MFA in Design & Technology

Sadly, we will not be accepting applications for entry to our program for Fall 2021. The impacts of COVID-19 have challenged all institutions of higher education with budget shortfalls, delays to creative work timelines, and a severely constricted academic job market.  Along with many MFA programs nation-wide, we decided to pause admissions for a year in order to channel our resources into the robust support of our current MFA cohort. We hope to resume admissions for Fall 2022. In the meantime, we are happy to answer your questions and encourage you to keep in contact with us about joining our program in a future year.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Design & Technology is awarded to students who explore challenges in the areas of scenery/properties, costuming, lighting, sound design, and technology with an emphasis in at least one of these areas. It is a rigorous program based on the belief that good designers must have a solid understanding of each area of design in order to be able to communicate and collaborate well with the other designers, technicians, and directors. Good designers must also have strong craft skills in order to understand how the design functions in execution. We believe that technology is an integral tool of design and seek to balance the education of the student in both areas. The MFA is designed to be completed in three years.

The MFA Program in Design and Technology seeks to prepare students for employment in the professional theatre and allied arts as well as educational theatre in universities and colleges. Faculty is helpful—and very successful—in placing graduating students.

It is expected that each student would have, upon entry, a primary area of design emphasis (in either scenery/properties, costumes, lighting, or sound technical production). This design/tech emphasis is the main focus of the coursework. A secondary area of interest would be developed through coursework and design assignments. The final creative project is to design a supported production demonstrating ability in these two areas. The other areas of design and technology are usually addressed during the first year of the program which emphasizes development of a broad understanding of craft, drawing, rendering, drafting, and related design skills. The MFA Course Worksheet provides information on planning your coursework during your time in the MFA program.

Students have numerous opportunities to design on both the University Theatre Subscriber Series Season and the Nolte Xperimental Theatre Season throughout the three years. The annual production schedule includes four to five Subscriber Series productions (with budgets ranging up to $7,000) in either the proscenium, thrust, or arena theatres of Rarig Center, including one dance production, and many opportunities in the Nolte Xperimental Theatre. Design/technology graduate students are also in constant demand by the large Twin Cities professional theatre and arts community where internships and many overhire opportunities are frequently available.

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