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B.F.A. - Performing Arts: Acting

If you are contemplating a life on stage, or in front of the camera, consider a major in the B.F.A. in Acting.   With the B.F.A. in Acting you'll take over 20 hours of acting classes.  You'll also have a chance to study topics such as stage makeup, directing, dance, theatre for young audiences, design, stage management, and technical theatre.  Because we believe what you learn in the studio and classroom is best tested in front of an audience, we offer ample opportunities to perform.  We typically produce 20 to 25 different shows every year, totaling about 75 individual performances.  Western also has an active and highly-regarded film program that draws from our pool of actors.  You are encouraged to audition for everything, and if you've got what it takes, your resume will be long and impressive when you graduate. 

We also feel it is important for our students to begin pursuing professional work in the summers.  Many of our students find summer stock work in theatres around the country.  We also offer career oriented classes like Performing Arts Career Seminar and Acting Audition Workshop to help you prepare for life after college.   

Admission into the B.F.A. in Acting is by audition/interview in the third semester. Until then, students interested in pursuing the B.F.A. are classified as "seeking admission."  Visit the B.F.A. Audition Policy page for a full explanation of the process.

For more information about the Acting program, please contact David Young at david.young@wku.edu.

Also, take a look at our Theatre Recruiting Scholarships.  


B.F.A. in Performing Arts with a Concentration in Acting Required Courses

B.F.A. in Performing Arts with a Concentration in Acting Required Courses, prior to Fall 2020

Two actors in Tartuffe

Our B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in Theatre is a traditional Liberal Arts degree, designed to provide a solid foundation in all aspects of theatre while leaving some flexibility to pursue your own particular interests. You will need to combine it with a minor, or even a second major.  Our B.A. in Theatre does not require an audition.

Our B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) is a pre-professional degree.  It involves rigorous, conservatory-style training intended to hone your skills for entry into the professional world of the performing arts.  Our B.F.A. involves both a broad introduction to all aspects of theatre and concentrated training in either Acting, Musical Theatre, or Theatre Design & Technology.   





Emily Althaus Alumni

Emily Althaus 

Emily graduated with a BFA in Performing Arts from our department. Althaus is best known for acting in the hit Netflix Series, Orange is the New Black, which attracted 6.7 million viewers in its first 72 hours online for the Season 4 premiere.


Known For:

  • "Orange is the New Black" (TV Series 2015-17),
  • "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (2015),
  • "Blue Bloods" (2015),
  • Togetherness" (2015),
  • Adam Ruins Everything (2017),
  • The Handmaid's Tale (2019),
  • Licorice Pizza (2021),
  • 61st Street (2022),




From our faculty directed mainstages, to our student directed studio and TYA seasons, to our New Works Festival, you’ll have all kinds of opportunities to learn by doing. Our department is your laboratory. At Western Kentucky University, we believe that what you learn in the shops, the studios, and onstage is every bit as important as what happens in the classroom.  Our intensive production season provides plenty of hands on experience. 

On average, we offer 15 to 20 different productions every year, including:
  • 4 Mainstage Theatre productions, including at least one musical

  • A Theatre for Young Audience Series of 2 or 3 productions

  • A Next Stage Series of student created works

  • A Rising Artist Series of showcases and works in progress
  • 2 Mainstage dance concerts

  • 3 Student-choreographed dance concerts

Shringara: An Indian Music-Theatre Retelling of Love by Shyama Iyer ‘20



 BFA Musical Theatre and BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders student Hayley Doerr's research poster image.

Students collaborate closely with department faculty in all kinds of ways:

Students are collaborators on our faculty directed mainstage shows not only as actors and crew but as designers, stage managers, dramaturgs, and assistant directors.

FUSE (Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement) Grant Projects:
FUSE grants support undergraduate students' intellectual development by fostering active engagement in the areas of research, creative and scholarly activities, and/or artistic performances.

Teacher Assistants
Students learn about teaching and enrich their own knowledge by serving as Teaching Assistants for Theatre classes including University Experience, Musical Theatre History, Fundamentals of Theatre, and multiple courses in our Acting sequence.



See more on our alumni page!

 5 Alumni Theatre Logos: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Eugene ONeill Theater Center, Cirque du Soleil Charleston Stage Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville




From Louisville to London to New York, we offer a range of options for experiencing professional theatre! Whether attending College Days weekend at the nationally renowned Humana Festival of New Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville or spending a week in London or New York City, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experience professional theatre!



NYC Trip




Woman standing on stage with pianist.

Our capstone course allows students to demonstrate their expertise in their area of study. Check out these recent examples:



B.A. majors must complete a minor or a secondary major.

B.F.A. students are not required to have a a minor or a secondary major, however, many B.F.A. student choose to pursue a minor.

Group of women smiling and sitting on stage.
Art Administration

Does the business side of the arts interest you?  Are you thinking of opening a dance studio, working in the development office of a theatre company, or starting a youth theatre program?  The Minor in Arts Administration is an introduction to field. 

Learn More

Two women and two men danceing.
B.A. & Minor

Dance majors and minors gain technical and performance experience in the genres of ballet, jazz, modern, and tap dance, explored in both concert and commercial dance forms.

Learn More

Woman singing as paper swirls around her.
Musical Theatre

If musical theatre performance is your passion, consider the B.F.A. in Performing Arts: Musical Theatre, combining training in acting, singing, and dancing.

Learn More




We want to help you find your passion and make that passion a reality.

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 Last Modified 8/30/23