The MFA program in Theatre accepts applications for admission on a rolling basis. That is, students may enter the program in the fall, spring or summer semesters. To receive full consideration for admission with financial support, complete admission and financial aid applications should be filed by January 15 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester. We do not accept students in every Track every year.
Admission to the program is based on the evaluation of the applicant’s writing samples / supporting materials (see Track Requirements), a review of the candidate’s academic career, prior theatre or film experience, letters of recommendation, and a campus interview / audition.
Candidates will be screened first on the basis of the paper / online application. Finalists will be invited to campus (at the candidate's expense) for an interview / audition. Specific guidelines for the campus interview vary depending on the track. Applicants will be informed of those requirements if they are chosen as finalists.
Applicants must fulfill both the Graduate School admission requirements (See Application Process, Section I below) and the specific requirements for the M.F.A. in Theatre (See Application Process, Section II below).
A minimum of three (3) years of professional experience (non-university) is preferred.
The M.F.A. in Theatre requires the following:
• A current resume or CV;
• Three (3) letters of recommendation from instructors or theatre / film professionals familiar with your work;
• A written Statement of Purpose discussing your reasons for graduate study, and your professional goals after graduation (1-2 pp);
• Track Requirements (see below);
• Official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended;
• Documented proficiency in English for international students (See the English Proficiency Requirements for Non-Native Speakers of English below for details).
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.
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Applicants must specify the track to which they are applying. Choose only one (1) track. Should an applicant have an interest in more than one of these areas (e.g., Playwriting and Directing) he/she should note that in the Statement of Purpose. Crossover between areas is possible once a student is enrolled in the Program, based on the student’s qualifications and goals.
ACTING: 1) A short audition monologue (1-2 minutes) submitted on DVD or Vimeo along with your application. An in-person audition in either Southampton or Manhattan will also be required for finalists. You will be informed of the details of the in-person audition if you are selected as a finalist. NOTE: We are NOT accepting applications in Acting for the 2015/16 academic year.
PLAYWRITING: 1) a completed play of any length that best represents your work; 2) a brief description of a play you are currently writing or wish to write while in our program. We are accepting applications in Playwriting for the 2015/16 academic year.
DIRECTING: 1) a brief description of your approach (concept) to a chosen play, either one you have directed or one you wish to direct. You may provide select supporting materials, such as research (written or visual), and any other inspiration for your approach; 2) a list of plays and/or ideas for original devised pieces that you would like to direct / create while in our program. We are accepting applications in Directing for the 2015/16 academic year.
DRAMATURGY: 1) three writing samples, including, critiques, production program notes, and/or literary criticism of a chosen play; 2) a play, screenplay or alternative performance piece if you have written one; 3) a brief statement describing your view of the role of the dramaturg in today’s theatre, and particularly in relation to creating new work. NOTE: We are not accepting applications in Dramaturgy for the 2015/16 academic year. We encourage cross-over between directing and dramaturgy, acting and dramaturgy, playwriting and dramaturgy. Experienced students may apply on one of the other tracks.
FILM: 1) a film you have written, directed and/or produced if you have one (vimeo submission is preferred); 2) a screenplay if you have written one; 3) a list of proficiencies in various production skills: camera, lighting, editing, directing, production and/or production design. NOTE: We are not accepting applications in Film for the 2015/16 academic year.
Applicants for the MFA program in Theatre must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The program accepts applications from candidates whose undergraduate degrees were taken in areas other than the performing arts. Sometimes the program admits a candidate with outstanding promise in theatre but a less-than-stellar academic transcript (i.e., below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) on a conditional basis. Conditional admission requires program recommendation and Graduate School approval. Once admitted conditionally, students are on probation during their first semester and must earn an overall GPA of at least 3.0 to be permitted to continue. A student on probation who fails to earn or maintain a 3.0 average will not be permitted to reenroll. Other deficiencies in the program or Graduate School admission requirements do not automatically bar admission, but it is understood that inadequacies in undergraduate preparation normally will require the student to take additional work, the amount to be determined by the appropriate graduate advisory committee. Additional work may not be used to fulfill MFA degree requirements. Further information on such admissions will be provided by the program and/or Graduate School as needed.
Applicants to the MFA Program in Theatre must apply in two ways: 1) online to the Graduate School; and 2) directly to the MFA in Theatre Program.
I. Graduate School
Application forms may be found on line at http://www.grad.sunysb.edu/admissions/.
Make sure you choose the MFA in Theatre from the dropdown menu (and NOT the MA).
General and Track Requirements may be uploaded to the online application. Be aware that formatting can be altered by the software and header/footer information deleted or printed over. If formatting is an issue, send a hard copy of your writing sample(s) directly to the MFA Program (address below). Your recommenders can submit their letters online as well, though you may also elect to print out the recommendation forms for them to fill out and mail directly to the MFA Program.
A nonrefundable application fee of $100 made payable to Stony Brook University is required.
II. M.F.A. in Theatre
If you have uploaded your writing samples / supporting materials, and your recommenders have uploaded their letters, you need only submit the following directly to the MFA Program:
• Official academic transcripts;
• A single sheet listing your address, phone number, email address, the track to which you are applying, and a list of supporting materials you have uploaded to the online application. Include the date you completed the online application;
• Any support materials that could not be uploaded to the online Graduate School application.
