MFA Acting Programs in Chicago

Apr 02, 2019

The Chicago area has a few schools that offer Master of Fine Arts degrees in acting or a similar field. This guide will provide you with detailed information on the master's programs at three schools.

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A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in acting provides you with training to work in theatre, film, or television. Learn about some of the program options available in Chicago, and see their eligibility requirements and the type of classes you would take.

Overview of Chicago MFA Acting Programs

Northwestern University

You can complete a two-year MFA in Acting program at Northwestern University. The program combines both classical and modern theatre training with classes in areas such as acting, singing, dance, movement, and the evolution of theatre. Each year of study includes a performance in the university's summer theatre season.

You will need a bachelor's degree in theatre or a similar field for this program. The first step in the admissions process is a live audition. If you successfully pass the audition, you will then need to complete an online application. Supporting materials include your transcripts, a resume or portfolio illustrating a minimum of two years of relevant work experience, and a written statement of your artistic goals. The final step in the admissions process is an on-campus interview with departmental faculty.

DePaul University

DePaul University's MFA in Acting program provides training to work in both the theatre or screen. You can complete your degree in three years. Areas of study include movement, speech, and stage weaponry and fighting. The program culminates with a graduate showcase consisting of performances such as monologues or scenes in locations like Chicago and New York.

You must first complete an online application and provide your resume and photo. After submitting the application, you will then need to register for an audition date and submit your official undergraduate transcripts and three recommendation letters.

Columbia College of Chicago

You can enroll in Columbia College of Chicago's MFA in European Devised Performance Practice program. This program combines elements of traditional theatre, visual arts, and dance and focuses on the art of movement. The first year of study is completed at the Arthaus Berlin International School, while the second year of study involves professional work in Chicago. You can receive training in areas such as singing, variety of movement, and improvising in the dramatic arts. Columbia also offers an acting minor that focuses on acting, vocal techniques, movement, and improvising in the dramatic arts.

The admissions process involves an online application. You will need to provide a resume, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a self-assessment essay. You can also provide an optional portfolio if desired. An interview/audition is also part of the admissions process.

School Comparison

The annual graduate tuition at these Chicago-area schools range from under $3,000 to approximately $55,000.

Institution Location Average Yearly Graduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
Northwestern University Chicago, IL $54,620
DePaul University Chicago, IL $19,422
Columbia College of Chicago Chicago, IL $2,237

Source: *National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES)

You can select from MFA in Acting programs at three Chicago area institutions. Two schools offer degrees in acting, while Columbia College of Chicago offers a specialized MFA in European Devised Performance Practice.

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