Application Requirements by Department

Application Requirements by Department

Acting (M.F.A.)

An applicant to the Acting department submits an online application that includes a resumé, statement of purpose (Limit: 3 pages or 1,000 words), three (3) professional letters of recommendation, an academic transcript, and a current photograph. The required photograph is used only to relate the applicant’s application to the applicant’s audition. At least one of the professional letters of recommendation should be from a director with whom the candidate has worked. The two other letters may come from current or former teachers or theatre professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s history and achievements.

All acting applicants, including those living abroad, who meet the M.F.A. or Certificate requirements must audition in person according to the schedule. Applicants who have auditioned three times without being offered admission are discouraged from re-applying to the Acting program. Only one application and one audition per admissions cycle is permitted.

Each candidate must present two memorized audition pieces for the audition: one verse piece from a Shakespeare play and one piece from a modern or contemporary play.  The total time of this presentation should not exceed five minutes.   We strongly advise candidates to come with two other pieces prepared -- one Shakespeare and one modern/contemporary -- in case members of the Audition Committee request to see additional material. 

At the end of each audition day, a candidate may be asked to return for a callback session, so that the Admissions Committee can learn more about him or her and the work presented. During the callback, a candidate may be asked to sing a song, and to work with members of the Committee on his or her prepared pieces. A candidate may also be interviewed during the callback. Applicants should not request and will not be given an oral or written critique, either at the time of the audition or at a later date.

Once the first round of auditions is completed, approximately 30 applicants are invited to Yale School of Drama for a two-day callback session. During this time, candidates for acceptance have the opportunity to meet and take classes with faculty, talk with current students and department administrators, and learn more about the School of Drama and the city of New Haven. The Acting department pays travel expenses and provides accommodations in New Haven for those who are called back. The dates for final callback auditions are: February 17, 18, and 19, 2017.  Sixteen actors are selected to become members of the first-year class, once the final callback auditions have ended.

Acting (Certificate IN DRAMA)

An applicant who has demonstrated professional commitment through working in the field, but never completed an undergraduate degree, is eligible to pursue the Certificate in Drama program. Certificate and M.F.A. candidates admitted into the Acting program train together and follow the same course of study.  All candidates for the certificate program must be out of high school for a minimum of five years by the date of their audition.  An applicant who has been out of high school for fewer than five years will not be considered for admission and cannot audition for the Acting department.  The applicants should be prepared to undertake graduate level academic work and advanced training in acting techniques.  Applicants for certificate status follow the application and audition procedures outlined above.  



The Design application (set, costume, lighting and projection) includes a required statement of purpose, résumé, one letter of recommendation, in addition to the name and address of two other references, and an academic transcript and the submission of a portfolio.



Refer to Preparing a Set Design Portfolio or Preparing a Lighting Design Portfolio

NOTE: Set and lighting design applicants do NOT submit a digital portfolio through the online application process. Set and lighting applicants, who should self-schedule an in-person interview, bring their portfolio to the interview. Applications must be complete at the time of an in-person interview.

Set, lighting and projection design applicants should self-schedule an in-person portfolio review by contacting the Design department at 203.432.1579.

Set and lighting design applicants, who are unable to appear in-person for an interview, should mail their portfolio to the Design department by March 12, 2017. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)


Refer to Preparing a Costume Design Portfolio 

The Admissions Committee prefers that a costume applicant submits a digital portfolio through the online application process. Qualified applicants are invited to interview after the Costume Design Admissions Committee reviews the applications and portfolios.

A costume design applicant, who is unable to submit a digital portfolio, should mail the portfolio to the Design department by February 1, 2017. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)

Sound Design (M.F.A. and Certificate IN DRAMA)

There are many people who assume they are not ready to apply to Yale. The Sound Design faculty encourage applications to the Sound Design program, and venture to say “Don’t be afraid to apply!” Please email to schedule a preliminary phone interview. An honest assessment of an individual’s readiness to apply for admission is provided. At the conclusion of a successful preliminary phone interview, an on-site interview is scheduled between January 5 and March 1, 2017.

Earlier on-site visits or interviews can be arranged on an as needed basis. Alternate arrangements, including internet video conferencing, can be made for international applicants, or for applicants who are unable to travel during the personal interview period. NOTE: A site visit is extremely valuable.

The on-site interview generally consists of an introductory meeting; a tour of the facilities; introductions to faculty, students, and staff; the portfolio review; a listening evaluation; an opportunity to see a play in rehearsal or performance; opportunities to sit in on classes; and a summary discussion. A two-day visit is recommended, but the process can be truncated to accommodate an applicant’s schedule.

