Graduate Admission Requirements Get an Inside Look

Drama Graduate Application Process

General Information about Admission

THE John Wells Directing Program

Applicants for The John Wells Directing Program should have at least 3 years of experience as a director as well as a strong sense of the kind of theater they would like to explore. The ability to critically analyze and discuss a script is a necessary prerequisite. Interest in the use of media and exploring a variety of directing techniques is an advantage.

Design (Scenic, Costume, Costume Production,  Sound, VIDEO & MEDIA)

Applicants for the Design Option should have experience in theater and some background in art and design. Demonstrated ability to analyze and discuss a script is important and will be explored at the interview. Do not send your portfolios with your application materials; bring portfolios and examples of creative work to the interview.

Dramatic Writing

Applicants for the Dramatic Writing Option should have prior writing and theater experience.

Production and Technology Management (PTM) (Technical Direction, Stage/Production Management, Costume Production)

Applicants for the Production Technology and Management Option should have practical experience in the theater, and may also have a background in mathematics and physics (for Technical Directors), organization and management (for Stage/Production managers), or both. Applicants must demonstrate basic proficiency in project planning and execution by submitting a portfolio of work which might include production paperwork, draftings, technical drawings, sketches, or other work generated from creative projects. Please do not mail portfolios to the school unless instructed.

To Apply

All graduate applicants must be submitted no later than January 1.

  • A graduate application form submitted online.
  • A personal statement of your educational and professional aspiration which addresses why you are pursuing this line of study, what you hope to gain from graduate school, and your artistic influences, interests and professional goals.  Two to three pages should be sufficient length.
  • Three letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with your work
  • Official transcripts of all college work (sent directly from institutions)
  • $100 application fee (payable to Carnegie Mellon University) or submitted electronically.
  • For Dramatic Writing: one full-length play (or screenplay). Only PDF files will be accepted.


Please do not submit portfolios or artwork in advance. No unsolicited material will be returned.

Final applicants in The John Wells Directing Program will be invited to the School of Drama to meet the directing faculty and conduct a short scene rehearsal with actors. At that time directors will also be asked to provide more visual material and discuss specific productions at length.

Application materials

All application materials should be submitted electronically.  Any questions should be addressed to:

Dick Block, Associate Head, School of Drama Graduate Admissions Coordinator Purnell Center for the Arts Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Email:  Phone: 412.268.7919       

International students
In accordance with university policy, foreign students must present evidence of their ability to meet the expenses of tuition, room, board and other material needs when applying. Non-native English-speaking applicants are required to take the TOEFL examination. The University may also require applicants to take additional English proficiency tests to ensure that all students have sufficient language skills to pursue graduate level studies. Depending on the results of these tests, the School of Drama may require applicants to complete further classes in English prior to enrolling. For more information about international admission and immigration, please contact the CMU Office of International Education.

To Schedule an Interview

All graduate applicants in Design, Production Technology and Management and The John Wells Directing Program are required to attend an interview. Interviews will be scheduled after applications have been received. Click here to download the dates and locations for interviews. To schedule an interview, please email or call Dick Block, Associate Head of the School and Graduate Admissions Coordinator (email: phone: 412.268.7219).

Please include your preferred city and date in your request as well as your field of study: Costume Design, Costume Production, Sound Design, Set Design, Lighting Design, Video & Media Design, Technical Direction, Stage/Production Management or The John Wells Directing Program.

Interviews will be scheduled only after the formal application is received. Application materials can be submitted in a single package or under separate cover.

We will be holding interviews for prospective graduate Lighting Design students at LDI in Las Vegas Oct. 21-23. Interested students should schedule their meeting with Cindy Limauro (

Graduate interviews are typically 30 minutes long, during which time the faculty will review your artistic portfolio.

Offers to attend the School of Drama are typically made after all of the interviews are completed, usually around the end of March. Official offers to students for admissions will be sent by mail  (with the exception of international students who will recieve an email).

International students applying for Design or Production Technology and Management who are unable to visit the United States for an interview may schedule a Skype interview.

Read About Preparing for Your Interview/Portfolio Review

For further information about the Design Option please contact the Option Coordinators, Joe Pino at or Narelle Sissons at  If you have specific questions related to our MFA in Video & Media Design, please contact Larry Shea at

For further information about The John Wells Directing Program contact the Option Coordinator, Caden Manson at

For further information about the Dramatic Writing Option please contact the Option Coordinator, Rob Handel at

for further information about the Production Technology and Management Option, please contact:
Technical Direction: Kevin Hines, Option Coordinator, at
Stage/Production Management: Tina Shackleford at
Costume Production: Brian Russman at

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