Degree Requirements | Theatre Design
The School of the Arts Areas of Film and Theatre offer a Master of Fine Arts degree with four fields of study in Film-Production, Film-Screenwriting, Theatre-Performance (Acting or Directing), and Theatre-Design (Scenic, Lighting, or Costume). For Playwriting please see the Creative Writing Workshop. The Department works with the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Our MFA programs reflect NAST's highest standards.
The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree for students interested in pursuing careers in film production, theatre arts, and in creative writing. The program requires completion of 60 credit hours of study plus a thesis project which must be performed or exhibited publicly prior to graduation.
For the most up to date list of courses and course descriptions, please visit WebSTAR | UNO Catalog
MFA Design Requirements
MFA Qualifying Project - Year One
During the first year of your study each student will work on a Qualifying Project. This project will pertain to the student’s specific area of emphasis. Directing and Design students will be assigned this project, actors will be cast through the audition process. Details are in the MFA Graduate Student Handbook available from the Graduate Coordinator.
Comprehensive Exam - Year Two
The Comprehensive Exam is scheduled after successful completion of 27 hours of Graduate Study (Spring of the 2nd year). The Comprehensive Exam consists of two major components: a 3-hour Written Exam administered by the Graduate Coordinator, and a 1-hour Oral Exam administered by the student’s Graduate Committee. The Written Exam will include an Independent Research Component in addition to normal course work. During the Oral Exam, the student will answer questions pertaining but not limited to: assigned study materials; the Independent Research Component; the Written Exam itself; or other relevant topics for discussion that may arise. Details are in the MFA Graduate Student Handbook available from the Graduate Coordinator.
Publicly Presented Thesis Project - Year Three
Upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam, the student has earned candidacy for Thesis and the degree of MFA. The student is then assigned a thesis role, or production, by the Major Professor in consultation with the Theatre Faculty. (This happens during the season selection in Spring of the 2nd year.) These assignments will be designed to challenge and enrich the student’s individual experience and goals. Once these assignments are made, the student prepares a Thesis Prospectus, for approval by members of their Graduate Committee.
A thesis is a formal document; thus, the tone should reflect this throughout each section. The major components of the Thesis Document are: Cited Research/Theory; Production Process; Post-Production Analysis, Critique, and Self-Assessment. Other materials or sections may be added through consultation with the Major Professor. Final formatting must be approved through the Graduate School and deadlines met. Students are strongly encouraged to take the formatting workshop offered by the Graduate School.
The thesis production should be a play, musical, or other live-audience, full-length theatrical production. It is assumed that this production will be within the Theatre UNO Season of the Candidate’s third year of study, however, a professional production with a professional company in the Greater New Orleans area may be discussed with the Major Professor as a possible alternative.
The Thesis Defense will be scheduled for 1-hour and 15-minutes, during which time the Candidate will answer questions from the Committee pertaining to the production, the role created, or the written document. Other relevant topics pertaining to the student’s experience and/or trajectory in the art may be discussed. Details are in the MFA Graduate Student Handbook available from the Graduate Coordinator.