• Acting

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        College of Performing Arts
        Welcome Center | Office of Admission
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        212.229.5150 or 800.292.3040
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    • MFA in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

      Today’s groundbreaking theater makers work at the intersection of acting, directing, dramatic writing, and technology. The new MFA in Contemporary Theatre and Performance reimagines traditional conservatory training and positions graduate students at this vantage point, preparing them to become relevant, boundary-breaking artists in a fast-changing industry. This integrated learning experience is ideal for theater and film performance-based media makers who are interested in working in multiple contexts, genres, and disciplines.

      • Degree Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
      • Credits 60 credits
      • Format Full-time
      • Duration 3 years
      • Start Term Fall

      View upcoming deadlines
      View current tuition and fees

      Our students’ work exemplifies an organic approach to the dramatic arts, one that supports professional growth, individual creative thought, and civic engagement as artists in today’s world. Students learn to inspire new audiences and integrate their artistic practice with local and global social contexts. Whether working in theater, film, television, or emerging media, graduates are imbued with the talent, curiosity, self-knowledge, and creative resilience to succeed as forward-looking artists. 

      MFA students are mentored by the School of Drama's faculty of leading theater professionals and acclaimed visiting artists from around the world. These mentors bring professionalism and relevance to the classroom, equipping students with skills that are both practical and profound and laying the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of artistic excellence. 

      Curriculum Details

      The MFA Contemporary Theatre and Performance program is highly collaborative. Students advance their craft by integrating acting, directing, and dramatic writing practices to generate new work and master techniques for stage, television, and film. 

      The curriculum below applies to students who enter the MFA Contemporary Theatre and Performance in fall 2021 and after. To view degree requirements of the MFA programs in Acting, Directing, or Playwriting from prior years, visit the Academic Catalogs archive.

      The 60-credit, six-semester curriculum is composed of the following required courses:

      Core Requirements (27 credit)

      • History and Context (6 credits)
        Courses providing a foundational awareness of theatrical form and of the intersection between performance, place, and sociohistorical context
      • Social Practice and Community courses (3 credits)
        Courses exploring theater artists’ potential for social impact through community engagement and entrepreneurship
      • Collaborative Projects (16 credits)
        A series of projects over the course of students’ six semesters focusing on different theatrical forms and collaborative models, including new and extant plays, devising and adaptation, physical theater, music theater, cabaret, multimedia performance, and cinema
      • Capstone Project (2 credits)
        A culminating project reflecting each student’s disciplinary pathway

      Guided Study Electives (25 credits)

      A structured series of project-based courses that develop advanced skills in one of several areas of focus, including Advanced Performance, Advanced Directing, Advanced Writing, Transdisciplinary Work and Producing, and Technology, Film, and Media. Students may also design an individual combination of electives in consultation with their academic advisor.

      General Electives (8 credits)

      Additional courses at the School of Drama supplementing students’ theater study or courses in other colleges of The New School through which students can complete a graduate minor.

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