Jul 21, 2019  
2011-2012 General Catalog 
2011-2012 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

Theatre Arts, MFA

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Caine College of the Arts

Department of Theatre Arts

(60 credits minimum)

The candidate for the 60 (minimum) credit MFA must complete the Plan B program, and will undertake from three to four creative projects in the appropriate specialization. Under this plan, the required project reports customarily take the form of production books, journals, or a design or technical portfolio.

The student may specialize in one of the following areas. It is recommended that both a primary and a secondary emphasis be elected.

Scenery Design
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Advanced Technical Practice

The minimum residency is four semesters, including one or two summers in an established repertory or stock company, or equivalent experience. Participation in the department’s summer Old Lyric Repertory Company will satisfy this requirement. A minimum total of 60 semester credits is required. The nature of the  discipline, as well as the resources of the department, discourage credit by extension, large amounts of transfer credit (i.e., in excess of 12 credits), or  numerous off-campus projects.

Students who have already earned an MA degree in theatre from an accredited institution will generally be given approximately one academic year of credit  toward the MFA degree. To finish the MFA degree, they will then be required to complete a specialized program of approximately 40 credits.

Required Courses

The program is completed in three phases, and while there may be considerable overlap between them, students undergo formal reviews before advancing to the next phase. The number of semesters given is approximate.

I. Entry Phase (approximately two semesters) (19 credits)

C. Advanced Design Coursework (in areas of specialization) (select 6 credits)

D. Design Studies (complete 2 credits each semester) (4 credits)


During (or upon the completion of) the first semester of this phase, the student will:

  1. Submit a petition to advance to the next phase.
  2. Nominate an MFA Supervisory Committee of at least three members and submit the list of members to the department head.
  3. Identify three projects for the next phase, after consultation with the graduate committee and department head of Utah State Theatre regarding program scheduling for the following season.
  4. Develop a study list with the help of the committee, outlining the course of study for the project and culminating phases.

II. Project Phase (approximately three semesters) (35 credits)

A. Design Studies (complete 2 credits each semester) (6 credits)

B. Cognate Skill Coursework (6 credits)

A minimum of two courses is required to develop skills or increase knowledge in a field related to the area of specialization. Courses are subject to approval by  the Graduate Study Committee. Students in any of the Design or Advanced Technical Practice specializations will take courses in: art, engineering and technology  education, welding, furniture construction or cabinetry, or landscape architecture. Students may petition to take coursework in other disciplines, upon justification of relevance to the course of study.

C. Advanced Design Coursework (in areas of specialization) (9 credits)

E. Repertory Theatre Performance or Production (4-8 credits)


  1. Students may also begin projects while they are still in the Entry Phase, but credit given for projects should include time for assembling and writing up the report, which is due the  following semester; the supervising instructor will notify the major professor or advisor when this is completed.
  2. Planning of the major projects should begin as early as possible in this phase.
  3. Qualified major and minor projects should be identified by the faculty each spring, based upon the plays selected for the following season. Graduate students will meet with the  faculty or department head to discuss directing, design, or technical assignments; or request a list of such projects by mid-April each year.
  4. During (or upon completion of) this phase, the student will:
    1. Submit a petition to advance to the final phase. The date of this petition will depend upon individual progress.
    2. Submit proof that projects A, B, and C, as well as the written reports for them, have been completed.
    3. Submit a proposal and/or preliminary work for the major culminating project: renderings, preliminary working drawings, etc.

Culminating Phase (one semester minimum)

Required Courses (7 credits)


The option to cancel a student project, or to allow work to proceed but disqualify it as an MFA project based upon insufficient preparation or validity, rests with  the department’s Graduate Study Committee, the student’s Supervisory Committee chairperson (advisor), and the Executive Producer of Utah State Theatre. This  rule is designed to protect the priorities of the department and the integrity of its productions.

During (or upon completion of) this phase, the student will:

  1. Assemble the Supervisory Committee for a final review (defense) of the student’s graduate work.
  2. File a complete copy of all Plan B reports with the department, in accordance with procedures of the School of Graduate Studies. Copyrighted material, such as published scripts,  will be filed separately in the Theatre Arts Office.
  3. Be awarded the appropriate degree.

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