Mail above to:
MFA Program in Theatre
Southampton Arts – Stony Brook Southampton
Chancellors Hall, Room 238
239 Montauk Highway
Southampton, NY 11968
Tuition & Costs
As of Fall 2012, tuition is $390/credit for New York State Residents and $695/credit for Non-residents. A New York resident who takes three courses for 12 credits would pay $5,292 for the semester, inclusive of fees. The Bursar has more detailed breakdowns of tuition scenarios. The cost compares favorably to any number of theatre programs charging twice or three times as much.
Out-of-state residents pay more, so if you are accepted to the program, you should consider establishing residency in New York State, a process that takes one year.
Teaching Assistantships/Graduate Assistantships
As of February 2013, the Graduate School has granted this program a very small, very competitive number of Graduate and Teaching Assistantships, awarded to full-time students applying for admission in the Fall term only. The TA/GA offer comes with a generous academic-year stipend of approximately $17,000, a 15-20 hour/week workload, full tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. Students in good standing could expect to have their funding renewed for their second year.
Other Financial Support
Applicants who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook may be eligible for the Turner Fellowship. Qualified graduate students in their second year are eligible to apply for teaching and graduate assistantships in addition to the ones described above. All second-year students receive partial scholarships to the Southampton Writers Conference.
Applicants are encouraged to explore other opportunities for external funding independent of Departmental and University resources. For more information on other types of financial aid, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid Services at (631) 632-6840.
The time limit for the MFA is three years for full-time study and five years for part-time study. Student’s full- or part-time status is based on registration, and the time limit may be modified if their enrollment switches between part- and full-time. The student may petition for an extension of time limit for the degree. Requests for extension of time limit must be filed before the limit is exceeded and must contain a significant justification.
The program permits the transfer of up to 12 hours of credit in related graduate work done elsewhere that resulted in a grade of B or better. To obtain transfer credit, the student must make special application to the program, submit official transcripts and provide course descriptions or syllabi. Transfer credits are only approved at the discretion of the academic department and the Graduate School. Courses older than five years will be accepted only in rare circumstances. No courses that have been credited toward another degree, such as an MFA in a different field or an MA, can be transferred.
Non-Matriculated Status (GSP)
Any person holding a bachelor’s degree, its equivalent, or an advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher learning is eligible to be considered for admission to the University as a non-matriculated graduate student. Such students may enroll in graduate courses through the School for Professional Development (SPD) as non-degree students after submitting a completed application form to SPD. Contact SPD for additional information at (631) 632-7050 or athttp://stonybrook.edu/spd/ . Non-degree students who later wish to pursue a graduate degree will need to make a formal application for admission to the Graduate School and a degree program and may transfer a maximum of 12 credits taken in non-matriculated status to the graduate degree program.
Incoming students will meet with the program director or faculty advisor before the start of classes to discuss her or his first semester’s coursework. At the end of the first semester, each student should consult with a faculty member to help them plan coursework. The role of the academic advisor (who may or may not serve as thesis advisor) is to monitor the progress of the student, to review with the student issues of course selection and course load, and to serve as an advocate for the student in administrative matters.
Living on Campus
For information about the Southampton campus and student housing visit Student Life.
English Proficiency Requirements for Non-Native Speakers of English
Students are expected to read, write, and speak English. They are also expected to comprehend the spoken language. Applicants whose first or native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency prior to matriculation. To be considered for admission, an applicant must present a passing score for either the TOEFL or IELTS tests. Students who fail to meet this requirement cannot be admitted and must enroll in a course at the Intensive English Center (IEC) and achieve satisfactory grades before admission to graduate study.
Students who have taken either of these tests more than two years ago must retake the test. A minimum score of 550 (paper)/213 (computer) is considered passing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). All doctoral students and master’s students who wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship must have a Test for Spoken English (TSE) or Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) score of 55 or better. These tests are given at centers throughout the world several times each year; applicants should forward their scores directly to the Graduate School (the Stony Brook code is 2548).
Further information is available by contacting the Education Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA, or at www.toefl.org. Students who take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests instead of the TOEFL are not required to take the TSE. A score of 7 will be considered passing. Further information is available by contacting the IELTS Web site at www.ielts.org. Admission to the Graduate School is contingent upon satisfactory fulfillment of the English proficiency requirement.
Performance in the IEC and on the SPEAK test will determine whether a student will be cleared or assigned to an ESL (English as a Second Language) course. All non-native English speakers will be required to pass a test of spoken English before being allowed to teach as a Teacher’s Assistant.
All accepted students are required by New York State law to file a completed health history and physical examination with the Student Health Service. Transfer students may submit copies of their health forms from their former schools provided they contain the information required by the Student Health Service and are less than two years old.
Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States must provide the University with verification that the necessary funds are available to finance their education at Stony Brook and for living expenses. The University form SUSB103R2 must be submitted for this purpose before immigration documents will be sent to the admitted students. (The form SUSB103R2 may also be downloaded at www.grad.sunysb.edu under the heading “Applying.”)
Government regulations require that every international student attend the institution that issued the I-20 used for entry into the United States. Transfers between institutions may be possible if a student can show that he or she reported to the original institution with the appropriate clearance.