Admission to the Bachelor of Fine Arts

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre offers BFA degrees in Acting, Design, Stage Management. On this page you will find information about how to audition/interview for the BFA in Acting, how to audition/interview for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program, and how to interview for the BFA in Design. For admission to the BFA in Stage Management, contact Tina Newhauser.

At the auditions and interviews, you will be considered for specific scholarships and entrance to the BFA program. In order to receive a scholarship you must have been accepted to MSU by the date outlined on your scholarship notification.

BFA Acting Audition Procedures

Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre looks for students that display potential for a professional acting career in theatre, film, television, and other media. We seek students that are enterprising, self-driven, innovative, imaginative, talented, and prepared to shape the future of this profession. Our “School of Choice” approach supports actors that possess a versatile skill set by providing multiple pathways to achievement. For more information about the BFA in Acting, click here: BFA in Acting.

Admission to the BFA in Acting is competitive and by audition only. Admission to the BFA is no guarantee of admission to MSU, so we recommend that you apply as early as possible to the university. Apply to MSU.

Please note we have cancelled in-person auditions for the 2021-2022 academic year. There are now three ways to audition: 

  1. Zoom Video Auditions for the 2021-2022 academic year will be held on January 30 and February 6, 2021. These auditions are open to incoming freshmen, transfer students, and current MSU students. See below for instructions.
  2. Cleveland Unified Auditions: MSU is participating in Cleveland Musical Theatre’s “Virtual College Unified Auditions” on October 9-11, 2020, via Zoom. Click on the link for more information.
  3. Pre-recorded video audition: In the event that you cannot participate in the Zoom Video Auditions due to an immovable conflict, we will accept a pre-recorded video audition, but we may ask for a follow-up meeting via Zoom.

Zoom Video Audition Requirements

  • To audition via Zoom on Jan 30 or Feb 6, 2021, first please click here to sign up for a slotWe do not pre-screen and we do not charge a fee to audition. 
  • Second, answer some questions and submit your photo and résumé by clicking on this link. This is due no later than 3 days before your scheduled audition. 
  • Prepare two contrasting memorized monologues (no longer than 3 minutes combined total). Both must be from a contemporary (post-1960) play. “Contrasting” can mean two distinct styles, such as comedic and dramatic, or two distinct types of characters. We recommend selecting monologues that aren’t too far removed from your age and experience.
  • After performing your monologues, there will be a brief informal interview.
  • During the day of your audition, you will have the opportunity to participate in an optional warmup and to meet other faculty in the department. Information about this will be found on the SignUp page.
  • Please set up a medium shot, showing from the top of your head to approximately your waist. As much as possible, please make sure that your space has plenty of light and very little ambient noise.

Pre-Recorded Video Auditions

In the event that you have an immovable conflict on the day of our Zoom auditions, we are happy to accept a pre-recorded video audition. The deadline for a video audition is February 4, 2021. 

A pre-recorded video audition must include:

  • A slate (introduction with name and location)
  • Two contrasting memorized monologues (no longer than 3 minutes combined total). Both must be from a contemporary (post-1960) play. “Contrasting” can mean two distinct styles, such as comedic and dramatic, or two distinct types of characters. We recommend selecting monologues that aren’t too far removed from your age and experience.
  • Please set up a medium shot, showing from the top of your head to approximately your waist. As much as possible, please make sure that your space has plenty of light and very little ambient noise.
  • Photo
  • Résumé
  • Video answers to the following question:
    • Why do you want a BFA in Acting?
    • Why have you chosen this particular program? 
  • Please click here to submit your photo, résumé, and a link to your video.  

Please contact Deric McNish with questions.

BFA Theatre Design Application Procedures

The Department of Theatre design faculty are looking for students who display potential in Theatrical Design.

Applicants for the BFA in Theatre Design will present a portfolio in an interview session. If you have previous theatre design experience, you will want to include sample designs from these projects – sketches, drafting, renderings, light plot/hook-up, and photos of finished scenery, costumes, lighting, makeup, construction, props or scene painting.

Your portfolio may include examples of freehand drawing, sketches of still life objects, the human figure, animals, portraiture, painting, sculpture, architecture, print, poster and sign design, as well as computer graphic work. Class projects and photos of production work are also encouraged for submission.

Feel free to choose a format or a mix of formats that is convenient for you – digital files, photos, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, color photocopies, or slides.

Click here to sign up for your interview for the BFA in Design.

Musical Theatre Immersion Program: Assessment Audition

For those interested in the Musical Theatre Immersion program, auditions will be held this year on January 25 and February 1, 2020 in the MSU Auditorium. Any full-time undergraduate student is eligible to audition for the program.

You may sign up for an audition by clicking here.

The audition will consist of:

  1. Please prepare TWO contrasting, 32-bar cuts from musicals that best show off your voice and range.
  2. Please prepare a monologue no longer than one minute.
  3. An accompanist will be provided
    1. Please bring sheet music in a binder for the accompanist.
    2. Please have it clearly marked with beginning and end points to your 32 bars.
  4. Please also bring a photo and resume that highlights previous, classes, special skills, and leadership or volunteer experience

The auditions for musical theatre actors will be held during the same time as the BFA Acting Auditions each year, either before or after your audition slot.

For more information about the program and its curricular requirements, visit: Musical Theatre Immersion Program

If you have questions about the audition for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program, contact Brad Willcuts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All incoming, current, and transfer students.   

No. However, there is a fee to apply to Michigan State University. 

No. We believe that everyone that wants to be seen should have that opportunity.

It is highly recommended but not strictly required. Most of our auditioners/interviewees will have already received a determination from the university before they audition.

No. Acceptance into the BFA is contingent upon meeting the university’s admission standards for enrollment.

Applying early to MSU allows you to be considered for the greatest number of scholarships through MSU’s Office of Admissions. The Department of Theatre has a small number of partial scholarships and you will automatically be considered for those at your audition/interview. Click here for more info

With few exceptions, most courses are open to students in the BA, which doesn’t require an audition. Students not selected for the BFA may audition again.

Yes. You can graduate with a BFA and another major. It takes careful planning, but we have many students that take that path.

Please contact the program director, as it may still be possible. (scroll down for Program Director contact information.)

We would love to meet you! Use this link or e-mail the relevant program director: https://theatre.msu.edu/schedule-a-tour/ 

Contact Information

BFA in Acting Program Director: Deric McNish

BFA in Design Program Director: Shannon Schweitzer

Musical Theatre Immersion Program Director: Brad Willcuts

BFA in Stage Management Program Director: Tina Newhauser

BA in Theatre Program Director: Angie Wendelberger

If you have further questions about our programs, please visit the Department of Theatre website or e-mail: Department of Theatre.