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Dramatic Arts, Film and Television, Bachelor of Science

Rhetoric, Communication and Theatre


The Bachelor of Science Degree in Dramatic Arts, Film and Television enables students to develop their knowledge and creative techniques as actors, playwrights, directors and filmmakers.  What is unique about the Dramatic Arts program is that it is a collaborative degree between two of New York’s oldest metropolitan and respected institutions of higher learning: St. John’s University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts

By combing the intellectual, artistic and cultural diversity of each institution, students receive vigorous training as actors, playwrights, directors, filmmakers, screenwriters and producers.  Along with advancing students’ artistic abilities, the program provides extensive theoretical instruction on the styles, practices and methodologies of the performing arts. 

All of this together, provides majors in the Dramatic Arts program with the training necessary to compete in the highly competitive world of the performing arts, break new artistic barriers, and discover individual artistic voices.

Majors have the opportunity do to their conservatory training at the Academy’s New York or Los Angeles campus.

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Admission requirements for the B.S. degree in Dramatic Arts, Film and Television are identical to those currently outlined for admission to a four-year, bachelor of science degree in the College of Professional Studies at St. John’s and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA).  However, an audition is required for admission to the program.

The auditions are in January and October of each academic year.

Students spend their first two years at St. John's campus in Queens, NY, and their second two at AADA's Manhattan campus. However, students also may choose to enter the program as freshmen either at St. John's or AADA.

For more information and to schedule an audition, contact:

Prof. Richard Rex Thomas
[email protected]

Admission Contact:
Christine Perrault
[email protected]


Common Core Requirements - 39 credits

ENG1000CEnglish Composition3
ENG1100CLiterature in a Global Context3
PHI1000CPhilosophy of the Human Person3
PHI1024Media Ethics3
SCI1000CScientific Inquiry3
THE1000CPerspectives on Christianity: A Catholic Approach3
THE1040 seriesMoral Theology3
THE3 additional credits in Theology3
 6 additional credits from any second language6

Major Area Requirements - 30 Credits

MCC1000Introduction to Mass Communication3
DRM3200Acting for film3
TVF1200Introduction to Production3
DRM1505ACTORS ON FILM: THE SILENT ERA TO CONTEMPORARY CINEMA -- (This replaces what was previously TVF 1510 SPECIAL CINEMA STUDIES: "ACTORS ON FILM: THE SILENT ERA TO CONTEMPORARY CINEMA.  The reason for the change was that DAFT Major had to take the specific "Actors on Film" course and not any Special Cinema Studies.)3
DRM2200Intermediate Acting Technique3
TVF2203 or 2204Editing: Final Cut OR AVID3
TVF2303Screenwriting: Narrative3
DRM or TVFDRM 4200 or TVF 3220 or TVF 2200Directing the Play or Film Production or Television Production3

AADA Coursework - 66 Credits

 Course work completed at AADA  

Important aspects of this program:

  • Students must pass AADA audition to be declared in this program
  • Students who are not invited back for a second year at AADA, must transfer out of the program
  • Student must complete 69 credits at St. John's before transfering to AADA

Career Outcomes

  • Learn the “Actor’s Process” for creating a performance that develops an honest presentation of the emotional and psychological dynamics of a character.
  • Acquire good articulation, movement, proper breathing, and apply this knowledge to correcting physical habits.
  • Learn about the history of the performing arts and its various movements, theories and styles, including: Comedia Dell’Arte, Greek tragedy, Restoration Comedy, and Shakespearean studies.
  • Develop the creative skills to write plays, and how to identify the fundamental elements of drama — plot, theme, characterization, etc.
  • Demonstrate a mastery of drama through the performing, writing, director, producing an original works for the stage, film and/or television.
  • Learn how to write drama that reflects the moral and ethical choices characters must make in the face of specific dramatic situations and human experiences.
  • Learn how to critically analyze a dramatic work for its moral, ethical, social, political and cultural themes.
  • Learn how to re-imagine a play and its dramatic elements for a film adaption that demonstrates a strong understanding of visual storytelling and filmic conventions.

