MFA in Drama

Specialize in directing, playwriting, design/technical, theatre studies and our newest program Interdisciplinary Creation and Research. Receive expert instruction and supervision from some of Canada’s most recognized scholars and artists.

Degree offered

Understanding graduate studies

Get important information about what you need to do before you begin your grad studies.

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Applications are open October to January 15th.

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Innocence performance

Master of Fine Arts (MFA), thesis-based

Thesis-based programs require that you pursue independent and original research culminating in a thesis. You will work under the supervision of a faculty member whose expertise matches your research area.

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What is thesis-based study?

Pursue independent research guided by a supervisor who shares your research interests. If you want to advance your knowledge or expand your expertise in a specific field or research area, our thesis-based programs are for you.

What is a supervisor?

A supervisor is a faculty member who oversees your research and the development of your thesis.

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Admission requirements

  • A bachelor's degree that clearly includes a major emphasis in the study of Drama, with study in the proposed area of specialization. A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system is required. Deficiencies of background may be corrected during a year of study as a qualifying student.
  • A written application, including a biographical outline of your studies and experience(s) in theatre, as well as a statement of intent, outlining proposed projects in Drama.
  • Two letters of reference with a reference form completed online, or letters of reference mailed with an official reference form attached to each letter.
  • If your first language is not English, you may fulfill the language proficiency requirement as mentioned on the graduate studies page.

Specialization requirements

Application to each specialization will require the following additional documents, that you can submit through the Student Centre website after application.

  • Directing: a selected portfolio that may include reviews, photographs and/or video clips (optional)
  • Playwriting: samples of dramatic text
  • Design/Technical: a portfolio with design work, drawings, production photographs, reviews, etc.
  • Theatre Studies: samples of scholarly writing
  • Interdisciplinary Creation and Research: a portfolio of original work and a writing sample

Funding and assistantships

All our graduate students receive generous funding packages.


Awards scholarships

The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) administers a wide variety of internal and external awards for graduate students. 

Also check with our Graduate Program Administrator for program-specific awards.

Learn more about awards

Graduate assistantships (teaching/non-teaching)

  • Graduate Assistantships (Teaching) assist with the instructional responsibilities of the Drama division.
  • Graduate Assistantships (Non-Teaching) assist the Drama division and/or professors with non-teaching responsibilities (e.g., research for a faculty member, paid out of operating funds).

No more than the equivalent of twelve hours of work per week may be required of Graduate Assistants. Regulations governing terms of employment for Graduate Assistantships (Teaching, Non-Teaching) are covered by the below agreement.

Learn more

Our facilities and production opportunities

The Drama Division boasts:

  • three thoroughly equipped theatre spaces, ranging from 150 to 500 seats
  • a fourth studio theatre dedicated to faculty and graduate student research

Students also have full access to:

  • profession-standard costume, properties, and scene shops
  • state-of-the-art Integrated Media Lab for experimentation and production purposes
  • five full-time staff members who provide both production support and expert training across the full spectrum of technical roles 

These spaces and staff support a diverse season of programming, including multiple main stage productions as well as a student-driven festival of experimental work. Students can also participate in formal off-site initiatives such as Wagonstage (currently in collaboration with the Calgary Zoo).

Recent guest artists include Adrienne Wong, Jan Derbyshire, Haysam Kadri, Daniel MacIvor, Eric Rose and Ghost River Theatre, and Eric Moschopedis.

The SCPA is also an active collaborator on multiple training, production and research initiatives with professional Theatre and Performance organizations such as:

  • the High Performance Rodeo
  • Alberta Theatre Projects
  • Vertigo Theatre
  • Quest Theatre
  • the Banff Centre

This broad range of professional engagement results in strong industry contacts and experiences prior to graduation.

Conduct performance

Our students

Students in the MFA Drama program regularly come to Calgary from all over the world. In addition to rigorous training in their selected area of specialization, all MFA students acquire practice-based research skills and learn to produce new artistic and scholarly knowledge.

Current MFA research projects are exploring areas such as:

  • how collaborative creation can be guided by scenic design
  • how to foster non-human centric curiosity through science-theatre
  • and how virtual reality technology can improvise with actors 

Students inquire about audience engagement in sound performances and about the material conditions of imagination in Canadian theatre for young audiences. In all cases, students enjoy high levels of agency within a carefully structured framework as they determine their individual program designs.

Graduates of the MFA in Drama benefit from a high employment rate. Shortly after graduation, recent students have successfully secured contracts in the theatre industry, teaching positions in universities, and positions in associated fields like science communication, research communication, and educational curriculum development.

Eros performance

Ready to apply?

What you'll need

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has detailed instructions about the application process.

Read admission steps and requirements

Do you have everything?

You are responsible for ensuring your application is complete and all documents are received by the deadline. 

Begin your application

First create an eID. You must have one to access the online application.

Once you begin, remember to click 'Save & Continue' often to ensure your application is saved.

Online application

Graduate program contacts

Graduate Program Administrator

Ask me about graduate program advising.

Alison Schmal
403.220.5422
aschmal@ucalgary.ca

Graduate Program Directors

Ask me about graduate research opportunities.

Clem Martini
Drama
dramgs@ucalgary.ca

Laurie Radford
Music
musicgs@ucalgary.ca

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Find all the info you need for graduate studies at the University of Calgary.

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Office location

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