Acting Schools in Michigan with Program Information

There are 30 schools within Michigan that have theatre programs with acting concentrations or courses. Read an overview of ten of the largest of these schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Aspiring actors who wish to gain education and training in a college or university setting have several program options through the associate's, bachelor's and master's-level theatre programs that are offered at many of Michigan's 4-year schools. Students can choose programs that place a special emphasis on acting, or they can select programs that include acting as part of a general education in theatre.

Those that are interested in musical theatre acting can find programs that allow them to specialize, as well as dual degree options. Below, read the profiles of ten of the largest schools in Michigan, and see what each one offers. Included is a table that allows for an easy comparison of these schools. Among the programs are:

  • Theatre
  • Music Theatre
  • Theatre and Interpretation
  • Theatre with concentrations in theatre arts or interpretation/performance studies
  • Acting
  • Liberal Arts with a concentration in theatre
  • Theatre Studies
  • Theatre Performance
  • Performance with a concentration in acting

Aquinas College

Aquinas College, a Roman Catholic college in Grand Rapids, enrolls over 2,000 students. Those who are interested in acting can enroll in the college's Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre program. Students can choose one of four tracks: performance, technical studies, creative dramatics, or a general studies track. All theatre majors take acting as a core class, as well as directing, script analysis, and theatre history. Classes in the performance track include a more advanced acting course, as well as courses in improvisational acting, audition techniques, and voice and diction. An advanced acting class is also part of the curriculum in the general studies track. Other program options include a dual degree in theatre and business administration, a communications degree with a theatre emphasis, and a minor in theatre. All three options include performance coursework.

  • Programs Offered: Minor in Theatre,
    Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $25,250*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private, not-for-profit; midsize city

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant's Central Michigan University is a public college with a student population of more than 28,000. Students looking to learn about acting can earn one of several degrees: a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Music Theatre, a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Interpretation, or a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and Interpretation. Students in the music theatre program receive training and experience for the goal of becoming a professional performer in music, acting, and dance. Theatre and interpretation majors will learn about the history of drama and theatre, and dramatic theory and criticism, in addition to acting, stagecraft, and directing. Students can choose an emphasis on acting. Other areas of emphasis include interpretation, design and technology, or a general track. Theatre students also have the opportunity to participate in campus productions.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre,
    Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Interpretation,
    Bachelor of Science in Theatre and Interpretation
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $10,950 in-state; $23,670 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; distant town

Eastern Michigan University

Located in Ypsilaniti, Eastern Michigan University offers undergraduate and graduate programs to over 23,000 students. Undergraduates who pursue the theatre arts major can earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (BS). They take courses covering acting fundamentals, script analysis, technical theatre and theatre production. They can also receive credit for participating in school productions. Electives are available, and students can choose an additional 9-12 hours of coursework credit in advanced acting with the guidance of an adviser. Other opportunities for advanced study include interpretation and performance studies, theatre for the young, directing and technical theatre.

At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre with a concentration in interpretation/performance studies or theatre arts. Those who select the latter option can choose an acting/performance specialization. Other concentration options include arts administration and applied drama/theatre for the young, the last which is also offered as its own MFA program.

  • Programs Offered: BA or BS in Theatre Arts,
    Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with concentrations in theatre arts or interpretation/performance studies
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,026 in-state; $24,008 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; large suburb

Grand Valley State University

A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science can be earned in theatre at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Students who choose the BA program are required to take three semesters of a foreign language, while the BS program requires courses in communication research, applied statistics and computing. Two acting classes are among the theatre core requirements for both degree programs. Electives available to those looking for an acting education include voice for the actor, rehearsal, makeup, acting in front of the camera, advanced scene study and Shakespeare performance. Students also take nine credits in communications courses, as well as general education classes.

  • Programs Offered: BA or BS in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $10,078 in-state; $14,568 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; large suburb

Michigan State University

Michigan State University in East Lansing boasts a student population of almost 48,000 students. While acting courses are part of the Bachelor of Arts and minor programs in theatre, students can choose acting as a concentration while earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Besides core courses in topics such as acting, play analysis, theatre history and technical theatre, acting students take advanced acting classes, as well as courses in voice, movement, directing and stage makeup.

Of the 60 credits required by the university's MFA acting program, 34 come from acting core coursework. These include practicum courses in acting, voice and movement. The remaining 20 credits emphasize academics, including classes in acting theory, period research, drama criticism and theatre history.

  • Programs Offered: Minor in Theatre,
    BFA in Theatre with a concentration in acting,
    BA in Theatre,
    MFA in Acting
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $12,622 in-state; $32,580 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; fringe rural

Oakland Community College

Located in Bloomfield Hills, this two-year college offers a liberal arts associate degree program that features a concentration in theatre. Graduates of this program have the option of enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in theatre, entering an acting school or seeking employment in the field. Besides taking two acting courses, theatre students take classes in film acting, movement and improvisation. They also choose electives from a list of courses that include playwriting, voice, dance, fencing and movement in musical theatre. General education courses are also required. The physical education requirement can be fulfilled with a course in ballet, modern dance, jazz dance, fencing or yoga.

  • Programs Offered: Associate in Liberal Arts with a concentration in theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,247*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; large suburb

Oakland University

Oakland University, based in Rochester Hills, serves more than 19,000 students. Aspiring actors can earn a BFA in Acting or a BFA in Musical Theatre. Both programs require students to complete an entrance audition in order to be accepted. Acting students develop acting and directing skills, while musical theatre students develop skills in acting, singing, and dancing. Students in both programs have opportunities to perform in campus productions.

