Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Advice for Prospective Grad Students: Grad School is for Life-Long Learners!

My name is Gillian McNally, and I co-direct the MA in Theatre Education at the University of Northern Colorado.  Our program was created to be convenient for full-time working teachers/professionals.  Courses are online during two school years, and students come to the university for two intensive summer sessions. More information about our program can be found at:

Our program is now in it’s fourth year, and I have seen people thrive and people struggle with grad school.  Here are my recommendations if you are considering thinking about applying:

Apply to grad school if:

  • You are open and excited to learn new things
  • You want to challenge all of the assumptions you’ve made about education, theatre and the greater world
  • You have something exciting to share to colleagues
  • You want to work hard
  • You have the time/resources and support to be successful
  • You want to challenge yourself
  • You could spend all night reading about theatre education and love it.  It doesn’t feel like work to you

Indeed, grad school is a lot of work, but if you are in the right place in your life—it should feel joyous to be a part of a community of smart learners.  As we all know, the pay in our field is low and the hours long.  You have to be a person who operates from a place of endless passion.  If the above criteria speak to you, I encourage you to apply to the many wonderful drama and theatre education programs in the US.

Gillian McNally currently serves as Assistant Professor of Theatre Education at the University of Northern Colorado, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate level students.  Prior to UNC, she served as the Resident Teaching Artist for People’s Light and Theatre.   A proud Longhorn, she holds an M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.F.A. in Acting from Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts.  Gillian is currently serving as secretary on the executive committee of  TYA/USA’s Board of Directors.

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