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

For the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Auditions for the 2020-2021 academic year will be held on January 25 and February 1, 2020. These auditions are open to incoming freshmen, transfer students, and current MSU students.

Your audition gives us the opportunity to evaluate your work and to determine if you would be compatible with our program. 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.

How to Audition

To audition in person, you may sign up for a slot by clicking here: BFA Audition Signup. We do not pre-screen and we do not charge a fee to audition.

Audition Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. Bring a photo and résumé that highlights any related training you may have had, performance experience, leadership or volunteer experience, and special skills.
  3. In addition to the monologues, there will also be an informal interview and a 45-minute group workshop. Please dress to move and bring a change of clothes for your monologues.

Video Auditions

We strongly encourage in-person auditions. In the event that you have an immovable conflict or that you live more than 200 miles from campus, we will be happy to accept a video audition. A video audition will include a slate (introduction with name and location), and two monologues (same requirements as above). E-mail Deric McNish your audition along with a photo, resume, and answers to the following question: Why do you want a BFA in Acting and why have you chosen this particular program? This is due no later than January 31, 2020.

What to Expect

This is also your opportunity to audition us. Since you’ll be here, we invite you to tour our facilities, meet our faculty, chat with current students, and get all your questions answered. When you click the link to sign up, you’ll see a more detailed schedule of events. Please leave time to explore all that we have to offer.

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.


Who is eligible?

All incoming students as well as current freshman may audition. Transfer students and upperclassmen are also eligible for admittance on a case by case basis.           

What is so different about the BFA?

The BFA is designed to assist the Theatre student in a more concentrated and focused study of Theatre. Courses will build sequentially allowing for the student to follow a guided track to graduation. The BFA is a sixty (60) credit program which has many of the same University and College of Arts and Letters requirements. Two exceptions are that the BFA student is not required to take foreign language courses or complete a college cognate. The curriculum information is located here: BFA in Theatre.           

What if I don’t make it into the BFA program?

With a few exceptions, most courses are open to the Bachelor of Arts students. Students not selected may audition again in the Spring of the next year.           

I’m a transfer student. Can I interview/audition?

Transfer students may attend these auditions/interview, or they can audition/interview immediately prior to the start of classes in fall semester. Contact our theatre advisor, Amy Lampe to assist in the transition.

If I have two majors, is this program for me?

It is possible to graduate with another major and the BFA, but it will take careful planning, and may mean extra time at school.                                                 

What kind of a commitment does the BFA require?

This program is designed for the serious and devoted Theatre major. It is expected that the BFA student would become an integral part of the department either by auditioning for shows or assisting in the design, build, or construction process.           

Would a BFA look better on my resume?

A BFA implies more specific training in your area of choice.           

Will the BFAs be cast more than a BA in production?

Being on the BFA track does not guarantee a role in any production.

Can I take a tour? Can I visit a class? Can I meet current students?

Although at the time of auditions you will be given a tour of the department, we also welcome you to schedule a tour with the Department of Theatre to meet with faculty and current students, observe classes, or see a production for free. Once you experience firsthand the supportive and challenging work done in the classroom or onstage, we have no doubt that you will want to be part of the MSU Theatre family!

Contact Info

Program Director for the BFA in Acting: Deric McNish

Program Director for the BFA in Design: Shannon Schweitzer

Program Director for the Musical Theatre Immersion Program: Brad Willcuts

Program Director for the BFA in Stage Management:Tina Newhauser

Program Director for the BA in Theatre: Angie Wendelberger

For questions about our various other programs, please view the Department of Theatre website or e-mail: Department of Theatre