BFA in Acting

The Acting program prepares talented and committed students for careers in the professional world of theatre and the related media of film and television. The program curriculum stresses the development of imagination, intellect, physical and vocal skills, technique, and professional behavior. 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 acting, movement, voice and speech, and dramatic literature follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and related public performance. The 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 actors and to work productively under the stress of the theatrical profession and, most importantly, they learn to integrate performance skills with personal sensibility. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, rehearsal & performance opportunities, and collaboration with professionals through our Professional Theatre Initiative. Students are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through studio class work, hands-on, in-process Rehearsal & Performance advising, and end-of-semester conferences.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the Acting major will:

  • Demonstrate a high level of technical and interpretive performance skills sufficient to obtain professional positions in the performing arts.
  • Demonstrate spoken and written critical thinking, collaboration, 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 with diverse communities as a theatre artist.


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 Aesthetic & 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 130 credits)

First Year

All first-year performance students are admitted to the Theatre Performance core curriculum. The first-year theatre core is designed to provide an appropriate context for faculty evaluations of each student’s strengths, interests, and potential for success in the upper years of training. At the end of the first year, each student declares a major. This decision is reviewed by all members of the School of Theatre faculty before a student is officially enrolled in their major.

The Theatre Performance core provides a foundation for all future study in the Acting or Theatre Arts performance major. Through improvisation, scene study, ensemble work, and exercise, students begin the journey toward the free, integrated, and transformable expression of the voice, body, intellect, imagination, and emotion.

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

Second Year 1st 2nd
CFA TH 237 & 238 Alexander Technique 2 1 1
CFA TH 201 Dramatic Literature 1850–1950 3
CFA TH 202 Dramatic Literature 1950–1990 3
CFA TH 211 & 212/214 Voice and Speech 2 2 3
CFA TH 221 & 222 Acting 2 3 3
CFA TH 231 & 232 Movement 2 2 2
CFA TH 247 Stagecraft 1
CFA TH 248 Rehearsal and Performance 1 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Performance elective variable
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
Total credits 16+ 18
Third Year
CFA TH 337 Alexander Technique 3 1
CFA TH 311 Voice and Speech 3 2
CFA TH 321 Acting 3 2
CFA TH 331 Movement 3 2
CFA TH 347 Rehearsal and Performance 2 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Performance elective variable
Study abroad or additional coursework* 16
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0
Total credits 13+ 16
Fourth Year
CFA TH 411 & 412 Voice and Speech 4 2 2
CFA TH 421 & 422 Acting 4 2 3
CFA TH 431 & 432 Movement 4 1 2
CFA TH 437 & 438 Alexander Technique 4 1 1
CFA TH 447 & 448 Rehearsal and Performance 3/4 2 1
CFA TH 429 Understanding the Camera 2
CFA TH 430 Professional Theatre Initiative 2 2
CFA TH 450 Senior Thesis 2
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
Performance elective variable variable
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 16+ 17+
*Study Abroad

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.

Performance Electives

Students select performance electives in consultation with their academic advisor and faculty mentor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to courses offered by the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre (CFA TH), College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts (CFA AR), College of Fine Arts School of Music, College of Fine Arts courses (CFA FA), and Fitness/Dance/Mindfulness courses offered by the PDP Department (PDP DA, PDP FT, PDP MB).

Performance electives not offered by one of those programs must be approved by the student’s academic advisor, and require completion of a course substitution form.

Matinee Guidelines

Students must be enrolled in CFA TH 099 Matinee every semester in which they are in residence on campus at Boston University. Students are not required to take Matinee in a study abroad semester.

Concentration in Music Theatre

(open to BFA Acting and BFA Theatre Arts/Performance majors)

The Music Theatre concentration at the Boston University School of Theatre is a 4-course, 12-credit sequence available to any student in the BFA Acting or BFA Theatre Arts/Performance degrees, and can be declared starting in the second year of the program. An audition with concentration faculty is required at the end of the first-year core to declare this concentration.

This concentration is designed to enhance a student’s preparedness in the genre of music theatre, to expand the student’s skill sets within the genre, as well as to encourage students to re-imagine and create new future possibilities for the music theatre genre and to prepare them to become leaders in the field. For those who wish to pursue acting or music theatre as a career, or who wish to apply to graduate programs in this field, this concentration will serve as verification of their skill level and commitment to the field of study.

Students in the Music Theatre concentration are encouraged to take private voice lessons through the School of Music and additional dance and movement classes through the Dance Department at the BU Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Department.

Required courses:

  • CFA TH 217 Music Theatre Performance Skills I: Letting the Speaking Voice Sing (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 218 Music Theatre Performance Skills II: Applying Stanislavski Principles (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 317 Music Theatre Performance Skills III: Scene Study (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 419 Music Theatre Performance Lab (3 cr)