All new MFA students begin in the fall-quarter; the application process begins the fall before you would enroll. All required application materials must be received by the application deadline in order for you to be considered for admission to the program.
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December 15: MFA Directing and MFA Arts Leadership (all materials received)
February 1: MFA Acting (all materials received)
How to Apply
The first step is to submit the online application. After submitting your application, you will be able to log back into your application portal to view a checklist of application materials and check the status of your application. Please visit our Graduate Conservatory page to find detailed descriptions of the application requirements for your program.
If you are an international applicant you should also visit our International Admission page for additional requirements.
The Theatre School admits a diverse population of students and encourages applicants inclusive of all gender and sexual identities and expressions, including their intersection with racial and ethnic identities, as well as the multiplicity of identities in our ever-evolving society. For more on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, read our diversity action statement.
Start Application MFA Application Portal
Auditions and Interviews
The admissions process is heavily weighted toward the audition or interview. An audition is required for all Acting applicants and an interview is by invitation for the Arts Leadership and Directing finalists. Visit our Graduate Conservatory page to find more information about the audition or interview process for your program.
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.
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.
Every applicant admitted to The Theatre School’s MFA program is awarded a Theatre School Scholarship. Acting and Directing student scholarships generally range from $14,000 to $17,000 annually. Arts Leadership students receive a salary through full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, plus an additional annual scholarship of $5,000 to $7,000; the salary and scholarship combined is generally equal to the cost of tuition. Scholarships are awarded in the admissions decision letter.
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 required for consideration for a Theatre School Scholarship. Typically, need-based aid for graduate students is in the form of student loans. All students, regardless of financial need or ability to file a FAFSA, are welcome to pursue part-time work (either on or off campus) during their time in the program.
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.
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 can provide students with information about University Center Chicago housing as well as information regarding off-campus housing in the Chicago area.