General information

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Application Priority Deadline December 1

The department-based program administers graduate instruction and research leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree. This M.F.A. program is intended for mid-career theater and dance artists over a two-year period of study. The student explores relevant areas of practice including acting, choreography, design, devising and directing, in an interdisciplinary framework. The student is encouraged to explore interdisciplinary study in additional areas offered by university faculty by way of the electives in other campus graduate programs.


(Final Admissions Deadline is May 31)

Admission to the MFA program in Dramatic Art requires:

  • An undergraduate degree in Dramatic Art or Theatre or a related field relevant to the discipline.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended. 
  • For International applicants - the minimum score required  for the TOEFL examination is 90 with a speaking score of 28; minimum score required for the IELTS is 7 on a 9 point scale.

Step 1 - Complete the Office of Graduate Studies Admissions Application

  • UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended. You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application. For more details visit
  • A statement of purpose.
  • In the essay under the Personal History Statement, express why you want to work in an interdisciplinary way and mention the faculty with whom you would like to work. Also, include some background demonstrating skill in one or more fields relevant to Theatre, Dance and Performance, including Acting, Choreography, Design, and Directing.
  • GRE scores are NOT required.
  • Priority deadline for admission is December 1.
  • A completed portfolio with supplemental materials noted below in step two.

Step 2 – Portfolio and Supplemental Materials

Since the M.F.A. is an interdisciplinary program for mid-career professionals, you are asked to submit information reflecting a range of work, be it professionally produced and/or process- or concept-oriented. Portfolio must be submitted via SlideRoomYour portfolio should include:

  • A photograph/headshot.
  • A resume of engagements to date (as a director, actor, designer, choreographer, videographer, playwright, teacher, etc.).
  • A portfolio (no longer than 10 pages) of production photographs, drawings, etc. All images should be labeled with the title, date, media (of design, where appropriate); your performance, design, or technical contribution; and the producing organization (where appropriate).
  • A video containing two of the following (reflecting your areas of specialty to date):
    • Two contrasting monologues (each 2-3 min.) featuring acting pieces of your choice.
    • A showreel montage (5-10 min.) of your work featuring extracts from dance, film, television, theatre, animations, experimental performance, site-specific work, etc.
    • A filmed design presentation (5-10 min.) addressing design work that you have undertaken, outlining influences and design concepts.
    • A filmed choreography presentation (5-10 min.) addressing dance work that you have undertaken, outlining influences and choreographic concerns.
    • A filmed directing presentation (5-10 min.) addressing pieces that you have directed, outlining influences and directing concerns. (You may also include a complete piece that you have choreographed, devised, acted, directed, or designed.)
  • Published reviews of work to date (no longer than 5 pages).  
  • A written paper (c.1000 words) contextualizing your areas of professional interest, your creative goals, your understanding of interdisciplinarity, your reasons for seeking graduate training at UC Davis, your integration of practice and research, and what you hope to bring to our student community. (Please note: this paper should be more formal than a “personal statement,” including references, footnotes, bibliography as appropriate.)
  • Website URL, if available.

Applicants must complete both of these steps before their application will be reviewed for admission.  Both steps must be completed on or before the posted deadline date.  We strongly recommend that applicants submit their university online application and their online portfolio on the same day to ensure timely review of their materials.  Applicants who complete one part of the application process but not the other will not be considered for admission and will not be entitled to a refund of any application fees.  The Graduate Program is not responsible for any materials that are turned in late (arriving after December 15).

Financial Aid

All Graduate students who are U.S. Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens are required to apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). UC Davis will use the information you provide on the FAFSA to determine your need and to help you with financial aid (if you are eligible). The Priority Filing Period is March 1, for the following fall admission date, for all types of funding, which may include fellowships,  scholarships, stipends, loans, Work-Study funds, Teaching Assistant positions, or Graduate Student Researcher fee remissions, and Direct Loans.

Decision Notification

The M.F.A. Program in Dramatic Art Admissions Advisory Committee will submit its recommendations to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who makes the final admission decision. The Office of Graduate Studies will notify you in writing of your acceptance or denial, usually in late March through your Apply Yourself account. No decision can be given out over the telephone.

International Students

The minimum score required by UC Davis for the TOEFL examination is 90, with 28 on the speaking portion; minimum score required for the IELTS is 7 on a 9 point scale.

Once admitted, University policy requires international graduate students to take the English as a Second Language (ESL) test and the SPEAK test of oral English proficiency before they begin duties as teaching assistants or associate-ins. All international TAs and AIs must meet this requirement and they must pre-register in person at the Center for Excellence in Teaching, 1350 Surge III, in order to take the exam. Click here for more information on the ESL test; see the CETL site for information on the SPEAK test.

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