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Graduate Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Department of Theatre and Drama's Graduate Programs requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution with a major in theatre or equivalent training and experience.

All candidates should, at minimum, have had undergraduate courses in the following areas:

  1. One course in Acting and Directing
  2. Two courses in Costuming, Lighting, Scenic Design or Stagecraft
  3. Three courses in Theatre History, Theory, or Dramatic Literature (With a minimum of one course in Theatre History and one course in Dramatic Literature)

Participation as a member of a crew, participation in a production, or involvement in "practicum courses" will not be considered an adequate substitute for these requirements. However, a student will not be required to repeat a course if it can be clearly demonstrated that he/she has acquired knowledge of a subject through practical experience at a professional level.

Incoming students who are deficient in areas of performance, design, or history, theory, and literature will be expected to make-up their deficiencies with appropriate undergraduate courses. Courses used to complete undergraduate deficiencies, however, cannot be counted as part of their graduate degree requirement.

Application Procedure

All students seeking admission to Department of Theatre and Drama's graduate programs must complete Indiana University's University Graduate School Online Admissions Applicationand pay the required application fee.

As a part of the application, the University Graduate School also requires three letters of recommendation that should be written by persons familiar with the applicant’s technical skill, creative ability, and potential for growth.

Each applicant is also required to submit a 300-500 word statement of purpose which should relate to the theatre in general as well as the applicant’s special areas of interest.

Individual programs may also require additional suplementary material, auditions or interviews. Please see the section pertaining to your area of interest for details on application procedure.

Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, official information regarding university application procedures and degree requirements can be found on the University Graduate School web page.

Application Deadlines

  • All International Applicants – December 1
  • MA/PhD in History, Theory, and Literature – January 15
  • MFA in Playwriting – February 1
  • MFA in Acting, Directing, Scenic Design, Theatre Technology, Lighting Design, & Costume Design – Rolling* (Applications will be accepted until all openings have been filled.)

* Applicants to the programs in design and technology should submit the University Graduate School'sonline application within one week of their initial interview. Acting and directing candidates should not complete IU's application until a formal offer has been made.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for admission to both the MA and PhD Programs in Theatre History, Theatre, and Literature. GRE test scores are cumulative and reportable for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1 – June 30). Be sure to take the test early enough that scores will be reach IU before the department's application deadline.

Indiana University's Institution Code for score-reporting is 1324. The Departmental Code is 2304. Please contact Educational Testing Services (ETS) for additional information about sending score-reports.

* GRE scores are NOT required for applicants to the MFA programs.

Transfer Students

Upon recommendation of the department and with the approval of the dean of the Graduate School, work taken for graduate credit at other institutions may be transferred in partial fulfillment of degree requirements. No course may be transferred from another institution unless the grade is B or better and unless the course was completed within the time limit prescribed. The following restrictions apply:

  • Candidates for the MA degree may offer up to 8 hours of credit from other institutions.
  • Candidates for the MFA degree may offer up to 20 hours of graduate credit from other institutions.
  • Candidates for the PhD degree may offer up to 30 hours of graduate credit from other institutions.

For more information about applying as a transfer student or applying transferred credits from another accredited institution, e-mail acadsec@indiana.edu.

International Applicants

International candidates must fill out the Online Application for International Students, and may be subject to additional testing requirements and fees during the application process. We strongly recommend that you review the information on this website before applying, to ensure that you follow the proper procedure and send all required materials. For more general information regarding international student affairs, please visit IU's Office of International Services.

Auditions and Interviews

Auditions and interviews for prospective MFA students in the areas of acting, directing, and design / technology are held annually in January-February via the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) in New York and Chicago. Though applications are generally accepted through December, those who wish to participate in U/RTA's National Unified Auditions and Interviews (NUA/I) and avoid additional fees should complete the online application by U/RTA's specified deadline (generally between late-October and mid-November).

Please note: All candidates auditioning through U/RTA must, without exception, be nominated by a College/University/Recognized Training Institution's theatre department OR (if not currently enrolled in a training program), candidates may be nominated by a director or producer with whom he/she has worked recently. Please see U/RTA's guidelines for additional details.

