Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre offers a MFA in Acting which prepares professional actors as well as future academicians. An audition and interview are required for acceptance into the program. No GRE required. Next round of auditions for this program will be in Spring 2021.
The Master of Fine Arts in Acting is designed as a terminal degree providing rigorous training in theatrical performance to students preparing for careers in the professional theatre and future academicians. Extensive training in voice, movement and acting provide a foundation for student’s development as both artist and educator. Given the program’s unique focus on preparing the artist as educator, an emphasis on the student as teacher is fundamental in most classes.
The MFA acting program at Michigan State University offers individualized and challenging advanced actor training. Intensive scene study and studio work cover a wide range of theatrical materials from the classics to contemporary. Training in voice and movement is an integral part of the program. All MFA students must complete at least six required “advisor-approved” performance credits (one per role) in order to receive the degree.
Acceptance into the program is contingent upon a completed application to the Michigan State University Graduate School as well as the successful completion of an audition/interview. All acting candidates must demonstrate their potential at either larger unified auditions or through an audition before the Acting/Directing faculty while visiting Michigan State University.
MSU offers numerous performance opportunities for graduates in one 3,700-seat concert auditorium, two 600-seat theaters (one thrust, one proscenium), one 200-seat arena theatre, one 150-seat studio theatre, one 70-seat studio theatre and the opportunity to perform in MSU’s popular outdoor Summer Circle Theatre. While casting is not guaranteed in Department productions, MFA Actors are required to perform in an “advisor-approved” project each semester. A performance based thesis role or project must be completed in the MFA Actors’ final year of study. We offer a variety of acting assistantships with very competitive stipend levels, and our graduate program works in tandem with a thriving undergraduate theatre program. Prior to graduation, MFA acting students will also receive exposure to the professional theatre world as well as academia.
All Master of Fine Arts Actors must audition for all departmental mainstage productions even though there are no guaranteed roles in these productions. If a student is not cast in a mainstage production, the MFA Actor must perform in an “advisor-approved” performance project. One exception to this casting policy is the master thesis role or project to be completed in the MFA Actor’s final year of study chosen in consultation with the student’s guidance committee.
MFA Actors will meet each semester with his/her chosen committee to evaluate the work over the semester and also complete performance juries at the end of each semester that showcase the actors’ work.
A total of 60 credits are required with class offerings as follows:
Academic Core (14 credits)
THR 830 – Introduction to Graduate Studies
THR 831 – Studies in Theatre History
THR 832 – Comparative Drama and Criticism
THR 834 – Professional Aspects
THR 870 – Collaborative Studio in Theatre
Electives (10 Credits)
We are not currently interviewing candidates for the MFA in Acting. The next round of auditions will be in Spring 2021.
Each year the Department of Theatre sets aside a number of Graduate Assistantships for entering MFA students. In the current academic year, graduate assistants received a total financial package of at least $26,867 for a level 1, ½-time assistantship. This package includes a full tuition waiver (up to the 60 credits required) as well as the following benefits:
- Medical and Dental Insurance
- Annual Stipend of $15,00-15,500
- Summer Support Fellowship (guaranteed one-time award) of $5,000 connected to working in our professional summer theatre
- Travel Award (based on national presentation) of up to $1,000/year
- Most MFA actors will have the chance to teach 12 classes while at MSU including acting studios, large lecture courses, online courses, and one class of your own design
- Each semester you take two studio classes and one theatre studies course.
- Access to our Equity partner, Williamston Theatre, a 2014 American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company
- Option of showcase at graduation
- Work with Stratford Theatre Festival artists
- Opportunities to direct
College, University, and Departmental Fellowships are also available. Students recruited with assistantships may expect three years of support so long as they make satisfactory progress in their studies.