florida International University
Florida International University is located in Miami and enrolls more than 44,000 students. The school offers two programs for acting students through its Department of Theatre: the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. The B.A. in Theatre program offers a broad curriculum that includes three courses in acting. Other course topics include theatre movement, voice and speech, and playscript analysis.
After completing the foundation courses in the B.A. program, students may be eligible to transfer to the B.F.A. program. This program is designed for students who wish to go on to graduate study and work professionally in the field; students can focus on performance. Advanced courses in acting, theatre voice and movement, and theatre performance are offered only to students in the B.F.A. program. Students also complete a senior project that involves writing, staging, and performing a play.
Florida State University
Florida State University in Tallahassee is a large research university that enrolls over 41,000 students. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs for aspiring actors. Undergraduates studying for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program complete a core group of theatre courses, as well as courses in acting, voice, and movement. After completing the first semester, students can take part in school productions. Students in the third year of the B.F.A. program are eligible to spend a semester or more in London focusing on one of five areas of study, including acting and performance. Undergraduates at FSU can also enroll in the B.A. in Theatre program or B.F.A. in Music Theatre program.
Graduate students can earn the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A) in Acting. The three-year program is highly selective and accepts no more than a dozen students each year. Accepted students receive a full tuition waiver, as well as an assistantship.
Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is a private research facility in Fort Lauderdale. The university serves over 28,000 students. Those pursuing a career in acting can explore the school's Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program. Theatre students take acting as a core course. Other core classes include play analysis, production and stage management, technical theatre, and directing for the stage. Available electives include an advanced acting class, acting styles, comedy and improvisation, and film and television performance. Theatre can also be pursued as a minor.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida in Orlando enrolls more than 58,000 students. The theatre department at the school's College of Arts and Humanities offers an undergraduate and graduate degree program for actors. The 129-hour Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre program with an acting focus combines classroom study with acting studios and scene studies. The first two years of this 4-year program address basic stage tasks, movement, improvisation, voice training, development of character, and dance. In the final two years, students spend more time performing in acting studios, with a professional internship in the senior year of study. UCF also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre.
Graduate students can pursue an M.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in acting. The program requires completion of 61 credit hours. Core courses in this program include theatre research methods and careers in professional theater. Classroom instruction addresses topics such as dramatic theory, contemporary theatre practice, American theatre, and advanced scene study. Acting studios focus on stage voice, movement, and other acting techniques. A professional internship is completed in the third year of the program. UCF also offers a master's program in theatre for young audiences.
University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville is among the largest universities in Florida; more than 49,000 students are enrolled in the university's diverse academic programs. Its acting program is offered through the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre and Dance. Students seeking to enter the 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance program must pass an audition or in-person portfolio review. Acting courses focus on discipline, analysis, and theatre movement. Additional program coursework includes stagecraft, history of theatre, script analysis, and dance technique. Acting styles are studied through stage performance and labs; an audition workshop is also included in the curriculum. The school offers a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre as well.
The M.F.A. program in acting is an intensive 3-year program that combines classroom instruction with performances through internships and on-campus productions. The curriculum includes seminars in creative processes, courses in literature and criticism, and lab workshops. Students are also required to participate in an internship.
University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private research facility located in Miami that enrolls more than 16,000 students. The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program, and students learn about voice and speech, movement, singing, and dance. Acting students also have the opportunity to participate in on-campus productions. In addition, students can choose to study music and acting in the university's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program.
University of South Florida - Main Campus
The University of South Florida is located in Tampa and enrolls more than 39,000 students. Those interested in acting can earn the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a performance concentration. The program requires completion of 120 credits, and core theatre courses make up 33 of those credits. Students explore subjects like body discipline, voice preparation, and scene study, in addition to acting styles.
University of West Florida
The University of West Florida serves almost 12,000 students and is located in Pensacola. Students pursuing an acting education can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre or a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Both programs require students to complete 120 credit hours. The B.A. program provides students with a basic overall theatre experience, and a specialization in acting is available. The B.F.A. program is designed for students planning a performance career. Students in this program complete courses like play directing, acting, and musical theatre voice.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Acting Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Florida Atlantic University||Four-year, public; small city|| Minor in Theatre,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre - Performance,
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre - General Education,
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts - Acting
| $4,831 undergraduate in-state,
$17,276 undergraduate out-of-state,
$6,657 graduate in-state,
$17,885 graduate out-of-state*
|Florida Gulf Coast University||Four-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Theatre|| $6,118 undergraduate in-state,
$25,162 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Florida International University||Four-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts in Theatre,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre
| $6,556 undergraduate in-state,
$18,954 undergraduate out-of-state*
|Florida State University||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Arts in Theatre,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre,
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
| $6,507 undergraduate in-state,
$21,673 undergraduate out-of-state,
$11,543 graduate in-state,
$25,975 graduate out-of-state*
|Nova Southeastern University||Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Arts in Theatre||$27,660 undergraduate*|
|University of Central Florida||Four-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre - Acting,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre - Musical Theatre,
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre - Acting,
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre - Theatre for Young Audiences
| $6,368 undergraduate in-state,
$22,467 undergraduate out-of-state,
$8,872 graduate in-state,
$27,715 graduate out-of-state*
|University of Florida||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Minor in Theatre,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre,
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
| $6,381 undergraduate in-state,
$28,659 undergraduate out-of-state,
$12,737 graduate in-state,
$29,302 graduate out-of-state*
|University of Miami||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre
|University of South Florida - Main Campus||Four-year, public; large city||Bachelor of Arts in Theatre - Performance|| $6,410 undergraduate in-state,
$17,324 undergraduate out-of-state*
|University of West Florida||Four-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre - Musical Theatre,
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre - Acting
| $6,360 undergraduate in-state,
$19,241 undergraduate out-of-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator.