Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Theatre Arts M.F.A.

Theatre Arts & Dance Dept
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, 580 Rarig Center, 330 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ( 612-625-6699; fax: 612-625-6334)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2022
  • Length of program in credits: 60
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Fine Arts
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The three-year, performance-oriented, terminal MFA degree specializes in design and technical production. All areas of design are studied to increase understanding in specialization areas, and technology is studied as an essential part of design. Students are expected to achieve proficiency in at least two areas of any combination of design and technology (scenery/properties, costuming, lighting, sound) and a level of expertise in at least one of these areas.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Special Application Requirements:
Portfolio review by the Theatre Arts design/technology faculty
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 6.5
  • MELAB
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan C: Plan C requires 57 major credits and 6 credits outside the major. The final exam is written and oral. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project: A realized technology or design project.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 4 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Major field coursework offered on both the A-F and S/N grade basis must be taken A-F.
Foundational Courses (6 credits)
Take the following courses:
TH 5510 - Drawing, Rendering, and Painting for the Theatre Designer I (3.0 cr)
TH 5560 - Drawing, Rendering, and Painting for the Theatre Designer II (3.0 cr)
Design Courses (9 credits)
Select two of the following courses in consultation with the advisor. Repeat one of the two considered to be the primary design area.
TH 5520 - Scene Design (3.0 cr)
TH 5530 - Costume Design (3.0 cr)
TH 5540 - Lighting Design for the Theatre (3.0 cr)
TH 5559 - Sound Design for Performance (3.0 cr)
Design/Technology Practicums (6 credits)
Take 6 credits from the following, in any combination, in consultation with the advisor:
TH 5500 - Theatre Design Practicum (1.0-3.0 cr)
TH 5590 - Theatre Technology Practicum (1.0-3.0 cr)
TH 8500 - Theatre Design Practicum (1.0-3.0 cr)
TH 8590 - Theatre Technology Practicum (1.0-3.0 cr)
Electives (9 credits)
Select 9 credits from the following in consultation with the advisor:
TH 4555 - Audio Technology (3.0 cr)
TH 5355 - Puppetry: Techniques and Practice in Contemporary Theater (3.0 cr)
TH 5520 - Scene Design (3.0 cr)
TH 5530 - Costume Design (3.0 cr)
TH 5540 - Lighting Design for the Theatre (3.0 cr)
TH 5545 - Stage Lighting Technology (3.0 cr)
TH 5554 - Multimedia Production for Live Performance (3.0 cr)
TH 5556 - Audio Engineering (3.0 cr)
TH 5559 - Sound Design for Performance (3.0 cr)
TH 5570 - Properties/Scenery Technology (1.0-3.0 cr)
TH 5580 - Costume Technology (3.0 cr)
TH 5950 - Topics in Theatre (1.0-4.0 cr)
TH 5993 - Directed Study (1.0-5.0 cr)
TH 8950 - Topics in Theatre (3.0-4.0 cr)
TH 8994 - Directed Research (1.0-5.0 cr)
Professional Development Course (12 credits)
Take 3 credits of TH 8510, in consultation with the advisor, 4 times within 3 years.
TH 8510 - Professional Design Workshop (1.0-3.0 cr)
Internship (3 credits)
Take TH 8980 in consultation with the advisor.
TH 8980 - Internship (1.0-5.0 cr)
History of Literature within the Field (6 credits)
Select 6 credits from the following in consultation with the advisor. Other courses may be applied to this requirement with advisor approval.
TH 4177W - Analysis of Dramatic Literature [WI] (3.0 cr)
TH 5103 - The Theatre Dramaturg (3.0 cr)
TH 5117 - Performance and Social Change (3.0 cr)
TH 5179W - Text and Performance [WI] (3.0 cr)
TH 5181W - Blacks in American Theatre [WI] (3.0 cr)
TH 5182W - Contemporary Black Drama and Dramaturgies [WI] (3.0 cr)
TH 5183 - Critical Literacy, Storytelling, and Creative Drama (3.0 cr)
TH 8111 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: Ancient World and Early Medieval (3.0 cr)
TH 8112 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: Medieval Through Renaissance (3.0 cr)
TH 8113 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: National Theatres to the French Revolution (3.0 cr)
TH 8114 - Theatre: Performance and Political Modernity (3.0 cr)
TH 8115 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: 20th Century Through World War II (3.0 cr)
TH 8116 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: 20th Century From 1945 to the Present (3.0 cr)
TH 8120 - Seminar (3.0 cr)
MFA Creative Thesis (3 credits)
Take 3 credits of the following in consultation with the advisor.
TH 8990 - MFA Creative Thesis (3.0-4.0 cr)
Outside Coursework (6 credits)
Select at least 6 credits outside Theatre Arts in consultation with the advisor.
