BFA in Acting

The Performance programs prepare talented and committed students for careers in the professional world of theatre and related entertainment media. The program curriculum stresses the development of imagination, intellect, physical and vocal skills, and technique, as well as preparation for a professional career. This allows students to create a wide range of roles in performances of varying styles.

During each year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, courses in the major follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and related public performance. Committed students who pursue an acting degree at Boston University discover who they are, what they do well, and what they are capable of doing. They learn to be believable interpreters of a role, to work creatively within the context of professional standards and, most importantly, to integrate performance skills with personal sensibility. Most importantly, they find their own voice as a theatre artist. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, rehearsal and performance opportunities, and exposure to the profession. Students are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through studio class work; hands-on, in-process rehearsal and performance advising; and end-of semester conferences.

Learning Outcomes

The Acting program aims to develop a complete theatre artist by fostering a passion for theatre, storytelling, performance, and the collaborative process. Through their required coursework, Acting students will: 

  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of theatre as an art form and the essential role it plays in contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate spoken and written critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and communication skills in an arts-based discipline.
  • Demonstrate an ability to enrich creative storytelling and take artistic risks.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and ability to engage in the diverse community of theatre artists.
  • Demonstrate a high level of artistic, interpretive, and craft skills and techniques in performance as a foundation for entering into a career in theatre and the live performing arts.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Acting will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation as well as some of the requirements in Communication; Diversity, Civic Engagement & Global Citizenship; and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Program of Study (minimum of 132 credits)

First Year+ 1st 2nd
CFA FA 100 Doing, Making & Knowing: The CFA Experience^ 2
CFA TH 136 Theatre Collaboration 1: Equitable & Inclusive Theatre Practice 2
CFA TH 171 & 172 Language & Craft of Theatre 1 & 2 2 2
CFA TH 101 Introduction to the Study of Theatre & Performance 3
CFA TH 104 Dramatic Literature 1: Beginnings of Theatre to the Early 19th Century 4
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120) 4
CFA TH 121 & 124 Acting 1: Personal Approach to Acting & Acting 2: Intro to Scene Study 3 3
CFA TH 131 & 134 Movement 1: Expressive Human Instrument & Movement 2: Expressive Human Instrumentalist 2 2
CFA TH 111 & 114 Voice and Speech 1: Experiencing Voice & Voice and Speech 2: Exploring Voice 2 2
CFA TH 142 Somatic Practice 1 1
CFA TH 146 Artists in Community 1 1
Total credits 18 17
Second Year
CFA TH 249 Intro to Theatre in Practice 2
CFA TH 245 & 246 Artists in Community 2 & 3 1 1
CFA TH 221 & 225 Acting 3: Advanced Scene Study & Acting 4: Acting Methods 3 3
CFA TH 231 & 234 Movement 3: The Transformative Instrument & Movement 4: The Transformative Instrumentalist 2 2
CFA TH 211 & 213 Voice and Speech 3: Experiencing Speech & Voice and Speech 4: Accents, Dialects, and Sociolects 2 2
CFA TH 237 & 242 Somatic Practice 2 & 3 1 1
Approved elective(s)* 2
Dramatic Literature elective* 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major (e.g., CAS WR 151/152/153) 4 4
Total credits 17 17
Third Year
CFA TH 345 Artists in Community 4 1
CFA TH 325 Acting 5: Questioning Shakespeare 3
CFA TH 331 Movement 5: 360 Physical Storytelling 2
CFA TH 311 Voice and Speech 5: Heightened Text 2
CFA TH 337 Somatic Practice 4 1
Approved elective(s)* 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Study Abroad or additional coursework† 16
Total credits 17 16
Fourth Year
CFA TH 445 & 446 Artists in Community 5 & 6 1 1
CFA TH 420 & 424 Acting 6: On Camera & Acting 7: Professional Audition Skills 3 3
CFA TH 415 & 416 Embodied Skills Lab 1 & 2 2 2
CFA TH 435 Senior Capstone Project Development 2
CFA TH 450 Senior Capstone Project 2
Approved elective(s)* 3 3
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 15 15

+Please see the Theatre Core section for complete distribution guidelines for the first year.

^CFA FA 100 is not required for transfer students.

*Students select approved electives and Dramatic Literature electives in consultation with their faculty mentor and academic advisor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

Approved Electives (12 credits)

  • Any course offered by the School of Theatre (CFA TH), including:
    • CFA TH 210 Music Theatre Performance Skills 1
    • CFA TH 240 Directing 1
    • CFA TH 310 Music Theatre Performance Skills 2
    • CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice
    • CFA TH 410 Music Theatre Performance Lab
    • CFA TH 433 Senior Showcase 1
    • CFA TH 434 Senior Showcase 2
    • CFA TH 507 Extreme Acting: Stage Combat
    • CFA TH 509 Choreography and Design: Experiments in Light and Movement
    • CFA TH 549 Theatre in Practice
  • Any course offered by the College of Fine Arts (CFA FA)
  • Students, in consultation with the academic advisor, may utilize approved electives to fulfill Hub units as advised.

Dramatic Literature Electives (4 credits)

  • CAS CL 224 Greek Literature in Translation
  • CAS EN 355 Drama & Performance, 1840–1945
  • CAS EN 356 Drama & Performance, 1945–Present
  • CAS EN 357 Modern British Drama: A Critic’s Perspective
  • CAS EN 363 Shakespeare 1
  • CAS EN 364 Shakespeare 2
  • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories & Plays (in English Translation)
  • CAS LR 440 Russian Drama
  • CFA TH 205 Dramatic Literature: 1850–1950
  • CFA TH 206 Dramatic Literature: 1950–the Millennium
  • CFA TH 405 Classical Theatre through a Contemporary Lens
  • CFA TH 406 Contemporary Theatre
  • CFA TH 440 Experiencing London Theatre (abroad)
  • CFA TH 508 Contemporary British Theatre (abroad)

    Students electing to take courses to fulfill their approved electives and Dramatic Literature electives that are not listed above require the approval of the School of Theatre academic advisor and completion of a course substitution form.

    †In this semester, students will complete up to 16 credits of additional coursework toward their degree, including major requirements, minor requirements, and/or the BU Hub. These credits may be fulfilled through a Study Abroad experience or elective coursework inside or outside the major.