The University of Tennessee (UT) has moved ahead three spots in the rankings of Master of Fine Arts acting programs, landing at eighth in the Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of top programs.
This is the fourth consecutive year UT has been ranked among the top graduate schools for acting in the United States and United Kingdom.
The Hollywood Reporter considers several factors in its rankings, which are made after consultation with academics, influencers, and alumni.
“Affordability and creative support seem to be instrumental in our ranking,” said Calvin MacLean, head of the Department of Theatre and producing artistic director for the university’s Clarence Brown Theatre.
Seven or eight actors are accepted into the three-year MFA Acting program every other year. Students receive a full tuition waiver plus an assistantship stipend. They also have the opportunity to perform in as many as six to eight productions on the Clarence Brown Theatre mainstage and in the Carousel Theatre.
“Our students work with a variety of highly regarded guest artists,” MacLean said. “Grad students have extended contact with professional film directors, movement and voice specialists with international reputations, and playwrights who are commissioned to write a play especially for them. These kinds of experiences augment the project work in the Clarence Brown over their three-year residency.”
Along the way, students earn an Actor’s Equity Association membership card.
Notable alumni of UT’s program include Tramell Tillman (’14) of Hunters; Conrad Ricamora (’12) of How to Get Away with Murder; Matthew Bassett (’10), artistic director of the Hub Theatre in Washington, DC; and Cycerli Ash, an actress and director known for her role on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.