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Applications & Admissions

The application deadline is January 15. Applications are submitted and processed online via the UMass Graduate School.

All of the materials can be submitted online. URL links to web sites/on-line portfolios should be pasted into a PDF and then uploaded online. 

These are the application materials:

Required of all MFA program areas:

  • The main Graduate School application, including Personal Statement.
  • Transcripts of all previous academic work
  • Resume of relevant professional experience
  • At least two letters of recommendation (you may submit three)

Directing also requires:

  • Two writing samples, at least one of which should be an essay on a play you have directed or would like to direct.

Dramaturgy also requires: 

  • GREs
  • At least two writing samples which demonstrate research, analytic, and writing skills. Applicants may provide essays consisting of dramatic criticism, historical production research, or criticism of witnessed theatrical performances. 
  • (Note: preference is given to applicants in dramaturgy who are proficient in a second language.)

Costume Design also requires:

  • A portfolio in a format of your choosing. The portfolio may include costume design renderings, photographs or slides of executed projects, or samples of graphic or other applied arts. Descriptive accounts of each item in the portfolio should be included. 

Lighting Design also requires:

  • A portfolio in a format of your choosing. The portfolio may include draftings, light plots and paperwork, photographs or slides of executed projects, or samples of graphic or other applied arts. Descriptive accounts of each item in the portfolio should be included. 

Scenic Design also requires:

  • A portfolio in a format of your choosing. The portfolio may include set design or other sketches, evidence of drawing/painting experience, images of realized and unrealized projects, models or props that you have built, hand or computer drafting samples, or samples of graphic or other applied arts. Descriptive accounts of each item in the portfolio should be included. We are interested in seeing how you can express yourself visually, and what your process looks like. Do not obsess over the graphic design aspect of your portfolio. As long as all images are labelled clearly to provide a sense of context, we are most interested in seeing how you express yourself visually, what your process looks like, and what manual skills you have.

After the faculty has reviewed all completed applicant files, those candidates selected for top consideration will be invited to the campus for personal interviews. These interviews usually take place between mid-February and late March. In some exceptional instances, the interviews may be conducted via phone or video internet.


Additional Application Information

An applicant’s undergraduate degree need not be in Theater, but previous training and experience should be comparable to that required for the Bachelor of Arts in Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Applicants with incomplete backgrounds in theater who show exceptional artistic promise may be admitted provisionally. 


New England Regional Student Program

Qualified residents of Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont are eligible to participate in the regional graduate tuition rate, currently 50 percent over the rate charged to residents of Massachusetts. Inquiries regarding the New England Regional Student Program should be directed to:

Graduate Admissions Office
530 Goodell
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0722

Email the Department of Theater Graduate Program Director: Harley Erdman.