I'm new to these forums, but I'm a first year MT student at UCI. I'l be happy to answer whatever questions you have!
Basically the program is set up like this: There is no Musical Theatre degree, only an emphasis with possible honors. There is supposedly a BFA starting next year. More on that later. Right now there are 4 levels of MT classes, levels 2, 3, and 4 are by audition only. During welcome week everyone who wants to can audition. Its extremely competitive to get into any of the MT classes because the drama department is HUGE. 300+ students can audition. There are 40 slots in Level 2, 20 in Level 3, and around 10 in Level 4. You need 2 quarters of Level 2 before you can audition for Level 3, and 2 quarters of level 3 before you can audition for level 4. Level 1 is taught by a grad student, holds 14 students and does not require an audition
Everyone still with me?
It is very very hard to get into the upper level MT classes because they are so compacted. I got into Level 2 in fall quarter, and its full of people who are incredibly talented but can't get into level 3 because its so full.
The classes themselves get sequentially harder. Level 1 is intro to musical theatre. Level 2 is audition preparation and repertoire building. Level 3 is scenes and duets. Level 4 is a role building course, where each student performs a mini musical of a role they are highly castable as. Level 4 is incredibly difficult to get into because grad students can enter that class as well.
That is another thing - the grad students. To some people its not a big deal, but its an issue with me. I had no idea how much this program was geared toward the grads. They get the leads in most everything, they teach our first year acting courses, they get the showcase in NYC. Personally its frustrating. There is one undergrad musical a year (this year its Reefer Madness). Casting for the mainstage shows (2 musicals and around 7 plays a year) takes place during welcome week at the Mega Audition. Its a big cattle call where the ENTIRE department, as well as anyone in the entire school who wants to, gets to audition for the mainstage shows. Freshmen are allowed to audition. I will admit, it was a terrifying experience haha. I moved to Irvine, said goodbye to my parents, and the next day I had the very first audition at megas! Each student is allowed 2.5 minutes to do 2 monologues and a song.
second and third year grad students get their own audition, with a time slot of 3-5 minutes.
So thats a general idea of the program. There are some really great things here, and some not so great.