Graduate Studies


“Western Illinois University not only provided me with a forum to grow and expand in my knowledge of theatre, but also allowed me to practice my craft within a supportive, challenging, and nurturing community.” – J. C. Clementz MFA in Theatre/Directing, 2010


  • Acting (accepts cohort every 3 years; next start date is Fall 2023)
  • Design (accepts annually)
  • Technical Direction (accepts annually beginning Fall 2022)
  • Directing (accepts cohort every 3 years; next start date is Fall 2023)

Program Overview

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers a program of graduate study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in the following areas of concentration: acting, directing, and design (costume, lighting, and scenic). The MFA is a 62 semester hour program that takes three years and one summer to complete. A professionally oriented, terminal degree, it is designed to be a transition between collegiate training and the professional theatre and related careers. The program integrates the theoretical with the practical by combining technical preparation and intellectual endeavor with intensive application in designing, directing, and performing in theatre productions in the academic year.

Why Theatre at WIU?

    • The graduate curriculum requirements offer both depth and breadth in areas of specialty and additional opportunities for electives in theatre and the arts.
    • Students receive intensive application in the dynamic production program and are mentored on auditions and portfolio preparation.
    • There is a strong program of Stage Combat at Western. Students can take numerous courses in combat and earn certification in armed and unarmed combat. We have one of the best theatre armories in the country.
    • Students have opportunities to learn and perform "Unrehearsed Shakespeare" and participate in developing new works in BYOP (Bring Your Own Play) New Playwriting Festival.
    • The department has gained national recognition for its students’ performance and presentations at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and the American College Dance Festival.
    • The department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre

Other Information

Former Western students have appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, major motion pictures, television series, commercials, outdoor dramas, and regional theatre, and have designed sets for local, regional, and network television shows; and worked as technical directors, designers, dressers, technicians, and stage managers around the world. Our alumni have worked at Paramount Pictures; Walt Disney Productions; the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres in Chicago; the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; the Folger Theatre in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; the Public Theater in New York; the Alabama, Wisconsin, and Georgia Shakespeare Festivals; Spielberg Productions; and NBC, Nickelodeon, CBS, Showtime, ESPN, HBO, PBS, WGN, and ABC television networks.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.F.A.


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts
  • Audition/Interview

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 21
  • International: 0
  • Minority: 5
  • Students with Assistantships: 17

Department Contact Information:

Browne Hall 101