University of Calgary

Prospective Graduate Students

Apply online for admission to the graduate program!

The online application for September 2014 is now closed.


The Division's 10 permanent faculty have a diversity of research interests and practices, maintaining profiles in both the professional and scholarly theatre communities.  MFA students select to study in one of four specializations: Directing, Design/Technical, Theatre Studies and Playwriting. Each program offers a great deal of flexibility, opportunity and contact with faculty members.  The Division maintains a full production schedule through the skilled technical and teaching contributions of 5 full-time professional staff. Facilities include access to 3 theatre spaces, full costume, properties and scene shops and the Integrated Arts Media Lab. All MFA students have office space in the School and access to computer facilities.  

Links to other relevant information:

Overview of Degree Programs

The School of Creative and Performing Art's Division of Drama offers MFA degrees in four specializations: DirectingDesign and Technical TheatreTheatre Studies and Playwriting. At this time the Division does not offer a Ph.D. program.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Division requires:

a) A baccalaureate degree that has clearly included a major emphasis in the study of drama with study at the undergraduate level in the proposed area of specialization. Deficiencies of background may be corrected during a year of study as a qualifying student.

b) A written application including a biographical outline of the applicant’s studies and experience in theatre and a statement of intent outlining proposed projects in the Division. When the applicant intends to study in the Design/Technical area, a portfolio of drawings and design work is required. Applicants to the Playwriting area must submit a portfolio of original creative writing. Applicants to the Theatre Studies area must submit samples of their written work.

c) Two letters of reference with the official reference form attached to each letter.


Applications for Admission

Qualifications for admission are outlined here and in the Faculty of  Graduate Studies Calendar which is available at the University Bookstore and accessible on the web.

The Application Deadline is January 15 for September admission.  January admission may be possible in exceptional circumstances; please contact the Graduate Administrator at for further information. Students applying must complete the Faculty of Graduate Studies online application.

Application to each specialization will require submission of additional documents. Please note the Division is not responsible for return of this documentation. 

  • Directing applicants must submit a selected portfolio that might include reviews, photographs and/or video clips of productions directed.

  • Design/Technical applicants must submit portfolio materials of design work, drawing, production photographs, reviews, etc.

  • Theatre Studies applicants must submit samples of scholarly writing.

  • Playwriting applicants must submit samples of dramatic text.

These supporting documents can be submitted online through the Student Centre website once the application has been submitted.  If you are having problems uploading the additional documentation online, please email the Graduate Program Administrator at

A complete application consists of:

  • An online application for admission.

  • A non-refundable application fee for each application to a graduate degree program.  The application fee is CDN $100 for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and CDN $130 for international students who will be attending on a Study Permit.  Cheques or money orders in Canadian funds must be made payable to the University of Calgary.  Applications will be processed only if the fee has been paid.

  • Official transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions with official translations if the transcripts are not in English.

  • Two appropriate letters of reference, uploaded directly to the online application system.  The official reference form must accompany each letter.

  • Official TOEFL scores for international applicants.

  • Supporting documents as listed above.

  • Curriculum Vita.

For further information please contact:

Graduate Program Administrator, 
Division of Drama
Telephone:(403) 220-5422



Financial Support

The course and research demands are heavy, particularly in the first year, and students will require finances to be in place freeing them to focus on their studies. Many students admitted to the program receive financial support from teaching and research scholarships.  In order to be a candidate for financial support, a continuing student should to apply for the major awards for which s/he is eligible: the SSHRC fellowships (applications due in October); Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships (applications to the Division mid-February). Incoming students who meet application criteria are invited to apply for the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships. See the section on "Awards and Financial Assistance" of the Graduate Calendar for further information about these major awards as well as other awards available.  Please see Funding Statistics to see Division success on previous applications.

The Drama Division’s budget for graduate financial support includes graduate teaching assistantships (GATs) and non-teaching assistantships (GANTs) funded by the Faculty of Arts, and research scholarships (FGSS) funded by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GATs): Teaching and instructional service to an instructor in an undergraduate course.  Stipend amounts are listed in the GSA Collective Agreement and awarded by the Division of Drama.  No more than an average of 12 hours per week of service (including preparation) may be required of teaching assistants.

  • Graduate Non-Teaching Assistantships (GANTs): Research service for a faculty member.  Stipend amounts are listed in the GSA Collective Agreement and awarded by the Division of Drama.  No more than an average of 12 hours per week of service (including preparation) may be required of research assistants.

  • Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarships (FGSS): Awarded for research tasks directly related to the student's own research.  Stipends range from $500 to $8,000 per term (four months), funded by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and awarded by the Division of Drama. No teaching or service duties are required of research assistants.

The allocation of GATs, GANTs and FGSS scholarships to students is decided by the Graduate Studies Committee in the Division.  As the budget is not known until the end of April or even later, the Division will try to make most allocations on the basis of its minimum expected budget by early May for funding awarded the following fall and winter.

GATs, GANTs and FGSS scholarships are normally tenable at the University of Calgary.  The terms are September-December, January-April, and May­-August. There is no separate application form for GATs, GANTs or FGSS scholarships.


Awards in the Faculty of Graduate Studies

The Graduate Scholarship Committee of the University of Calgary awards a number of scholarships and fellowships.  Detailed information on all these awards is available in Graduate Studies Awards Database.  The deadline for application for most of these scholarships is February 1.  No graduate student award will be made to anyone other than a full-time student. Please also view the Awards & Scholarships page on the FGS website.


Funding Statistics

The Division has a policy of providing funding (minimum of $8000 per year) to MFA students in their first two years of study. In the past three years this funding has ranged between $12000 and $16000 yearly, in the form of GATs, GANTs and FGSS scholarships. Several MFA students have been successful in grant and award competitions, with at least one student in each of the past three years receiving a SSHRC fellowship ($17,500) and others receiving the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship (just over $10,000).


Graduate students are responsible for the following fees (per year). Details are available from the Graduate Studies Calendar

  • General Fees

  • International students in the Division of Drama are eligible for partical visa differential funding.

Housing and cost of living are difficult to determine. According to our students, rent in a shared housing situation runs between $500 and $900\month. The Faculty of Graduate Studies has additional information available on costs for Canadian students and international students. For more information about living in Calgary, click here.


International Students

The Division welcomes applications from qualified students outside of Canada.  Applicants whose first language is not English must submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam or another exam as listed on the English Language Proficiency page.