Introduction to the BFA Acting Program

Theatre students in performance 

Thank you for your interest in the BFA in Acting program at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). The CSUF Acting BFA program ranks nationally among the “Most Highly Recommended Programs,” according to the most recent Performing Arts Major’s College Guide (published by Macmillan Books). CSUF's training program is one of the top sixteen most highly recommended undergraduate programs in the nation, among the most prestigious schools (including Juilliard, New York University, Boston University, and Northwestern University).

The below information will provide prospective student with an understanding of the challenging task they are undertaking when choosing the Acting BFA degree program, as well as the exceptional quality and standards of the program they are considering.

If you have further questions or would like to set up a meeting to visit the campus, observe classes and meet with an advisor, please contact the Theatre/Dance office


Faculty/Student Ratio 

Lower division BFA Acting students can expect varying student teacher ratios, based on subject matter, and classroom and faculty resources available. Lower division performance courses are typically from 14:1 to 24:1. 

Once a student is accepted into the BFA program at the junior level, student/instructor ratio reduces drastically, down to 15:1 for performance courses. Also, upper division acting classes are restricted to only the highest caliber student, those students admitted by BFA jury and our MFA Acting candidates – so you will be studying with only our finest students in the department.

Performing Opportunites

There are many performance opportunities at CSUF. Theatre students are eligible for casting from the second semester of their freshmen year forward. The Department of Theatre and Dance has made a commitment to actor training, and offers many opportunities for performance. Typically, the Theatre and Dance season consists of 12 to 14 season productions, with additional intimate/studio productions offered at our Grand Central Artist’s Village Theatre in Santa Ana (a department satellite facility). Additionally, CSUF enters every season (mainstage and studio) production in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, offering cast members an oral response by a professional theatre artist, as well as scholarship nominations in each area of theatre production. The department finances a large group of student scholarship nominees to attend the annual regional KCACTF festival, to compete for scholarships and the opportunity to advance to the national festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

CSUF students have a myriad of opportunities to experience the profession in and around the university. Thirty miles east of downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, CSUF is a warm, friendly campus nestled between the mountains and the ocean in the personable haven of Fullerton in Southern California. The Department is in close proximity to major regional theatres, and borders Southern California’s mecca of major film and television studios, over 100 producing theatres, and the nation’s premiere theme parks (Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, Universal Studios, etc.).

Alumni Success 

A source of great pride and a testament to the success of the program is the fact that many recent CSUF graduates are working professionals: on Broadway (Linda Emond: Death of a Salesman opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, Homebody/Kabul, Life x 3); on network television (Kirsten Vangsness as Garcia in Criminal Minds; Val Curry opposite Kevin Bacon in The Following; Dale Raoul as Maxine Fortenberry in True Bloodi, Brenda in Ave 43, and guest star on Royal Pains; Lesley Fera SouthlandCSI Miami, 24, Justice, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, House, Pretty Little Liars; Danielle Bisutti on Anger Management, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Leverage, Castle, CSI Miami, and Parks and Recreation; Marc Cherry, creator of Desperate Housewives and Why Women Kill; Mara Davi recurring lead in Smash; Joe Gillette guest star on Desperate Housewives; Omid Abtahi in Archer, Family Guy, NCIS Los Angeles and Covert Affairs); and in film (Omid Abtahi in Argo; Linda Emond as Simone in Julie and Julia; Michael Miranda in Pirates of Cariribean: Dead Man’s Chest and Ocean’s Thirteen). What better mark of accomplishment can be offered than prominent and continuing employment in such a challenging profession?

National Distinction

We are also among the top sixteen most highly recommended undergraduate programs in the nation, according to the most recent Performing Arts Majors College Guide (ranked with such prestigious schools as Juilliard, New York University, Boston University, and Northwestern University). The competitive nature of our program recognizes excellence, and in turn is nationally recognized as excellent. We are truly a successful professional training program; one geared toward individuals who wish to make a career of performing.

Guest Artists 

CSUF has been fortunate in developing relationships with major Broadway talents who have been willing to share their expertise and experience in master-classes. Some of those who have recently graced our campus: 

Jason Robert Brown - Tony Award winning Composer (ParadeSongs for a New World, and The Last Five Years
John Bucchino - award-winning American composer, lyricist, pianist and teacher 
Kristin Chenoweth – Tony Award winner for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Tony Award nominee for Wicked; television versions of The Music Man and Annie
Mara Davi – CSUF alum; Maggie in Broadway’s A Chorus Line revival; replaced Sutton Foster in The Drowsy Chaperone; Daisy on Smash; Bianca Sanfino on Blue Bloods
Jane Lanier - Tony Award nominee for  Fosse; original cast of  Sweet Charity
Joe Mantello  – Director of Broadway’s Wicked
Matthew Morrison  – Tony Award winner for  Light in the Piazzaoriginal Link in Broadway cast of  Hairspray; original Broadway cast of Footloose; Will Schuester on Glee; J.M Barrie in Finding Neverland
Marni Nixon
 – famous for dubbing the singing voices of the leading actresses in films including The King and IWest Side Story, and My Fair Lady
Eric D. Schaeffer – Director of Broadway’s Follies revival  
Dana Solimando – prolific regional director/choreographer; Broadway performer (Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, Rumpleteaser in Cats, Country Feature in Swing!
Georgia Stitt – Composer who workshopped her production of The Water here before its Theatreworks’ production 

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Last Published 10/1/22

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