 
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TH 5510 - Drawing, Rendering, and Painting for the Theatre Designer I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: 1501 or grad
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Development of skills necessary for presentation of theatre scene/costume designs. Materials, layout, and techniques in scene painting. Basic drawing/graphic skills. prereq: 1501 or grad
TH 5560 - Drawing, Rendering, and Painting for the Theatre Designer II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Development of skills necessary for presentation of theatre scene/costume designs. Materials, layout, and techniques in scene painting. Rendering and scene painting skills. prereq: 5510
TH 5520 - Scene Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Prerequisites: 3521
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Conceiving/communicating design ideas in both two-dimensional sketches and three-dimensional models for theatre and allied venues. Drafting. prereq: 3521
TH 5530 - Costume Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Theory and process of costume design for theatrical productions (e.g., dance, opera, film) through hypothetical productions. prereq: 3531
TH 5540 - Lighting Design for the Theatre
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Prerequisites: 3541
Typically offered: Every Spring
Design aesthetics and exploration of design for various stage forms and venues. Development of the lighting plot and paperwork; use of the computer in lighting design. prereq: 3541
TH 5559 - Sound Design for Performance
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Audio technology/psychology, their impact on audience in a performance. Communication, design process, psychoacoustics, script analysis. prereq: 4555 or instr consent
TH 5500 - Theatre Design Practicum
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 20.0]
Prerequisites: Th 3521, 3531, or 3541
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Individual projects in production of approved plays as a designer of scenery/properties, costumes, lighting, or sound. (See 5100 for other creative practicums.) prereq: Th 3521, 3531, or 3541
TH 5590 - Theatre Technology Practicum
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 15.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Individual creative project in technology/craft area of theatre. Practical work in costume, lighting, makeup, props, scenery, sound, or theatre management. prereq: 3515, instr consent, dept consent; 4 cr max for undergrads
TH 8500 - Theatre Design Practicum
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 20.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Individual creative projects in production of approved plays as a designer for scenery/properties, costumes, lighting, or sound (see 8100 for other creative practicums). prereq: instr consent, dept consent
TH 8590 - Theatre Technology Practicum
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 20.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Individual creative projects in the technology or craft of costume, lighting, makeup, props, scenery, sound, or theatre management. prereq: instr consent, dept consent
TH 4555 - Audio Technology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Sound as science. Technology to create/manipulate sound. Recording techniques. Effects/signal processing. Microphone/mixing techniques. prereq: 1501 or instr consent
TH 5355 - Puppetry: Techniques and Practice in Contemporary Theater
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Fundamentals of puppet and object theater/performance are introduced through traditional/contemporary puppetry forms. Focuses on object theater, toy theater, hand puppets, and shadow/Bunraku-style puppets. Readings, in-class screenings of videos/slides. Students build/create series of short works for in-class performance. prereq: [[3513 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in 3513], instr consent] or grad student
TH 5520 - Scene Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Prerequisites: 3521
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Conceiving/communicating design ideas in both two-dimensional sketches and three-dimensional models for theatre and allied venues. Drafting. prereq: 3521
TH 5530 - Costume Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Theory and process of costume design for theatrical productions (e.g., dance, opera, film) through hypothetical productions. prereq: 3531
TH 5540 - Lighting Design for the Theatre
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Prerequisites: 3541
Typically offered: Every Spring
Design aesthetics and exploration of design for various stage forms and venues. Development of the lighting plot and paperwork; use of the computer in lighting design. prereq: 3541
TH 5545 - Stage Lighting Technology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
The lighting technician's skills and crafts: equipment, techniques, control operation, wiring, and maintenance. prereq: 3515 or grad or instr consent
TH 5554 - Multimedia Production for Live Performance
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Use of multimedia production technologies in actual production. Students apply knowledge/skill in conjunction with an artistic team on a production and are an integral part of the development/realization of that production. prereq: 5553 or instr consent
TH 5556 - Audio Engineering
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Miking/recording techniques specific to music/dramatic dialogue. Recording different styles of music. Hands-on recording of bands, doing final mixes to demo CD. Field trips to professional studios and club/concert recordings. prereq: 4555, instr consent
TH 5559 - Sound Design for Performance
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Audio technology/psychology, their impact on audience in a performance. Communication, design process, psychoacoustics, script analysis. prereq: 4555 or instr consent
TH 5570 - Properties/Scenery Technology
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 15.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Management, structures, upholstery, mask-making, furniture construction, stage mechanics, soft properties, faux finishes. Topics specified in Class Schedule. prereq: 3515 or grad or instr consent
TH 5580 - Costume Technology
Credits: 3.0 [max 15.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Fabric enhancement techniques, masks, wig-making, millinery, makeup prosthetics, pattern drafting, and draping. Topics specified in Class Schedule. prereq: 3571 or grad or instr consent
TH 5950 - Topics in Theatre
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 80.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Topics specified in Class Schedule.
