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The Green Cockatoo. Photo: Jim CarmodyThe Green Cockatoo (2017) Photo: Jim Carmody.

Graduate Admissions

The Fall 2021 graduate applications have closed. Please stay tuned for more information about the Fall 2022 applications.

Consistently ranked among the top graduate Theatre training programs in the country, UC San Diego's Department of Theatre and Dance offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in Acting, Dance, Directing, Design (Costume, Lighting, Scenic, Sound), Stage Management, and Playwriting, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theatre and Drama offered in conjunction with UC Irvine. The Theatre and Dance department also shares a close relationship with the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, in residence on the UC San Diego campus, where M.F.A. candidates are provided professional residencies.

A Brief History of the Program

UC San Diego's M.F.A. program was created in 1974. Several years later, the Department of Theatre and Dance began offering its Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama, a joint program with UC Irvine. In 1985, a unique professional relationship with La Jolla Playhouse was established, and that relationship grows stronger each year. The La Jolla Playhouse (Tony Award winner for Outstanding Regional Theatre) is in residence at UC San Diego in our shared facilities, the Jacobs Theatre District, and they produce some of the most vital and nervy theatre in this country.

Thank you for your interest in our graduate programs in Theatre.

All applications and supporting documentation for admission in the Fall of 2021 must be received by:   

  • M.F.A. Acting - January 6, 2021
  • M.F.A. Design - January 6, 2021 [Costume, Light, Scenic, Sound]
  • M.F.A. Directing - January 6, 2021
  • M.F.A. Playwriting - January 6, 2021
  • M.F.A. Stage Management - January 6, 2021
  • Ph.D - January 6, 2021

If you have questions about the application process or the materials you should submit, please contact the Graduate Coordinator by e-mail at tdgradcoord@ucsd.edu or by phone at (858) 534-1046.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must have or must be about to receive a Bachelor's Degree (not necessarily in theatre) prior to applying for graduate admission. A 3.0 or better grade point average in the last two years of undergraduate or post-baccalaureate work is required. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for the Ph.D. program only. Please note that due to the nature of our program, students may enter only in the fall quarter and we do not accept transfer credits from other programs.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is detailed in the Application for Graduate Admissions. Be sure to check the Financial Assistance Requested box indicating that you intend to apply for need-based financial aid and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March. (Foreign students are not eligible for need-based financial assistance.)

The UCSD school code for your FAFSA is 001317.

Scholarships/Fellowships

A limited number of scholarships and fellowships are available to entering graduate students through the Graduate Division and are described in the Application for Graduate Admission booklet. The Department of Theatre & Dance will nominate students for departmental scholarships as warranted. 

Selection Process

At the conclusion of the audition tour, there will be a final selection process in San Diego for applicants to the M.F.A. Acting program. We will then immediately notify those actors we wish to admit. The same process will be implemented following interviews with directing applicants. For all other areas, students selected for admission will be immediately notified after a complete review of the file and all submitted documents and after a personal or telephone interview. We will also notify you of financial awards for which we plan to nominate you.

Entrance into the program is highly selective. From approximately 500 applicants, we select 20-29 students. The breakdown is usually as follows: 8 actors, 1-2 dancers, 1-2 directors, 4-6 designers, 1-2 playwrights, 3 stage managers. Students who are not selected for admission will be notified by April 15.

If you have questions or would like more information about our Graduate programs, call the Graduate Coordinator at 858-534-1046 or email at tdgradcoord@ucsd.edu.