Global Approach to Education

Students also benefit from St. John's focus on an international academic experience. The University offers extensive study abroad courses during the academic year as well as the winter and summer semesters. Students can live and learn at St. John's Rome, Italy, campus and Paris, France, location.

Additional Information

Students in the Bachelor of Science Degree in Dramatic Arts, Film and Television benefit from the outstanding faculty, courses, facilities and training available at two of New York City's premiere educational institutions — St. John's, the city's leading Catholic university, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA), one of the nation's most respected institutions for actor training.

St. John's University and AADA offer state-of-the art facilities including:

  • training theatres
  • libraries
  • television studios
  • film and video cameras
  • editing suites
  • rehearsal spaces and classrooms

Students gain an academic and professional edge by joining any of the more than 180 student clubs and organizations available at St. John's University. For example, students in the program may be especially interested in valuable clubs and organizations:

The Society for Performing and Communications Arts is an student operated organization that encourage students to work collaboratively and across disciplines: film, dramatic arts, photography, public relations, advertising and communication arts. Student develop independent projects to broaden their academic, creative and professional growth, as well as promote their work through the coordination of film festivals, the staging of plays, and visual art exhibitions. For further information, contact the Chair of the Division of Mass Communications.

  • Chappell Players Theater Group: A student performing arts group that stages professional-caliber theatrical productions at the Queens campus.
  • Jazz Band: St. John's resident jazz ensemble.
  • Mixed Chorus: A pillar of St. John's performing arts program whose musical repertoire ranges from Broadway to classic choral masterworks.
  • Voices of Victory: St. John's official gospel choir.
  • Communications Club: A club that enhances learning and social experiences for students interested in the varied areas of communications.

Students also may qualify any of the University's various honor societies. For example, The College of Professional Studies Honor Society recognizes academic excellence and involvement in campus, church or community activities.

All students benefit from St. John's many other outstanding facilities and resources. For example, computer laboratories contain sophisticated PC and Mac workstations with a full range of the latest academic software packages and full access to the University's award-winning network. In addition, all new students receive their own wireless laptop computer.

Other facilities include high-tech classrooms, laboratories and our 1.7 million-volume Library. Our new D'Angelo Center is a five-story, 127,000-square-foot University and Student Center with classrooms, lecture halls, a Starbucks café and full-service food courts.

St. John’s University and American Academy Libraries collections support both the theoretical and practical training unique to the Dramatic Arts program with 75 discrete titles of electronic journals (all full-text) and aggregated databases, such as ProQuest, JStor, and EBSCO that included:

  • American Theatre
  • Amusement Business
  • Applied Theatre Researcher
  • Back Stage and Back Stage East
  • Journal of Arts Management and Law
  • Journal of Dramatic Theory and criticism
  • Mime Journal
  • Rental & Staging Systems
  • Research in Drama Education
  • Variety
  • Asian Theatre
  • An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Anglo-Irish Drama
  • American Theatre Companies, 1931-1986
  • Complete Book of the American Musical Theater
  • Literature and Theater of the States and Regions of the U. S. A.
  • Art and the Stage in the 20th Century
  • Kabuki: the Popular Theater
  • The Encyclopedia of World Theater
  • Presenting Reader's Theater
  • American Theater and Drama Research
  • Musical Theater Synopses

The American Academy’s library has access to 8,000 (approximate) volumes of plays, vocal scores, reference materials, fiction and non-fiction includes Tony Award and Pulitzer Prizes winning plays.

In addition to the many cultural and professional opportunities for aspiring actors and entertainment professionals, our New York City location is part of every student's educational experience. Our faculty and Career Center have strong ties to employers and other professional and educational resources throughout the New York area. Students make New York their classroom through innovative courses like Discover New York.