The Theatre School > Admission > Graduate Admission

Graduate Admission

All new MFA students begin in the fall-quarter; the application process begins the fall of the year before you would enroll. All required application materials must be received by the program's application deadline in order for you to be considered for admission to the program.

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Admissions Timeline

December 15: Application deadline for MFA Directing and MFA Arts Leadership
February 1: Application deadline for MFA Acting 

All 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 admission requirements will be considered for admission.

How to Apply

Each program has a different application process and different application material requirements. Click on a program below to view a checklist of what you will need in order to apply:

MFA Acting
MFA Arts Leadership
MFA Directing

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 Your Application Check Your Status: MFA Application Portal


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.

Financial Aid

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​. 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.