The Theatre School > Admission > Admission FAQ

Admission FAQ

Jump to questions about...

The central staircase in The Theatre School building


Rather than a semester schedule, DePaul University uses a quarter system. This means that students have a Fall, Winter, and Spring set of classes that each last 10 weeks, plus a non-academic summer quarter (summer break). The Theatre School also uses time during the winter and spring breaks to rehearse productions for the coming quarter. This means that Theatre School students potentially will not have the same winter and spring breaks as the rest of the university community. View the DePaul University Academic Calendar for more information.

The Theatre School's faculty is made up of professional artists and educators from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. Some have spent a lifetime training the next generation of artists. Others are professionals teaching a single class in their area of expertise. All understand the intense nature of the demands of a conservatory training program and are dedicated to individual and challenging training. The Theatre School employs about 30 full-time tenure-track faculty and around 65 adjunct or part-time faculty. All Theatre School courses are faculty taught. Learn more about Theatre School faculty and staff.

Although it's not possible to double major between two programs within The Theatre School, some programs make a double major between a theatre and a non-theatre program possible. For example, our BFA in Theatre Arts has the flexibility to allow students to double major in programs outside of The Theatre School. Other programs, such as our BFA in Acting, are more rigidly structured and do not offer students as much flexibility, making a double major harder to do. In all cases, double majors require approval of the student's academic advisor and will require careful planning. A list of undergraduate majors at DePaul can be found here.

It is not possible to double major in both The Theatre School and The School of Music. Students interested in both theatre and music should talk with both schools about their options and consider whether a minor in either area might be of interest.

Yes, it is very possible for a student to major in a program in The Theatre School and minor in something else! In all cases, minors require approval of the student's academic advisor. You can visit DePaul's degree requirements pages for a list of DePaul's minors.

The Theatre School offers a minor in Theatre Studies for students majoring in non-theatre programs at DePaul University. More information can be found on our Theatre Studies Minor page. Please note that only students who are pursuing one of the theatre BFA majors will be involved in the Theatre School's public production season, as production work is a built-in, required part of pursuing a BFA degree. Students without a theatre major can get involved in theatre through student-run productions and DePaul clubs and organizations.

All Theatre School students must complete Liberal Studies requirements in order to receive their degree. These classes are designed to offer students a broad range of academic experiences and create a well-rounded undergraduate experience. Details about these requirements can be found on the DePaul Liberal Studies page.

Depending on your major, internship opportunities may be available or required. Internships can be arranged by you and in collaboration with your advisor could be locally in Chicago or in another city or state.

The Theatre School has a study abroad program for students in the Design/Technical department. One student from each Design/Technical major has the opportunity to spend the fall quarter of their final year studying at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in London, England. Design/Technical students interested in pursuing this option apply during their third year.

DePaul University also offers a number of study abroad programs. Students interested in doing some of their course work as a part of one of these programs should consult with their academic advisor about coordinating these studies. In some cases (the BFA Acting program for example) the decision to study abroad will delay graduation. In other cases it may be possible to spend the time abroad and still graduate at the end of four years. Learn more about DePaul's study abroad programs.

We previously had a program where a specific number of students were invited to continue in the acting program between the first and second years. That policy is no longer in practice. We admit 32 students to the first year of the BFA Acting program with the expectation that all 32 students will continue through the 4-year course sequence. BFA Acting students receive quarterly evaluations from faculty based on discipline, collaboration, professional potential, and progress in the program. If the quarterly evaluation indicates that appropriate progress is not being made a student can be placed on academic probation. If the student fails to address the concerns of the probation they could face dismissal from The Theatre School.

We do not offer a program that focuses exclusively in Musical Theatre. Our Acting program includes some coursework in musical theatre in the fourth year and we generally do a musical or two as a part of our production season each year. Many of our Playworks productions (our childrens shows) in the Merle Reskin Theatre include song and dance. Some students who have a specific interest in musical theatre take private voice or dance lessons with The Theatre School faculty, through DePaul's
 School of Music, or with one of the many teachers or studios throughout Chicago. Students are also welcome to get involved in student-run productions and theatre, dance, and singing student organizations on-campus.

