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Scholarships and Financial Support

Looking for financial assistance?

Every spring, the School of Drama awards scholarships to current undergraduate and graduate students for the next academic year. Award amounts vary. Scholarships are intended for current drama majors, although we do occasionally award outstanding pre-majors as well. 

The deadline for 2024-2025 scholarship applications is Monday, April 22, 2024. (EXTENDED DEADLINE)

General Eligibility Requirements

Maintain a 3.0 overall and 3.5 departmental GPA.

NOTE: Students who do not meet this criteria are eligible to apply, and can also be recommended by faculty, but should understand that departmental and overall GPA are a major part of the scholarship selection criteria for most scholarships. 

How to Apply

Apply online by completing a School of Drama Scholarship Application.

General Application Requirements

  • Name
  • Student Number
  • Email
  • Academic Year (Ex: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, MFA, PhD)
  • Major (for undergraduate applicants)
  • Drama GPA – Undergraduates only
  • Overall GPA
  • Enrollment plans for 2024-2025
  • Residency status
  • Areas of interest
  • Scholarships you are interested.
  • Essay responses
    • Why are you a strong candidate for the scholarships you are interested in? (Maximum 250 words)
    • What experience do you have in your areas of interest? (Maximum 150 words)
    • Why are you seeking financial assistance? (Please address financial capacity, impact of student loans, work schedule, etc.) (Maximum 250 words)
    • How would a scholarship support your future goals? (Maximum 250 words)
    • What does it mean to you to be a part of the School of Drama community (Maximum 250 words)
  • Resume or CV – Undergrads, submit a Drama resume
  • A current unofficial transcript

Types of Scholarships and Financial Support

Broad Graduate and Undergraduate Scholarships

The Frank and Martha Ackerman Scholarship– This fund was created by Frank and Martha Ackerman in honor of Martha’s mother. It is intended to be equally divided between the Schools of Drama and Music. This scholarship is awarded to either graduate or undergraduate students who have provided evidence of financial need and are in good academic standing.

The Ellis Fleming Scholarship - Valerie Ellis Fleming and her late husband Samuel Fleming have generously provided for the School of Drama at the University of Washington. The Fleming Ellis scholarship is intended for graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Drama.

Laura and Robert McBride Endowed Drama Scholarship - Laura McBride was born in Oregon Oct. 3, 1917. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, probably in 1939. Robert McBride received his Master of Fine Arts in Drama at UW in 1942. The McBride's were actors in New York City and summer stock in Connecticut from the late 1940s through the 1950s. Robert went on to be vice president and Far Eastern representative with Irving Trust in Hong Kong, where they resided for 15 years. Laura was a world traveler, talented seamstress and knitter, writer, author and artist. This scholarship is for undergraduates or graduates who are pursuing a degree in the field of drama. 

Michael Quinn Writing Prize – Michael Quinn was a member of the SoD PhD faculty from 1989 to 1994 when he lost his battle with lymphoma. In the words of Sarah Nash Gates, “PhD and BA students found him intellectually challenging, clear and very witty. His photographic memory allowed him to quote playwrights, theorists and baseball stats with amazing ease. Michael was instrumental in bringing major guests to campus to enrich our program and was an excellent mentor in the PhD program. Illustrating his generosity – before he died, he arranged for the royalties from his book to fund a student prize for writing.” Barry Witham adds, “Michael was a genuine young scholar who prized scholarship and wanted to encourage it. At first the fund was meant for PhD students but then he decided it should award good writing at any level. For me it certainly encapsulates the spirit and vision of a wonderful man.” The faculty selects the best essay written by a School of Drama student for the Quinn Writing Prize. This prize is traditionally awarded to a student in the doctoral program.

School of Drama Scholarship – In 1962, when Greg Falls was Director of the School of Drama, he felt it necessary to establish a School of Drama Scholarship. Many, many alumni have and continue to support this fund.  This scholarship is awarded to students on the basis of merit and leadership within the School of Drama. This scholarship is typically given to undergraduate students, but can be awarded to graduate students as well. To be eligible, students must be attending classes on the Seattle campus for the quarter they will be receiving the award.

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Design or Technical Theatre Scholarships

The John Ashby Conway Memorial Scholarship – John Ashby Conway taught design at the School of Drama for 40 years and retired in 1975. He was the original designer of the Penthouse Theater. Upon his death in 1987, a memorial scholarship was set in his name and overseen by his widow, Dorothy. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student in design or technical theatre. Students must be active participants in the School of Drama community. 

The James R. Crider Undergraduate Fund for Costume Design –James Crider was a member of the UW School of Drama faculty from 1952 until 1990, during which he taught various history of dress and costume design/construction courses, as well as designing for School of Drama productions and outside professional productions. The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support to undergraduate students in the SoD, and to encourage and nourish the love of theatrical costume design and construction in students in whom the seed of that love has already sprouted. This scholarship is awarded to one undergraduate who shows special promise as a designer and builder of theatrical costumes.

