No more GREs required in three drama departments

The Yale School of Drama’s Departments of Stage Management, Technical Design & Production, and Theater Management will no longer ask applicants for GRE scores.
Narda E. Alcorn, chair of stage management, with students

Narda E. Alcorn, chair of stage management at the Yale School of Drama, with students (Photo credit: Joan Marcus)

Three School of Drama departments — Stage Management, Technical Design & Production, and Theater Management — have eliminated the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) requirement for prospective applicants.

The GRE is a standardized exam typically required for graduate programs and business programs.

It has become clear that the GRE is not only an unreliable indicator of potential success in these disciplines of our artform, but also an unnecessary barrier for potential candidates who decide not to apply to Yale School of Drama,” said James Bundy, dean of Yale School of Drama and artistic directory of the Yale Repertory Theatre. “We are confident that the school will be a more effective and inclusive conservatory to the extent that we can reduce unconscious bias, unhelpful stressors, and burdensome costs in our application processes. As we dedicate ourselves to advancing leaders who will raise the standards of global theater practice, we see this change as an opportunity to improve our own work.”

The departments’ chairs concurred.

Narda E. Alcorn, who was appointed chair of stage management earlier this year, said, “I want to mark the beginning of my tenure by actively promoting inclusion.” Dropping the GRE requirement, she said, would “reinforce the School of Drama’s holistic approach to admissions.”

Shaminda Amarakoon, chair of technical design and production, noted that many prospective candidates say that they did not apply to Yale’s program because of the cost of the GRE exam or fears about their test-taking abilities. He said his department has likewise dropped the requirement of the SAT and ACT for its technical intern program.

Shaminda Amarakoon
Shaminda Amarakoon (Photo credit: Mara Lavitt)

This decision doesn’t mean that we are uninterested in assessing applicants’ verbal, analytical, and quantitative abilities,” Joan Channick, chair of theater management, said. “However, we believe that there are other and better ways to do so …”

In a further effort to increase accessibility to as many potential applicants as possible, Yale School of Drama will livestream portions of the upcoming Visitor Day in New Haven on Friday, Dec. 6, 12:30–3 p.m. Potential applicants who cannot attend in person will have the opportunity to view the dean’s welcome as well as sessions about the school’s financial aid policies, student life, and student-led affinity groups. Livestream visitors will be able to use the online platform to ask questions in real time. Registration for the livestream will be required and can be made by email at

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