Classical Acting

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

The program features an unprecedented collaboration between two leading D.C. institutions. The Shakespeare Theatre Company brings to the partnership world-class artists/teachers, a comprehensive training program and a distinguished reputation as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in classical repertory, under the guidance of Artistic Director Michael Kahn. GW brings to the partnership its resources and reputation as a major research university, with strong links to the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress, as well as shared faculty and space resources.

Located in one of the most vibrant cultural centers in the nation today—considered by many to be the second most important theater center after New York—the Academy for Classical Acting (ACA) is the only Masters of Fine Arts program in the United States dedicated solely to classical acting. Students are in class full-time, 40 hours or more a week, for about 44 weeks. Since 2000, the ACA has been graduating between 12 and 18 students each year who are helping transform the way classical theater is performed on Broadway, in regional theaters and on teaching faculties around the country.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – January 15 (late applications will be accepted on a case-by-case basis)

Standardized Test Scores:

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.F.A program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68

Recommendations required:

Two (2) letters of recommendations, one professional and one academic.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your objectives, interests, and career plans. Also, discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application.

Additional requirements:

Applicants must upload a digital copy of a current theatrical headshot and a resumé to their applications. An audition is also required. To schedule, email [email protected].  

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday