Upon admission, a major professor will be assigned to each student. The student and major professor will set out their program of study working towards admission into candidacy for the degree. They will also identify and periodically review the student's personal goals and assess the student's progress in the program. In addition to satisfactorily completing coursework, MFA Performance students are expected to demonstrate talent, professional potential and to respond to the training over and above the minimum qualifications. All MFA Performance students are expected to audition for and perform as cast in the subscription season plays of the University Theatre. Satisfactory academic progress in the curriculum does not in itself guarantee continuance in the program, nor does continuance in the program guarantee the automatic granting of the MFA degree. MFA Acting students will be reviewed after the first semester and each subsequent semester and will receive feedback from the appropriate faculty both verbally, and in the form of an official letter.

Factors in the evaluation of students in the MFA Acting program include, but are not restricted to:

  • Academic progress;
  • Evidence of growth in craft and knowledge;
  • Potential for continued growth in the program and craft;
  • Professionalism according to industry standards and per department’s production protocol (see Production Protocols in Department Handbook);
  • Maintaining a positive and open professional conduct and attitude towards the training;
  • Ability to work in a collegial manner with faculty, personnel, and students;
  • Ability to work collaboratively within the graduate ensemble;
  • Personal responsibility and initiative;
  • Achievements in production;
  • Being a model of professional standards and conduct for the undergraduate students;
  • Performance of assistantship duties.

Students can be dismissed from the MFA program at the end of any semester of their tenure for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to meet minimum academic standards;
  • Failure to pass qualifiers, proficiencies, comprehensive examinations;
  • Failure to complete assistantship responsibilities satisfactorily;
  • Lack of professional conduct in production, classroom or rehearsal;
  • Failure to respond to the training;
  • Violation of University’s policies regarding sexual harassment;
  • Violation of University policies regarding plagiarism, copyright, and fair use;
  • Creating a hostile and negative work environment in the classroom or production process;
  • Carelessness or recklessness involving UGA equipment;
  • Continued, unexcused lack of attendance and support of University Theatre productions and events.

First Semester

Qualifying Project

The qualifying project consists of a major role in the University Theatre season, followed by a self assessment by the actor and an evaluation by the performance faculty on the student’s work in the production and in the classroom. Students who fail to meet the minimum standards on the Qualifying Project will be dismissed from the MFA program.

Upon being cast in a production, students are expected to arrange to meet with their major professor to create a "plan of attack" for the role they are undertaking. Their major professor will attend the performance to monitor the student's progress and provide feedback.

Though there is no required final written component for the Qualifier, students are expected to maintain journals, analyze scripts, keep director's notes, dramaturgical notes, production books, etc. These are the resources from which the student will eventually draw both the practical and creative aspects of their performance.

By the completion of the run of the production the student should be able to identify, explain, and present:

  • their creative process, the methodologies, techniques, or theories used in preparing the role, and the practical and creative skills required to complete the demands of the role
  • the "question" or "problem" this particular role presents to them as an actor and their strategies for attacking them
  • the goals and objectives they are making for themselves in playing the role
  • the manner in which they integrated work from classroom into their work in rehearsal and production
  • what they learned about their own strengths and weaknesses as a performer


Prior to the formal Qualifier session, the student will be asked to send to the performance faculty a brief statement (3-5 paragraphs) outlining their response to the topics listed above.

At the actual Qualifier session, the student will make a brief statement highlighting major points of areas listed above, then the faculty will respond to the student's performance with comments or questions regarding these areas, and also their work in the classroom, and other general observations. Following the faculty response, the student will be able to ask questions for clarification from the faculty regarding their responses and to ask questions regarding areas they may still want some more feedback on.

Students are assessed on their to ability to meet the demands and responsibilities of rehearsal and production as outlined in the department handbook and on their ability to synthesize and explain their work through a defined process as outlined above.

Second Semester

Proficiency Review

Students must take their proficiency reviews at the end of their second semester. A proficiency review is administered in the form of a performance of three monologues with a short presentation describing the student's process in developing them. Each member of the performance faculty grades the student with a "Pass," "Low Pass" or "Fail." The student must receive at least "Pass" or "Low Pass" on all three of the monologues. The student's overall contribution for the entire year is also evaluated at this point and a determination is made by the performance faculty whether to continue the student in the MFA program. Students who fail to establish proficiency will be dismissed from the MFA program.

Fourth Semester

Comprehensive Written Examination

Comprehensive examinations are given early in the spring semester of the second year. In the summer, prior to the second year, the student will be assigned a reading list of major theoretical texts and scripts. The comprehensive written examination focuses on the history, theory, and techniques of acting as these areas affect performance. The performance faculty design the questions and a committee of three grades the exam with a “Pass” “Low Pass” “Fail.” The student must receive “Pass” or “Low Pass” on all three of the questions to continue in the program.

Admission to Candidacy

After successful completion of the first four semesters the student will be admitted to candidacy.

Fifth and Sixth Semesters

Thesis Project

The thesis project will be selected by the appropriate area faculty and approved by the Department Head. It will be assigned no later than the summer preceding the third year. In no case will the project be performed earlier than the summer before the student’s third year in residence, no matter how many hours the student has accumulated. Projects should be done in conjunction with the department’s production program, but under particular circumstances the area faculty may approve its being done outside the department through a professional residency or similar situation. The nature, scope and suitability of the project will be determined by the area faculty.

Students in the MFA program should realize that there are a limited number of opportunities for suitable MFA projects. The departmental administration will make every effort to assign significant and timely projects.

Written Thesis and Defense

In addition to the accomplishment of the creative work itself, the student will be required to provide a written analysis and evaluation of the project. The final written document must be presented in Chicago Manual of Style format prior to the oral examination. A final oral examination on the project completes the process. The major thrust of the project, however, is to be the actual creative work. Complete instructions on the required form for the written document are available from the departmental office.

Deadlines for Graduating Students

For deadlines, visit the graduate school website here: grad.uga.edu

Note: MFA students do not submit candidacy or advisory committee forms or an electronic thesis/dissertation. They do apply to graduate and submit a program of study (non-doctoral professional degree. They should plan to defend their thesis before the final defense date, submitting thesis title and advisory committee information to Dina two weeks before their scheduled defense.