  • Programs Offered: BFA in Acting,
    BFA in Musical Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $10,230 in-state; $23,873 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; large suburb

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

At the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan, students can pursue a BFA program in performance with concentrations available in acting or directing. Those in the acting specialization pursue a liberal arts education and begin to concentrate their studies in acting, movement, voice and stage combat in the second year. Students also train in contemporary and classical theatre, improvisation and working in an ensemble. Elective course options include instruction in music, musical theatre and dance. Students interested in pursuing a second field of study can earn a dual degree, which can be earned in five years.

  • Programs Offered: BFA in Performance with a concentration in acting
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $12,944 in-state; $39,122 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; midsize city

Wayne State University

Undergraduates looking for acting training at Wayne State University in Detroit can choose the acting curriculum in the BFA in Theatre program. Students work with an adviser to tailor their courses. All theatre students take a general mix of core courses. Requirements for acting students include ascending levels of classes in acting, stage movement and voice. Electives are also available in costuming, scene painting, lighting, fashion design and other topics. Students who choose the production curriculum focus their studies in design and technical theatre.

The university also offers a Bachelor of Arts program in Theatre. This program offers a general theatre education, including classes in acting, and is promoted by the school as a good choice for those who want to focus on theatre in education.

Graduate students in the theatre MFA program can complete their studies in three years. Acting is one of five available specializations that also include theatre management and stage management. Besides instruction in acting, voice and speech, movement and script analysis, the acting curriculum includes coursework in repertory theatre, dramaturgy, drama criticism and theatre aesthetics.

Students looking for a more rounded theatre education can purse the school's MA program. This program requires two years of study.

  • Programs Offered: BFA in Theatre - performance curriculum,
    BA in Theatre,
    MFA in Theatre with a specialization in acting,
    MA in Theatre
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $10,190 in-state; $21,735 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; large city

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University's main campus is at Kalamazoo. The school's theatre department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with two emphases targeting acting in particular. The university's BFA in Theatre Performance program teaches students about using voice and body, analyzing scripts, and understanding acting theory. The goal is to develop stagecraft with theory and practical application. Students have the opportunity to perform in nine different shows put on by the school or through student-produced plays. Talent agents and directors attend performances and conduct auditions and interviews with likely candidates.

Students with a preference for musical theatre can earn a BFA in Musical Theatre. During this four-year program, enrollees receive voice lessons, dance training, and stage time. Seniors have the opportunity to participate in a student cabaret and go to New York City to audition for agents and directors of musicals, operas, and dance theatres. Graduates of these programs have appeared on Broadway and joined various groups, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Disney.

Students can also earn a BFA in Theatre Studies. This program covers a general education in the field, covering acting, directing, design and technology, and history.

  • Programs Offered: BFA in Theatre Performance,
    BFA in Musical Theatre,
    BA in Theatre Studies
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $9,982 in-state; $23,262 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Acting Degree Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)
Aquinas College Four-year, private, not-for-profit; midsize city Minor in Theatre,
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
$25,250*
Central Michigan University Four-year, public; distant town Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre,
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Interpretation,
Bachelor of Science in Theatre and Interpretation
$10,950 in-state; $23,670 out-of-state*
Eastern Michigan University Four-year, public; large suburb BA or BS in Theatre Arts,
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with concentrations in theatre arts or interpretation/performance studies
$9,026 in-state; $24,008 out-of-state*
Grand Valley State University Four-year, public; large suburb BA or BS in Theatre $10,078 in-state; $14,568 out-of-state*
Michigan State University Four-year, public; fringe rural Minor in Theatre,
BFA in Theatre with a concentration in acting,
BA in Theatre,
MFA in Acting
$12,622 in-state; $32,580 out-of-state*
Oakland Community College Two-year, public; large suburb Associate in Liberal Arts with a concentration in theatre $2,247*
Oakland University Four-year, public; large suburb BFA in Acting,
BFA in Musical Theatre
$10,230 in-state; $23,873 out-of-state*
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Four-year, public; midsize city BFA in Performance with a concentration in acting $12,944 in-state; $39,122 out-of-state*
Wayne State University Four-year, public; large city BFA in Theatre - performance curriculum,
BA in Theatre,
MFA in Theatre with a specialization in acting,
MA in Theatre
$10,190 in-state; $21,735 out-of-state*
Western Michigan University Four-year, public; small city BFA in Theatre Performance,
BFA in Musical Theatre,
BA in Theatre Studies
$9,982 in-state; $23,262 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
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    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Boston
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Theatre Design and Technology
        • Theatrical Production
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Coral Gables
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Theatre Arts Management
        • Theatre Design and Technology
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Theatre Design and Technology
        • Theatrical Production
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Washington
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Storrs
    Areas of study you may find at University of Connecticut include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Theatre Design and Technology
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Waco
    Areas of study you may find at Baylor University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Theatre Design and Technology
        • Theatrical Production
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Chicago
    Areas of study you may find at DePaul University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Playwriting and Screenwriting
        • Theatre Arts Management
        • Theatre Design and Technology
        • Theatre History, Literature and Criticism
        • Theatrical Production
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Lubbock
    Areas of study you may find at Texas Tech University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
        • Acting
        • Playwriting and Screenwriting
        • Theatre Arts Management
        • Theatre Design and Technology
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts

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