Introduction to the Musical Theatre Program
Thank you for your interest in the BFA Musical Theatre concentration at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). We are a professionally-minded program that celebrates rigor, empathy, authenticity, creativity, diversity, and bravery in the art of synthesized storytelling through acting, music, and dance. We welcome you to our community of artists.
We are a conservatory-style professional training program designed for individuals who wish to pursue performance careers in Musical Theatre, located in Southern California, twenty-six miles outside of Los Angeles. While our focus remains steadfast on the industry, we celebrate the whole artist — training inquisitive, empowered, unique, empathetic, and creative human beings capable of success in multiple arenas, within and without the entertainment industry.
The Musical Theatre program is one of three Theatre BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) concentrations offered at CSUF, alongside the Acting and Devised Performance/Physical Theatre concentrations. CSUF is also home to a diverse and thriving Theatre BA (Bachelor of Arts) program.
All theatre students must achieve 60-hours of crew service throughout the matriculation process — either backstage in productions, or, in department oﬃces, shops, understudy assignments, or teaching assistant positions.
BFA Musical Theatre concentration students can expect varying student-faculty ratios based on subject matter and optimal learning conditions. However, most performance/studio classes boast an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio.
Our faculty consists of award-winning professional actors, directors, musicians, dancers, designers and more, with careers ranging from Broadway, off-Broadway, national tour, international tour, regional theatre, television, film, commercial, voiceover, and academia. You will study under professionals who have walked the very path you intend to walk, and who are eager to share their knowledge and expertise with you.
4th-Year New York City Experience/Showcase
The Musical Theatre BFA concentration culminates in an industry showcase in New York City for agents, managers, casting directors, alumni, and friends of the University. This experience is not only a professional networking opportunity but a celebration of each artist’s growth.
It is worth noting that patrons of CSUF generously provide the venue, reception, housing, and workshop costs (masterclasses with New York professionals) for this event. Students need only to provide their own transportation to and from the city.
Our alumni boast diverse careers across the entertainment industry (and beyond), including but certainly not limited to Broadway, off-Broadway, national and international tour, regional theater, film, television, and commercials. We are thrilled and honored by the professional achievements of our alumni within the industry as performing artists, but we are equally proud of our alumni whom have found success as teachers, marketers, CEOs, gig artists, church or cabaret singers, producers, directors, choreographers, casting assistants, front of house workers, union leaders, and so on.
A degree in Theatre is a pathway to limitless career potential within and beyond the entrainment industry itself. We celebrate all of these diverse pathways and all of our diverse alumni.
Q: What is the difference between the Theatre BA (Bachelor of Arts) and the Theatre BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts)?
A: The Theatre BA is a “choose your own adventure”-style Theatre degree with 120 required course units, while the Theatre BFA is a regimented conservatory-style degree with 132 required course units. Students in the BA degree do not have to audition to enter the program and can take courses in musical theatre (acting, singing, and dancing), acting, directing, technical theatre, design, theatre education, playwrighting, dramaturgy, and much more.
Students in the BFA degree must choose a specific concentration (Acting, Devised Performance/Physical Theatre, or Musical Theatre) and have very few electives due to the high impact of required courses in these specific fields. Importantly, no matter which degree type you choose, all Theatre & Dance students are eligible and encouraged to be cast in all campus productions.
Q: Do Theatre BA students have to audition before attending CSUF?
A: No, there is no audition requirement for the Theatre BA degree. Simply apply to the University and state your intention to major in Theatre.
Q: Do Musical Theatre BFA students have to audition before attending CSUF?
A: Yes, the Musical Theatre program requires an audition via the Accept’d platform. Apply to the University (on or before November 30), then submit your pre-screen videos on Accept’d .
Q: Does CSUF use the Common App or Accept’d?
A: CSUF does not use the Common App. All CSU campuses use “Cal State Apply” so you may apply to multiple CSU schools with one application. The CSUF Musical Theatre program does, however, use Accept’d to process audition videos.
Q: How much does it cost to apply to CSUF?
A: There is a $70 application fee for the University, as well as a $30 application fee for Accept’d . Application fee waivers are available for students who can prove financial hardship (click here to view the CSU fee waiver program; please see the Accept’d site for details of their fee waiver.)
Q: How much does it cost to attend CSUF?
A: California residents can expect to spend under $30,000 in tuition for all four years of training at CSUF (less than $4,000 per semester). Out-of-state residents can expect to spend under $80,000 in tuition for all four years of training. Both of these numbers are highly competitive for BFA Musical Theatre programs, nationwide, and do not include room & board. For the most up-to-date information on tuition and other University costs, please see
Q: Does CSUF offer merit-based scholarships or work-study programs?
A: Due to the highly competitive price of CSUF’s tuition (one of the lowest tuition prices in the country), merit-scholarships for incoming Musical Theatre students are relatively rare. That said, there are need-based scholarships and work-study programs available to all CSUF students. Visit the CSUF Financial Aid website for more details.
Q: Is casting guaranteed for BFA Musical Theatre students?
A: Yes, each BFA student is required/guaranteed to perform in at least two (2) productions over their four years; however, BFA students are encouraged to audition for as many productions as possible during their time on campus. At CSUF, we believe that casting/auditioning is part of the training process; therefore, casting must be open and competitive in order to successfully prepare students for the industry, post-graduation. We also believe that students with industry- minded performance degrees (like a BFA) must perform; for this reason, we require/guarantee at least two (2) production casting opportunities.
Q: Is casting guaranteed for BA Theatre students?
A: No, casting is open to all BA Theatre students, but is not guaranteed.
Q: Can BFA Musical Theatre students audition for plays and devised works (non- musicals)?
A: Yes, BFA students can audition and be cast in any/all CSUF campus productions. That said, CSUF is a NAST (National Association of Schools of Theatre) accredited program, which requires all BFA students to perform in at least one (1) production within their concentration (i.e. Musical Theatre BFA students must perform in at least one musical).
Q: How many students are accepted into the Musical Theatre BFA Program each year?
A: Approximately 12 students are offered placement in the MT program each year, this represents less than 10% of those who apply.
Q: Is there a “cut” system at CSUF?
A: No. Prior to the program auditioning pre-college, students were required to “jury” into the 3rd-year cohort, however, the “cut” system has since been completely dismantled. Today, once students are accepted into the Musical Theatre program, CSUF is committed to their training all the way to graduation and beyond!
Q: Does the Musical Theatre BFA program accept transfer students?
A: Yes. It is part of the mission of the California State University system to create a rigorous, community-driven, equitable, and accessible model of higher education — including higher education in the arts. We recognize and embrace the reality that the best and brightest young talents in our nation are not always those who can afford four years of private schooling. Likewise, some promising young actors may not be ready for the rigor of a four-year program immediately after high school, yet may blossom through their matriculation within a community college/two-year program. We at CSUF honor that young artists do not all grow or develop at the same pace. For this reason, we hope that our school may serve as a beacon — not only for the students whose talents manifested after high school, but for other colleges and universities who wish to truly create vibrant, diverse, accessible spaces for all young artists.
For these reasons and more, it is important for us at CSUF to maintain a bridge into our program(s) for transfer students.
Q: How many transfer students does the Musical Theatre program accept each year?
A: This depends on the pool of candidates and the current class roster, however, 1-2 transfers per year is an approximate average.
Q: Does CSUF allow late audition submissions (after Nov. 30)?
A: Yes and no. The University application deadline is Nov. 30, and this deadline is hard and final. Although the Musical Theatre program is flexible to receive late video submissions after this date, we are unable to consider any student who did not submit the University application prior to Nov. 30.
Therefore, late submissions will only be considered if/when space remains open after the initial auditions phase, and only if the student submitting the audition completed the University application by Nov. 30. For this reason, we strongly encourage all prospective students to submit their materials early, especially the University application.
Q: Is there a GPA requirement for the Musical Theatre BFA?
A: There is no GPA requirement for the program itself, however, there is a GPA requirement for the University, which the BFA program(s) must adhere to. In-state residents must achieve a high school GPA of 2.49 or higher, while out-of-state residents must achieve a high school GPA of 2.99 or higher.
Regardless of GPA standing, all students are encouraged to apply.
Q: What happens if I audition and don’t get in?
A: Good news! You will be welcomed into the Theatre BA program here at CSUF where you can continue to study acting, music, dance, and an array of adjacent disciplines as part of our wider Theatre Department community.