Every program is different. The unique combination of location, faculty, curriculum, and fellow students make one-to-one comparisons challenging. What might be a perfect fit for one student may not be a great choice for another. We always encourage prospective students to ask us lots of questions, visit campus if possible, and discover if The Theatre School feels like a fit for you.


The Theatre School produces about 30 public shows a year; one third of those are part of our mainstage season and the rest are studio-level productions. These 30 shows translate into about 300 individual performances each year and about 28,000 audience members per year. Involvement in our public season is limited to Theatre School students, as production work is built-in and required as part of each major. Our season allows for continuous, hands-on experience for students to do what they came here to study.

Outside of our public season, The Theatre School hosts several studio-level productions, such as the Lab Series (directed by BFA Theatre Arts-Directing concentration students), the Wrights of Spring (an end-of-year showcase of student playwright works), and the Prototype Series (Theatre School student run productions). In each of these series, Theatre School students are welcome to get involves in ways outside of their major - an acting major can direct a Prototype piece, a lighting design major can act in a Wright of Spring piece, etc. 

Only BFA and MFA Acting majors are eligible to be cast in productions at The Theatre School. These productions are required, graded coursework and are critiqued by a panel of the faculty. Auditions for Theatre School productions are held twice a year to determine the casting assignments for upcoming productions.

However, all students at DePaul (regardless of major) are welcome to get involved in student-run theatre and performance groups. There are over 300 student organizations at DePaul University and several are dedicated to dance, improv, sketch comedy, a cappella, spoken word, and other performance opportunities. You can browse a list of student organizations on the Student Affairs webpage.

Because the focus of the first year of training is on personal discovery and expanding the actor's access to their imagination, we do not cast our actors in a production in their first year. Instead, actors work on an intensive, process-focused exploration of the craft of acting while working on production crews for shows in our season. Acting students then receive guaranteed casting assignments over the next three years of the program. Although they do not have assigned casting in their first year, first year students are welcome to get involved in student-run theatre opportunities!

The Theatre School operates three main stage theatre spaces. The Watts Stage is our 250-seat thrust theatre and the Healy Theatre is our 100-seat flexible blackbox, both of which are in The Theatre School on the Lincoln Park Campus. The Merle Reskin Theatre is our 1,325-seat Broadway-style proscenium theatre that is located in downtown Chicago. Studio-level productions are performed in our 10 mini black box spaces in The Theatre School building.

Applications & Admission

Each year, we have about 1900 applicants for an incoming class of about 138 students - about 120 new BFAs and 18 new MFAs. Because of the conservatory nature of our training, we have strict capacities for each program which makes admission highly competitive. The admission rate (those admitted versus the number who apply) varies depending on the major to which you are applying. Typically, the majors that require a prescreen are the most competitive for admission.

No. Simply fill out DePaul University's online application (either through the Common Application or DePaul's transfer application) and select your intended major as one of our programs. All mailed or emailed materials can be sent directly to The Theatre School Admission Office and anything you upload as part of your application will come directly to us.

No. In order to ensure every applicant receives full consideration, we wait until we have completed all auditions and interviews before we make any admission decisions.

No, it is not possible to apply for multiple degrees or majors at the same time due to the small number of students we take each year for each program.  If you are unsure of which program best matches your interests, please call us or visit us! We would be happy to talk with you about the type of training, coursework, and production practice each major entails.

You cannot have more than one active application to DePaul. If you are considering applying to The Theatre School and another college at DePaul you should complete the application process with The Theatre School first. 

If you are accepted to The Theatre School, you can add your second program-of-interest as a minor or second major once you have started classes. (You'll need to get approval from your academic advisor; double majors will need careful planning.) However, it is not possible to do two BFA degrees or a BFA and a BM degree at the same time; this means that if you cannot double-major within The Theatre School nor is it possible to do a Theatre School major and a DePaul School of Music major at the same time. If you are interested in both Theatre School and School of Music programs, please contact us prior to applying to discuss your options. Minors in both schools are available.

If you do not get accepted into your selected program at The Theatre School you will be given the opportunity to be reconsidered for another program/college within DePaul University. You will still receive full consideration for admission, scholarships, and housing and will not be penalized for having had to wait for our decision. Please note that reconsideration is not possible for School of Music programs after December 1 due to their audition requirements.

