Admissions
Graduate Requirements

How To Apply

We’re delighted that you're interested in applying to one of our graduate programs. The application for Fall 2020 admission will be available in October 2019. All applications should be submitted no later than January 1, 2020, to allow for interview scheduling. Interviews may not be granted if applications are received after January 1.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:
All prospective graduate students must submit an online application that includes:

  • Statement of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts
  • Application fee
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores where applicable (MyBest Scores are accepted; scores must be less than two years old)
  • Program specific materials

    Unsolicited material will not be returned. Detailed information about each component of your application and program specific requirements are available below:

    Statement of Intent
    Describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies, your educational and professional objectives, your specific interest in the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as your artistic influences, interests and goals, and any other information that you believe will aid the admissions committee in reaching a decision. Your statement should be two to three pages in length.

    Letters of Recommendation
    Provide names and contact information (including email addresses) for three people you have chosen to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Choose a variety of individuals, if possible, all who should be familiar with your work. Ask each of them to write a substantive letter about your qualifications for graduate study in drama, mentioning your previous study, research, and professional experience. As you enter each recommender’s information on the application, the system will contact that person to request your letter of recommendation. Be sure to keep the admissions timeline in mind and give your contacts plenty of time to write letters and submit them before the deadline.

    Resume
    You must submit a resume detailing artistic and professional experience.

    Official Transcripts
    When you list your academic institutions in the online application system, they will automatically be contacted for your official transcripts.

    Application Fees
    Each applicant must submit a $100 application fee. No additional fees are required if you are invited for an interview.

    TOEFL/IELTS Scores
    All applicants whose first language is not English must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Our minimum TOEFL score is 100 total, with minimum subscores of 24. In addition to single test date TOEFL scores, the School of Drama also accepts MyBest Scores for TOEFL. Our minimum IELTS score is 7, in each area and total. Scores below these minimums will not be considered for interview or admission.

    Your Master's Degree Contact
    Mica Harrison Loosemore micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu is the Director of Recruitment & Enrollment at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She will be glad to discuss anything relevant to the program(s) of interest to you. Before contacting Mica, please read the Drama School website thoroughly, as many frequently asked questions are answered here.

    Decisions
    Offers to attend the School of Drama are typically made after all applications have been reviewed and interviews have been completed, usually around the end of March.

  • Scheduling Your Interview


    All applications must be submitted by January 1 for interview scheduling. Interviews may not be granted if applications are received after January 1.

    Graduate interviews are typically 30 minutes long. Please bring your artistic portfolio as well as five copies of your resume with you to your interview.

    DESIGN AND PRODUCTION, TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT
    All graduate applicants in Design and Production, Technology and Management are required to attend an interview. After the application has been submitted online, you will a confirmation email with details on how to schedule your interview.

    Click here to view the dates and locations for interviews. We strongly encourage all applicants to interview in Pittsburgh. Not all programs will have faculty representation in other cities. If circumstances preclude a Pittsburgh interview, you may wish to inquire as to which area faculty will interview in other cities before scheduling travel. International students who are unable to visit the United States for an interview may schedule a Skype interview.

    DIRECTING
    Graduate applicants in Directing will be granted an interview at our request. Applicants will be notified of interview invitations by Feb. 1. Interviews will only be considered after a complete application has been received.

    DRAMATIC WRITING
    Graduate applicants in Dramatic Writing will be granted an interview at our request. Applicants will be notified of interview invitations by Feb. 1. Interviews will only be considered after a complete application has been received.

    » 2019-2020 Interview Dates & Cities

    Preparing Your MFA Application


    Costume Design

    Applicants for Design MFA 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.

    Suggested Costume Design Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of your design process (which could include preliminary sketches and research materials)
    •Color sketches of your design work
    •Production shots of your design work
    •Fabric swatches
    •Examples of supporting skills in your area of interest (which might include stitching, craftwork, quilting, millinery, jewelry making, wig and makeup execution, etc.)
    •Non-costume design related artwork, such as drawings, paintings, ceramics, photography, printmaking, graphic design, etc.

