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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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National :01 Feb 
International :01 Feb 

MFA Theatre Program (Part-Time)

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Part Time

6 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

11460 USD
11460 USD

Application fee

International 110 USD
National 110 USD
School of Arts
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
GRE (avg)315

World University Ranking

About this course

Columbia University’s MFA Theatre Program is collaborative, international, and interdisciplinary. It defines itself by its location in New York City. And it thrives on the extensive network of Columbia alumni and faculty who work in prestigious theatres at every level, who direct and perform in award-winning productions, and who engage with our students far beyond the classroom.

Experiential learning is the methodology around which all our coursework during the first two years is centered. We encourage students to master their concentration deeply and thoroughly. We also support learning through partnership with other concentrations. We offer two Collaboration classes – one in each of the first two years. Here, the focus is on the creation of new work through interdisciplinary teams. Additionally, students have access to a wide range of New York’s most established producers, managers, and publicity agents, often through taking classes in their offices throughout the city. Due to these connections, students and acclaimed professionals are able to build relationships and facilitate the acquisition of sought-after internships and coveted jobs. We also urge students to participate in learning opportunities at Columbia’s other acclaimed graduate schools.

The third and final year is devoted to students synthesizing their learning and crafting their own artistic and professional voice through thesis projects, productions, and internships with professional theatre organizations. In addition, students attend colloquia throughout the year with writers, actors, directors, agents, and producers. Third-year Acting students and two Stage Management students per year have the opportunity to earn their Actors Equity Association (AEA) eligibility through our partnership with Classic Stage Company. Third year Directing students in good academic standing are offered Associate Membership in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

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Eligibility Criteria

International applicants should have the equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree, and should understand idiomatic English and speak, write, and read English with a high degree of facility.

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Course Modules

Acting Concentration

First Year

  • History Of Performance
  • Scene Study
  • Acting I
  • Acting II
  • Acting Studio I
  • Acting Studio II
  • Acting Techniques: Alexander Technique
  • Voice & Text I
  • Voice & Text II
  • Collaboration
  • Suzuki Technique
  • Dance for Actors
  • Text Analysis
  • Actor-Director Workshop


Second Year

  • Acting III
  • Acting IV
  • Acting Studio III
  • Acting Studio IV
  • Speech
  • Acting Techniques: Stage Combat
  • Clown
  • Voice, Speech & Shakespeare
  • Voice & Shakespeare II
  • Theatre Practicum I: Visiting Artists
  • Theatre Practicum III: Acting for Camera
  • Third Year
  • Professional Practice
  • Research Arts Theatre Thesis
  • Research Arts Theatre

Acting Thesis

All Acting students participate in a full-scale production, directed by a faculty member or guest director. Recent directors have included Diane Paulus, Andrei Serban, Karin Coonrod, and Yuriy Kordonskiy. There is no written component to this project.


Directing Concentration

First Year

  • Directing I
  • Directing II
  • Scene Study for Directors
  • Actor-Director Workshop
  • Theatre Practicum I: Visiting Artists
  • History & Theatre of Theatre
  • Collaboration
  • Models of Dramatic Structure
  • Contemporary American Plays

Second Year

  • Scene Study for Directors II
  • Advanced Play Directing Seminar
  • Collaboration II
  • Directing IV
  • Shakespeare in Performance
  • Director-Designer Workshop
  • Dramaturgy II (Shakespeare)

Third Year

  • Research Arts Theatre Thesis
  • Research Arts Theatre

Directing Thesis

Each Directing student, with the approval of his or her advisor, chooses a play to direct as their thesis. The play is cast by current Columbia MFA Acting students and professional actors. The Theatre Program provides a modest production budget. In addition to the production, students complete a written analysis and reflection on the production, not exceeding 25,000 words.


Dramaturgy Concentration

First Year

  • Introduction to Dramaturgy
  • History & Theory of Theatre
  • Fundamentals of Directing
  • Creating a Play (full year)
  • Contemporary American Plays
  • Theatre Practicum I: Visiting Artists
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Writing for Theatre I
  • Dramaturgy Practicum
  • Models of Dramatic Structure

Second Year

  • Development Process
  • Playwright-Dramaturg Workshop
  • Topics in Theatre History & Theory: Avant-Garde
  • Collaboration II
  • Dramaturgy II: Shakespeare
  • Planning a Theatrical Season
  • Advanced Drama Criticism Seminar
  • Fundamentals of Acting

Third Year

  • Research Arts Theatre

Dramaturgy Thesis

Every Dramaturgy student must complete a written thesis of no less than 12,500 words, based on production work, empirical research, translation, or similar project approved by his or her advisor.


Playwriting Concentration

First Year

  • American Spectacle I
  • History & Theory of Theatre
  • Television Writing: The Series
  • Television Writing
  • Fundamentals of Directing
  • American Spectacle II
  • Collaboration
  • Models of Dramatic Structure

Second Year

  • Directed Studies: Playwriting
  • Play Rewriting and Development
  • Lyric Writing
  • Playwright-Dramaturg Workshop
  • Collaboration II
  • Playwriting
  • Fundamentals of Screenwriting
  • American Musical Theatre

Third Year

  • Professional Practice
  • Research Arts Theatre Thesis
  • Research Arts Theatre

Playwriting Thesis

During the third year, Playwriting students either create a new work or further develop an existing piece to present as their thesis in a full production. This process is guided by a Playwright Mentor. Recent mentors have included Caryl Churchill, Will Eno, Madeleine George, Melissa James Gibson, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Amy Herzog, Rajiv Joseph, Stan Lai, Tracy Letts, Gregory Moss, Sarah Ruhl, Caridad Svich, Alice Tuan, Anne Washburn, and Chay Yew.


