List of the Best Drama Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Although completing a drama school program isn't always a requirement to becoming a professional actor, several schools across the country offer such programs. Read on to learn about two of the best, including their program offerings and ranking info.

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School Information

Many drama schools offer programs leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in acting, playwriting, directing or production design. Two good U.S. universities with drama programs are Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh and The New School in New York City. Both schools have alumni who have gone on to become award-winning actors and actresses. Carnegie Mellon offers programs in dramatic writing and design, while The New School requires students to take a hands-on approach in their MFA programs.

Top U.S. Drama Schools

1. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

U.S. News & World Report ranked the CMU seventh among the nation's top colleges of fine arts in 2012. Established in 1914, CMU's School of Drama offers both bachelor's and master's programs to approximately 200 undergraduate and 40 graduate students each year. Programs leading to a BFA include acting and musical theater, design and production technology, directing and dramaturgy. Students may also obtain an MFA in directing, production technology and management, dramatic writing or design. The drama school is housed in the Purnell Center for Arts, a facility with a 430-seat theater and a three-camera television studio.

2. The New School in New York, NY

The New School is a private university composed of eight schools on its Greenwich Village campus. The school offers 91 degree and diploma programs in design, music, liberal arts, social research, management, urban policy and drama. The New School for Drama offers a three-year program leading to an MFA in playwriting, directing or acting. During their first two years, students learn the structure of their field and are trained in dramatic techniques. The last year of the MFA program is dedicated to productions and preparation for the students' professional careers as actors, directors and writers.

List of U.S. Colleges and Universities with Good Drama Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Carnegie Mellon University Forty-one Emmy Award recipients and 12 Tony Award winners have been affiliated with CMU. Pittsburgh, PA
The New SchoolStudents can study abroad in locations ranging from London to Sri Lanka. New York, NY
New York University In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked NYU #32 among all national universities. New York, NY
The Juilliard School The school is very prestigious, with only 6.7% of applicants gaining acceptance for enrollment. New York, NY
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Bruswick Theatre students can complete an entire year of classical study through the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare's Globe in London.New Brunswick, NJ
University of California - IrvineStudents have access to six theatres, an arts lab and a 30-million-volume library. Irvine, CA
University of California - Los AngelesUCLA ranked #4 on U.S. News & World Report's 2012 list of the best fine arts schools. Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California USC's location in downtown Los Angeles gives acting students access to the entertainment capital of the country. Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas at AustinUT-Austin ranked #22 on the 2012 U.S. News & World Report listing of best fine arts schools. Austin, TX
University of Washington - Seattle UW offers the Center for Performance Studies, an interdisciplinary consortium of arts-based graduate programs. Seattle, WA
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