May 25, 2019  
2016-2017 University Catalogue 
2016-2017 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

Acting, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Programs   >  Programs in the College of Performing Arts  
Contacts     Description     Program Objectives     Program Requirements

  Quick Links

    Academic Plan   
    College of Performing Arts 
    Brind School of Theater 
    Liberal Arts Distribution  








Justin Lujan / / 215.717.6573
Program Director


The four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting program not only prepares students for careers in the professional theater or for continued study at the graduate level, but also offers a breadth, depth and variety of study and practice, enabling the student to function successfully as an active and productive member of society at large.  

The freshman year revolves around 6 hours of acting studio a week in which the student is introduced to the basics of  behavior and acting through improvisation and the techniques outlined by Uta Hagen in “Respect for Acting.” Improv is used as a technique to develop the students’ capacity to listen and respond, develop their imaginations and live in the moment.  Uta Hagen’s technique develops the students’ capacity to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances” through sensory exploration and “object exercises”  (“re-creating behavior which leads to the achievement of a simple objective.”). In the spring the class embarks upon the “Explorer Project” which, leaning on the techniques developed in the fall, involves the study of all aspects of a Shakespeare play and the performance of scenes from that play. The acting studio is supported by 3 hours per week of Linklater Voice Work, 3 hours of Laban movement work, a Theatre Survey and a Script Analysis class.

The sophomore year involves 6 hours of acting studio in which the student is introduced to the Stanislavski approach to acting.  The work and writings of Konstantin Stanislavski are the bedrock of the majority of contemporary psychological and text based acting techniques. The students learn to work  through “action,” “imagination,” “units,” “objective” and super-objective.” These are the tools needed to analyze, break down and interpret text and character in a constructive and active way.  This approach is reinforced by the psycho-physical techniques of Michael Chekhov. These techniques are applied to scene work from twentieth century American playwrights. The studio work is supported by 3 hours of speech work a week and 3 hours of mask and movement work and a Theatre History class.

The junior year continues with the Stanislavski technique in the fall semester as applied to the masters of Poetic Realism such as O’Neill, Chekhov and Ibsen. Acting on Camera and Fundamentals of Directing are introduced at this stage; the latter to sharpen the students’ objectivity in approaching text.  The “Viewpoints” technique of Anne Bogart is introduced and the Voice and Speech class introduces the student to Shakespeare through sonnet work as preparation for the Verse Drama acting studio in the spring semester. An audition technique class is part of the spring schedule as we begin to prepare the students for professional realities.

The senior year is largely elective in character so the student can choose from a range of options. These might include Advanced Acting for the Camera, Business of Theatre, Contemporary Scene Study, playwright based studios (Brecht, Beckett etc), the creation of devised work, physical theatre, Improvisation, Commedia and so on. There will also be opportunities for Independent Studies and Internships.

Students completing these programs are expected to be knowledgeable about a variety of styles and types of drama, and the challenges presented by each; to work in a vocally and physically free and efficient manner; to have a sense of how to begin to establish a career as a performer; to possess a work ethic that will support the collaborative nature of theatrical production and the imagination and flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing and expanding world of performance and creative opportunities outside the current “conventions of the industry.”

Program Objectives

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting will:

  • be able to analyze a text and place their skills in the service of telling a story by fulfilling the demands of that text, using “action” as the primary building block of rehearsal and performance:
  • be able to act and react authentically, specifically and imaginatively within the given circumstances of a scene:
  • be able to initiate action and respond to imaginative and emotional impulses with a dynamically aligned body, free of unnecessary tension, efficient and expressive in action, and capable of transformation according to the demands of character and given circumstances:
  • possess a strong, supported and natural speaking voice capable of speaking Standard American Speech expressively, with distinction and clarity, and capable of transformation according to the demands of character, and given circumstances:
  • be adaptable and fearless in facing the varying demands of dramatic forms, theatrical styles, directors and new technologies:
  • be able to function comfortably and productively within a group dynamic with confidence in their own abilities and trust in their fellows:
  • be able to function constructively with flexibility and imagination in any artistic community, social or educational group, through their understanding of what it means to be a “citizen artist.”
  • be able to take on the role of “entrepreneur” in developing their career in the arts.

Program Requirements (129 credits)

University Common Curriculum (4.5 credits)

Additional information available on the University Common Curriculum  page.

Discipline History (9 credits)

Liberal Arts Distribution (33 credits)

Humanities Seminar (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject HUMS

Period Interpretation (6 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject PIPT
  • Select 1 course from subject PITC

Scientific Inquiry Foundation Track (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject SIFT

Liberal Arts Electives (15 credits)

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • ARAB (Arabic), FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • MATH (Math), SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
    • STCU (Cultural Studies), STDA (Dance Studies), STGS (Gender & Sexuality Studies),
      STMU (Music Studies), STPF (Performance Studies)   
  • Select courses from  : Art History or LA Elective.

Electives (24 credits)

  • Complete 24 credits of electives. This requirement is satisfied by any undergraduate course that isn’t required by the program.