Stage Management Concentration

First Year

  • Leadership for Stage Managers I
  • Methodologies I: Musicals
  • Theatre Management & Administration I
  • Theatre Management & Administration II: Unions & Contracts
  • History & Theory of Theatre
  • Seminar in Stage Management
  • Seminar in Stage Management II
  • Collaboration
  • Current Issues in Stage Management
  • Special Topics in Stage Management

Second Year

  • Methodologies II: Plays
  • Methodologies III: Cue Calling & Documentation
  • Field Study
  • Rehearsal and Production
  • Leadership II for Stage Managers
  • Seminar in Stage Management IV: The Next Step
  • Independent Study (Thesis Prep)

Third Year

  • Research Arts Theatre Thesis
  • Research Arts Theatre

Stage Management Thesis

Students must complete a paper of no longer than 10,000 words that present a viable and original concept, supported by research, experience, documented sources, and (if applicable), interviews, statistical analysis. Ideally, the thesis will be based on recent production or work experience. However, students may choose to write about historical, economic, and/or sociological topics directly related to stage management. Traditional prompt books and/or production diaries can be used as appendices to support the thesis topic.


Theatre Management & Producing Concentration

First Year

  • Budgeting & Reporting
  • Press, Publicity & Audience Development
  • Theatre Management & Administration I
  • History & Theory of Theatre
  • Marketing/Audience Development/Fundraising Tools
  • Theatre Management & Admnistration II
  • Issues in National Not-for-Profit Theatre
  • Law and Theatre
  • Legal Writing Practicum
  • Advertising for Theatre

Second Year

  • Company Management
  • Role of the Theatre Producer
  • Accounting for Theatre
  • Advanced Seminar in Theatre Management
  • Development Process
  • Theatre Practicum IV: Ticketing
  • Trends in Contemporary Theatre Production
  • Creative Producing
  • Theatre Management Seminar
  • Critical issues in Theatre Producing

Third Year

  • Research Arts Theatre

Theatre Management & Producing Thesis

Every Theatre Management & Producing students must write a paper between 12,500-25,000 words for their thesis, under the supervision of a faculty advisor and second reader from the professional realm. The thesis can address any area of the theatre industry (e.g., commercial, not-for-profit, national, international, etc.), but must be supported by primary, secondary, and empirical research.

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How to Apply

1.Completed Application: Must be submitted online.

2. Undergraduate Transcript:
Please upload a scanned copy of your undergraduate transcript to the online application system. No other transcripts are required, though applicants may submit transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended if they wish. Do not mail official paper transcripts prior to an offer of admission. Official Transcripts are only required after an applicant has been admitted to the School of the Arts, and must be received by June 30, 2017. To be considered official, transcripts must include the institution’s seal or stamp and must be submitted in an unopened envelope, signed or stamped across the seal. If an applicant’s name has changed since the undergraduate degree was received, the Admissions Office must be notified of the change at [email protected], so that the transcript can be correctly added to the applicant’s file. Any offer of admission will be provisional until we receive your official undergraduate transcript showing conferral of your undergraduate degree. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent from an accredited undergraduate institution at the time they matriculate into the School of the Arts.

3. Three Letters of Recommendation: Online submission of the letters of recommendation is preferred. If you are not utilizing the online submission method, the letter of recommendation form may be downloaded here. Fill out the applicant portion of the recommendation form, and provide it and a self-addressed stamped envelope to each recommender. Recommenders can be undergraduate, graduate, or professional contacts; they should be people who can speak to your creative ability and potential. Request that they: (1) enclose the recommendation; (2) seal the envelope; (3) sign their name or place their stamp across the seal; and (4) mail or give the envelope directly to you. All recommenders must meet the deadline. If they do not, the applicant will incur a late materials fee. If your recommender does not wish to send the envelope directly to you, they must send it directly to:

Columbia University School of the Arts
Admissions Office
305 Dodge Hall, MC 1808
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

They must write your full name and date of birth on the letter. Again, all recommenders must meet the deadline.

4. Creative Materials Required for Application: Please click below for a list of creative materials that are required for each program. All submitted creative materials must clearly bear the applicant's name, date of birth, name of program to which he or she is applying, and title of the material (dramatic writing sample, autobiographical essay, etc). The School of the Arts does not provide portfolio or application material reviews.

Film MFA
Film Studies MA
Theatre MFA
Visual Arts MFA
Writing MFA
Interdepartmental Program: Sound Arts

5. $110 Online Application Fee: This may be paid by credit card when submitting an application online; or by check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and denominated in U.S. dollars. Checks and money orders must be made payable to Columbia University. . We cannot accept postal money orders. Applicants should be sure to write the program and, if applicable, the concentration to which they are applying on the check or money order; if the check is that of an individual other than the applicant, the applicant's full name must be included as well. Application fees are nonrefundable and cannot be waived; no application can be processed without the application fee.

Presentation of Materials
Our Admissions Committees take note, among other factors, of the professionalism of your presentation and the appropriateness of your materials to our specific requirements. Do not add or substitute items and do not exceed length limitations. Please do not use permanent bindings, notebooks, or oversize paper. Unless requested, please also staple together the pages of each requirement, but do not staple all requirements to each other.

Responsibility for Materials
Please keep copies of all materials submitted. Do not send your only copy.

All materials included in a School of the Arts application become the property of Columbia University. The School of the Arts will not return any submitted creative materials. Applicants should note that the School is not responsible for the transportation and safekeeping of materials submitted for review; applicants send all materials at their own risk.

Check further details on University website

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