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Graduate Program

Our next admission deadline for the MFA program is January 15, 2018, for the class to enter Fall of 2018.


The Department of Theater at UMass Amherst offers professional training programs with specializations in Directing, Dramaturgy, Costume Design, Lighting Design, or Scenic Design. Graduates of our program receive the Master of Fine Arts degree and are prepared to work in resident professional theaters, in colleges and universities, and in many other areas of performance.

The graduate program values personal mentorship, with the production season serving as a teaching laboratory. Students are able to tailor their programs of study to individual interests as a complement to the rigorous core curriculum that teaches them the skills to collaborate successfully. All graduate students receive full tuition-waivers and assistantships during their three years. For 2017-18, these assistantships are slated at approximately $19,200 for September-May duties.

We accept students two out of every three years. The application deadline is January 15. In some years, we may have a special late-admissions cycle with a June deadline. Please check here in May to see if we are doing late-cycle admissions.


Find out more about the application and admission process »


Ours is a dynamic, hands-on program that offers plenty of opportunities for practical experience alongside a dedicated faculty of committed teachers with active careers in the professional theater. All students get extensive teaching experience, and most undertake internships. We have close relationships with outstanding theaters such as Hartford StageShakespeare & Company, and Double Edge Theatre

The small size of our program insures small classes, a maximum of personalized attention, and the opportunity to tailor programs of study to individual interests. Collaboration, creativity, discipline, craft and a strong personal sense of our collective past and of the possibilities of the future are the building blocks of our graduate program. We value personal growth, artistic integrity, cultural sensitivity, and a commitment to the theater of the future. Our departmental production season serves as a teaching laboratory for students in each of our program areas.

We have a strong commitment to cultural diversity and globalism. This commitment is reflected in our faculty and our curriculum, as well as our Multicultural Theater Certificate, for which we soon hope to have a graduate program counterpart. Graduate students will find faculty mentors who specialize in African-American, African, Latino, and Spanish-language theater, as well as feminism and gender studies.

We believe no student should finish an MFA program in debt. Therefore, we provide financial support for every full-time graduate student enrolled in our degree programs, including full tuition waivers, health benefits and generous assistantships for the entirety of the three-year program. 

UMass enjoys the advantages of an outstanding location in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, a beautiful, vibrant area known for great cultural amenities, recreational activities, and academic institutions, including the famous Five College consortium. Boston is approximately 90 minutes away, and Times Square approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.

For questions, contact Graduate Program Director Harley Erdman, harley@theater.umass.edu or 

Harley Erdman
Graduate Program Director
Department of Theater
112 Fine Arts Center
University of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive Ofc. 2
Amherst, MA 01003-9331

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