May 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Applied Drama & Theatre for the Young [MFA]

Location(s): In-person/hybrid

Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young (ADTY) allows students to expand and sharpen their craft as artists and educators. The ADTY program, one of only six in the US, focuses on the symbiotic relationship between theatre artistry, pedagogy, and research. Students in the program apply practice from many fields, such as theatre for young audiences, creative drama, performance studies, applied theatre, arts integration, youth theatre, and community engagement. As a program faculty, we believe drama and theatre can engage the imagination, challenge and inspire ideas, and support learning for youth and communities.

The Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young graduate program was founded at Eastern Michigan University in the early 1960s by Virginia Glasgow Koste. The program has a legacy of strong graduates who provide leadership and service, working in communities worldwide as non-profit teaching artists, education directors, managers, professors, K-12 Educators, artistic directors, playwrights, and directors.


The program prepares graduates for multiple career paths in education, professional theatre for young audiences, and community or non-profit organizations. Students take core courses, providing the foundation in Drama, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Applied Theatre/Drama. Students can choose elective courses that align with their unique interests and customize a course of study that supports their individual goals. Possible electives include courses in theatre, education, special education, interpretation & performance studies, psychology, children’s literature, and more. MFA students can pursue EMU’s Arts Entrepreneurship [Graduate Certificate]  concurrently. The program can be completed in three years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time) and is considered a terminal degree. 


Annual TYA productions, touring shows, and community engagement programs allow students to hone their craft and experiment with art. Students can work with the Interpretative Performance Studies program on Boal techniques and theatre/drama in prisons and participate in ENGAGE@EMU to provide service in the community while gaining opportunities to work with diverse populations.

Students may also be interested in the Theatre Arts - Applied Drama & Theatre for the Young [M.A.] 

Program Admission

Admit Terms and Deadlines

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in the Fall or Winter. See Application Deadlines.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

For full admission, applicants must have 1) Earned a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution, 2) a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program. Conditional admission may be available to applicants not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements. Requirements may be more stringent than the minimum graduate school requirements.

  • Have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Exceptions to this requirement can be made if at least 15 hours of graduate work have already been earned with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A Letter of Intent that answers the following question “What prior academic, personal  and professional experiences have led to your interest in pursuing an MFA in Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young?”
  • Interview with at least one program faculty member
  • Possess an appropriate foundation in undergraduate studies with relevant extra-academic experiences taken into account for the specific graduate focus chosen
  • Send samples of previous work (optional)


Your application will be submitted using GradCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS) hosted by Liaison. After reviewing the admission requirements, please review the application instructions  and select the appropriate application.

Domestic Applicants Within the application, follow the instructions to submit an official transcript from all previously attended institutions.

International Applicants Before applying, applicants must review the international application/process deadlines at as they may differ from general program requirements.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.


School Information

Communication, Media & Theatre Arts 124 Judy Sturgis Hill, 734.487.6846 

Lee Stille, PhD., Director

Advisor Information

Meriah Sage, Assistant Professor, 121 Judy Sturgis Hill, 734.487.0535

Degree Requirements: 60 hours

Students must:

  1. Early in their graduate work, prepare an official program of study in consultation with an assigned graduate advisor;
  2. Meet all conditions stipulated upon entry into the program;
  3. Satisfactorily complete a mid-program review after two or three semesters in the program; and
  4. Complete a minimum of 60 hours of approved course work beyond the bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of at least 3.0, or a minimum of 30 hours beyond an appropriate master’s degree.

Restricted Elective Courses: 15 hours

Choose fifteen credit hours from within the School of Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts (COMM, CTAA, CTAO, CTAR, CTAT, EDT) at the 500-level or above. With advisor approval, a student may use courses outside the School of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts to satisfy this requirement.

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.