    All graduate Costume Design applicants are required to attend an interview. After the application has been submitted online, you will a confirmation email with details on how to schedule your interview.

    For further information about Graduate Costume Design, please contact Costume Design faculty Susan Tsu - stsu@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Lighting Design

    Applicants for Design MFA 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.

    Suggested Lighting Design Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of your design process (which could include preliminary sketches and research)
    •Light plots (hand or computer-generated)
    •Full paperwork for at least one production
    •Production shots of design work and/or short video clips
    •Examples of supporting skills in your area of interest

    For further information about Graduate Lighting Design, please contact Lighting Design faculty Cindy Limauro - limauro@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Scenic Design

    Applicants for Design MFA 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.

    Suggested Scenic Design Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of your design process (which could include preliminary sketches, research, rough models, sketch-up work, etc.)
    •Color sketches and/or models of your design work
    •Production shots of your design work, performance art, installation work, etc.
    •Ground plans, drafting, and detail drawings (hand or computer-generated)

    For further information about Graduate Scenic Design, please contact Scenic Design faculty Narelle Sissons- nsissons@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Sound Design

    Applicants for Design MFA 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.

    Suggested Sound Design Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of your design process (which could include preliminary sketches and research)
    •Sound plots and cue sheets
    •Sound and/or music examples (include production images to help contextualize your sound choices)
    •Examples of supporting skills in your area of interest

    For further information about Graduate Sound Design, please contact Sound Design faculty Sarah Pickett- sjpicket@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Video and Media Design

    Applicants for Design MFA 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.

    Suggested Video & Media Design Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of your design process (which could include preliminary sketches, research, video clips, sketch-up work, etc.)
    •Video system diagrams, projector plots, cue sheets and other support drawings (hand or computer-generated)
    •Production shots of finished design work and or short video clips
    •Video examples of your work (please select shorter sections for review)
    •Examples of supporting skills in your area of interest (which might include personal artworks, art installations, professional video work, custom software or system designs etc.)

    For further information about Graduate Video & Media Design, please contact Video & Media Design faculty Larry Shea - lshea@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Dramatic Writing

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

    Dramatic Writing Materials:
    •One full-length play or screenplay. Only PDF files will be accepted.
    •Your personal statement should also address your educational and professional goals. Please articulate what drives you as an artist and what drives you as a citizen. Discuss the next play you want to write.

    Dramatic Writing Applicants will be granted an interview at our request. Applicants will be notified of interview invitations by Feb. 1.

    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 and fulfill teaching requirements. 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 view https://www.cmu.edu/icc/language-certification/index.htm

    For further information about Graduate Dramatic Writing, please contact Dramatic Writing faculty, Rob Handel - rhandel@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment, Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Costume Production

    Suggested Costume Production Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of a finished garment(s) based on a designer’s sketch
    •Photographic and physical examples of your costume work
    •Examples of paperwork explaining your process (which could include organizational paperwork, patterns, additional sketches, etc.)
    •Examples of supporting skills in areas of secondary interest (which could include sculpture, painting, printmaking, photography, millinery, and jewelry making, etc.)

    For further information about Graduate Costume Production, please contact Costume Production faculty Brian Russman - brianr@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Stage and Production Management

    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 through the online application. Unsolicited material will not be returned.

    Suggested Stage & Production Management Portfolio Materials:
    •Paperwork from a recent production for schedules, reports, budgets, estimates, etc.
    •Rehearsal and performance reports and production calendar
    •Further examples of work that support evidence of your managerial skills

    For further information about Graduate Stage And Production Management, please contact Stage And Production Management faculty Tina Shackleford - tshackleford@cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    Technical Direction

    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 through the online application. Unsolicited material will not be returned.

