The Theatre School > Conservatory > Graduate Conservatory
The Theatre School’s graduate program is a highly specialized conservatory offering three Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in acting, directing and arts leadership.
Each of our three MFA programs is a professional training program designed to provide our students with not only the skills but the experience necessary to help them advance their careers.
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We have strict capacities for each of our programs which are designed to provide each student with personalized instruction and ample opportunities for practical experience.
The acting and directing programs are three-year progression-based programs. The arts leadership program is a two-year program combining full-time employment at Chicago Shakespeare Theater with academic curriculum at DePaul University. Each quarter of the curriculum builds on the previous quarter. Responsibilities and expectations increase each year both in the classroom and in production work practicum.
Learning does not stop in the classroom. Each year The Theatre School produces more than 30 productions—of varying shapes and sizes—to give our students ample opportunity to synthesize what they are learning in the classroom.
Our students learn from people who know what it is like to work in the business—because they do. The Theatre School has 28 full-time tenure-track faculty who are all accomplished theatre professionals and continue their work while teaching our students. We also employ more than 60 adjunct, or part-time, faculty who are hired right out of the Chicago theatre community for their individual expertise. Being a professional training program, it is important to us that our faculty has a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the profession.
“Going to graduate school is a gift you give yourself. You cut yourself off from the pressures of the commercial world to ask the hard questions. Why do theatre at all? What can you contribute? Who are you as an artist? What is the thing you can do that no one else can? When you emerge you have a better sense of self, of purpose, and of determination. And then you can make a difference.”