An application to one of The Theatre School’s MFA programs is a two-part process that involves submitting the required application materials and participating in an audition (MFA Acting) or interview (MFA Directing & MFA Arts Leadership).
Applications are only accepted for entry to the fall
quarter of each academic year. Acting applicants must submit their applications by January 15; Arts Leadership and Directing applicants must submit their applications by December 15.
Visit The Theatre School
How to Apply
The first step is to submit the online graduate application. After submitting your application, you will need to send The Theatre School any additional materials required by your intended program. You can visit our Conservatory page to find an application checklist customized to your program.
If you are an international applicant you should also visit our International Admission page for additional requirements.
Auditions and Interviews
The admissions process is heavily weighted toward the audition or interview. An audition is required for all Acting applicants while an interview is by invitation for the Arts Leadership and Directing program finalists. Acting auditions typically happen from December through February of each year, while Directing and Arts Leadership interviews generally happen in January and February. Visit our Conservatory page and select your intended program to find more information about the audition and interview requirements.
Admissions decisions are made and communicated after all applicants have auditioned or interviewed. The Theatre School does not operate an early action, early acceptance, or rolling admissions process. Decisions are communicated electronically in mid-March with an April 15 response deadline. Decisions cannot be communicated over the phone. Only applicants who have completed all admissions requirements will be considered for admission.
Every applicant admitted to The Theatre School’s MFA program is awarded a scholarship. Acting and Directing student scholarships generally range from $14,000 to $17,000 annually. Arts Leadership students receive a fellowship through full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, plus an additional scholarship of $5,000 to $7,000 annually. Incoming scholarships are awarded in the admissions decision letter.
There are two types of need-based financial aid available to admitted graduate students – student loans and work study. To be considered for a need-based financial aid package, applicants must submit a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the only application required for need-based financial aid and is not require for scholarship consideration.
The FAFSA becomes available starting on October 1 each year and can either be submitted through a hard copy (generally available from high school guidance counselor offices or college financial aid offices) or online at fafsa.ed.gov. To have your FAFSA results reported to The Theatre School, enter DePaul University's FAFSA code, 001671, in the college section.
We suggest you complete the FAFSA by February 15. Submitting your FAFSA by this date will insure you receive full consideration for need-based financial aid. Financial aid packages are communicated separately from the admissions decision letter and are only sent to students after they have been admitted to The Theatre School.
The Theatre School's tuition is billed as a guaranteed package rate, meaning you pay one flat fee each year for all of your coursework and production work. You are billed the same rate each year you are in a program up to the standard length of the program. In other words, your tuition rate is locked in at the tuition rate you pay in your first year of the program. For current tuition rates visit DePaul University’s Tuition page.
DePaul University does not offer campus housing for graduate students on the Lincoln Park Campus. Graduate housing is available in University Center Chicago, DePaul’s campus residence on the Loop Campus in downtown Chicago. The Theatre School Admissions Office provides admitted graduate students with information about University Center Chicago housing as well as information regarding off-campus housing in the Chicago area.