Apply to the playwriting program at UT Austin; Michener Center for Writers; UTNT

Playwriting (M.F.A. in Theatre)



The M.F.A. in Theatre with a specialization in playwriting program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin recruits two students from an intensely competitive group of applicants. There are two ways for candidates to apply for admission as a playwright: through the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Michener Center for Writers. Both programs share faculty and curriculum. Current faculty include: Annie Baker, Alexandra Basset, Kirk Lynn, KJ Sanchez and Patrick Shaw.

This information pertains to the M.F.A. in Theatre (Playwriting) in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Learn more about the Michener Center for Writers here.

We recommend all playwriting applicants apply to both programs. 

How to Apply

To apply, go to and create an account and fill out the form. Note: Online requests for recommendations will be activated only after you have completed and paid for your application.

You will be able to choose your Area of Interest on a pull down menu. This will ensure that you are applying to the right program. For example, “M.F.A. in Theatre (Directing),” “M.F.A. in Theatre (Costume Design),” etc.

After completing and paying for your application you will be sent an email (within approximately 48 hours). This email will direct you to a site where you can check your Application Status (using your new EID) and begin to upload your application requirements.

The application for graduate admission is a multi-step process. For detailed instructions, please visit The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School online.

Application Materials

In addition to your application, the following materials are required in order to be considered for admission in the M.F.A. in Theatre with a specialization in playwriting program.

  • Official Transcripts: Applicants must submit transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Online instructions for uploading transcripts (PDF format only).
  • GRE Score: The GRE is not required for admission to the M.F.A. in Theatre (Playwriting) program. 
  • Three letters of recommendation: These letters should be written by those who can speak most authoritatively about your background, training, professional experience and potential for a career in your chosen area of specialization in theatre. Each reference will receive instructions on how to submit his/her letter online to the Graduate School's secured web site. Only one letter is required from each reference.
  • Professional Résumé
  • Statement of Purpose: This two-page statement purpose should outline educational and professional goals, philosophy and/or personal theatre aesthetic. 
  • Two original and complete plays which show the range and depth of your capabilities. No collaborations or adaptations unless your contributions are clearly and specifically demonstrated. One of the works must be a "full length" play, in that it should stand alone as a significant theatre experience. One of your submitted plays may be a short play, but please no ten-minute plays, sketches or revue material. Each play must be substantial and complete work. No incomplete plays will be accepted. Submit scripts in PDF format only.

Application Deadline - M.F.A. in Theatre (Playwriting)

Application deadline for Fall 2025  -  December 15, 2024
Finalists will be selected for an interview. No formal interviews will take place before the selection of finalists.

Sample Curriculum

Two candidates are admitted each year from an intensely competitive group of applicants. 

Courses can be selected from the wide array of topics offered within the Department of Theatre and Dance including directing, dramaturgy, design, critical theory, history, performance ethnography and movement. Electives outside the department, either in conjunction with the Michener Center for Writers, or in areas such as film, television and literature are recommended. 

Year One

Playwrights will focus on the generation and revision of new work. Numerous opportunities to share this work will be provided in the classroom, in public readings, through dramaturgical experiments in developmental workshops and multidisciplinary collaboration. Courses include Playwriting Workshops, Narrative Strategies: Time and Adaptation, and Devising. 

Year Two

Playwrights continue to generate and revise new work with an additional emphasis placed on professional development. To that end, an intensive workshop is provided for each student featuring an acclaimed guest director, dramaturg or playwright. Recent guests have included Jesse Alick (The Public Theater), Jeremy Cohen (The Playwrights' Center), Adam Greenfield (Playwrights Horizons), Joy Meads (Center Theatre Group) and Tanya Palmer (The Goodman). Courses include New Play Dramaturgy, Entrepreneurship in the Performing Arts, Pedagogy for Writing and Performance, Advanced Collaboration Workshop, among others. 

Year Three

Playwrights will further explore and deepen their work, generally within the context of a production. As it is our program's position that guaranteed "mainstage" productions within an academic setting do not always prepare playwrights for the professional arena, we attempt to fit the scale of the production to the needs of the given script. It is the faculty's express aim to support each playwright in securing the most beneficial production opportunity within the university, or, when appropriate, in the local professional community. As a result, there are more opportunities for the production of student work at The University of Texas than at any other program in the nation. By the third year, students are encouraged to explore electives beyond the core curriculum, which includes coursework in Directing, Screenwriting, Design, Integrated Media, Reading/Performing the Canon, Digital Storytelling and Plays for All. 

Throughout the program, students are introduced to the strategies and pedagogy necessary to successfully teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the creation of new work for the stage. 

During the summer, the program regularly facilitates our students' participation in professional development opportunities around the country, including, but not limited to, guest residencies at the Clubbed Thumb (New York), Contemporary Theatre Festival (West Virginia), New Harmony (Indiana), Orchard Project (New York), PlayPenn (Pennsylvania), Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Tofte Lake Center (Minnesota). 


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