Degree Requirements

All students of the Theatre Program must meet the following requirements to earn the Masters of Fine Arts in their chosen concentration:

  1. Earned at least 60 points of course credit. At least 54 of those points must be acquired through graduate-level coursework (4000-level courses or above).

  2. Completed at least two (2) approved internships at an institution or organization relevant to a student’s course of study. NOTE: Students in the Theatre Management & Producing concentration must complete three (3) internships, and Acting students are exempt from this requirement.

  3. Submitted/Performed in an approved thesis in accordance with concentration guidelines.

  4. Additionally, students in the Dramaturgy program must meet one of the following requirements:

    • received a grade of “C” or higher, or “Pass”, in at least one year of intermediate level language as a college undergraduate,

    • passed one semester of Rapid Reading and Translation at Columbia,

    • received a “B” or better in a program equivalent to the Rapid Reading and Translation at another accredited college (e.g., CUNY’s Language for Reading Knowledge),

    • or passed a language proficiency exam at Columbia.

The following is a list of sample curriculum, listed by concentration and year. Please note course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.

Sample Curricula

The following is a list of sample curricula, listed by concentration and year. Please note course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.

Acting Thesis

All Acting students participate in a full-scale production, directed by a faculty member or guest director. Recent directors have included Diane Paulus, Andrei Serban, Karin Coonrod, and Yuriy Kordonskiy. There is no written component to this project.

Directing Thesis

Each Directing student, with the approval of his or her advisor, chooses a play to direct as their thesis. The play is cast by current Columbia MFA Acting students and professional actors. The Theatre Program provides a modest production budget. In addition to the production, students complete a written analysis and reflection on the production, not exceeding 25,000 words.

Dramaturgy Thesis

Every Dramaturgy student must complete a written thesis of no less than 12,500 words, based on production work, empirical research, translation, or similar project approved by his or her advisor.

Playwriting Thesis

During the third year, Playwriting students either create a new work or further develop an existing piece to present as their thesis in a full production. This process is guided by a Playwright Mentor. Recent mentors have included Caryl Churchill, Will Eno, Madeleine George, Melissa James Gibson, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Amy Herzog, Rajiv Joseph, Stan Lai, Tracy Letts, Gregory Moss, Sarah Ruhl, Caridad Svich, Alice Tuan, Anne Washburn, and Chay Yew.

Stage Management Thesis

Students must complete a paper of no longer than 10,000 words that present a viable and original concept, supported by research, experience, documented sources, and (if applicable), interviews, statistical analysis. Ideally, the thesis will be based on recent production or work experience. However, students may choose to write about historical, economic, and/or sociological topics directly related to stage management. Traditional prompt books and/or production diaries can be used as appendices to support the thesis topic.

Theatre Management & Producing Thesis

Every Theatre Management & Producing students must write a paper between 12,500-25,000 words for their thesis, under the supervision of a faculty advisor and second reader from the professional realm. The thesis can address any area of the theatre industry (e.g., commercial, not-for-profit, national, international, etc.), but must be supported by primary, secondary, and empirical research.