Frequently Asked Questions
This information supplements the program character description found on the Program Character page, which you should read before proceeding below.
What is meant by a "multi-disciplinary" MFA program?
Theatre-making is a practice that involves a wide variety of different disciplines: from writing to designing to performing. We believe that the best way to train theatre artists is to provide an education that encourages students to engage with all of them. With the advice of the faculty, and under the guidance of Dan Hurlin, the Director of the Graduate Program in Theatre, you create your own individual course of study that allows you to investigate aspects of theatre-making that are unfamiliar to you, while deepening your understanding of those areas in which you already excel.
How do I create my own course of study?
Because your course of study is unique to you, you will spend several days during registration week in interviews with the faculty. These one-on-one interviews will be the primary basis for your decision as to which "components" (or classes) you will take. We call classes "components" because it's possible to take a component from one of the other performing arts programs (Music or Dance), and also to distinguish between the Theatre Program and other departments on campus that don't have this same self-created course of study.
What is meant by an "integrated" MFA program?
Because the other two performing arts programs (Music and Dance) use the "component" system also, you may take components in those disciplines as part of your MFA in theatre. (Since the rest of the College's classes operate on an "academic third" basis, courses from other departments outside Dance and Music can't be included in a theatre graduate student's course of study.
The other way in which the program is integrated is that most classes you'll take will include advanced undergraduates as well as fellow graduate students. This allows us to cooperatively share resources with both programs and offer students over fifty components from which to choose.
What classes are required? What is the work load?
There are three required classes in the MFA Program: Contemporary Collaborative Performance (during the first year), Projects (during the second year), and Grad Lab (during both years). These classes are not open to undergraduate students. Other than these, your classes will be chosen by you, according to your interests and needs, with the understanding that you will create an interdisciplinary course of study which explores aspects of making theatre that are new to you.
How long does it take to complete the program?
Full-time students complete the program in two years.
What is the class schedule like?
Graduate students usually take eight to ten components (including the three required courses). Some classes meet once a week, some twice, and most classes are two hours long (though there are some that meet once a week for four hours). How often a class meets is not a guide to the workload, so it's important to ask the teacher during your registration week interview. Because of the flexibility you have in creating your own course of study, you can carve out time for internships, if you're interested.
What kinds of internships are available?
Internships are available in all aspects of theatre, both in NYC and in the surrounding area. The Theatre Program will help place you in stimulating internships, based on your interests. Internships don't have to be taken for credit but you must enroll in the Internship Conference component in the Theatre Program for the internship to be part of your official course of study. Internships are not recommended in the first semester of your first year of graduate study.
How are courses graded?
Though they are given, grades are not emphasized at Sarah Lawrence. Instead, emphasis is placed on detailed narrative evaluations of each student's work, written by the faculty at the end of each semester.
Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?
You can contact Dan Hurlin, Director of the Graduate Program in Theatre, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you register for the theatre components?
During registration week, you are required to attend an orientation meeting for all incoming grad students enrolled in the Theatre program. At this meeting, you'll learn how to register for theatre components using our online registration form. Your online theatre registration form will ask you for alternate choices in case you are not assigned to the courses you requested. Have a couple of alternates ready.
How many components should I interview for?
You MUST interview for all courses that you have entered into the online registration form—including your alternates. If you have not interviewed with the relevant faculty member, you will not appear on her/his acceptance list, and therefore will not be accepted into the class. So, for instance, if you think you want eight components, interview with at least ten or eleven teachers so that you have two or three alternates.
How many and what type of productions are staged?
The Theatre Program presents a broad range of productions with multiple opportunities for students to direct, act, design, produce, or create the script.
Approximately three mainstage productions and three to four workshop productions are presented each semester. These range from classic to modern to original student work, and are directed by faculty, guest artists, and students. There are also threes staged readings of original student plays each semester.
The student-run company, DownStage, produces several full-length and one-act student-directed productions in addition to readings, workshops, and theatrical events throughout the year.
