The Theatre MFA programs in acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre management & producing seek students who have the talent, vision, and commitment to become exceptional artists. At the School of the Arts, students interact with the leading creators, practitioners, producers, and analysts of today’s theatre, acquiring disciplines rooted deeply in the classics while branching out into new forms and exploring the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre in every culture and in all eras has not only reflected its time but also shaped its society and often helped point it toward the future. The Theatre Program aims to train theatre artists to fulfill that important role in today’s society.
Theatre MFA students are admitted to a specific course of study: acting, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, stage management or theatre management & producing. Students follow the prescribed program curriculum, designed to provide basic grounding in theatrical production, along with electives in their area of concentration. Coursework is correlated with required participation in stage production.
Information about specific course requirements for each concentration can be found on their respective pages (see links to the left).
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Electives may be selected from the Theatre Program offerings; from the curricula of the Film, Visual Arts, and Writing Programs of the School of the Arts; and from other schools and departments at Columbia University. Registration in such courses requires the permission of the instructor and Theatre Program adviser, and enrollment in such courses may be restricted by the individual programs. Only two 3000 level courses (6 credits total) may count towards the required 60 points for the MFA; all other courses must be at the 4000 level and above.
The School of the Arts requires degree candidates to complete a final project/thesis. The thesis is undertaken after the completion of two full years of residence. Thesis requirements vary by discipline and may require a production, a written thesis, or both. Except for acting, in which the faculty determines the thesis, all thesis proposals must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser. Information about thesis projects for each concentration can be found on their respective pages.
All students, other than actors, are required to complete at least two professional internships. The Shubert Internship Program affords students the opportunity to receive a stipend for two internships with production companies, agencies and theatres in New York, across the country, and around the world. Theatre Program alumni supervise a significant number of internships, and several of these positions have led to full-time jobs. Click here for more information on the Shubert Internship Program.