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Indiana University Bloomington
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Master of Fine Arts

The candidate for the Master of Fine Arts degree in the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution with a major in theatre or equivalent training and experience. In addition, each candidate must provide evidence of a high-degree of technical skill and creative ability in his/her area of special interest.

The M.F.A. is a three-year program and at the end of each year in residence at Indiana University, students' skill and creative ability will be evaluated. Only those who have clearly demonstrated growth and excellence will be permitted to remain in the program.

Course Requirements

The M.F.A. degree requires a minimum 60 credit hours of graduate work with an emphasis in one of the following areas: Acting, Directing, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Playwriting, Scenic Design or Theatre Technology. The student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all course work taken for graduate credit. (Students receiving financial aid must maintain a grade point average of 3.2.) The 60 hours of graduate work will include:

  1. Three hours in research methods and materials (T500);
  2. Six graduate hours in the area of theatre history, theory, or dramatic literature;
  3. Twenty-one hours (minimum) of courses numbered 500 or above.

In addition, an M.F.A. course of study may include twelve hours (fifteen hours in Costume Design) in an allied field in another department. A production thesis is required of all students for which a maximum of ten credits may be taken.


Transfer credits must meet the requirements of a particular M.F.A. program. The proposed transfer credits will be reviewed by the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance and appropriate transfer credits will be recommended to the Graduate School for acceptance toward the M.F.A. degree. A candidate may transfer up to twenty hours of appropriate graduate credit from other institutions.

Residence Requirements

The M.F.A. course of study is a three-year program and it is highly recommended that students plan on three-years of uninterrupted study in residence. The faculty believe that it takes three-years for a student to develop his/her artistic talent and master technical skills; the programs are structured accordingly. Normally, only those courses that have been taken within a five-year period prior to the awarding of the M.F.A. will count toward the 60 hour requirement.

Creative Requirements

Each M.F.A. candidate must complete a major creative project each year. These projects will be reviewed by the M.F.A. committee in the student’s area of specialization and critiqued by the student’s advisor. Following the annual evaluation, a recommendation will be forwarded to the Graduate Committee as to whether or not the candidate should be allowed to continue in the program.

Each M.F.A. candidate must complete a thesis project. In addition, an oral examination over prescribed material, an oral defense of the project, and an appropriate record of the project are required. The permanent record of the thesis project will follow a format prescribed by the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.

Undergraduate Requirements

Admission into the M.F.A. program requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year collegiate institution with a major in Theatre or equivalent training and experience. All candidates must have had undergraduate courses in the following areas:

  1. One course in Acting and Directing;
  2. Two courses in Costuming, Lighting, Scenic Design or Stagecraft; and
  3. Three courses in Theatre History, Theory, or Dramatic Literature (with a minimum of one course in Theatre History and one course in Dramatic Literature).

Participation as a member of a crew, participation in a production, or involvement in "practicum courses" will not be considered an adequate substitute for these requirements. However, a student will not be required to repeat a course if it can be clearly demonstrated that he/she has acquired knowledge of a subject through practical experience at a professional level. Incoming students who are deficient in areas of performance, design, or history, theory, and literature will be expected to make-up their deficiencies with appropriate undergraduate courses. Courses used to complete undergraduate deficiencies, however, cannot be counted as part of the 60 hour M.F.A. requirement.

Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, the official source of information regarding Graduate School degree requirements is the University Graduate School web page.