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MFA in Theatre: Acting Concentration — How to Apply

The MFA in Theatre: Acting program recruits actors every year, bringing a new class of eight actors to campus in the fall semester of odd-numbered calendar years.  The next class will enter in August of  2017.  Recruitment for this group will be during Fall of 2016 and  January-April of 2017.

The principal venue in which to audition for the MFA program at UT are the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) National Unified Auditions and Interviews (NUAI’s), which are held annually in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.  The dates of the 2017 U/RTA’s will be posted here and on the U/RTA website in summer of 2015.

For more information about the U/RTA auditions, go to

In addition to the U/RTA auditions, any actor interested in attending the MFA in Theatre:  Acting program at UT can arrange for an independent audition in Knoxville, or in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco during the time period in which the U/RTA auditions are occurring.  If you are already scheduled to do the U/RTA auditions, you can send a photo, resume and your personal statement to us in advance and notify us as to the time of your auditions in the NUAI’s, so that we can look for you at that time.  If you are a viable candidate, you will be called back for an interview at the NUAI’s.

It is not necessary to apply to the Graduate School at UT or the Department of Theatre prior to your audition and interview, or to send transcripts or letters of recommendation.  If you are accepted into the program, there is time to submit an application at that point.

All MFA in Theatre: Acting candidates at UT receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) which qualifies them as employees of the Department of Theatre and provides for full tuition remission plus a generous stipend.  The stipend for the next class matriculating in fall of 2017 is expected to be in the range of $13 –  $14,000.00 annually, with the possibility of additional scholarship funds awarded in the second and third years of training. Graduates discharge various GTA duties throughout their tenure at UT, including working with and mentoring BA students in the professional “laboratory” of the Clarence Brown Theatre, opportunities to assist and teach BA courses, coaching of BA students, acting as ambassadors for the department in the community, engaging in public relations and development activities, and so on.  Care is taken to align GTA duties with training objectives, and to prevent them from conflicting or compromising the core training.

In order to be considered for admission, all candidates must:

Audition:  you should be prepared to present 2 monologues that contrast in the following ways: classical and contemporary, comedic and dramatic.  Back up monologues are recommended.  You will also be asked to sing a brief selection of music — 16 bars or less.  It is not required that you be a true singer, this request is rather to ascertain more about your vocal and musical potential.

If you are called back for a second round interview/audition, you may be asked to submit an online audition for further consideration of your candidacy.  Instructions for doing this will be provided at your callback/interview.

If accepted, candidates must:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Pay the $60 application fee by credit card or electronic check
  • Upload/Enter the following materials into the Graduate School Application:
    • Unofficial transcripts of all prior Undergraduate and Graduate coursework and degree confirmations
    • A current photograph of you and a professional resume
    • A brief essay (2 pages maximum) about your commitment to a life in art, your interest in training, and your creative and career interests.
    • Two letters of recommendation.
    • Note: a GRE exam is not required.
  • An interview:  if you are called back from your audition you will be interviewed and have a chance to personally inquire about the program.

Applicants whose native language is not English must:

Submit official TOEFL scores directly from ETS to University of Tennessee, 1843
Submit official IELTS scores directly from IELTS administrator to Office of Graduate Admissions


For information regarding specific Department of Theatre application materials, questions about the audition or application process, to arrange a visit, or for more information about our Department, please email Professor Terry Weber  Director of Graduate Studies.

And for more information on the MFA in Theatre, Acting program, please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook and the other links above left.

Offer / Acceptance Guidelines

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