Shelley & Phil Schermer Endowment Scholarship – Shelley (Henze) Schermer (B.A. 1971) and Phil Schermer (M.A. Scenery and Lighting Design, and Technical Direction, 1969) both graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Drama. For several years Shelley was a scenic artist and prop master at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) and the Seattle Rep while she built her career as a scenery designer for ACT, the Bathhouse, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Intiman and many other theatres. Shelley has designed for well over one hundred theatre productions, as well as museum exhibits, conventions and fairs, and facility interiors. Upon finishing graduate school, Phil was hired as the UW School of Drama’s Theatre Production Supervisor where he oversaw the School’s scenery shop and theatre facilities, and the technical staff and students working in them. In 1974, Greg Falls hired Phil as Technical Director of ACT. Phil spent twenty-three years with the theatre, overseeing all aspects of the productions and the expansion and renovation of the original Queen Anne facility. The Schermers’ fruitful professional relationship with Greg Falls and his wife Jean led to partnerships beyond ACT. In 1975, the couples and another former UW associate, Mac Perkins, founded Pacific Northwest Theatre Associates (PNTA), which, would become one of the premier theatrical suppliers in the country. Upon the ACT' board's decision to move into a larger facility, Phil, with architect Gary Wakasuki, designed the renovation and then supervised the move into the historic Eagles Auditorium in 1996. Shelley, meanwhile, was tasked with designing the interiors of ACT's new home, and so they spent the majority of the last year of Phil’s life, after his receiving a lung cancer diagnosis, working together on this venture. Shelley has since remained a vital part of the theatre community in the Puget Sound Area as a designer, producer, and author of a book series on the history of ACT- you can see her scenic design for ACT’s annual production of A Christmas Carol every winter. In creating this fund, it was Shelley’s desire to give students opportunities similar to those she was afforded by providing financial support to undergraduate or graduate students in the technical and theatre design programs. This award provides financial assistance to undergraduate or graduate students who are studying technical theatre, scenic or lighting design, or sound design. Selection for the undergraduate scholarship will be determined by demonstrated aptitude for success in theatre design and/or technical theater. Graduate and undergraduate students who receive this award must participate in an internship with one of the professional theater companies in Seattle.

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Washington State Resident Scholarships

Donal Harrington Memorial Scholarship – Donal ("Dan") F. Harrington joined the School of Drama faculty as a directing professor in 1938. A beloved teacher and director, he served the school nearly 30 years, retiring in 1967. He spent one year as the School's Executive Director. Harrington is remembered as remarkable for keeping in touch with all of his students after they graduated. An avid traveler, he could summer almost anywhere in the world and count on spending time with former students turned friends. Endowment established by a bequest from alumnus William Crossett. Many of Harrington’s former students are also donors. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student who is a Washington State resident and has demonstrated outstanding potential in the field of acting, directing and/or artistic entrepreneurship. To be eligible, students must be attending classes on the Seattle campus for the quarter they will be receiving the award.

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Undergraduate Only Scholarships

The Holliday Family Scholarship – Kathleen Holliday was the undergrad adviser from 1998-2008. Upon leaving the UW, she established the Holliday Family Scholarship “because of the work we do – and for the students.” The fund will support undergraduate students pursuing a degree in dramatic arts at the UW; to honor her parents who lacked the means to pursue education and the arts, but instilled its importance in their children; and to express gratitude for the scholarship support she received as an undergrad which allowed her to complete her own degree. Undergraduate recipients are nominated and selected by a faculty committee. Students must be active members of the School of Drama community.

Glenn Hughes Memorial Scholarship – In honor of Founding School of Drama Director Glenn Hughes, this scholarship was established at the time of his passing in 1964 by the Arena Alumni Group. This group is comprised of School of Drama BA alumni and faculty who preserve the memories and activities of the School of Drama and have been the principle donors to this fund over many years. This scholarship is awarded to an outstanding drama major and provides up to one year of undergraduate tuition. It may be divided among multiple undergraduates. To be eligible, students must be attending classes on the Seattle campus for at least two quarters.

The Lyle and Liz Martin Humanitarian Student Award-Jessica Martin, School of Drama BA '08, created this student award to honor her parents and their enduring generosity. This award seeks to recognize an undergraduate student who is active in their studies and community; who may have been overlooked or ineligible for other scholarships, but most of all, who possess a generosity of spirit. Aware of the hardships many students face, this award was designed so that the recipient may treat themselves to a hot meal, purchase a much needed new pair of shoes, buy groceries, get his or her car tuned up, or other such expenses that are often just out of reach. Undergraduate recipients are nominated and selected by a faculty committee, typically in Spring quarter. 

The Jenna Ulrich Memorial Award – Jenna was a BA student who tragically was killed in an auto accident shortly after graduating. The award was established by her parents, Rick and Mya, “for a deserving BA student who emulates Jenna’s spirit and artistic contributions to the School of Drama.” This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate who whose overall citizenship and community engagement enhances the School of Drama. Undergraduate recipients are nominated and selected by a faculty committee.

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Costume Design / Technical Costume Scholarships (Undergraduate Only)

The Meri Wada Award – Meri Wada is an amazing woman and costumer who dedicated her 46-year career to the UW School of Drama. Upon her 1997 retirement, a fund was established by members of the Costume Shop Staff to honor her. This award is for a current or graduating undergraduate student who shows promise and skill in the area of technical costume. Undergraduate recipients are nominated by costume shop staff or faculty, and then decided by consensus among shop staff and faculty. This award may be presented to a continuing or graduating undergraduate student.

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How to Apply

Apply online by completing a School of Drama Scholarship Application.

Additional Resources

We also have information about Graduate Tuition and Financial Aid and past Scholarship Recipients available online.

More scholarship information is available from: