Indie Film

The Top 25 Drama Schools in the World

New York's Juilliard School leads the pack as The Hollywood Reporter ranks the programs where Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain and Jon Krasinski learned the ropes.
Kevin Spacey gave mask class at Juilliard his full attention circa 1980.
Kevin Spacey gave mask class at Juilliard his full attention circa 1980.
Courtesy of Julliard

16. USC School of Dramatic Arts, LOS ANGELES

USC is most noted for its film school, which was No. 1 on THR's 2012 Top 25 Film Schools list, and it functions like a miniature version of Hollywood. The also-vibrant drama school spawns grads who score onstage as well as onscreen. On June 12, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas will discuss "The Future of Entertainment" at USC's new Interactive Media Building.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Troian Bellisario, Grant Heslov, Stark Sands, Danny Strong, Forest Whitaker

STORY: Jimmy Iovine Talks Bruce Springsteen, Recites R. Kelly at USC Commencement

17. DePaul, CHICAGO

DePaul might not have rival Northwestern's size, but it does boast a 6-to-1 faculty-student ratio and draws strength from Chicago's hot drama scene.

NOTABLE ALUMS: John C. Reilly, Gillian Anderson, Elizabeth Perkins

18. Florida State, SARASOTA, FLA.

MFA candidates get tuition waivers and experience at the Asolo Theater, the biggest in the Southeast. Dean of visual arts, theater and dance Peter Weishar, who starts July 1, was formerly dean of the fast-rising Savannah College of Art and Design's School of Entertainment Arts, which made THR's 2012 list of 10 Film Schools to Watch.

NOTABLE ALUM: Paul Reubens

19. Harvard University, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.

Even if it weren't at Harvard, the MFA program would be world-class because students in the five-semester program study in Cambridge and at the Moscow Art Theatre School. Harvard's American Repertory Theater also stands tall on the global stage.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Faran Tahir, Kate Whoriskey, Jeff Zinn, Bart Delorenzo, Tina Landau

20. Syracuse University, SYRACUSE, N.Y.

Drama dean Ralph Zito, formerly at Juilliard, has much to celebrate in his third year at SU: Six alums got Tony nominations for shows like Lucky Guy and Kinky Boots. But students don't have to wait for their spotlight on Broadway, thanks to the Syracuse Stage, which attracts 90,000 playgoers a year.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Aaron Sorkin, Frank Langella, Taye Diggs

STORY: Oprah Winfrey to Speak at Harvard's 362nd Commencement


UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television is unique in having all three schools under one roof. What's even cooler is this year's Advanced Dramatic Television Workshop, in which 47 students spent 37 weeks creating a 42-minute, five-act TV pilot under the guidance of TV and feature veterans Rod Holcomb (E.R., Lost) and Beau Marks (The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard). The pilot, a sci-fi thriller about grad students who sign up for a social experiment and find they've been genetically altered, will premiere June 12 at UCLA's 22nd annual Film Festival.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Tim Robbins, Eric Roth, Jack Black

22. Rutgers, NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.

Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts, the only school that offers students a full year at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, celebrates its 10th year there in 2013. Only 9 percent of Rutgers' applicants are admitted.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Calista Flockhart, Kristin Davis

23. Brown University, PROVIDENCE, R.I.

The MFA program combines the attractions of the most popular Ivy League school and the eminent Trinity Rep, the Tony-winning home of 58 world premieres.

STORY: Ben Affleck to Be Honored at UCLA Film Festival

NOTABLE ALUMS: John Krasinski, Julie Bowen

24. William Esper Studio, NEW YORK CITY

Devoted to the Sanford Meisner method, Esper offers instruction to actors at various stages of development for prices startlingly lower than universities charge: from $425 a month for part-time classes to $18,000 a year for full time.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Timothy Olyphant, Patricia Heaton, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates

25. University of Washington, SEATTLE

Half of UW's Professional Actor Training grads get acting work within 12 months.

NOTABLE ALUMS: Rainn Wilson, Kyle MacLachlan, Joel McHale, Jean Smart




Alums: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons, Gene Wilder, Greta Scacchi


Alums: Carrie Fisher, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rupert Everett


Alums: Alan Cumming, David Tennant, Sheena Easton


Alums: Hugh Jackman, Frances O'Connor


Alums: Embeth Davidtz, Richard E. Grant