Best Acting Schools In New York City

Some of the best acting schools across North America are in New York City. Acting schools offer a bunch of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees along with other courses centered around acting. Most students who wish to enter the acting industry opt for schools in California and New York in particular. Although there isn’t a ‘formal’ education necessary before entering into the acting field, training in some of the best acting schools across the country can give you a boost and a helping hand over other participants during an audition. Let u discuss, Best Acting Schools In New York City.

Best Acting Schools In New York City

New York City is home to some of the best acting schools across the country. New York Film Academy, The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Tisch School of Arts, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, HB Studio, Julliard School, and Columbia University’s School of Arts are some of the best acting schools that you will find in New York City. 

Best Acting Schools

New York Film Academy

New York Film Academy was established in 1992 and since then it has risen to prominence as one of the most promising acting schools in New York City. The main location of this academy is in New York City but they’re also present in Florence, Beijing, Paris, Shanghai, and Australia. 

There are degree programs available here along with short-term courses, workshops, and programs held in a conservatory style. There are certain requirements to get into NYFA:

  • Students must have a valid high school diploma 
  • Students need to have an excellent hold of the English language
  • Students need to prove their desire to work vigorously to achieve success in their field
  • Students applying for a master’s degree should have a valid bachelor’s degree in any field although a student with a visual arts background will have a higher weightage above others

There are no minimum GPA requirements to get into any course at NYFA. The enrolment process is commenced after the student passes an interview which will be done either in person or through a phone. The different types of courses offered at NYFA are:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Associate of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • One- and Two-Year Conservatory
  • Short term workshops

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts allows its students to pursue an associate’s degree or enroll in their four-week intensive summer program to introduce them to the world of professional acting. 

Students who are looking forward to getting into the associate’s degree program here will have to prepare a one-minute-long audition piece that will determine their position in the academy. The summer training program on the other hand will proceed with a skype audition or the student will be asked for a pre-recorded video submission. 

You can schedule an audition from their official website based on the program that you want to pursue. The different programs offered here are:

  • Associate degree in occupational studies with a focus on film and television performance
  • Associate degree in occupational studies with a focus on musical theatre performance
  • Associate degree in occupational studies with a focus on new media for actors
  • Four-week long summer program (six transferable credits upon completion)

Some of the notable alumni from The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts include Jacob Batalon (best known for his performance in the movie Spiderman: Far from home) and Ashleigh Murray (best known for her performance in the series Riverdale). 

This college offers several grants and financial aid for students who are unable to cover the tuition which can go from $41,000 to $60,000 per year. The enrolment number is relatively small with no more than 250 students per annual year. 

Tisch School of The Arts

Tisch School of the arts is a part of the New York University and it offers a wide range of programs surrounding performance art. It’s one of the most selective schools among the various acting schools in New York City. 

Tisch School of the Arts institute of performing arts offers undergraduate degrees such as a bachelor of fine arts in Drama and a bachelor of arts in performance studies. It is also a focus for students interested in dance and collaborative arts. 

Graduate programs at this school include a master’s and Ph.D. in performance studies and a master of fine arts in graduate acting. The requirements to get into the undergraduate acting program require the students to:

  • Complete the common application process at NYU
  • Participate in their artistic review

For students looking to get into the postgraduate programs, you’ll be asked to participate in four monologues around two minutes each, and an acapella rendition of a song that you can perform for up to sixteen bars. Tuition here can cost from $59,000 per year to $65,000. Additional charges are applicable as well and the tuition fees can be changed.

Scholarships and grants are available at NYU for different types of students. The undergraduate freshmen are offered need-based financial aid only. There are also federal aid and state aid options available for certain qualified students. Various outside scholarships are available on the official NYU website along with a list of work-study programs. 

Graduate students can opt for financial assistance through the FAFSA application process. Additional financial aid help can be found on the official NYU website as well. 

The American Musical and Dramatic Academy

The American Musical and Dramatic Academy is a prestigious private school that offers undergraduate, graduate, and high school conservatory programs, and gap programs in different types of performing arts, dance, musical theatre, and acting. Popularly termed as ‘AMDA’, the main campus of this academy can be found in the upper west Manhattan area and another campus is located in the Hollywood entertainment district in Los Angeles, California.