By auditioning or interviewing you are automatically considered for the Theatre School Scholarship. The information about the scholarship (amount and requirements to keep it) will be included in your decision letter.

The only financial aid application that DePaul University requires is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results of your FAFSA are most important in the determination of your eligibility for financial assistance. FAFSAs may be completed and submitted electronically using This is a much faster and more convenient process than filing by mail.

If you complete a paper FAFSA, be sure to write "DePaul University" and our school code, "001671", in the list of schools. FAFSA opens on October 1 and we suggest that you complete the FAFSA by February 15 to ensure that you receive your financial aid information as quickly as possible after you have been admitted.

Yes! If the audition/interview fee is a barrier to you in completing your application, please contact after you have submitted your Common Application or Transfer Application to us. (There is no fee to submit the Common Application or Transfer Application.) We are happy to waive the audition/interview fee for students with financial need.

All applicants who have completed the application (including the audition or interview) will be electronically notified of their admission decisions around the middle of March. Admitted students will also have a packet of information mailed to them after they learn of their decision. Admission decisions cannot be discussed over the phone.

Because all of our programs have strict capacities we utilize a waitlist in order to ensure that each incoming class meets our capacity. As admitted students accept or decline our offers of admission, we admit students from the waitlist to fill the slots that have become vacant. We use our waitlist every year to fill our class and students who receive a waitlist offer have an excellent chance of being admitted. Waitlisted applicants will receive a final decision letter - either offering admission or informing them that the class has been filled.

Auditions & Interviews

The Theatre School generally holds admission auditions and interviews between November and the end of February. A full list of dates can be found here on our website. There are options to complete your audition or interview in-person or online/virtually.

Please note: Both BFA Acting and MFA Acting applicants are required to pass a video prescreen prior to attending a callback audition; BFA Stage Management applicants must pass a prescreen prior to doing an interview.

The first step is to submit an online application. Within 24-48 hours of submitting your online application, you will receive emails that will help you access your Blue Demon Domain (our application portal) and remind you which materials you will need to submit prior to registering for your audition or interview. Be sure to check your spam filter settings if DePaul emails are not appearing.

Each program has specific requirements for the audition or interview. You can find more information about what to expect for your program by navigating to its "how to apply" page. Those pages are linked on either the undergraduate admission page and the graduate admission page, depending on your program.

Those interviewing should feel free to wear what makes you comfortable. For acting auditions we encourage you to wear comfortable clothing appropriate for physical activity during the audition.

Please review the audition information page specific to either the BFA Acting or MFA Acting programs for monologue requirements and suggestions.

The main purpose of your portfolio is to spark discussion between you and our faculty about where you want your education to go and what you have achieved in your work so far. Each major has a description of the interview process and portfolio and/or writing samples required. Selecting your intended major on our Conservatory page and navigate to its "how to apply" page.

The Theatre School does not have an early action admission program or rolling admission, meaning that each student is given equal consideration for the program regardless of when they audition/interview. In order to allow each applicant the same amount of consideration, decision letters are sent out mid-March each year after all auditions/interviews have been completed.

However, students who apply earlier will have a wider range of audition/interview dates and times available to choose from.

Yes, you will need to do our audition/interview process. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason is that we want to make sure our application process is fair and consistent for all applicants. Festival audition/interview requirements vary a great deal from state to state and may not align with our admissions requirements.

Think of your festival/showcase audition or interview as a good opportunity to try out your material and receive feedback from a variety colleges. When you're ready to apply to The Theatre School, you can certainly re-use material from your festival/showcase audition or interview if it fits what we're asking for!

Transfer Students

We welcome transfer applicants to apply to Theatre School for our undergraduate programs. (It is not possible to transfer into one of our graduate level programs.) Transfer applicants will need to use DePaul's Transfer Application. As of summer 2021, we have discontinued use of The Common Application's transfer application option.
Please note that we accept new students for fall entrance only, which means transfer students must follow the same application timeline and deadlines as our first-time college applicants. In almost all cases, transfer students will begin a four year course of study even if they have previous credits from another college.

