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We will be recruiting for the MFA Acting program in the spring of 2025 for admittance in fall of 2025.


The applicant is required to audition for entrance into the MFA Acting program. Primary recruitment will be conducted through URTA auditions in New York and Chicago. Contact URTA for more information. Two contrasting monologues, one classical, no more than three minutes in total length, are required. The student will be asked to interview with members of the performance faculty. A recent picture/resume is required at the audition.


Philosophy of Training

The MFA Acting program is designed to prepare the student for a career in professional theatre. Emphasis is on the development of a process that will serve the actors in the practice of their art. This is accomplished through a program of vocal and physical training, acting classes, work in production, and individual tutorials. The program is rigorous, time-demanding, and intense, addressing complex processes of both actor training in both class work as well as a role in production, and preparation for a professional career.

Once admitted, each student receives personal attention through every aspect of training. Acting class enrollment on the graduate level is limited so that instructors can pay careful attention to the unique qualities and challenges that each student brings to the actor training program. Periodic reviews of progress allow the performance faculty to keep each student working toward individual goals outlined in the preliminary review process.

The skills and habits of a strong internal discipline, concentration, intensity and seriousness of purpose are absolutely essential and central to our program. The preparation of each actor's individual instrument of voice, body, and inner temperament lays the foundation of excellence in the craft and art of acting.

Special emphasis is placed on the Meisner Technique, in which the actor develops his unique imagination, explores her individual emotional life and sense of truth, and learns to commit completely to a dramatic action.

With the benefit of a fully-trained, expressive and responsive instrument, the actor can then interpret any role from any period, style, or genre of dramatic literature as framed by any production concept.

Additionally, it is the department's conviction that the actor must be educated as well as trained in order to fully realize his or her potential as an artist. Therefore, students take additional classes in script analysis, theory and criticism, and directing. MFA acting students are treated as young professionals and are expected to be fully prepared to assume positions in the professional theatre upon completion of the degree.


Outline of the Program

The first year of training concentrates on developing the foundation of the actor's instrument: an open, flexible and strong voice coupled with clear, articulate speech; an athletic body capable of expressive range and physical transformation; and, the free, spontaneous, and uninhibited expression of imagination and emotion.

The second year builds on this foundation through the study of classical text, dialects, stage combat, commedia technique, clown and mask work, and commedia dell'arte as well as the interpretation of characters in both classical and non-realistic dramatic literature.

The third year continues to develop these specialized and complex acting challenges; the curriculum progresses to period styles acting, acting for the camera, audition technique and professional issues and the preparation of a regional theatre audition tour.

The MFA candidate will prepare and perform a terminal project role in the third year, consisting of the preparation, documentation and performance of a challenging role.

In the production program, the MFA actor performs in a variety of roles in different styles and genres, ranging from Shakespeare, period style plays, contemporary plays, musicals, and experimental works. Major roles balance with secondary roles, based on the individual's merit in each audition and his or her specific educational needs. Graduate actors are cast along with and undergraduate acting majors in all productions, and occasionally with professional actors or faculty members. Students perform in the 150-seat Mallett Theatre and the 300-seat Hansen Theatre.

Training culminates in a third-year MFA Actor Regional Theatre Tour, for which the actors audition for professional work in a number of highly respected and successful regional theatres. Our MFA actors have been hired as company members and as interns at the American Shakespeare Center, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Phoenix Theatre and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

MFA acting students are treated as young professionals and are expected to be fully prepared to assume positions in the professional theatre upon completion of the degree.

MFA in Acting Plan of Study


To Apply

The applicant is required to interview with a Purdue representative and submit the following materials when applying to the MFA Acting program:

  • Theatrical resume with recent headshot

  • Transcript(s) from all schools attended

  • Statement of goals for undertaking the study of acting at Purdue University

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • The Graduate School application fee is $60 (U.S. dollars) for domestic applicants and $75 (U.S. dollars) for international applicants. You must pay your application fee online with your credit card. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted and processed using a secured online payment system. Your application will not be processed until your nonrefundable application fee has been paid.

Click here for application information or to apply online. (Select "Theatre" as the area of study.)




Faculty & Staff Contact

For questions regarding the curriculum for the MFA in Acting or for program requirements, contact:
Department of Theatre Chair; Associate Professor of Practice, Technical Direction: Rich Dionne

For general information about the Purdue Department of Theatre, please contact:
Theatre Operations Manager: Beth Daugherty