About the MFA Programs
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 rigorous training rooted deeply in the classics, while exploring new forms and the cutting edge of theatrical art. The best theatre across all times and cultures has not only reflected, but has also shaped its society. At its best, theatre helps point society to its best future. Columbia’s MFA 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, or concentration: Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Dramaturgy, Stage Management, or Theatre Management & Producing. Students follow a prescribed program curriculum, designed to provide basic grounding in their discipline, along with electives to support and enhance students’ concentration. Coursework is coordinated with required participation in stage productions.
Information on the specific course requirements for each concentration can be found on their respective pages (see links above).
Students can choose electives from a wide range of offered courses – from the Theatre Program, the other divisions of the School of the Arts, and the other schools of Columbia University. For all electives, students must receive permission from both the instructor and the Theatre Program, and enrollment in such courses may be limited. Only two 3000-level courses (6 credits total) may count towards the required 60 points for the MFA; all other courses must be 4000-level or greater.
All School of the Arts requires degree candidates must complete a final thesis. Students usually begin their thesis after the completion of two full years of coursework. Thesis requirements vary by concentration; it may require a production, a written paper, or both. Except for the Acting concentration, in which the faculty determines the thesis production, all thesis proposals must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser. Information about thesis requirements for each concentration can be found on their respective pages.
All students, except for those in the Acting concentration, are required to complete at least two professional internships. The Shubert Internship Program provides stipends for two theatre-based internships per student, anywhere in the world. Due to the strong connection with our MFA Theatre alumni, they often provide and supervise a significant number of prized internships for our students. Additionally, several of these internships have led to full-time positions.
Oftentimes, Columbia’s MFA Theatre alumni supervise a significant number of internships and several of these internship have led to full-time job.