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MFA Students taking part in performances

Acting - M.F.A.

Your Next Role is at Kent State.

The Master of Fine Arts program in Acting is intended for the experienced professional and provides candidates with substantial performance experience during a two-year intensive plan as preparation for diverse careers in the field, including teaching at the university level. 

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College of the Arts
School of Theatre and Dance
www.kent.edu/theatredance

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The M.F.A. in Acting at Kent is intended for the experienced professional and follows a rigorous two-year program designed for professionals who wish to focus on refining and articulating their acting process, while gaining sound pedagogical practice in performance-related subjects such as Acting, Voice and Speech, Movement, and Musical Theatre.

The two-year terminal degree provides the candidate a set of core classes centered around a variety of techniques and theories. It provides ample opportunities to hone performance and teaching skills as you earn a degree.

  • Teaching and mentorship opportunities.
  • Explore pedagogical approaches that are collaborative, consent-based, and equitable.
  • Performance and production opportunities within the School of Theatre and Dance.
  • On-site professional URTA AEA Tier II summer theatre, Porthouse Theatre.
  • Competitive teaching assistantships available with full tuition waiver, stipend and subsidized health coverage.
  • Engage with a faculty of experienced professional actors, voice and movement specialists, choreographers, producers, and directors.
  • NAST accredited

Admission and Audition Requirements

Individuals seeking admission to the Master of Fine Arts program in Acting must audition and complete an interview in addition to applying for graduate admission to Kent State University. The experienced professional program looks for candidates who possess substantial professional experience that may include, but is not limited to: Broadway credits, major regional and/or international performance credits, film or television credits, awards of national recognition, professional union affiliation, publication in field of expertise, and a significant record of mentoring. This information, meant to give a sense of a candidate's work, can be provided through resume/CV, performance reviews, interviews, awards, etc. 

For more information on audition requirements, see the link below.

Audition Requirements and Instructions

Program Information

Admissions

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 2.750 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Résumé
  • Goal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Evidence of professional experience1
  • Audition
  • Interview
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    • Minimum 525 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
    • Minimum 71 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
    • Minimum 74 MELAB score
    • Minimum 6.0 IELTS score
    • Minimum 50 PTE score
    • Minimum 100 Duolingo test score

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admission, visit the Office of Global Education website.

1

Required evidence in support of admission may include, but not limited to, Broadway, regional, and/or international performance credits; film and television credits; awards of national recognition; professional union affiliation; publication in the field of expertise; significant record of mentoring; and certifications and/or designations in areas such as acting, voice and speech or stage combat. Program faculty will evaluate the submitted documentation of professional experience and determine eligibility for the M.F.A. degree.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Final deadline: August 1
  • Spring Semester
    • Final deadline: January 1
  • Summer Term
    • Final deadline: May 1

Applications will not be accepted after these deadlines.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Employ a broad range of acting knowledge and skills in the creation and presentation of roles.
  2. Perform in plays of various types and from various periods.
  3. Acquire advanced capabilities in acting, voice and speech, movement, theatre history and pedagogy.
  4. Apply sound pedagogical practices to aspects of theatre or performance studies.
  5. Demonstrate professionalism in an acting setting.
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
THEA 51010THEATRE AND SOCIAL CHANGE 3
or THEA 51113 THEATRE IN A MULTICULTURAL AMERICA
or THEA 51115 LGBTQ THEATRE
or THEA 51191 VARIABLE CONTENT SEMINAR: THEATRE HISTORY, LITERATURE AND THEORY
THEA 51303ACTING I FOUNDATIONS/STANISLAVSKI AND MICHAEL CHEKHOV 3
THEA 51304ACTING II: SCENE STUDY-MODERN AMERICAN REALISM 3
THEA 51305PROFESSIONAL ASPECTS: PERFORMANCE 3
THEA 51701MOVEMENT, FORM AND SPACE I-THE ACTOR'S PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT 3
THEA 51803VOICE AND SPEECH I 3
THEA 51808ACTING STYLES I: SHAKESPEARE 3
THEA 60992PROFESSIONAL THEATRE INTERNSHIP I 3
or THEA 61992 PROFESSIONAL THEATRE INTERNSHIP II
THEA 61000INTRODUCTION TO GRADUATE STUDY IN THEATRE 3
THEA 61094COLLEGE TEACHING IN THEATRE 10-3
THEA 61305ACTING STYLES II: GREEK AND COMEDY OF MANNERS 3
THEA 61701MOVEMENT, FORM AND SPACE II-NEUTRAL AND CHARACTER MASK 3
THEA 61803VOICE AND SPEECH II 3
THEA 62192PRACTICUM: PERFORMANCE (must be taken two times)6
THEA 62392PRACTICUM: PERORMANCE PEDAGOGY (must be taken three times)3
THEA 65000HISTORY, HISTORICISM, THEORY AND PRACTICE IN THEATRE AND DRAMA 3
Major Electives, choose from the following:9
THEA 51095
SPECIAL TOPICS
THEA 51191
VARIABLE CONTENT SEMINAR: THEATRE HISTORY, LITERATURE AND THEORY
THEA 51301
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA I
THEA 51302
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA II
THEA 51401
ADVANCED DIRECTING
THEA 51703
STAGE COMBAT
THEA 61095
SPECIAL TOPICS
THEA 61096
INDIVIDUAL INVESTIGATION: THEATRE AND DRAMA
THEA 61098
RESEARCH
THEA 61303
ACTING III SCENE STUDY: NATURALISM AND ABSURD
THEA 61531
PERIOD STYLE FOR THEATRE DESIGNERS
THEA 61703
MOVEMENT, FORM AND SPACE III
THEA 61804
VOICE AND SPEECH III
THEA 61806
SINGING FOR THE ACTOR
THEA 65192
TEACHING PRACTICUM
Culminating Requirement
THEA 60199M.F.A. THESIS PROJECT 3
Minimum Total Credit Hours:60
1

THEA 61094 is required for teaching assistants only; minimum total credit hours for degree completion will be 63.

Roadmap

Roadmap

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
THEA 51303 ACTING I FOUNDATIONS/STANISLAVSKI AND MICHAEL CHEKHOV 3
THEA 51701 MOVEMENT, FORM AND SPACE I-THE ACTOR'S PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT 3
THEA 51803 VOICE AND SPEECH I 3
THEA 61094 COLLEGE TEACHING IN THEATRE 3
or Major Elective
 
THEA 62392 PRACTICUM: PERORMANCE PEDAGOGY 1
 Credit Hours13
Semester Two
THEA 51010
or THEA 51113
or THEA 51115
or THEA 51191
THEATRE AND SOCIAL CHANGE
or THEATRE IN A MULTICULTURAL AMERICA
or LGBTQ THEATRE
or VARIABLE CONTENT SEMINAR: THEATRE HISTORY, LITERATURE AND THEORY
3
THEA 51304 ACTING II: SCENE STUDY-MODERN AMERICAN REALISM 3
THEA 61000 INTRODUCTION TO GRADUATE STUDY IN THEATRE 3
THEA 61803 VOICE AND SPEECH II 3
THEA 62192 PRACTICUM: PERFORMANCE 3
 Credit Hours15
First Summer Term
THEA 60992
or THEA 61992
PROFESSIONAL THEATRE INTERNSHIP I
or PROFESSIONAL THEATRE INTERNSHIP II
3
 Credit Hours3
Semester Three
THEA 51305 PROFESSIONAL ASPECTS: PERFORMANCE 3
THEA 51808 ACTING STYLES I: SHAKESPEARE 3
THEA 61701 MOVEMENT, FORM AND SPACE II-NEUTRAL AND CHARACTER MASK 3
THEA 62392 PRACTICUM: PERORMANCE PEDAGOGY 1
THEA 65000 HISTORY, HISTORICISM, THEORY AND PRACTICE IN THEATRE AND DRAMA 3
 Credit Hours13
Semester Four
THEA 60199 M.F.A. THESIS PROJECT 3
THEA 61305 ACTING STYLES II: GREEK AND COMEDY OF MANNERS 3
THEA 62392 PRACTICUM: PERORMANCE PEDAGOGY 1
THEA 62192 PRACTICUM: PERFORMANCE 3
Major Electives 6
 Credit Hours16
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:60
Program Delivery
  • Delivery
    • In person
  • Location
    • Kent Campus
Accreditation

National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Actors

3.1%

about as fast as the average

70,100

number of jobs

$N/A

potential earnings

Art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary

5.6%

faster than the average

116,300

number of jobs

$69,690

potential earnings

Miscellaneous entertainers and performers, sports and related workers

4.2%

about as fast as the average

33,300

number of jobs

$N/A

potential earnings

Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.
Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to qualify to be considered a returning professional?

To qualify as a returning professional, a candidate must meet or surpass a threshold of documented professional activity. Required evidence in support of admission may include, but is not limited to: Broadway, major regional, and /or international performance credits, film and television credits, awards of national recognition, professional union affiliation, publication in the field of expertise, significant record of mentoring and certifications and/or designations in areas such as acting, voice and speech or stage combat.  The Acting Faculty will evaluate the submitted documentation of professional experience and determine eligibility for the M.F.A. in Acting program.   

Are you currently accepting candidates?

Recruitment will begin in Fall 2023 for the next class, to start in August 2024.

What courses will I be taking?

Candidates for the M.F.A. in Acting can expect to take courses in Acting, Voice and Speech, Pedagogy, and Movement during their first year of study. Courses in Acting Styles, Movement, History and Theory, Directing, and Professional Aspects will be taken during the second year of study. Additionally, candidates will take a limited number of electives during Spring semesters and can earn credit for professional internships and/or pedagogical study during Summer terms.

Do MFA Acting candidates take classes with undergraduate students?

The required M.F.A. in Acting curriculum is graduate level only. Currently, M.F.A. Acting candidates do not take courses with undergraduates with the exception of Advanced Directing. 

Are graduate assistantships available?

Yes. Candidates should indicate they wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship. The graduate assistantship package includes includes, a full tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance co-pay. 

What the duties of a graduate assistant?

Typically the assistantship is fulfilled with teaching assignments. Graduate assistants typically teach 1 to 2 undergraduate classes per semester.

What courses might I teach?

Currently, graduate assistants teach Art of Acting and/or Art of Theatre within the general education curriculum. Opportunities to teach and/or develop other courses are sometimes available.

How long has the MFA in Acting program existed?

The Acting program began in 1997.

How is the theatre scene in Northeast Ohio?

Kent, OH is located 40 minutes from downtown Cleveland and 20 minutes from Akron, both of which offer vibrant theatre and arts opportunities. The area is home to two LORT theatres, a number of smaller Equity theatres, and other theatres that provide Equity contracts. The Ohio Film Commission is also active in bringing film and television opportunities to Northeast Ohio.

What is Porthouse Theatre?

Porthouse Theatre, is Kent State University’s URTA, AEA tier II on-site professional summer theatre company with annual audiences of more than 20,000.

What opportunities are there for MFA Acting candidates at Porthouse Theatre?

M.F.A. Acting candidates are encouraged, but not required to audition for Porthouse Theatre’s annual seasons.