Those students not participating in the U/RTA auditions, but wishing to audition for representatives of Indiana University in New York, Chicago, or on IU's Bloomington campus, should submit a letter requesting an interview/audition at the desired site, along with a resume, headshot, and statement of purpose to:

Graduate Secretary
Indiana University
Department of Theatre and Drama
275 N. Jordan Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-5551

Inquiries for a non-U/RTA audition or interview should be received NO LATER THAN THREE WEEKS BEFORE the requested interview date. It is the prerogative of the department to deny or grant an interview or audition request based on resumes and any other supporting materials. Email acadsec@indiana.edu with additional questions about application materials or scheduling an appointment.

Specific Program Requirements

MFA in Acting

  1. Apply to attend the U/RTA's National Unified Auditions and Interviews OR schedule a private audition/interview in New York, Chicago, or on Indiana University'sBloomington campus.
  2. Prepare two additional 2-minute acting pieces. One should be a selection from a verse drama (preferably Shakespere), and the other should be a contemporary selection.
  3. Provide a photograph and resume that lists your creative work in the theatre and related areas.

Additional information »

MFA in Directing

  1. Apply to attend the U/RTA'sNational Unified Auditions and Interviews OR schedule a private audition/interview in New York, Chicago, or on Indiana University'sBloomington campus.
  2. Be prepared to discuss in depth a production concept, the analysis of a script, rehearsal procedures, and potential directorial problems for either The Tempest or King Lear by William Shakespeare AND one of the following contemporary plays: Intimate Apparelby Lynn Notage or Angels in America: Part Oneby Tony Kushner. (Students interviewing through U/RTA should be prepared to discuss those plays on the U/RTA list only.)
  3. Prepare two 2-minute acting pieces. One should be a selection from a verse drama (preferably Shakespere), and the other should be a contemporary selection. (All potential directing students must prepare an acting audition as described above, unless they are going through the U/RTA interviews)
  4. Provide a photograph and resume that lists your creative work in the theatre and related areas.
  5. Provide copies of reviews, photographs, prompt books, and other materials that demonstrate your technical skill and creative ability in the theatre.
  6. At a second interview, be prepared to discuss in depth a production concept, the analysis of a script, rehearsal procedures, and potential directorial problems for two plays to be designated by the Department of Theatre and Drama.

Additional information »

MFA in Playwriting

  1. In addition to the general criteria above, applicants to the MFA in Playwriting should submit two full-length plays that best represent the applicant and demonstrate his/her strength as a candidate.
  2. Provide a resume that lists your creative work in the theatre and related areas.
  3. In most cases a personal interview will be required.

Additional information »

MFA in Design / Technology

Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Theatre Technology

  1. Apply to attend the U/RTA'sNational Unified Auditions and Interviews OR schedule a private interview in New York, Chicago, or on Indiana University'sBloomington campus.
  2. Submit a portfolio of appropriate sketches, renderings, working drawings, light plots, photographs, sound tapes, and other materials that demonstrate technical skill and creative ability in your area of special interest.
  3. Provide a resume that lists your creative work in the theatre and related areas.

Additional information »

MA /PhD in Theatre History, Theory, and Literature

In addition to the University Graduate school's online application, applicants to the MA and PhD programs should submit the following:

  1. Three letters of recommendation, from people familiar with your recent work. The graduate school prefers that letters be submitted electronically, but you can also download a printable Letter of Recommendation Form.
  2. A 300-500 word statement of purpose, which communicatesyour preparedness to undertake a serious course of study leading to academic research.
  3. Official transcripts from all previous college and university work, documenting each course taken and all degrees awarded. (US Citizens and Permanent Residents who are submitting a transcript from another country (including Canada) must fill out a supplementary application form. Send this form and the original transcript to the Office of International Admission.
  4. Official GRE Scores. Verbal, quantitative, and analytic scores are all required. Educational Testing Services (ETS) will send score reports for all tests taken within the last five years directly to Indiana University. Please use Institutional Code 1324.
  5. For applicants whose native language is not English, proof of English proficiency is required by the Graduate School. TOEFL scores are most commonly used.
  6. A critical writing sample, demonstrating your ability to do scholarly research. A term paper, portion of honors thesis, or similar analytical expository work is preferred. Students applying to the PhD program who have not written a formal thesis for the MA must submit some evidence of research and writing skills, such as a substantial term paper.
  7. A resume or curriculum vitae that lists your academic creative work in the theatre and related areas is welcome, but not required.

Additional information on the MA program »

Additional information on the PhD program »