MFA in Performance Pedagogy Admissions and Application

In response to the disruptions caused by the global pandemic, graduate programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh are pausing admissions for fall 2021.

This one-year intermission will enable us to devote our resources and attention to our continuing students. Graduate training and research are central to the mission of the Dietrich School and the Department of Theatre Arts. While we do not pause admissions lightly, in these uncertain times we are committed to optimally supporting our current students’ success and wellbeing.
If you seek to begin your graduate studies in the fall of 2021, we thank you for your understanding and wish you all the best in your endeavors. If you consider applying to our program for fall 2022, or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Michelle Granshaw.

Entrance Qualifications

The MFA in Performance Pedagogy is open to all qualified applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree (or who will complete one prior to registration), along with an expectation of five or more years of professional theater experience. 

An undergraduate major in theatre arts is normally a prerequisite for admission to the program, though exceptions can be made if circumstances warrant. Because candidates will be teaching during their course of study, some teaching experience is preferred. 

International students - The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requires a TOEFL score of 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing); or a minimum IELTS of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections).

Selection Criteria

Applicants to the MFA Program in Performance Pedagogy must demonstrate a desire to develop a pedagogical approach to teaching performance; exhibit potential for teaching excellence; show interest in practice-based research; demonstrate ability to collaborate across degree programs; and display a willingness to continue professional experience outside of the classroom.

MFA Admission Rubric

Successful applicants will be seasoned professional actors willing to make a full commitment of time and energy to the program. Although it is possible—and encouraged—for the actor to continue commercial, voice-over, industrial, and some film work in Pittsburgh, longer-term professional engagements cannot be accommodated within the structure of the program. 

MFA Application Material Requirements *GRE  are no longer required

Admissions requirements include:

  1. University of Pittsburgh’s on-line application (there is a $75.00 application fee) *FEE WAIVERS are available.
  2. A personal statement indicating your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh and your academic and professional goals.
  3. Official or Unofficial College Transcripts are uploaded with application. After a student is recommended for admission, official copies of all college transcripts will then need to be sent directly from the institution to the Dean’s office before a student can be matriculated.
  4. Curriculum Vitae
  5. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  6. One (1) writing sample
  7. Headshot and Resume
  8. Non-US citizens: TOEFL or IELTS scores - this is mandatory and cannot be waived

*Information on FEE WAIVERS from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Auditions and Interviews

In addition, some candidates will be invited to interview and audition as part of the application process.

Once all materials have been received, the department will contact candidates selected for a phone/Skype interview, typically during the month of January.

Candidates will then be considered for an in-person audition, teaching demonstration and interview, to be held in Pittsburgh during the months of January and/or February

For the audition and teaching demonstration, applicants should prepare two contrasting monologues (one contemporary, one classical) and be prepared to teach a warm-up and a short exercise and/or game. 

Those unable to travel to the auditions will need to make alternative arrangements with the Head of the MFA Program.  This may include submitting a video file along with the two monologues and any samples of teaching.


For information on the application process, please contact

Stephanie Clark
Graduate Student Administrator

For questions or information regarding the MFA in Performance Pedagogy Program, please contact

Bria Walker
Head of MFA in Performance Pedagogy Program