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M.F.A. Acting

Masters of Fine Arts

The Professional Actor Training Program

The Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) prepares advanced students for careers as professional actors, with the expectation that students will take responsibility for the depth and development of their own artistic practices. The M.F.A. in Acting is a rigorous three-year training program, led by a faculty of working theater practitioners. A class of ten is admitted once every three years, and each student is closely mentored by a faculty committed to individual student growth. The training is dedicated to producing process-driven, skillful, and creative actor/artists with a specific and personal approach to the craft of acting. To meet the demands of the 21st century, actors must have expertise in a range of styles and be adept at working in any medium. We offer a comprehensive progression in acting, voice and speech, and movement. Additional coursework includes on-camera technique, stage combat, devised and solo work, text analysis, specialized areas of voice and movement, audition techniques and business practices.

The Acting Studios

With a strong foundation in the Meisner Technique, the first year of training puts rigorous emphasis on the authentic use of self and the collaborative process. The second year of training focuses on creating complex characters through application of the foundation work to scenes, exercises and performance. Style work begins in the second half of the second year with a semester long focus on playing Shakespeare. The third year bridges the past and the present: encompassing a range of contemporary and period style work as well as integrated studies of the actor in new media. Third year students will work with a wide range of industry professionals and hone their audition technique and business acumen in classroom and professional settings.

In the movement studio, emphasis is placed on the human body as an instrument of expression; on developing strength, alignment, flexibility, availability and stamina. Voice and speech training centers on releasing habitual tension, increasing power and range, and utilizing specific speech choices.

Performance Opportunities

Every actor performs a minimum of one role per semester. This may be in the School of Theater’s main stage offerings, Tantrum Theater productions, or studio/laboratory productions. Actors also work regularly in the development and production of new plays: both in workshop and in the annual Seabury Quinn Jr., Playwright’s Festival, in collaboration with the students in the MFA Playwriting Program. Collaborations with the School of Film are common, and actors will have ample opportunity to work on camera and build a professional reel. In all cases, emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to synthesize the work of the studio with the practical realities of his or her casting.

Assessment and Admission

Admission to the program is by interview and audition at the annual University Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) sites and at scheduled auditions on campus (dates to be determined). International students may submit digital auditions and interview via the online platform.

M.F.A. Acting [PATP] Sample Curriculum [pdf]

Application Requirements


Professional Opportunities

Actors will be given the opportunity to work with the Tantrum Theater, which operates under an Actor’s Equity Association contract through U/RTA. Equity Membership Candidacy is available to participating actors. A wide range of industry guests visit campus each year - frequently for extended workshops.

Internship Opportunities

Internships are required, and a range of professional internships are available to all MFA candidates in acting.

For additional information, contact David Haugen (740-593-4818, or, Head of the Professional Actor Training Program.