Incoming Student FAQ


What are the application deadlines for admission to the graduate program?
Application deadline for Ph.D. program: January 15.
Application deadline for M.A. program: January 15.

When will the admission decisions be announced?
The decisions are ordinarily announced by March 1 or earlier. The program chair phones and/or emails those who are offered admission.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in Theatre to apply for the MA/PhD program?
No. An undergraduate degree in theatre is not required. We recruit students from a wide variety of undergraduate backgrounds, but basic knowledge of dramatic literature and theatre history is required.

What are the materials needed for application? 

  1. Transcripts for all previous college work.
  2. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores taken within the past five years.
  3. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from instructors of the applicant’s theatre and drama classes or from experienced theatre professionals (to be sent separately by the letter writers).
  4. Two writing samples consisting of original scholarly or critical essays. These may be papers written for earlier courses or newly written papers for the application. They should demonstrate the applicant’s competence in writing and in dealing with a significant topic in theatre or drama.
  5. A statement of academic and/or professional intentions.
  6. A resume of activities in theatrical production if applicable.
  7. International students must submit recent TOEFL scores. The minimum score for consideration is 80 in IBT. In addition, the Test of Written English (TWE) is strongly encouraged for non-native speakers.

Are there minimum requirements for the GRE scores?
No. There are no minimum requirements for the GRE scores. Students are required to take the General GRE exam, and we take the verbal section only as a general diagnostic tool.

Does the Department of Theatre require a separate application to the graduate program?
Yes, applicants should apply to both University Graduate College and the Department of Theatre.

What is the application process?
Application for M.A./Ph.D. program is an online process. You have to create an account and access to the online application by visiting our graduate online application system:

What kind of funding does the Department of Theatre offer?
The Department offers several teaching and research assistantships and a limited number of fellowships. Tuition waivers are included in most assistantships and fellowships. Financial aid is ordinarily provided to students who remain in good standing and successfully complete their assigned duties.


Are Campus visits or tours available?
Our faculty members and current students are available to meet with prospective students and to answer questions regarding the program and the university. Campus tours, meetings, and class visits can be arranged. To schedule an appointment, contact program chair Professor Peter Davis at

If you drive, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is about two hours from Indianapolis, two and half hours from Chicago, three hours form St. Louis, and six and half hours form Memphis. Transportation options for Chicago include Amtrak, MegaBus, Lex Express, and Greyhound. Commuter airline service is located at Willard Airport though it is sometimes cheaper to fly form Bloomington, IL, Chicago, Indianapolis or St. Louis. For international students, please visit our online campus tours system at

Where should I stay during my visit?
There are many places for you to stay during your visit. You can check out the University Visit Accommodations at for more information.

Are production opportunities available in the program? 
M.A./Ph.D. students regularly work in departmental productions as dramaturgs. Those interested in acting, playwriting, directing, or designing, can submit a proposal to Armory Free Theatre, a student-operated black box theatre space. The production experience should complement the student’s research and teaching goals.

What types of performance facilities does the Department of Theatre have? 

  • Tryon Festival Theatre. It seats 979, and was designed to facilitate productions of opera, dance, musical theatre, and concerts by soloists and small ensembles.
  • Studio Theatre. A 3,000 square-foot black box space. There are various seating configurations which can accommodate up to 200 persons in thrust, proscenium, stadium, or arena arrangements.
  • Foellinger Great Hall. The Krannert Center also houses the 2200 seat Foellinger Great Hall concert venue in which approximately 150 performances are presented per year.
  • Colwell Playhouse Theatre. It was designed primarily for dramatic productions, accommodates an audience of 678 in continental style seating.
  • Ampitheatre. Nestled between the stage-houses of the major theatres at Krannert Center is a permanent Greek-style Amphitheatre, used for special celebrations, demonstrations, and workshop performances.
  • Outside of the Krannert Center, a number of venues are available for students around the campus and in the cities of Champaign and Urbana.

Where can I find information on the library?
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has one of the largest and richest public research library collections in North America. Our 24 million items, the vast majority of which are paper and book-based, include Medieval manuscripts, large collections of incunabula and early printed books, literary manuscripts, maps and atlases, prints, and all sizes and types of printed books and other paper objects. The University Library is committed to sustaining and enhancing its capacity to treat and protect its important paper-based collections, with the majority of conservation and preservation-related investments focused on the care of its rare, unique, and otherwise valuable objects. Please visit our library website for more information:

What is the average cost of living?
The school estimates the average costs on living for an academic term up to 12 month is around $17,868.

Where can I find housing information?
There are many options for renting apartments and houses both on-campus and off-campus. You can check out the University Tenant Union (, or Craigslist ( for more information.

What is the cultural diversity of the program?
We recruit students from different backgrounds and believe that diversity promotes excellence in learning and prepare students to be better scholars, artists, and teachers.


Where can I find resources for international students?
Please visit the International section at in The Graduate College website for helpful resources.

What is required for international applicants?

  1. Submission of a $90.00 application fee (effective with 2011 applications).
  2. International applicants who are requesting F-1 or J-1 visa eligibility documents are required to submit Proof of Funding Documentation
  3. Provide evidence of English proficiency
  4. International applicants must meet minimum requirements based on their country of origin.

How do I find out the status of my application? 
To verify that your application has been submitted and the fee has been received, log back into the system with your application pin and password, and view updates posted in the application system.

What are the University of Illinois’ English proficiency requirements (TOEFL/TSE/IELTS)? 
English proficiency requirements for admission can be found in the Application Instructions.

Am I required to show proof of financial resources for my studies?
Yes, and details can be found in the Application Instructions.

Will I be able to work while I am a student? 
A student on an F-1 visa is allowed to hold graduate appointments and other forms of campus employment. However, you will not be allowed to work off campus. A student on a J-1 visa is allowed to work both on and off campus.

I need an F-1 visa. When will I get my I-20? 
An I-20 form will be issued to admitted applicants who request and are eligible for an F-1 visa. These are processed as soon as possible after your program of study has received all required application materials and forwarded them with a referral for admission to Graduate and Professional Admissions.

I need a J-1 visa. When will I get my DS-2019? 
A DS-2019 Form will be issued to admitted applicants who request and are eligible for a J-1 visa. Applicants sponsored by their governments, international foundations, or agencies, who receive at least 50 percent of their funding from any source other than personal or family funds, or who are part of a university exchange will receive this form. These are processed as soon as possible after your program of study has received all required application materials and forwarded them with a referral for admission to Graduate and Professional Admissions.

I have an F-2 visa. Can I study?
A student may not enroll or pursue studies with an F-2 visa.

I have an J-2 visa. Can I study?
Yes, you may study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on your J-2 visa.

I have a B1/B2 visa. Can I study?
A student may not enroll or pursue studies with a B1/B2 visa.

I have an H visa. Can I study?
Yes, you may study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on your H visa.

Where can I find more information about the SEVIS I-901 Fee? 
More information can be found at the Department of Homeland Security Web site.

When will I have to report to the University of Illinois if I am admitted?
Typically by August 15.