Students on stage performing Marisol

Graduate Admission

Begin your extraordinary adventure in theater

At ASDS, we embrace artists from across life’s spectrum. We encourage individuals to apply from diverse backgrounds with a passion for telling stories and a commitment to collaboration. We acknowledge and take pride in our vital responsibility to empower you to cultivate various modes of artistry, creativity, and embodied expression that seek to dismantle the systematic violence of racism and reimagine and rebuild our community as a reflection of the world we live in.

Before You Apply

To apply to one of our three MFA programs you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or the equivalent degree from a foreign college or university. Applicants in the process of completing the bachelor's degree may apply for admission.

The admission process consists of two steps:

  1. Submitting required materials: including Academic Records and Artistic Review
  2. Audition callback for a selected pool of MFA Acting applicants or Portfolio Review for selected MFA Directing and MFA Playwriting applicants.

Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2024. Once all the application materials are received, they will be reviewed by the Actors Studio Drama School admissions committee. Based upon the quality of their presentation select candidates will be contacted with more information and invited to audition and/or interview remotely or in person at the New York City campus in Downtown Manhattan.

2024 Updates

Callback auditions for the MFA in Acting applicants are conducted either remotely or in person at the New York City campus in Downtown Manhattan.

Interviews and Portfolio Reviews for MFA in Directing and MFA in Playwriting candidates are scheduled by appointment only and are conducted either remotely or in person at the New York City campus in Downtown Manhattan.

Attending an upcoming University Resident Theatre Association (URTA) audition? Let us know! Please email to inform us of your attendance.

Upcoming Audition Dates for MFA Acting

New York City

  • Saturday, April 20, 2024
  • Sunday, April 21, 2024

Upcoming Master Classes

  • Dates for the 2023–2024 academic year are forthcoming.

Application Process

    • Complete Online Application
    • Submit $70.00 application fee
    • Submit College/University transcripts
    • Two Letters of Recommendation from a theater, academic, and/or professional previous experience
    • Professional Resume
    • Artist Statement
    • Headshot
    • Video introduction containing a brief statement, 30-45 seconds, in which the candidate has the opportunity to offer a glimpse of their personality.
    • Two contrasting scenes or monologues from contemporary published plays, each no longer than 90 seconds. Each scene/monologue must be uploaded as a separate file.
    • A "wild card" video that can be anything you want - be your creative and interesting self.
  • We ask that in the initial Artistic Review submission all MFA Directing applicants supply an Artistic Portfolio, in addition to their application materials. Portfolios can include production research, director’s notebooks or prompt books, as well as photographs and reviews from productions you have directed. We are looking for anything that shows evidence of how you work as a director. We will use this in determining who will be selected for an interview. For the Portfolio Review stage of the process please be prepared to discuss your initial approach to the material, articulate your vision of the play, describe the process, including your work with actors and design team, and the outcome of your artistic endeavor. Your visual materials could be presented in a PowerPoint, PDF, or video format. All interviews will take place online with one of our full time faculty members in the MFA Directing program.

  • Your initial application must include 1-2 samples of your dramatic writing, totaling 20 pages in length. If you send more than 20 pages, only the first 20 pages will be read. You may submit a 20-page excerpt from a complete full-length play or from a one-act play, or you may submit 2 samples from different scripts. Round Two applicants will be asked to submit a complete full-length play or 2 one-act plays.

  • In addition to the admission requirements outlined above, international applicants who earned a degree in a non-English speaking country must also submit certified English translations of all school credentials (undergraduate and graduate transcripts), and an English language proficiency exam score that is no more than two years old.

    • Submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo English Test score report (if applicable)
    • For a certificate of eligibility (I-20) for the non-immigrant student (F-1) visa Only
    • Pace University Financial Affidavit
    • Bank Documentation of Available Funds
    • Copy of Passport

    Normally, a TOEFL score of 570 (paper-based version), 230 (computer-based version), 88/89 (Internet-based version), or an IELTS score of 7.0 is sufficient to demonstrate the requisite proficiency in English for admission directly into Pace University’s academic programs. The Admission Committee may, however, require additional testing if, for example, as a result of materials submitted as part of your application or communications with you there are concerns about your ability to read, write, and speak English sufficiently to meet the demands of your intended curriculum. In that case, or if your TOEFL or IELTS score is below the guidelines stated above, your admission will be conditioned upon your successful completion of an intensive English language program at the Pace University English Language Institute (ELI) or a similar program approved by Pace University’s ELI.

  • If you are selected to audition for the MFA Acting program, you must perform a two- person scene from a contemporary play no longer than 3 minutes.

    Contemporary material is considered work written from the turn of the 20th Century until now. No special costumes, no props. You must use your natural voice and fully memorize your lines. Classical material does not qualify for this stage of the process.

    Your scene partner does not need to be an applicant to the program. We expect to learn about you from your selection of material, and we encourage you not to contact us for advice on your scene selection. Although not recommended, if you cannot prepare a scene, you may substitute your scene with a contemporary monologue, no longer than 3 minutes.

    Please note that we often work with candidates during the audition.

    Please see the checklist below for live auditions over Zoom.

    • Reliable Internet connection;
    • A working camera for clear images and a working microphone for clear and audible sound;
    • A camera close enough to capture your facial expressions, yet far enough away to capture your full body and behavior;
    • A neutral backdrop is preferred;
    • You should be unseated and moving through space;
    • A scene from a published play is preferred, lines must be memorized;
    • Your scene partner could be on or off the camera frame;
    • Choose material that is active, has a clear beginning and moves to a distinct ending.

    Please note that a scene is preferred over a monologue. In evaluating your performance, we will be looking for your ability to be present in the moment as well as responsive to your partner while on stage. The “Method” is based upon principles that require emotional truth, including the ability to listen and respond to the other actors. A monologue does not give us the opportunity to assess your abilities with regard to these principles.

Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

Tuition for the 2023-2024 year is $46,555. In order to assure full consideration for merit and need based awards, all applicants are strongly urged to file with FAFSA. Please include Pace University’s Federal Code 002791 for the New York City Campus on your FAFSA application.

Information on financial assistance is available in the Financial Aid department.