TH 5993 - Directed Study
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 20.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Guided individual reading or study. Prereq 6 Th cr, instr consent, dept consent, college consent.
TH 8950 - Topics in Theatre
Credits: 3.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Topics specified in Class Schedule.
TH 8994 - Directed Research
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 5.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
tbd prereq: instr consent, dept consent
TH 8510 - Professional Design Workshop
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 18.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Development of graduate student as individual artist working collaboratively in performing arts industry. Further mastery of designer collaboration, self-promotion, management, displaying of job materials. Attend both professional/university productions throughout semester. prereq: MFA candidate
TH 8980 - Internship
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 10.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
tbd prereq: instr consent, dept consent
TH 4177W - Analysis of Dramatic Literature (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course trains students in the analysis of dramatic literature and develops their research skills in theatre studies, helping them understand plays within their contexts of origin and production. Taking a single theme (ex. madness, or death and mourning) the class brings together contemporary and historical plays from around the world, exploring how theatre offers a unique site to stage differences, understand marginalized experiences, and imagine alternative visions of the world. Assignments break down the writing process into its component parts, and guide students in developing a sustained interpretation of a play of their choice.
TH 5103 - The Theatre Dramaturg
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Theoretical/practical aspects of dramaturgy in American theater. Historical perspectives. Research/production history of classics. Development of new scripts. Dramaturgical structure and interpretive choices. Dramaturgy as it relates to playwrights/directors. Preparing/editing the rehearsal script. Production dramaturgy.
TH 5117 - Performance and Social Change
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Reading, writing, research, presentations and workshops explore activist performance projects. Theories of social formation and ideology provide framework to discuss/animate theater's potential for social change. prereq: Jr or sr or grad student
TH 5179W - Text and Performance (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
How to read texts toward performance in various dramatic/nondramatic material. Method of unlocking metaphoric energy of texts. Vocabulary/techniques of analysis that transform text from page to stage. prereq: [1322, [3171 or 3172]] or grad student
TH 5181W - Blacks in American Theatre (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Afro 5181W/Th 5181W
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Historical survey of significant events in the development of American black theatre traditions. Essays, plays, playwrights, and theatres from early colonial references to the Black Arts Movement.
TH 5182W - Contemporary Black Drama and Dramaturgies (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Afro 5182W/Th 5182W
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is an exploration of the impact and evolution of Black Theatre in America, covering the period rising from the Black Arts Movement to the present. The exploration will entail an understanding of cultural and socio-political issues as they are reflected in key and significant plays written and produced from the late 1950?s to the present. The plays and essays will be read against the background of significant cultural, social and literary movements - the Civil Rights Movement, Cold War politics, the Women?s Movement, Gay Liberation, the Culture Wars, post-modernism, deconstruction, multiculturalism, afro-futurism, etc. as well as the evolution of identity nomenclature and racial classification from Colored to Negro to Black to African American. In addition to play analysis and criticism, students will garner a knowledge of significant Black cultural institutions and their impact on the ever-changing American theatre landscape.
TH 5183 - Critical Literacy, Storytelling, and Creative Drama
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: CI 5483/ TH 5183
Typically offered: Every Summer
This course examines and embodies how storytelling and creative drama can be used as tools to help develop students? critical literacy and to assist them in becoming more fluent readers and writers. Critical literacy is the focus; theater and storytelling are the vehicles. Key topics to be covered include: 1) A historical background on fairy and folk tales, legends, fables, myths, and the different oral traditions; 2) Tools for developing a critical view of diverse tales; 3) Practical instruction on how to use storytelling and story genres in the classroom to develop critical literacy; 4) Assessing storytelling work in the classroom. Students will meet in the first week at the University to learn tools of the Neighborhood Bridges program and in the second week will practice and observe each other?s teaching with local school classrooms. In the past we have worked with 4th graders and 6th graders, though we will also discuss how course content applies to high school students. The class meets for two intensive weeks in person, however, we additionally assign pre-readings and post-class reflections and papers.
TH 8111 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: Ancient World and Early Medieval
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8112 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: Medieval Through Renaissance
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8113 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: National Theatres to the French Revolution
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8114 - Theatre: Performance and Political Modernity
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8115 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: 20th Century Through World War II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8116 - History and Theory of Western Theatre: 20th Century From 1945 to the Present
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
History, theories, arts, and crafts of western theatre from the ancient world to the present.
TH 8120 - Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Selected research topics from various theatre fields and periods. Sample topics: Border Crossings--Theatre History and Representation; The Theatre and Drama of the Third Reich, 1927-1944.
TH 8990 - MFA Creative Thesis
Credits: 3.0 -4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
tbd prereq: instr consent, dept consent