Students on stage performing Marisol

The Actors Studio Drama School (ASDS) MFA program at Pace University is the ideal theater graduate experience of the 21st Century.

Through rigorous training and mentorship our students learn, practice, and are challenged to succeed as dynamic, highly skilled theater-makers of today, ready to take the lead in the performing arts industry of tomorrow. As the only MFA program affiliated with the world-renowned Actors Studio organization, the curriculum is guided by the methodology rooted in the "system" set forth by Stanislavski's groundbreaking work.

MFA actors are trained alongside MFA directing and playwriting candidates. They acquire a common vocabulary and a shared technique by undergoing a progressive, educational practice in their own discipline – at the hands of some of the most distinguished teaching professionals.

The three-year training process consists of two major components:

  • Studio Training through courses, workshops, and other academic activities, and
  • Performance Practice, as an extension of studio training and a synthesis of students’ learning, that gradually brings a student’s work to real audiences.


Structured as a full-time, three-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is the only master's degree program officially affiliated with The Actors Studio. Its curriculum was designed and supervised by the leadership of The Actors Studio. Paul Newman was President of The Actors Studio during the creation of the MFA Program. Current Presidents, Ellen Burstyn, Alec Baldwin, and Al Pacino continue to supervise the curriculum, guided by the methodology rooted in the "system" set forth by Constantin Stanislavski's groundbreaking work.

MFA candidate acting students are trained alongside directing and playwriting students. Students study and practice together as they learn a shared "language" and technique. Every student actor, director, and playwright undergoes rigorous training in their own discipline – at the hands of one of the most distinguished faculties ever assembled. In their final year, all students present their work to the public in a fully-produced, professional Repertory Season at 3-Legged Dog, a theater in Lower Manhattan. Additionally, students present their work to representatives from the theater, film, and television industries in an Industry Showcase at The Actors Studio in Manhattan.

MFA candidates also have the rare privilege of attending a number of The Actors Studio's closed-door sessions in an Observership Program. All students participate in Craft Seminars known as "Inside the Actors Studio," in which the most accomplished members of The Actors Studio and the professional community share their knowledge and experiences.

MFA students are offered Professional Symposium Series distinguished guests from the industry, such as Alec Baldwin, Ellen Burstyn, Bradley Cooper, Lyle Kessler, Lonny Price, Daphne Siecre, and Lloyd Suh. As of May 2020, MFA students have the opportunity to present their work in our Digital Showcase hosted by Actors Access.