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Theatre Arts: MFA

Theatre Arts

USU is the only university in the state with a master of fine arts program in theatre. It is also the only theatre program in the state with its own professional Equity theatre company, where students and professionals have the opportunity to work with the Old Lyric Repertory Company. The Theatre Arts Department at USU also hosts an impressive visiting artist series, where students have the opportunity to learn from renowned visiting professionals from all over the world. Graduate students in the department have many opportunities to present their design portfolios with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and graduate students often win national awards.

The MFA degree is a terminal degree in the design aspect of theatre. It is a three-year program in which students gain hands-on experience in one or more areas of focus, including set design, costume design, and lighting design. Secondary areas of study may include technical practice, sound design, properties design and/or scenic art.


  • Advanced Technical Practice: In this specialization, students work specifically on scene craft and technical direction.
  • Design: In this specialization, students choose to focus on scenic design, costume design, and/or lighting design.

Students who graduate with the MFA can pursue the following careers:

  • Professors in higher education
  • Regional theatre companies
  • Repertory theatre companies
  • Scenic, costume, or lighting design
  • Production managers
  • Technical directors

Students who graduate with the MA generally are secondary education theatre teachers who wish to advance their careers by obtaining a master’s degree, or are students who enter doctoral programs in the academic side of theatre.

Admission Requirements

Students from various majors are welcome to apply; however, several theatre prerequisites or their equivalents are required. Each student’s undergraduate transcript will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and students may be accepted into the program if they complete these prerequisites, which they can do concurrently with their graduate coursework.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Submit 5-20 samples of theare design work and/or artwork
  • Submit a resume of theatre experience
  • Participate in an interview with the appropriate faculty, in-person or by phone

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admission Deadlines

The department has the following deadline:

  • Fall semester – February 1
  • The program will continue to accept students after this deadline as long as there is space available. To receive financial assistance, it is recommended that applicants submit their applications by February 1.

Program Requirements

Students are required to participate in at least one summer with the Old Lyric Repertory Company, or equivalent with another theatre company.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students can receive the MFA by pursuing the following option:

  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Students can receive the MA by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

The department tries to provide funding for all graduate students through assistantships; however, the department will accept students who are self-funded if there are no available assistantships remaining. Typically, students in the MFA program receive general assistantships where they are required to work on productions, and MA students receive teaching assistantships and teach undergraduate courses in the theatre program.

A variety of additional funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, tuition awards, and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Bruce Duerden, MFA, Brigham Young University
Associate Professor, Theatre Design and Technology Advisor
Area: Technical theatre, lighting
Office: FAC 148
Phone: (435) 797-3026

Shawn Fisher, MFA, Brandeis University
Associate Professor
Area: Design and technical theatre
Office: FAC 139
Phone: (435) 797-2120

Dennis Hassan, MFA, The Ohio State University
Associate Professor
Area: Scene design
Office: FAC 230
Phone: (435) 797-3024

Nancy Hills, MFA, University of Oregon
Associate Professor
Area: Costume history
Office: FAC 229 D
Phone: (435) 797-3049

Lynda Linford, MFA, University of Minnesota
Associate Professor
Area: Acting, voice
Office: FAC 226 B
Phone: (435) 797-3050

Camille Litalien, MA, Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, UK
Assistant Professor
Area: Dance, movement
Office: FAC 139A
Phone: (435) 797-3022

Adrianne Moore, MFA, Florida State University
Associate Professor
Area: Voice, acting
Office: FAC 138
Phone: (435) 797-3023

Matt Omasta, PhD, Arizona State University
Assistant Professor, Theatre Education Advisor
Area: Theatre education, theatre for young audiences
Office: UR 125
Phone: (435) 797-3103

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Theatre Student Association: TSA is a student-governed club that produces several plays independently each year, performs service and recruiting projects for the department and college, and supports its own members with some travel funding to festivals and conferences.

Labs, Centers, Research

Black Box Theatre: The Black Box Theatre is a 90-seat studio/laboratory venue.

Caine Lyric Theatre: The Caine Lyric Theatre is located in downtown Logan. The 378-seat proscenium theatre, listed on the Utah State Historical Register (1913), is home to the Old Lyric Repertory Company and hosts USU Opera program performances.

Morgan Theatre: A 670-seat thrust theatre is used for plays and small concerts and performances. The Morgan Theatre is the main performance venue for the USU Theatre Department. It also serves as a wonderful venue for music, dance, or conferences that want a more intimate performance venue.



Academic Advising

Shawn Fisher
Associate Professor
Office: FAC 139
Phone: (435) 797-2120

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