• Screen actors filming on set.
Department of Theatre

BFA in Screen Acting

» BFA in Screen Acting

Prepare for a career in the film and television industry while you learn and train just a short drive from Hollywood! 

Chapman's BFA in Screen Acting program is offered in collaboration with Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and is specifically for students whose goal is to act primarily in television and film. 

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Actor Showcase | Faculty | Performances | Spaces & Venues | Student Clubs | Careers | Admission & Tours | Related Programs


Program Overview

Chapman's Screen Acting program helps you build a solid foundation of acting experience through high-quality performance opportunities, both on-stage and in front of the camera. And because our program is for undergraduates only, you'll have many opportunities, even as a first-year student. Plus, you'll have a well-rounded, broad-based education that will enhance your acting toolkit.

Program coursework is advanced in acting technique and related skills, and it will give you a basic understanding of how media works behind the camera as well as in front of it. Classes include screenwriting, film technology, history of film, and other applied film and television courses. Plus, you can personalize your degree through choices of electives.

Chapman BFA in Screen Acting graduates exit the program with a completed actor reel and are ready to advance to graduate study or begin working professionally in the entertainment industry. This preparation includes a business of acting course and a showcase opportunity with industry professionals at the end of the senior year.

BFA in Screen Acting graduates will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of story structure, story analysis, and character analysis.
  • an understanding of the development of filmmaking, theater, and acting aesthetically and historically.
  • adequate technical proficiency to understand their collaborators and manage their own careers.

BFA Actor Showcase

Screen Acting and Theatre Performance coursework includes a senior-year business of acting course in which you'll learn to prepare a professional resume, website, and actor reel, with a capstone BFA Actor Showcase at the end of the academic year. At this event, you will perform for industry professionals such as casting directors, managers, agents, artistic directors, freelance directors and producers. 

Following each performance, industry professionals may reach out to you for a meeting. These meetings often lead to fruitful partnerships, auditions, dynamic collaborations and even long-term mentorship.

Donathan Walters '15
"My time in the Screen Acting program challenged me to take ownership over being a creator of my own work. Nowadays, being in control of the trajectory of your career is crucial, and Chapman opened the doors that allowed me to further my exploration as an artist, which ultimately led to me pursuing my masters at NYU Grad Acting."

Expert Faculty

Our faculty aren’t just theatre professionals with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. They are also masters at the craft of teaching. 

With a low faculty-to-student ratio, you will get to know your teachers and receive personalized guidance and career planning from professionals who know your name.


Screen Acting Performance Opportunities

At Chapman, first-year students can audition for and perform in productions at Dodge College and the Department of Theatre, including lead roles in:

  • Undergraduate and graduate student film and television productions at Dodge College.
  • Four to five main-season theatre productions a year, usually including a musical, supported by professional directors and production designers.
  • Student-led theatrical productions across campus.
  • Chapman Celebrates, the university’s annual Broadway-style fundraising showcase featuring undergraduate performers.

You can also perform in local theatres and productions across Southern California; Orange County has a vibrant theatre scene, and Los Angeles is a short drive or train ride away. 

We hope you can see a production for yourself! Visit our events calendar to view schedules and get tickets to upcoming theatre productions.


Learn and Perform in Professional-Grade Spaces

You’ll have the opportunity to perform in front of large and intimate audiences in our on-campus venues and teaching spaces:

  • Marion Knott Studios: a 76,000-square-foot working production studio featuring sound stages, state-of-the-art classrooms, and computer labs with industry standard tools.
  • Musco Center for the Arts: an 88,000 s.f., state-of-the-art venue to help foster your education in the arts. Musco Center boasts 1,044 seats on three levels and has been named one of the finest performance venues on the west coast. 
  • Waltmar Theatre: a 244-seat performance and classroom space for students to hone their skills as professional artists.
  • O.L. Halsell Foundation Studio Theatre: a flexible, black box theatre used for both classes and performances that seats up to 50 patrons.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Chapman has hundreds of student clubs and organizations. These range from academic to spiritual to cultural to just having fun. Some clubs that are popular with Screen Acting and Theatre Performance majors include:

  • C.A.S.T.: Coalition of Artistic Students of Theatre: C.A.S.T. is committed to igniting professionalism, unity and collaboration within the theatre community.
  • Chapman on Broadway: Provides performance opportunities in fully staged musicals, plays, revue shows and cabaret nights. Chapman on Broadway provides these opportunities to all majors, especially those who have a lifelong passion for theatre but chose another path as their official major.
  • Guerrilla Shakespeare: Members produce a full production of a Shakespeare play every fall and a selection of scenes for a scene review every spring. Members also participate in monthly play readings and events focused on expanding our knowledge of Shakespeare’s works and classical acting.
  • Improv Incorporated: Chapman University's longest-running improvised comedy troupe, Improv Incorporated typically performs two live shows a month.

Where This Degree Will Take You

Most Screen Acting graduates pursue acting careers in film and television or theatrical productions.

In addition to acting, you can use the skills you develop in the program (including collaboration, time management and creative thinking) to go on to a variety of meaningful careers such as:

  • Film director
  • Producer
  • Editor
  • Screenwriter
  • Casting director
  • Theatre director
  • Literary agent and manager
  • Lawyer
  • Business leader

Admission and Tours

With a cohort size of about 14 students, admission to Chapman's Screen Acting program is very competitive. You can find more details on our page about applying to the Screen Acting program or you can check out the curriculum on our catalog page.

Want to learn more about Chapman? We are always available for tours and information sessions. We’d love to meet you!


Related Programs

BFA in Theatre Performance

B.A. in Theatre

Explore all of Chapman's undergraduate majors and minors with our program finder.