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MFA in Theatre: Acting Concentration — How to Apply

The MFA in Theatre:  Acting Concentration 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  2019.  Recruitment for this group will be during late Fall of 2018 and January-April of 2019.

The principal way in which to audition for the MFA program at UT is through the University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA) National Unified Auditions and Interviews (NUAI’s), which are held annually in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.  Jed Diamond, Head of Acting, will be attending the 2019 URTA’s.

The dates of the 2019 URTA’s are:

New York: Jan 18-21 / Millenium Hotel / 145 West 44th Street, NY, NY

Chicago:  Jan 26-29 / Palmer House Hilton / 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL

San Francisco: Feb 1, 2 / Academy of Art University / 79 New Montgomery Street, SF, CA

For more information about the URTA auditions, go to

Any actor who is NOT attending the URTA auditions can arrange for an independent audition in Knoxville, or in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco during the time period in which the URTA auditions are occurring.  If you are already scheduled to do the URTA auditions, we will not schedule a private audition with you until we have seen you in the URTA process.  However, you are certainly encouraged to 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 URTA’s

To arrange an audition in Knoxville, please contact Professor Terry Weber, Director of Graduate Studies at  Please include your photo and resume with your introductory email.

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 invited to join 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 2019 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 work 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.  Having further back up monologues is highly 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.

ALL APPLICANTS WHO ARE CALLED BACK FOR AN INTERVIEW FROM THE URTA AUDITIONS SHOULD ALSO BE PREPARED TO SUBMIT A FOLLOW UP VIDEO OF 2 MONOLOGUES AND 16 BARS OF A SONG, to enable further consideration of your candidacy.  The video enables a select committee of acting faculty to evaluate candidates who are referred to their consideration by Jed Diamond.  You can include an additional monologue in the video if you wish.  You should have this video audition prepared BEFORE your URTA auditions, as timeliness of submission of a video can affect your selection for a callback visit to the UT campus.

This videotaped audition should be easily accessible online.  In the video, you should clearly state your first and last name, and the character, title of play, and playwright of the pieces you will be doing.  Please film one of your monologues so that your whole self is visible.  The other can be full-body, close-up, or a combination.  You do not need a professionally produced video, but please take care with the filming to present your work clearly and well.  Are you clearly visible? Is the lighting good, and is your clothing effective against the background?  Are there distracting sounds or visuals?  Please also review your video to be sure that it functions properly and presents you effectively throughout.

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 Dr. Gina Di Salvo 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.

Offer / Acceptance Guidelines