Several of the components (such as Directing Workshop, Comedy Workshop, Singing Workshop, Puppet theatre, and others) also have performances at the end of the academic year.
What is the audition process?
General acting auditions are held early in both the fall and spring semesters for actors who would like to be considered for roles in Theatre program mainstage productions, workshops, and readings.
What is DownStage?
DownStage is both a component and a student-run company. A select group of undergraduate and graduate students, chosen for this component, organize and manage a theatre season, using the DownStage Theatre space. Students handle all aspects of producing, including creating a statement of purpose; choosing a season; managing budgets, schedules, advertising, and technical supervision. Students in the class gain hands-on training in all aspects of the theatre and are expected to perform a variety of production jobs throughout the season.
How are productions chosen?
Student directors and playwrights are invited to submit production proposals in both the fall and spring semesters; these are made available to the entire theatre faculty for review. Creative Director Robert Lyons works with Theatre Department Director Christine Farrell, Graduate Program Director Dan Hurlin, and all relevant faculty, to develop each semester's season.
What is the application process?
You can apply to the Theatre graduate program online. To do so, visit the online application site. You may also download and print the application; return the completed application form to the Graduate Studies Office of Sarah Lawrence College.
What is the application process timeline?
The application deadline is January 1. In early February, selected applicants are invited to participate in a workshop and interview on campus with the faculty, attend classes, and meet current graduate students.
Is it possible to send supporting documents separately?
Yes; however, you should keep in touch to let us know when to expect missing pieces and to make sure that all your documents have been received. Transcripts from an undergraduate institution must be in a sealed envelope. Letters of recommendation must be sent directly from the recommender or from you in a sealed envelope with the recommender's signature across the flap. Everything should be sent to the attention of the Graduate Studies office.
Do you require GRE's?
SLC does not require GRE scores.
How many applicants are accepted each year?
We accept a maximum of 13 students per year.
Can I enroll in the program on a part-time basis?
The intense nature of the training makes part-time study difficult; however, exceptions are made in extraordinary circumstances.
Can I visit Sarah Lawrence College?
Yes. Please contact Manny Lomax at email@example.com in Graduate Admissions to arrange a visit and guided tour.
What are the tuition costs?
A basic outline of tuition and costs can be found on the tuition page. Specific details will be discussed in the interview sessions.
What type of financial aid is available and how do I apply?
Applicants receive a booklet on financial aid options, which are also discussed in the interviews. If you need more information, please contact: Susan Guma, Dean of Graduate Studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Roberta Daskin, Financial Aid, at email@example.com.
What additional fees can I expect to incur?
Additional expenses vary widely based on individual circumstances. In general: Parking on campus is $100/semester. Books are either recommended or required per instructor preference, and students spend $500/semester on average.
How far away is the College from the airports?
- Westchester Airport in White Plains is a 20- to 30-minute drive, but it's small and service is limited.
- LaGuardia Airport is 30 minutes driving and 1-2 hours by public transportation.
- JFK Airport is a one-hour drive.
- Newark Airport is in New Jersey, and is approximately a one-hour drive.
How do I get from the airport to the College?
Cab or car service is the easiest. Public transportation is only available to Grand Central Terminal in NYC; from there, trains run to Bronxville.
How can I find a place to live?
While there is no college housing for graduate students, SLC has a very good housing Web board and housing coordinator; you will be given access in the summer. Many students also use www.Craigslist.org and the local papers.
How do I get around?
A car is helpful but not necessary. The College is approximately one mile from the Metro North Bronxville train station. There are also buses that run from campus to the train station and various locations in Bronxville.
How far is the College from NYC?
30 minutes to Grand Central Terminal by train (Metro North), or up to an hour by subway (the less expensive option).
Is there College transportation, i.e. bus service?
There is a free nightly shuttle van that meets every train that runs between Bronxville and NYC after 5 p.m.
What social life is available on-campus for graduate students?
The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) holds monthly meetings, which serve as a community gathering. You will find out more about the GSS during orientation. Basically, the social life is what you choose to make of it; options abound.