An applicant is urged to submit his or her application as early as possible. No application is considered after February 15, 2017. The applicant provides a resumé, a statement of purpose, an official undergraduate transcript, three letters of recommendation, and a photograph (non-professional acceptable) that is used only to relate the applicant’s application to the portfolio. Professional associates, mentors, professors/teachers, or persons who can provide relevant character references may submit letters of recommendation. General references may be considered, but professional references are preferred. At the formal interview the applicant should be prepared to present his or her portfolio even though it was submitted digitally. No media is returned that is left after an interview.

Applicants to the Sound Design program submit their applications electronically. The portfolio should include any material that defines the applicant’s creative process. It can include excerpts from productions, projects, sound art, broadcasts, recording projects or any creative venture that honestly expresses what the applicant can do. Portfolio submissions may include any or all of the following: audio and video files, drafting, still images, text files, music notation (compositions/arrangements), spreadsheets and database reports from recent design work in dramatic theatre, musical theatre, performance art, radio, video or mixed media. For each production or project submitted, applicants should provide a written description of the work that provides some performance context to help the admissions committee understand the manner in which the work was designed/executed. Applicants submitting a reinforcement design for a musical should include any or all of the following documentation: full line drawings of the reinforcement system, a detailed equipment list, a microphone plot for the orchestra (or band), a radio frequency (RF) microphone schedule, cue sheets, photographs or other supporting paperwork or research. In general, presenting a comprehensive view of a complete production process (large or small) is of most value when evaluating an applicant. Showing range of experience is also important. Contact David Budries; 203.432.8825) with any questions.

Digital Portfolio Upload Instructions
Applicants to Sound Design submit file format portfolios electronically through the online application. The portfolio submission interface allows applicants to label each file with a title, a date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specification outlined below. Applicants may upload a total of 30 media files (in acceptable formats) that represent the work in three portfolio projects/productions/examples.  Any balance or mix of media files is acceptable. Additionally, applicants may upload up to three digital media files that may not be a part of the three primary portfolio projects. A significant number of the files should represent work done with the last twelve – eighteen months. To conform to the viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB.  Applicants should not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote), or include composite images (more than one work per file). Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. File format for videos and moving images (videos) are accepted in QuickTime, AVI, FLV, MP4, or WMV format. Video files should be no longer than five minutes in length, and the size of video uploads is limited to 265 MB. Do not include titles or credits within the video files.

Directing (M.F.A. and Certificate IN DRAMA)

An applicant to the Directing department should submit an application that includes a resumé, statement of purpose, three professional letters of recommendation, and an academic transcript. The resumé should list plays directed, roles played, and any other artistically significant experiences and accomplishments. An applicant is considered for an interview only if the resumé indicates two years or more of professional directing experience since college graduation, although in rare cases exceptions may be made. The Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews all applications. From this review, a group of selected candidates is invited for an interview covering a range of topics and questions suggested by the candidate’s file. Neither oral nor written critiques of individual applications, interviews, or auditions are provided by faculty or staff involved in the admissions process. The deliberations of the Admissions Committee are confidential.

 Candidates living abroad are interviewed in person where circumstances allow; otherwise, they are interviewed by SKYPE.

After the interview, a limited number of finalists are invited to New Haven for a final callback audition scheduled in New Haven. The dates for the callback sessions will be posted later.  The invitation to the callback includes short scenes from a selection of modern and classical plays. The finalist chooses one of these scenes as audition material. While being observed by the faculty, the finalist directs two fully responsive actors provided by Yale School of Drama. For thirty to forty minutes, the finalist directs these actors in a manner that reveals his or her personal interpretation of the play and consequent rehearsal process. It is understood that the finalist will not complete the scene; that is not the goal. The primary concern of the faculty is how the applicant’s thematic ideas about the play translate into practical direction for the actors. For the audition, the School of Drama ensures the availability of four straight chairs and a plain table. An applicant may provide two hand props for the actors if he or she chooses. This rehearsal is followed by a conversation about the work done that day, the play chosen, and/or the art, craft, and social function of the theatre. The Directing department provides funds for travel and accommodations to New Haven for those who are called back.

Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism (M.F.A.)

An applicant to the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department submits a personal statement, resumé, two samples of critical writing, three letters of recommendation (one must be academic in nature), an academic transcript, and GRE test scores. The GRE test must be taken by December 31, 2016

Applicants to the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism program are required to submit the following materials:

(1)  A personal statement (not more than 1000 words). Please tell us what your professional goals are and why you’re applying to this program (as opposed to other disciplines and degrees). How have your experiences in the field led you to consider an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism? You should also identify your particular areas of interest in contemporary theater and critical influences on your work to date.

(2)  Two samples of your original critical writing, uploaded digitally through the online application process. (No fiction, poetry, plays, translations or dramaturgy portfolios will be accepted.) Samples should demonstrate your capacity for cogent, engaging analysis of theater.

Production critique

One of the samples must be a critical essay of not more than 1000 words critiquing a recent contemporary theater performance, evaluating its ideas, structure, and presentation. This essay should be written especially for this application.

Research sample

The other writing sample can be an essay of your choosing, not to exceed 1500 words. The essay should reflect your potential for original analysis of a play, a production, an artist’s oeuvre, or any other topic critically engaged with performance practice or theory. Papers written for undergraduate research are acceptable, as is writing for non-academic or publication purposes.

The basic language requirement for the program is a sound reading knowledge of French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, or another language by departmental permission. This requirement is satisfied during the first or second year by the translation of a play in the Translation seminar (DRAM 246b).

The Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Admissions Committee invites qualified applicants for an interview after the review of the materials has been completed. Those invited to interview in late January and early February are contacted by email and /or phone.

Playwriting (M.F.A. and Certificate IN DRAMA)

An applicant to the Playwriting department should submit an application that includes an original play, either an original full-length or two original one-acts. An applicant also mails a hardcopy of the play(s) that is submitted digitally. Adaptations and collaborations may be submitted, but are reviewed only as supplementary to original and individual work. Musical scores, tapes, and CDs of musical works may be submitted, but cannot be returned. All mailed writing samples are not returned.

Special attention is given to the applicant’s statement of purpose. The resumé should include a list of plays written and produced, as well as all other theatre experience, such as acting, directing, or positions held within the theatre. Three letters of recommendation must be submitted.

The Playwriting department does not provide critiques of the writing samples.

The Playwriting Admissions Committee invites finalists for an interview in New Haven.  Interviews for finalists living abroad are conducted wherever possible.  Additional writing samples may be requested of a finalist. 

Mailing via: U.S. Postal Service/Air Mail
Admissions Office, Yale School of Drama
P.O. Box 208325 
New Haven, CT 06520-8325

Mailing via: Express/Courier Services
Admissions Office, Yale School of Drama
149 York Street 
New Haven, CT 06511

Stage Management (M.F.A. and Certificate IN DRAMA)

An applicant to the Stage Management department submits a statement of purpose, resumé, three letters of recommendation  an academic transcript, and GRE test scores. The GRE test must be taken by December 31, 2016

An applicant should have an undergraduate concentration in theatre studies or an equivalent in practical experience. The Admissions Committee reviews all applications, and invites qualified candidates for an in-person interview.  For the interview, an applicant should bring a prompt book, production book, or similar material to support his or her candidacy.

Technical Design and Production (M.F.A. and Certificate IN DRAMA)

An applicant submits a statement of purpose, resumé, three professional letters of recommendation, a transcript, and the GRE test scores. The GRE test must be taken by January 15, 2017.

After an initial review of completed applications, each promising candidate is invited to schedule an interview either in New Haven during late February or early March. Interviews in New Haven last approximately three hours. The interview includes meetings with several faculty and staff members, a tour of Yale School of Drama’s facilities, opportunities to meet current students, and a portfolio review. The portfolio should include such materials as technical drawings, production estimates, scheduling calendars, lighting plots, properties plots, and photographs of realized work.

Theater Management (M.F.A.)

An applicant submits a statement of purpose, resumé, three professional letters of recommendation, a transcript, and the GRE test scores. The GRE test must be taken by December 31, 2016.

The Theater Management Admissions Committee invites qualified applicants to schedule an interview during February and March.

Technical Internship Certificate

An applicant must note his or her area of concentration (costumes, electrics, projections, properties, scene painting, scenic carpentry, or sound) and is required to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (www.collegeboard. com) scores.

After a review of the completed application, each promising candidate is invited to schedule an interview either in New Haven during late February or early March. Interviews in New Haven last approximately three hours. The interview includes meetings with several faculty and staff members, a tour of Yale School of Drama’s facilities, opportunities to meet current students, and a portfolio review.

The portfolio should include such materials as technical drawings, lighting plots, properties plots, and photographs of realized work.

Special Research Fellow

A special research fellow applicant must submit a complete application, including a current resumé, letters of recommendation, an academic transcript, and a statement detailing the intended research. Typically one or two fellows are admitted each academic year.

Special Student

A special student applicant must apply according to the requirements and deadlines outlined for the department to which he or she is seeking admission. In the statement of purpose, the candidate should state the reasons for applying for special student status rather than for the degree or certificate program.