Theatre (Directing), MFA

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Do you want to collaborate with some of the most innovative theatre minds in the country? Come and explore how to develop new work with gifted playwrights, devisors and community-engaged artists.

The MFA in theatre with a concentration in directing is a program for students who demonstrate serious purpose, professional aspirations, theatrical daring and the desire to explore new work in collaborating with playwrights and in the devising and creation process. Respect for fellow artists and a desire to learn about how all the parts fit together are essential qualities in the successful candidate and the successful director.

Students are introduced to varied critical viewpoints from select artists and scholars. A hands-on, mentor-student approach is emphasized, with the intent of developing the skill, artistry and communication skills required to be an excellent professional director.

At A Glance

Theatre (Directing), MFA

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Application Requirements

Admission to the directing program occurs every three years. A separate theatre application is required in addition to the university application. For a complete list of requirements and when the next application cycle is available, visit the Steps to Apply page.

Application Deadlines:

Fall 2024: January 15, 2023. 
Applications for Fall 2024 admission will be available beginning September 1, 2023.

Curriculum check sheet

Check sheets break down the course requirements for the degree program and can be accessed below.

Theatre (Directing), MFA 2021-2022

Degree requirements

This is a three-year program culminating in an applied project. Practical directing and directing classes are approximately 50% of the coursework. Classes also include:

  • acting (viewpoints and composition)
  • assistant directing for a professional or faculty director working on the main stage
  • design collaboration
  • devising methodologies
  • directing the new play
  • dramatic theory and criticism
  • dramaturgy
  • performance technology
  • projects in community-based drama
  • re-envisioning
  • research methods
  • theatre for social change
  • theatre history and literature

MFA directors will direct a new work every year. Major assignments may include:

  • creating and directing an adaptation of an existing work
  • directing a new play by a Master of Fine Arts playwright
  • directing one applied project in the Theatre or Music Theatre season
  • guiding an ensemble in the devising process and directing the resulting devised piece

Directing faculty mentor all student projects. Academic and artistic progress is evaluated at the end of each semester by a faculty committee. Program continuation is contingent upon a successful review. A professional internship is required for each Master of Fine Arts director.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. statement of purpose
  4. current resume
  5. written directorial approach to a play selected by the reviewing committee
  6. three letters of reference from professionals familiar with the student's work
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

A personal interview is required. Interviews via phone, video conference or campus visit are available by appointment.

The MFA in theatre with a concentration in directing recruits every three years. The next round of applications will be accepted in January 2024 for Fall 2024. Interested students should check back for updates.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines and admission terms.

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