Program accreditation
National Association of Schools of Theatre

Program goal

The M.F.A. in Theatre offers concentrations in stage design/technical theatre and costume design, which comprise the professional option, and in literature and performance, which make up the pedagogy option. Focus areas in pedagogy include movement, performance, and voice and speech.

Student learning outcomes

The M.F.A. degree prepares students to either enter the professional field of design or to teach at the college or university level. Students will demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge in their areas of focus, as well as in the core courses in history, literature and theory; and in teaching performance or production. They will be evaluated on their ability to teach undergraduates, a final thesis project and approval of a professional-quality design, presentation or publishable article.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

 

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.F.A.FallFeb 15 (suggested)None

Special requirements


In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree (theatre preferred). Students must present a portfolio of design work (both project and realized designs) as part of their application to the program. Professional experience will be considered. The program provides preparation for early to midcareer professionals to enter the field of either professional design or teaching theatre at the college/university level.

Degree requirements

In addition to general Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to take 60 credit hours of graduate-level course work distributed among core courses, area of concentration and electives, including special topics courses. The program is usually completed within two to three years.

Stage design/technical theatre concentration

The stage design/technical theatre concentration’s degree requirements include 12 credit hours in core courses, 12 to 18 credit hours in (level-appropriate) design studio and three to six credit hours of thesis/thesis project. The balance of credit hours will be in approved electives, which may include additional practica, research and production, or professional internships. Students will take practical courses and assist faculty in teaching and design projects. They may be advised to take additional history or drawing courses to ensure that they possess the background required for advanced design projects. Their design skills and professional preparation will be evaluated by the faculty through portfolio presentations and participation at professional conferences.

Curriculum requirements

Core curriculum
THEA   509Theatre History3
THEA   510Theatre Historiography3
THEA   603Dramatic Literature and Theory3
THEA   604Modern Theatre: Theory and Practice3
Concentration requirements
Select 12-18 credits from the following:12-18
Advanced Scene Design III
and Advanced Scene Design IV
Scene Painting
Professional Internship
Advanced Studies in Stage Design
and Advanced Studies in Stage Design
Production
Advanced Theatre Projects
Advanced Theatre Projects
Individual Study in Graduate Design
Electives
Select 24-30 of the following recommended electives: 124-30
Problems in Costume Design
and Problems in Costume Design
Individual Study in Graduate Design
Seminar in Special Issues in Theatre
Thesis or thesis project
THEA   699Creative Project Evaluation3-6
or THEA   799 Thesis
1

Some courses may be repeated with permission of the graduate program director.

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 60

Sample plan of study

Semester 1Hours
THEA   509
Theatre History
or Theatre Historiography
or Dramatic Literature and Theory
or Modern Theatre: Theory and Practice
3
THEA   505 Advanced Scene Design III 3
THEA   630 Production 3
Elective 3
 Term Hours: 12
Semester 2
THEA   509
Theatre History
or Theatre Historiography
or Dramatic Literature and Theory
or Modern Theatre: Theory and Practice
3
THEA   506 Advanced Scene Design IV 3
THEA   508 Scene Painting 3
THEA   641 Advanced Theatre Projects 3
 Term Hours: 12
Semester 3
THEA   509
Theatre History
or Theatre Historiography
or Dramatic Literature and Theory
or Modern Theatre: Theory and Practice
3
THEA   508 Scene Painting 3
THEA   605 Advanced Studies in Stage Design 3
THEA   651 Individual Study in Graduate Design 3
 Term Hours: 12
Semester 4
THEA   509
Theatre History
or Theatre Historiography
or Dramatic Literature and Theory
or Modern Theatre: Theory and Practice
3
THEA   508 Scene Painting 3
THEA   606 Advanced Studies in Stage Design 3
THEA   630 Production 3
 Term Hours: 12
Semester 5
THEA   640 Advanced Theatre Projects 3
THEA   698 Creative Project 3
Elective (special topics or art history) 3
 Term Hours: 9
Semester 6
THEA   593 Professional Internship 3
THEA   641 Advanced Theatre Projects 3
THEA   699
Creative Project Evaluation
or Thesis
3
 Term Hours: 9
 Total Hours: 66

Graduate program director
Noreen C. Barnes, Ph.D.
Director of graduate studies, Department of Theatre
nbarnesm@vcu.edu
(804) 827-1677

Additional contacts
Aaron D. Anderson, Ph.D.
Associate chair, Department of Theatre
adanderson@vcu.edu
(804) 828-2697

Ron Keller
Head of design
rkeller@vcu.edu
(804) 827-2445

Program website: arts.vcu.edu/theatre