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School Overview

101 Hutchinson

Theatre reflects the most compelling and complex issues of the human experience. It invites innovative understanding, collaborations, and dialogue and in turn creates community through the unique shared social experience of live performance. For artists and scholars it demands curiosity, invention, the courage to take risks, as well as practical application and the discipline required to succeed in any field.

The School of Drama offers courses of study which transforms artists and scholars into innovative and courageous poised-to-become creative leaders and engaged global citizens.

Through mastering skills and techniques applicable to any group endeavor, and acquaintance with established and innovative performance traditions and theories, students of theatre employ intellectual and creative rigor and develop entrepreneurial skills. This approach enables them to develop their own authentic, original voices and visions and engage the complexities, gravity, and joys of our world.

Undergraduate Program

129 Hutchinson Hall, Box 353950
(206) 543-4204

The School of Drama offers the following program of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in drama

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in drama teaches the history, theory, methods, and techniques of the art of theatre. Students who study drama discover their individual creative voices that help make them unique and engaged global citizens.

At its core, the undergraduate program in drama instills creative and critical thinking skills, promotes collaboration and academic rigor, and provides practical experiences in creative enterprise.

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: See department admission requirements below.

Department Admission Requirements

DRAMA 201 and DRAMA 251; one of the following: DRAMA 210, DRAMA 211, DRAMA 212, DRAMA 213; one of the following: DRAMA 290, DRAMA 291, DRAMA 292; and a minimum 2.50 GPA for the four courses.

No audition is required to enter the program.

Major Requirements

65-70 credits as follows:

  1. DRAMA 201, DRAMA 251, DRAMA 252, DRAMA 302, DRAMA 371, DRAMA 372, DRAMA 373, DRAMA 401 (36 credits)
  2. Three courses from DRAMA 210, DRAMA 211, DRAMA 212, DRAMA 213 (12 credits)
  3. Two courses from DRAMA 290, DRAMA 291, DRAMA 292 (2 credits)
  4. One choice/special studies course from DRAMA 365, DRAMA 416, DRAMA 494, or other adviser-approved course (5 credits)
  5. One of the options shown below (10-15 credits)
    1. General Drama: 10 credits of approved 300- or 400-level DRAMA electives
    2. History, Theory, and Criticism Option: No longer accepting students - pending elimination
    3. Performance Option (15 credits)
      1. DRAMA 466 (2 credits)
      2. One course from DRAMA 351, DRAMA 352, DRAMA 352 (4 credits)
      3. One course from DRAMA 451, DRAMA 452, DRAMA 453, DRAMA 454, DRAMA 455, DRAMA 456, DRAMA 457 (3-4 credits)
      4. 300- or 400-level DRAMA electives (to reach 15 credits)
    4. Design Option (15 credits)
      1. One additional course from DRAMA 210, DRAMA 211, DRAMA 212, DRAMA 213 (4 credits)
      2. DRAMA 466 (2 credits)
      3. One additional course from DRAMA 290, DRAMA 291, DRAMA 292 (1 credit)
      4. Advanced design: DRAMA 314, DRAMA 316, DRAMA 414, DRAMA 415, DRAMA 417, DRAMA 418, DRAMA 419, DRAMA 420, DRAMA 421 (3-4 credits)
      5. 300- 400-level approved electives (to reach 15 credits)

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The faculty of the School of Drama considers the optimum preparation for the theatre artist to be comprised of a liberal arts undergraduate major in drama and a graduate conservatory education.

    Learning objectives include enriched artistic expression, a foundation for further study, and cultivation of essential life skills: teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and imagination.

    Students earning the Bachelor of Arts in drama are prepared to seek employment in the theatre industry, apply for advanced degrees in a specific area of theatre (e.g., MFA in acting or design), or transfer the skills gained through the program to broader career opportunities. Recent graduates have pursued careers in acting, design, directing, technical direction, stage management, dramaturgy, playwriting, literary management, teaching, and in such non-theatre occupations as real estate agent, fund-raiser, public relations staff, politician, librarian, academic counselor, lawyer, nurse, translator of foreign films, admissions counselor, trade show/convention production assistant, talent agent, casting director, music promoter, special events coordinator, tour guide, human resources coordinator, wedding coordinator, aerobics instructor, music promoter.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Rehearsal and performance spaces include the Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre (the first theatre-in-the-round built in the United States), the thrust-stage Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, the end-stage Meany Studio Theatre, and the proscenium in Meany Hall. Other spaces include the Cabaret, Studio 201, and Hutchinson 218. School of Drama facilities include a design studio, costume shop, scene shop, and computer labs.

    The Drama Library houses reserve books, plays, sound effects, dialect tapes, local audition and job notices, and a special collection of acting editions. Also available are specialized indexes and theatre databases. The librarian assists in the use of reference materials and indexes, bibliographic searches of on-line databases, and offers reference service and bibliographic instruction sessions for groups and individuals.

  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requierments in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Student participation in all aspects of dramatic art is provided through student productions, and faculty- and student-directed plays drawn from the full range of world dramatic literature and produced throughout the year. The school also produces operas in association with the School of Music

    To enhance employability and gain hands-on experience, students are encouraged to participate in internships with regional theatres, and related organizations or businesses. Academic credit may be earned for internships under the course number DRAMA 493. Internship credits count toward drama elective credits to graduate. A resource guide to drama-related internships is available at the drama undergraduate advising website.

    Drama students are also encouraged to apply for undergraduate research, leadership, and/or fellowship grants available through the Mary Gates Endowment.

  • Department Scholarships: School of Drama scholarships are awarded annually every spring for the following academic year to students who have demonstrated academic merit and contributed significantly to the School of Drama. Applications are distributed from the advising office.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Undergraduate Theater Society (UTS) is a student organization that produces undergraduate theatre works in the Cabaret black-box performance space in Hutchinson Hall. Any UW student may audition for UTS productions. UTS members also participate in annual New Student Orientation and other school events on a volunteer basis.

    A volunteer elected group of drama students, the BA Council, meets regularly with the School of Drama Executive Director and head of the Bachelor of Arts program to discuss issues relative to the undergraduate program.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
101 Hutchinson, Box 353950
(206) 543-0714

The school offers professional training and scholarly programs leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Areas of study for the MFA degree are acting, stage direction, scene design, lighting design, and costume design. Most students should expect to spend three intensive years completing requirements for the MFA degree.

The PhD program provides students training for scholarly research in theatre history, dramatic literature, theory, and criticism. It also hosts the UW's Center for Performance Studies and connects students with related classes on campus.

Master of Fine Arts -- Acting

Admission Requirements

Admission is based on a private audition and interview with the head of the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP).

Applicants prepare the following:

  1. A two-minute monologue from a modern prose play
  2. A two-minute Shakespearean verse monologue
  3. Approximately 16 bars of a song, a cappella or with auditioner-provided accompaniment
  4. Auditioners should be ready to detail their previous training.

Students who hold (or will hold by the time they enroll) a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution may apply. Most applicants have undergraduate degrees in theatre, but that is not essential. All applicants must demonstrate outstanding talent. GRE not required. International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores.

Applicants submit the following to Graduate Programs, School of Drama, University of Washington, Box 353950, Seattle, WA 98195-3950:

  1. School of Drama PATP application form (available from the school's website) with preferred audition date indicated
  2. Non-refundable audition fee to the School of Drama. Applications postmarked after the deadline must include a late application fee of $10, separate from the fee due to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  3. Headshot
  4. Xurrent résumé of training and experience in the applicant's field
  5. One set of unofficial transcripts
  6. Statement of purpose, including educational and professional goals
  7. Two letters of recommendation

Degree Requirements

90 credits

PATP training provides actors the practical tools and sensibilities to become outstanding theatre actors comfortable and effective in all media. During the three years of study, every student appears in at least seven productions, two self-written solo shows, an in-depth dialect project, and extensive scene and technique classes.

The program immerses students in the traditional vocabulary and practices set down by Konstantin Stanislavski and increases the actors' expressiveness through "instrument classes" in voice, speech, dialects, coordination (Alexander Technique), Viewpoints, and Suzuki-based movement. PATP students become well versed in the established canon of Western dramatic literature and have opportunities to audition for summer theatre festivals from around the region and country. The program also maintains relationships with professional theatres in Seattle and the region such as the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman, Empty Space, ACT, Seattle Children's Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

At the end of the third year, students prepare a professional showcase for Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York, and each actor leaves with a professional quality audition reel.

Required coursework

  1. 36 credits of DRAMA 557
  2. 36 credits of DRAMA 558
  3. DRAMA 551
  4. DRAMA 552
  5. DRAMA 553
  6. 6 credits of DRAMA 559
  7. 9 credits of DRAMA 700

Master of Fine Arts -- Directing

Admission Requirements

The program, which accepts only two candidates, chooses applicants who show evidence of accomplishment “out in the world,” who may have successfully assisted seasoned directors, and who have at least the beginning of a professional and artistic record. It is extremely difficult to gain admission directly out of a BA program with no other credentials.

  1. Applicants submit the following to Graduate Programs, School of Drama, Box 353950, Seattle WA 98195-3950:
    1. Directing application form (available for download from the school's website) and fee, made payable to the School of Drama (separate from the fee due to the Office of Graduate Admissions)
    2. Résumé of training and experience in the field
    3. Statement of purpose including educational and professional goals
    4. Three letters of recommendation
    5. One set of unofficial transcripts
    6. Directorial analysis of a play or opera chosen from a preselected list
    7. GRE not required. International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores.
    8. Application deadline: November 1
  2. Selected applicants: Twelve to 16 applicants are invited to interview, either in person or via video conferencing. Candidates interview with the head of the program; present a monologue; and respond to a two-page questionnaire.
  3. Final step for short-listed applicants: Four to eight candidates are invited to Seattle for in-person interviews. Each candidate conducts a rehearsal of one of three pre-selected scenes with actors provided by the School of Drama. Candidates receive scene options and any additional information when notified of their selection.

Degree Requirements

90 credits

The intensive, three-year, conservatory directing program prepares students for successful entry into the professional theatre. Classes and training include a range of types and styles of dramatic work, including realistic, nonrealistic, classical, and contemporary plays. Directing laboratory, seminar, Suzuki, and Viewpoints are taken every quarter. Acting process work includes Stanislavski, action theory, Shakespeare, Chekhov, and contemporary realism.

Every quarter each student directs in the classroom, studio, or both.

  1. Coursework
    1. 14 credits of DRAMA 563
    2. 12 credits of DRAMA 567
    3. Electives chosen from DRAMA 419, DRAMA 510, DRAMA 560, DRAMA 561, DRAMA 562, and DRAMA 569
    4. 9 credits of DRAMA 700
    5. Faculty may advise additional coursework in areas such as Alexander technique, dialects, lighting design, combat, literature, or history of styles and costume.
  2. Internships: One quarter is devoted to a professional internship experience. MFA directors may intern either locally, nationally, or internationally during winter or spring quarter of the third year.

Master of Fine Arts -- Design

Admission Requirements

The program generally accepts two students in each area (scenic design, costume design, and lighting design). It is extremely difficult to gain admission directly out of a BA/BFA program with no other credentials.

Interviews: Held in Seattle from mid-January to the beginning of March. Applicants indicate how and when they plan both to submit their portfolio and interview with faculty. Applications must be received before an interview is scheduled.

Portfolio: May include hand drafting, renderings, photographs of realized work or of models, costume sketches, and other graphic work or high-quality photocopies of same, blue lines and/or duplicate slides. Work should demonstrate strong graphic skills (including accurate rendering of the human figure) and the ability to devise effective design solutions to the problems posed by a script. Portfolio should include examples of drawing or painting not intended as theatre design projects: figure drawing, landscape, architectural sketching or lighting, lighting installations, etc. High quality photocopies are acceptable.

For lighting design applicants, the portfolio should include examples of hand or computer drafting, two or more complete projects including a one-page statement of conceptual approach, hook-up, plot, and cue ideas. Also, samples of set sketches and life drawing.

Application Requirements: For questions, contact the School of Drama's graduate program assistant at (206) 543-0714 or email

  1. GRE not required. International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores.
  2. Portfolio (or bring to the interview in Seattle)
  3. Design application form and fee
  4. Résumé of training and experience in the field
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Statement of purpose, including goals
  7. Unofficial transcripts

Degree Requirements

90 credits

First year devoted primarily to studio course and skill building; realized production designs become a focus of the second and third years. In the third year, students complete a ten-week professional internship before returning to the School of Drama for two quarters with a final thesis project occurring in either of those quarters.

Scenic Design: Students develop proficiency of expression via drawing and painting, drafting, model building, scene painting, and a working knowledge of scenic and property construction. Production work is emphasized in the second and third years of residency.

Costume Design: Encompasses design, construction, graphic skills, and history. Production work in costume design is emphasized in the second and third year.

Lighting Design: Emphasizes development of both theoretical/thinking and practical/compositional skills. Production work in lighting may occur in the first year, but is emphasized in the second and third years, and often includes dance.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Preference given to applicants with MA/MFA degrees and theatre experience but those who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university are eligible to apply. Applicants submit the following materials online at

  1. Essay or thesis chapter representative of the applicant's best scholarly work
  2. GRE test scores
  3. Current résumé of training and experience in the field
  4. Statement of purpose including educational and professional goals
  5. Three letters of recommendation.
  6. One set of unofficial transcripts

International applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and TSE scores

Degree Requirements

Minimum 110 credits

  1. Three years of coursework, including a sequence of 16 seminars and annual examinations. Drama courses include DRAMA 571, DRAMA 572, DRAMA 573, DRAMA 575, DRAMA 576, DRAMA 577, DRAMA 581, DRAMA 582, DRAMA 583, DRAMA 585, DRAMA 586, and DRAMA 587
  2. Minimum three courses outside the School of Drama
  3. Upper-level reading course in a foreign language
  4. Dissertation: 30 credits of DRAMA 800

The PhD program hosts the UW's Center for Performance Studies and connects doctoral students with related classes on campus. Special topics in the history sequence have included Restoration theatre, drama in the Industrial Age, communism and capitalism, and ancient theatre history. Seminars in criticism have included reading, interpretation and performance; mimesis and theatrical representation; the semiotics of theatre; and drama and Marxist theatre theory. Students are encouraged to develop original research in these seminars and to present their work at professional meetings or publish it in academic journals.