theatre&drama-bs

Admissions to the Theatre and Drama MFA have been suspended as of fall 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

The department offers the MFA advanced degree. The master of fine arts degree in Theatre and Drama offers specializations in Acting, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scene design, and Theatre Technology. Currently the MFA program admission is on hiatus but we will be accepting applications for the fall 2021 semester. 

The faculty in Theatre and Drama are leaders in their field. Together, they have many credits in all facets of the profession, working within their field of theatre research and practice both nationally and abroad. They are recognized for their critically acclaimed publications and production work and have won major awards and fellowships for scholarship, creative work, and teaching.

Graduate students at UW–Madison come from around the country and the world. Many have been working theatre professionals returning for advanced degrees. Some graduates go on to teach in the academy; others work in the profession as actors, directors, designers, and technologists.

Coursework and specializations are organized around two areas: acting and design and technology. Students in all specializations are encouraged to complement their major area of study by taking courses from other areas in the department.

University Theatre, the producing arm of the Department of Theatre and Drama, provides students with opportunities to complement work begun in the studios and classrooms. At UW–Madison, the stage is our laboratory. Coursework and discussions regularly connect theatre practice and study with larger issues of cultural and intercultural representation.

The MFA offers specialized preparation for careers in professional theatre.

The MFA specialization in scene design, costume design, lighting design, or theatre technology strives for a balance of professional training and the practical application of skills through numerous collaborative experiences, both onstage and in the classroom. Students in all four disciplines are encouraged to be creative problem solvers through both an appreciation of the history of their craft and a curiosity about the contemporary world of theatre, design and the application of new technologies. Numerous opportunities for realized work, studio collaborations and individualized mentoring affords the MFA student the opportunity to grow and develop as an articulate and collaborative theatre artist.

Admissions to the Theatre and Drama MFA have been suspended as of fall 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Funding opportunities for graduate work vary, but tend to be highly competitive. Please contact the department for more information on student financial support.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 75 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 33 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other specific grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Design and Technology students must pass two candidacy portfolio examinations in the first year of residency. They must pass two comprehensive-progress, portfolio examinations in both the second and third years of residency.

A research or creative thesis is required for Design and Technology candidates.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Core Program Coursework
Theatre History/Literature/Criticism courses6
Production courses12
THEATRE 367 Script Analysis 16
or THEATRE 501 The Business of Acting
or THEATRE 619 Special Topics in Theatre and Drama
THEATRE 699 Directed Study6
THEATRE 368 Fundamentals of Directing3
Total Credits33

Specialist Coursework

Acting1

Acting courses12
Movement courses12
Voice courses12
Electives6
Total Credits42

Costume Design1

Design courses9
Drafting courses3
THEATRE 619 Special Topics in Theatre and Drama (Topic: Period Dress and Décor)6
THEATRE 970 Collaborative Design & Technology Studio6
Skills (Crafts) courses6
Electives12
Total Credits42

Lighting Design1

Design courses9
Drafting course3
THEATRE 619 Special Topics in Theatre and Drama (Topic: Period Dress and Décor)6
THEATRE 970 Collaborative Design & Technology Studio6
Skills courses6
Electives12
Total Credits42

Scenic Design1

Design courses9
Drafting course3
THEATRE 619 Special Topics in Theatre and Drama (Topic: Period Dress and Décor)6
THEATRE 970 Collaborative Design & Technology Studio6
Skills courses9
Electives9
Total Credits42

Theatre Technology1

Technical Design courses12
Drafting course3
Technical Management courses9
THEATRE 970 Collaborative Design & Technology Studio3
Electives15
Total Credits42

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students may count no more than 18 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval, students may count up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students may count up to 15 credits numbered 700 or above.

ProbatioN

Each of the MFA Specializations in Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scene Design, and Theatre Technology conducts separate reviews of students each semester by portfolio and/or oral examination. Students may be placed on probation if program faculty determines that they are not meeting the expectations of their specific degree requirements.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

A thesis or final creative project must be prepared under the direction and guidance of a major professor.

Committee consists of four members—advisor and three other committee members.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

The MFA Specializations in Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scene Design, and Theatre Technology generally follow a three-year timeline and variations from this must be approved by the degree program head.

Other

Qualified candidates are considered for 33% TA positions as the budget allows.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Exhibit exceptional skill and professional competence in theatre practice exemplified by a knowledge and achievement signified by a large body of work.

2. Applies advanced analytical levels of inquiry and investigation in the creation, performance, production, or communication of theatre practice.

3. Possesses a broad knowledge of theatre literature as well as visual and cultural history and applies that knowledge to the production process.

4. Demonstrates the requisite artistic and technical skills to meet professional standards.

5. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, performances and/or techniques that advance the field.

6. Articulates complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner.

7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

8. Collaborates effectively, creatively, and generously through respect for the contributions of others.

Faculty: Professors John Hitchcock (chair), Ann Archbold, Patricia Boyette, David Furumoto, Patrick Sims; Associate Professors Gail Brassard,  Assistant Professors Shuxing Fan, Dan Lisowski