MFA - Acting

The M.F.A in Acting program was conceived with the belief that one of the best systems of theatre training is an intensive, performance-guided experience based on a series of European and American classics, combined with noteworthy contemporary plays performed in rotating repertory. Continual performance before a live audience is considered a fundamental part of the learning process.

MFA Acting students prepare to bow after a production of The Winter's Tale
MFA students bow after a production of "The Winter's Tale" (Photo Credit Chuk Nowak)

Highlighted explorations include the processes of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Michael Chekhov, Jacques Lecoq, and Sanford Meisner. Styles and genres covered include psychological realism, neutral mask, Greek chorus, commedia dell'arte, high comedy, revenge tragedy, Shakespeare and expressionism/surrealism. Movement classes emphasize alignment, agility and strength, as well as period dance/deportment and Pilates. Voice classes employ a somatic approach based in the work of Catherine Fitzmaurice.

The department regularly invites guest artists and teachers who provide additional instruction in movement, dance, acting, voice and Shakespearean text analysis, as well as professional talent agents from a variety of regions who offer additional industry insight and training.



Course List 

Sixty Credits

Code Title Credits
THR 5812 Development of the Drama II: Nineteenth Century to Modern (Max. 3) 3
THR 6211 Acting Studio I: Fundamentals of the Stanislavski System 2
THR 6215 Acting Studio II: Introduction to the Michael Chekhov 2
THR 7211 Acting Studio III: Advanced Michael Chekhov Technique 2
THR 7215 Acting Studio IV: Advanced Study of Active Analysis and Physical Approach to Acting 2
THR 8211 Acting Studio V: Preparation for the Profession 2
THR 8215 Acting Studio VI: Audition and Composition 2
THR 6221 Theatrical Movement I - Introduction to Physical Awareness 1
THR 6235 Voice and Speech II: Speech Foundations 1
THR 7231 Voice and Speech III - Vocalizing Heightened Language & Shakespeare 1
THR 7235 Voice and Speech IV: Musical Theatre & Singing Techniques 1
THR 8231 Voice and Speech V: Accents & Dialects for Stage and Media 1
THR 8235 Voice and Speech VI - Media Techniques 1
THR 6221 Theatrical Movement I - Introduction to Physical Awareness 1
THR 6225 Theatrical Movement II - Introduction to Movement Analysis 1
THR 7221 Theatrical Movement III: Dance Techniques 1
THR 7225 Theatrical Movement IV - Ensemble Physicality 1
THR 8221 Theatrical Movement V - Acrobatics 1
THR 8225 Theatrical Movement VI - Composition and Physical Devising 1
THR 5721 Playwriting 3
THR 7271 Acting for the Camera 3
THR 7281 Theatre Aesthetics 3
THR 7581 Repertory Theatre: Acting (Max. 18) 1-4
THR 7741 Dramaturgy 3
THR 8995 MFA Acting Exit Project 3

Application requirements

  • A headshot
  • Resume
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts

Audition requirements

Candidates for the acting program are required to audition in person. Each candidate must present two memorized audition pieces: a classical selection in verse and a modern or contemporary phrase piece. The total time of this presentation should not exceed four minutes. Candidates will be interviewed briefly following the audition.

Admission is based on your audition and/or interview and admission to The Graduate School at Wayne State University. 

To apply, please visit the Graduate School Application Portal.

Financial Package

  • Stipend: $19,967 (2019-2020)
  • Full Tuition Waiver
  • Insurance: Medical/Dental/Vision (employee contribution)


Cheryl Turski
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance
Wayne State University
p: 313-577-3508
a: 4841 Cass Ave., Suite 3226 Detroit, MI 48201