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Theatre Design (MFAT)   

Program Title and Classification

Theatre Design

Graduate Degree Program

College: Arts and Humanities

Abstract

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies offers a three-year Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design, with concentrations in costume, scenic, lighting and multimedia. The degree offers superior students advanced training in design with on-campus and off-campus opportunities for creative activity. The program prepares the student to enter the professional theatre or to teach in the creative areas at colleges or universities. The School also offers MA and PhD degrees in theatre history and performance studies, and MFA degree in Dance, For more information visit the School website at http://tdps.umd.edu.

Admissions Information

General Requirements:

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • Portfolio: A sample of work submitted through a professional website, or via a file – uploaded to the Multimedia Requirement section of the application. 
  • Applicants interested in multimedia design: Should select lighting design as their area of interest on the online application.

For more admissions information or to apply to the program, please visit our Graduate School website: https://gradschool.umd.edu/admissions 

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
16 May
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
7 Mar


Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at http://tdps.umd.edu/programs/mfa-design

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Total CreditsCore Requirements

Minimum of 60 credits required

Students choose from one of the following specializations: Costime Design, Scene Design, Lighting Design, or Projected Design. Teaching Assistants should complete one credit of THET 606: Teaching Theatre. Course requirements are as follows:

Core (30-36 credits):

THET 465: History of Fashion for the Theatre (3 credits)

THET 6xx: Introduction to Theatre Design

THET 603: Introduction to Theatre Design (3 credits)

THET 670: Period Style for the Theatre. Fashion and Decor (3 credits)

THET 788: Master's Tutorial (5 credits)

THET 789: Master's Practicum (6-12 credits)

THET 799: Master's Thesis Research (6 credits)

Studio (15-18 credits):

THET 649: Advanced Design Studio in Costume (3 credits)

THET 639: Advanced Design Studio in Scenery (3 credits)

THET 659: Advanced Design Studio in Lighting (3 credits)

THET 678: Theory of Visual Design for the Performing Arts (3 credits)

Electives (6-15 credits)

 

The Master of Arts in Theatre Design (costume, lighting, scenic, multimedia) requires 60 credit hours.

Student designers must present and pass three formal design portfolio reviews, at the conclusion of their second, fourth, and sixth semesters in the program. In addition, portfolio interviews take place at the end of the first, third, and fifth semesters. Design portfolios include studio projects as well as fully realized academic and professional scenic, costume, or lighting designs. The fourth semester portfolio review will include an evaluation of a pre-thesis design project (usually a fully realized design, but may include independent study design projects). The pre-thesis design project, in preparation for the thesis, will include a written component. Successful completion of the portfolio reviews will result in the assignment of the thesis project.

Successful completion of the portfolio review will result in the assignment of pre-thesis (after the first year) and thesis (after the second year) projects. Upon completion of each portfolio review, the candidate will receive a formal letter indicating a grade of pass, conditional pass, or fail. In the event of a conditional pass or fail, the faculty may require the candidate to complete additional projects or coursework.

First year portfolio should include:

  • A current resume
  • Projects from primary and secondary design emphasis courses
  • Craft projects from foundation component courses
  • Production photographs illustrating realized craft or design work for projects produced by the School or by professional theatres
  • Supporting materials, drawings, and photographs that demonstrate effective and productive work as a design assistant (academic or professional projects)

Second year portfolio should include:

  • A current resume
  • Projects from primary and secondary design emphasis courses
  • Production photographs illustrating realized craft or design work for projects produced by the School or professional theaters
  • Supporting materials, drawings, and photographs that demonstrate effective and productive work as a design assistant (academic or professional projects)
  • A written design analysis and supporting research material for the pre-thesis project that should follow the form of the first chapter of the written component of the thesis project

For their thesis, M.F.A. design students create and realize a scenery, costume, or lighting design for a major production. Each student must meet all deadlines for that production and the design and execution must be acceptable to all members of her/his thesis committee. The written component of the thesis includes all relevant visual material, including research images, drawings, renderings, and production photographs.

M.F.A students typically design three or four productions in our main season during their three years in residence. The first year of study includes several assistant design assignments. We plan our productions at least one semester in advance; therefore, there is a good possibility that students will be designing their first main season production in the spring semester of the first year. We produce five main season shows and approximately five student produced productions per academic year.  M.F.A. students also have the opportunity to work with our award-winning faculty on professional projects within the Washington metropolitan theatre community, as well as work in regional theatres, off-Broadway and Broadway.

An exciting feature of the MFA in Design program in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is the annual public portfolio exhibit and review. Each year the Cafritz Theatre is transformed into a gallery where all MFA Design students display their set, costume, and lighting designs.

A multi-day affair, the first day is open to the general public when professional designers and directors from the Washington, DC theatre community have an opportunity to respond to student work and where students often make important professional contacts. The second day involves longer one-on-one critique sessions with the nation’s leading designers and directors. 

In the past few years our respondents have included designers and directors such as Paloma Young, Donyale Werle, Jeff Croiter, Ming Cho Lee, John Lee Beatty, David Korins, Ken Posner, Linda Roethke, Serge Seiden, Joy Zinnoman, John Iacovelli, Aaron Posner, James Kronzer, Mary Zimmerman, Jim Ingalls, and Anna Kuzmanic.

 

Facilities and Special Resources

The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is housed in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland. This state-of-the-art facility includes the 650-seat Ina and Jack Kay Theatre, the 200-seat Robert and Arlene Kogod Theatre and the 100-seat Cafritz Theatre.

The campus is within a few miles of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, the National Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre at the Lansburgh, and the Olney Theatre Center, which are among more than 80 professional area theatres. Two of the greatest libraries in the world, the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library, are in close proximity to campus. Students also make regular use of the Smithsonian Institution, the Federal Theatre Project Archives, the National Archives, and more than 50 specialized libraries and institutions in the Washington metropolitan area.

Financial Assistance

The School nominates outstanding applicants for competitive University fellowships. Teaching assistantships are available to a limited number of students. The Graduate program head will discuss these with accepted students at the time of acceptance.

Contact Statement

Head of MFA in Design program is Associate Professor Misha Kachman - mkachman@umd.edu

 

Website

http://tdps.umd.edu/programs/mfa-design

Contacts

Crystal Gaston, Assistant to Director & Coordinator of Graduate Services

2809 Clarice Smith PAC

University of Maryland

College Park MD, 20742

Telephone: 301-405-6675

cgaston@umd.edu

 

Associate Professor Misha Kachman, Head of MFA Design

2739 Clarice Smith PAC

University of Maryland

College Park MD, 20742

Telephone: 301-405-6639

mkachman@umd.edu

 

Associated Information