Transferring into The Theatre School from another college at DePaul is called an Inter-College Transfer (ICT) but is not as simple as updating your major in Campus Connect or speaking with your academic advisor.

While you will need to apply to The Theatre School, your application process is a little different than a typical applicant. You will not need to submit a new application, transcript, or letters of recommendation, but you will need to submit your arts materials (depending on the major, this may be a headshot, a resume, a portfolio, a writing sample, etc.) and complete an audition or interview in order to be considered for admission. Admissions decisions for all applicants are released in mid-March. Please note that admission is not guaranteed and there is no advantage in the admissions process for students already at DePaul University.

If you are interested in switching your major to a Theatre School program, please set up a time to speak one-on-one with the Director of Admission at The Theatre School, Tracee Duerson, so that we can discuss what switching you program may mean for your graduation plan and what you'll need to do during the application process. You can email to schedule a time to meet.

Due to the conservatory structure of our BFA programs, almost all transfer students who are admitted to The Theatre School are admitted to a four year program, even if the applicant has previous college credit. BFA degrees have numerous requirements (both in terms of coursework and productions/internships) and most of these requirements are designed to be taken as part of a four-year sequence.
In very rare cases and when space permits, a student who has taken numerous college-level courses highly relevant to their intended major at The Theatre School may be eligible to enter The Theatre School as a second year student and complete their BFA major requirements in three years. (This is not possible in the BFA Acting program.) The decision to bring in a student with advanced standing is made jointly by the head of the department to which the student is applying and the theatre admissions office, based on a thorough review of the student's application, previous college coursework, and the student's interview/audition. Students admitted as second year students will be notified in their admissions decision letter in March. This is not something you can specifically request on the application, but should discuss during your interview if you think this may be possible for you.
Transfer students who have already spent a considerable time in college and who do not want to begin a three or four year program by transferring into a BFA may want to consider purusing an MFA program instead, after finishing their current undergraduate degree.

Previous college credit can be applied to liberal arts (academic, non-major) coursework, which may free up a student's schedule around their BFA major requirements and may make it easier to pursue electives, minors, or a second major outside of The Theatre School as they complete the BFA.

For more detailed information about what coursework may transfer from the institution you currently attend, visit DePaul's transfer pages.

Applying to The Theatre School is practically the same for transfer applicants as it is for first-time college applicants. All applicants follow the same deadlines and will be notified of their admissions decisions in mid-March. We admit new students for fall quarter entrance only.

Transfer students will need to submit their college transcript(s). Transfer applicants will not need to submit high school transcripts alongside their college transcript(s) if they have earned over 30 college credit hours or are over age 24. Otherwise, all application material requirements are the same.

Yes! All undergraduate applicants are automatically considered for The Theatre School Scholarship and all admitted students are automatically awarded a Theatre School Scholarship. More information about scholarships and financial aid can be found on our undergraduate admissions page.

International Students

Generally, you are considered an international applicant if you have been educated outside of the U.S. at any time during high school (if applying to an undergraduate program) or during college (if applying as a graduate applicant). Depending on your citizenship and in which countries your education took place though, you may not need to submit additional application materials.

Please visit our international admissions page for more details about the additional application materials we may request from you.

Most applicants have the option to complete their audition or interview either in-person or online! Check out our audition/interview page for more information about the available options for your program. There is advantage or disadvantage in the admissions process to auditioning/interviewing online instead of in-person.

Student Life

We do! There are all-gender bathrooms located on the basement, 1st floor, 2nd floor, and 4th floor levels of The Theatre School. (Two of the all-gender bathrooms on the 4th Floor are part of the Healy Theatre's backstage and therefore also have shower stalls.) Additionally, in an effort to be more accommodating of our entire population, we are working with our facilities team to install menstruation-product disposal recepticles in all restrooms - not just those originally designated as women's restrooms.

Guided by its Vincentian heritage of inclusion and compassion, DePaul University celebrates all faiths. There are a variety of religious celebrations on campus each week that serve a diverse range of faith traditions. In addition, The Theatre School selects productions and scripts solely based on their artistic merit and potential educational value. DePaul University does not discriminate on the basis of any religion, race, or sexual orientation. Learn more about DePaul's diversity programming.

No. DePaul University does not require any student (including new/incoming students) to live on campus and many students choose to live in off-campus apartments in Lincoln Park or nearby Chicago neighborhoods such as Lakeview, Uptown, Ravenswood, etc. Learn more on DePaul's Housing website.

In any city there are precautions to be taken. Being on campus surrounded by fellow students it is easy to feel safer than one may actually be. However, as long as students are aware of their surroundings, Lincoln Park and Chicago in general can be very safe. As an extra safety precaution, DePaul Public Safety is available to escort students from one campus building to another between 6pm and 6am and The Theatre School provides free bus service to and from off-site theatre spaces for rehearsals and performances that begin or end after dark. Additionally, The Theatre School operates on a card-swipe security system during off hours to prevent unauthorized entry. Any crime reported in the neighborhood around DePaul University is immediately posted as an Alert in Campus buildings. Learn more about DePaul University's Public Safety initiatives.

Ranging from storefront theatre to the largest of Broadway touring houses, Chicago's theatre community is as diverse as DePaul University itself. There are over 200 theatres in the Chicagoland area and often there are over 100 shows playing at any given time. Victory Gardens Theater, Apollo Theater Chicago, and Steppenwolf Theatre are literally only blocks away from campus. The Goodman Theatre, Second City, and Broadway in Chicago theatres are only a few "L" stops away. Because of our professional faculty, working alumni, and reputation in the community, Theatre School students are often invited for free or discounted performances of a variety of shows. Visit Chicago Plays for more information.

Walking is the most common form of transportation. As a full-time student you also receive a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) U-Pass that is good for unlimited rides on the "L" (Chicago's elevated train system) and all CTA buses while classes are in session. The "L" is easy to navigate and is conveniently located near both the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses. Chicago has many streets with bike-only lanes, therefore many students also bike or rollerblade. Very few students keep cars on campus, but campus parking permits are available for an additional fee.

The residence halls vary from traditional dorm style, suite style, to apartment living. There can be six people living in an apartment, or someone can be in a single room. Residence halls are secured by a card access system and all have similar amenities. For more information please visit the Depaul housing site.

There is not a theatre-specific or arts-specific residence hall. Being part of the larger DePaul on campus resident community is one way our students get to know other students outside of The Theatre School community. Sometimes theatre students may have another theatre student as a roommate, though not necessarily someone in your major. An actor may be placed with a set designer or a stage manager can be roomed with a theatre arts major, etc. A variety of roommates can provide an opportunity to meet and know the larger DePaul University community.

Students can have as much interaction with students outside of The Theatre School as they choose. Of course, many of your classes are with other theatre students, but Liberal Studies classes include students from many other programs. In addition, students can take other elective courses or take part in outside activities that are not a part of The Theatre School.

Each student is assigned an academic advisor to assist them in course selections and degree progress as well as a faculty advisor to assist them with more program-specific questions and mentorship. Many students form close relationships with faculty beyond their assigned advisors due to the small size of our programs as well.

Visiting Campus

Yes! You can register for an upcoming event on our Visit The Theatre School page.

Unfortunately we generally cannot allow prospective students to observe classes. The very personal nature of the work and the small class size means that visitors could compromise the experience of current students. Instead we offer individualized appointments with theatre-specific admissions staff, tours with current students, and special programs like Debut DePaul where students can meet and work with the faculty in workshop-style classes. However, admitted students are welcome to sit in and observe classes; class visits for admitted students are scheduled through the Theatre Admissions Office.

Visits with specific faculty are possible and based on faculty availability. These must be requested in advance.

Yes! You can check out what's playing on our mainstages this season. Due to COVID-19, it may be necessary to follow certain masking and/or vaccination requirements in order to attend. If a show must be cancelled for any reason, the box office will communicate with those who have reserved tickets. For the most up-to-date information about our productions, COVID-19 guidelines, and what tickets may be available, please contact our box office.

There are many places to stay near campus both in Lincoln Park and in the Loop. Specific hotels in the area and hotels that offer special DePaul rates can be found on the DePaul website.

The Theatre School is located in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our address is 2350 N. Racine Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614. We are located at the corner of Fullerton Ave and Racine Ave. For detailed directions, please visit our Parking & Directions page.