    Suggested Technical Direction Portfolio Materials:
    •Evidence of technical skills (which could include working drawings and photos of your work both finished and in process)
    •Examples of material and labor budgeting
    •Drafting, drawing or CAD material

    For further information about Graduate Technical Direction, please contact Technical Direction faculty Kevin Hines - hines@andrew.cmu.edu, and Director of Recruitment & Enrollment Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu


    The John Wells Directing Fellowship

    Applicants for The John Wells Directing MFA Program should have at least three 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.

    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.

    Suggested Directing Specific Materials:
    Videos or photographs that show a range of your directorial abilities.

    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 and fulfill teaching requirements. 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 Click here.

    For further information about The John Wells Directing Program, please contact the Head of the Directing Program, Kim Weild - kweild@andrew.cmu.edu, and the Director of Recruitment & Enrollment, Mica Harrison Loosemore - micaharr@andrew.cmu.edu

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    FAQS

    No. We do not require any standardized test for admission to the School of Drama.

    No. There is no official graduate school within the University. All graduate programs are autonomous.

    Interviews are required for all applicants in Design and in Production Technology and Management (PTM). Those applying in Dramatic Writing and the John Wells Directing Program will be interviewed at our request.

    Students in the Design and Production Technology and Management (PTM) must attend a final interview in Pittsburgh, unless severe monetary constraints do not allow for travel. Offers of admission will follow the final interview. We strongly encourage a visit to campus; ideally, you should stay long enough to attend several classes and spend some time getting to know graduate students as well as the faculty.

    Once the formal application has been received, the interview may be scheduled. No interviews will be granted until the official Graduate Application has been received.

    You can add material to the online application at any time. Once the formal application has been received, you will become an official applicant. Any materials that are sent before that time (such as recommendations, transcripts, etc.) will be held until the formal application arrives.

    The formal application form needs to be received by January 1. If more time is needed to obtain transcripts or recommendations, that is okay.

    Graduate programs in the School of Drama are for full-time students only.

    Students remain in the program only so long as the graduate faculty agrees that continued training at Carnegie Mellon University will result in significant progress towards a professional career. Except in special circumstances, as determined by the graduate faculty, transfer credit is not given for graduate work done elsewhere.

    All submitted admission materials will be kept on file for one year after application with the exception of those applicants who have decided to attend school elsewhere. It is strongly recommended that some new material be submitted, such as a new portfolio for designers or a new script for dramatic writers. There is no need to submit new recommendation letters unless the applicant so desires.

    The programs are three years in length. There have been exceptions for those applicants who show an advanced understanding in Design and Production Technology and Management although this is extremely rare.

    On rare occasions we accept transfer students into the Design and Production Technology and Management Options.

    No transfer students will be accepted into the John Wells Directing Program or Dramatic Writing Options.

    It is assumed that each graduate directing student will direct a one-act play during the first semester, a new play (from a graduate plawright in the first and seconds years of the program, a graduate production in the second year and a thesis production in the third year). Other opportunites may well present themselves in addition to this.

    All students will see their work fully realized through productions. The amount and content of realized work that a student does is customized to their goals and individual skill level. At a minimum, each graduate design student will design once a year.

    Every semester PTM graduate students are assigned to productions in various management positions, either in the School of Drama or elsewhere. These assignments are made based on the student's level of ability and progression through the program. Students often receive multiple concurrent assignments, which reflects real world multi-tasking.

    In the second year of the Dramatic Writing Option final thesis plays are presented as part of the School of Drama New Works Series. In most cases, the director is a graduate or advanced undergraduate directing student and the production is supported with some design elements.

    All or our graduate students receive a scholarship that covers a portion of the annual tuition. The exact amount varies. As long as you are in good academic standing, the scholarship will continue each year of attendance in the School of Drama. Nothing beyond the application and admission to the School of Drama is required for this scholarship.

    Some financial aid is available through the University and is handled by the Financial Aid Office. The FAFSA is required.