MFA - Acting

ELEPHANT MAN production photo of entire cast

The Elephant Man: Montana Theatre, Fall 2011

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in acting is a three-year graduate program designed to train students at an advanced level in performance technique and prepare them for entry into professional theatre. The aim of the program is to provide students with performance skills, a capacity for critical analysis, and practical experiences to develop within them a personal, artistic performance process. By exploring new processes and challenging old one, students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their strengths and skills in diverse acting styles. The work also challenges them as actors to communicate and engage with audiences.

The acting student will experience an intense first-year cohort experience with other MFA graduate students that will focus on techniques and principles in the service of communicating story and character through dramatic action and concept. In that year the acting students will investigate theory and criticism of acting methods. In the second two years of the MFA program students take some courses with upper-division BFA acting students and often serve as teaching assistants to professors in specific areas of interest such as acting, directing, voice, speech, movement, history, and theory. The intense study and teaching in these areas serves to develop a personal philosophy and pedagogy of acting.

In addition, the program develops students as teachers and utilizes teaching and the development of teaching pedagogy to further develop the student’s understanding of his/her own craft and theory. Teaching assistantships are available to qualified applicants who have been admitted to the graduate program. These are awarded annually on a competitive basis and are renewable depending on the candidate's progress and job performance and the instruction needs of the program. All applicants are considered for these awards. Students need not apply under separate cover. Teaching assistants are required to register for nine credits each semester.

A class of four actors will normally be accepted every three years. The current class is in their final year. Applications will be accepted for the 2021-2024 rotation beginning Fall 2020: visit for details on how to initiate the application process.