Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (Acting emphasis)


The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (Acting emphasis) with a focus on the creation of new works at The Ohio State University prepares actors in the fundamentals of acting, with experience in classical and contemporary styles within the context of developing methods for creating original contemporary work. The program emphasizes the development of actors who can work in a repertory company setting as well as function as an independent artist producing original work. The program prepares actors to work in creative ways with local communities in realizing original works.

The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree providing training in theatrical performance to students preparing for creative careers in theatre.

The first year of the program focuses on fundamental training for the actor. Courses include:

  • Voice: Linklater
  • Movement Fundamentals: Laban and Viewpoints
  • Acting: Modern & Contemporary Realism
  • Research Methods
  • Script Analysis
  • Courses in History, Literature and Criticism
  • Playwriting
  • Directing
  • Casting in the season will reflect the work in the studio

The second year will focus on classical training for the actor, and includes:

  • Voice: Complex text, dialects & IPA, and Primary Source
  • Movement: Suzuki training and mime
  • Acting: Shakespeare and Period Styles
  • Composition: techniques for creating work
  • Courses in History, Literature and Criticism
  • Video
  • Devising new works
  • Community outreach and engagement collaborative project creations.

The third year will focus on contemporary training for the actor, and includes:

  • Acting: Contemporary Non-Realism
  • MFA Ensemble Outreach & Engagement project
  • Solo creations
  • Site specific works
  • Professional aspects
  • Avant Garde theatre
  • Performance art
  • Arts Administration: grant writing, fundraising, promotion and public relations

The Ohio State University Theatre Graduate Program recruits one class of MFA acting students every three years (the next classes will be accepted in 2022, 2025, 2028 etc.). The creation of original innovative works which push the boundaries of performance and theatre is a strong component of the department. This emphasis runs parallel to other innovative performance programs at Ohio State. These include the Wexner Center for the Arts as well as Ohio State's dance program and the School of Music's contemporary music program. We recruit students who demonstrate a strong foundation in acting training and who are committed to creating original work, whether it be in the form of monologist, movement theatre, traditional playwriting, media arts performance, etc.

Admission Criteria

The applicant must meet the following requirements for admission to the Graduate School of The Ohio State University: an earned baccalaureate or professional degree at an accredited college or university by the expected date of entry, a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative point-hour ratio in all previous undergraduate work. A candidate may possess either an undergraduate degree in theatre or a related field. 

Residency Requirement

A minimum residence of three academic years (excluding summers) at The Ohio State University devoted to graduate work is required.

Audition and Interview

All acting candidates must demonstrate their potential by auditioning, either through the University/Regional Theatre Association or at an audition before the acting faculty on campus in Columbus, Ohio. Dates for the on-campus auditions will be posted on this website in the fall of each recruiting year. In both cases, an interview will be part of the audition.

General Program Requirements


Students holding Graduate Associateships are required by the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts and the Graduate School to register for a minimum of eight (8) graduate credit hours per semester, excluding summers when a minimum of four (4) graduate credit hours is required if a fee waiver is utilized. Degree requirements in each departmental program may exceed these minimum credit hours per semester.

Degree Credit Hours and Requirements

A minimum of 69 graduate credit hours of course work must be completed to receive the degree. Each acting student will be eligible for casting in a creative project each semester during their three years of residency. Acting students are required to audition each semester unless they petition the Acting Area faculty for release from production. Release will be granted on a case by case basis.


A student's progress in both the classroom and production program is carefully monitored by the acting faculty through regular reviews.

Comprehensive Exam

The MFA acting student must pass a four hour written Comprehensive Examination during the spring semester of the third year of study. The exam questions will be drawn from a reading list, material covered in classes and practicum/residency experiences. MFA acting students will receive an initial reading list prior to their arrival in the first semester of the first year and will receive additions to that list in the spring semester of the first year and the spring semester of the second year of the program.

Deadlines, Application and Admission Process

Deadlines, application and admission process details for the graduate program may be found by following this link.