Northwestern University

24 months
18689 USD/year
18689 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Directing program of Northwestern University trains artists to know who they are in themselves, so that they will know who they are in the world.


The Directing program of Northwestern University pursues this goal by guiding each director to discover, develop and apply their individual artistic voice with vision and integrity. We accept three highly motivated individuals each year –artists with a passionate drive to work in the theater at the highest level of creativity and accomplishment. 

Program highlights

We give strongest consideration to those who have been directing work, running theater companies, and contributing to the emerging landscape of contemporary theater. These directors seek out a graduate program because they are ready to slow down and engage in a deep examination of what they want to say, how they want to say it, and why they want to say it in the theater. We provide a place for this crucial introspection, supported by rigorous scholarship, intensive mentoring, and prioritizing of each artist’s role and opportunity in a professional community.

We train directors to: 

  • Understand and define the work they want to make
  • Develop their collaborations with other artists
  • Explore their practice in a rigorously informed historical and critical context
  • Articulate what they believe theatre should do in the world
  • Build relationships with audiences and communities

Directors accepted into the program will work side by side with a gifted cohort of MFA designers and our award-winning faculty. The course of study includes a rich and unique curriculum that puts the focus on a director’s personal vision, depth of craft, leadership, creativity and collaborative voice, and how these skills are employed in relationship to the community context in which they will work.

Directors are exposed to an expansive range of artists, scholars, and critical perspectives, while being supported in close tutorial relationships with a core faculty. While collaborating with actors and designers in classroom and production activities, they also learn advanced directing theory and practice from working directors at such prestigious national theatres as Steppenwolf, The Goodman Theater and Lookingglass, among many others. As well as having opportunities to develop and lead projects on campus, students may pursue varied production opportunities such as professional internships in the multifaceted and thriving Chicago theater community.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Text Analysis
  • Director/Designer Collaboration
  • History of Directing
  • Dramaturgy
  • Theatre History
  • Rehearsal Techniques and Artistic Process Innovation

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines




60 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).

Other requirements

General requirements

  • A one-page statement of purpose, explaining your current goals, career plans, and reasons for selecting theatre as a major field of graduate study.
  • Documentation of theatre work, i.e., reviews, portfolio designs, promotional materials, directing statements, or production photos.
  • Official TOEFL scores for international applicants whose native language is not English.
  • An official transcript (bearing registrar's signature and/or the institution's seal) from each post-secondary institution attended, documenting all courses taken (within or outside a degree program), grades received, and degrees earned.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    18689 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 18689 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    18689 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 18689 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • per quarter: $18,689


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Fresh content

Updated in the last year

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

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Northwestern University