To get into the undergraduate acting program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, students will have to go through the following process:

  • Fill out the official AMDA application 
  • Schedule an audition on the official website
  • Go through an interview with the admissions administrator after scheduling your audition
  • Submit a personal essay and one letter of recommendation 
  • Submit official high school transcripts and other necessary academic records that you might have put in your official AMDA application

AMDA offers three kinds of high school conservatory programs that can be done online and offline. They are:

  • Summer conservatory program (immersive two weeks long journey conducted offline and online)
  • After-school conservatory program (10 weeks offline and 6 weeks off-campus)
  • Pop-up conservatory program (four weekends long conducted only on Saturdays on Long Island)

The high school conservatory programs are a way for high school students to explore the field of acting while in school to figure out whether the field is for them or not. During this training, they can opt to learn to act on stage and on screen. 

Some of the most famous alumni from AMDA include Jesse Tyler Ferguson (best known for his performance in the series Modern Family) and Asia Kate Dillon (best known for their performance in the series Orange Is the New Black). 

HB Studio

HB Studio is one of the classic acting schools in New York City. Their performing arts programs are suitable for part-time and full-time students alike. They also conduct short-term workshops to build skills intensively in a short period. HB studio offers classes in acting, voice, and speech, along with movement and the body. 

The Uta Hagen Institute is a part of HB studio that offers intensive full-time actor training for undergraduate students looking to enter into the professional acting field. It’s a one-year-long training program called The Hagen core training which is built to fully immerse the student into the world of acting with special curated classes. 

To get into any acting course in HB studio, you’ll have to prepare for an audition piece. This will include:

  • Two types of contemporary monologues that contrast each other and they’re supposed to be three minutes each
  • A cappella song for a short duration of time (you can choose any song)
  • A recent headshot and resume

The full-time one-year course at the Uta Hagen institute of HB studio can cost around $13,500 but extra charges might be applicable. This training is eligible for college credit transfer as well if you start training at another college after finishing your studies at HB studio. 

HB studio has some of the most prominent names in the industry as its alumni. This list includes Sarah Jessica Parker (best known for her performance in the series Sex and the City) and Whoopi Goldberg (best known for her performance in the movie The Colour Purple).

The Julliard School

The Julliard School is one of the most prestigious performing arts schools across the country and in New York City. It has an acceptance rate of 8% and it offers some of the best undergraduate and graduate courses in music, dance, and drama. There are no more than 850 students enrolled at this university annually. It’s regarded as one of the best performing arts schools not only in North America but also globally. 

At this school, you can opt for full-time courses such as a bachelor of fine arts in acting or a master of fine arts in acting. Both the bachelor’s and master’s courses are four years long and the students go through intensive training to reach the best standards in their acting pursuits. 

Eligibility criteria for undergraduate students in acting:

  • No minimum GPA requirement but a high school diploma or its equivalent is necessary
  • Fluency in English 

The most important part is to pass the audition and interview round which will thoroughly check the applicant’s enthusiasm and ability to give their best and connect to the character they’re performing on stage. Commitment to strive for success is also observed as it’s one of the prerequisites of being an actor as it’s one of the most competitive fields in the world. 

The annual tuition for freshmen combined with residence, health insurance, transportation, school supplies, and orientation can be from $79,572 to $84,502 annually. The final cost is lowered by $1,000 for continuing students and different kinds of financial aid are available for the ones in need. 

Columbia University School of the Arts

Columbia University is one of the most competitive universities to get into as it belongs to the Ivy League. As it has an acceptance rate of 7%, the education provided here is sought after by many but given only to a few. This university’s school of the arts has various graduate programs in fine arts, including a concentration in acting. 

They don’t offer any undergraduate courses but aspirants can opt for the theatre major at Barnard College before transferring to Columbia University’s school of the arts for further education. It should be noted that Barnard College is an all-female school.

The master of fine arts program at the School of the Arts by Columbia University allows the students to pursue a three-year course that delves deep into acting techniques, professional acting studio life, voice and speech lessons, history of performance, and more. 

In their final year thesis, students will get the chance to participate in a full-scale project assisted by a faculty member and understand how a professional production works. To get into the master’s program at the school of arts at Columbia University, you’ll have to:

  • Provide your undergraduate transcript
  • Three letters of recommendations
  • A short and precise autobiography describing your theatrical experience along with your theatrical resume
  • Statement with your objectives and theatrical pursuits that built your character as a performer

An annual year fee at this school can cost around $66,880 which can be reduced with the help of financial aid. 


New York City is home to some of the best acting schools across the country and even globally. This city is regarded as a hotspot for actors who are looking to enter into theatre more than Hollywood or television series. Even aspiring actors can begin their acting journey in New York City and move to Hollywood after gathering experience and knowledge from any of the various acting schools mentioned here.