TUTD is not accepting MFA in Theatre Design applications for Fall 2023, please contact Victor Holtcamp for more information.

Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technical Production

The Theatre and Dance Department has an exciting graduate program for the theatre designers of tomorrow! The Theatre Design and Production MFA is a three-year program offered in Scene Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design and Technical Direction.

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Design at Tulane University offers an in-depth study of theatrical design areas with an emphasis on preparing the student for a career in professional theatre or as a teacher of a specialized field at the university level. Applicants to the program must have completed an undergraduate degree in theatre or have had equivalent training and experience.

MFA in Design and Technical Production, Tulane University

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Design places concentration and emphasis on design as a collaborative process with equal emphasis on technical and creative skills as learned both through classwork and practical production.

The program is a three-year program. Two and a half years are spent in residence and one semester of the third year in an internship with a professional theatre. Students with an MA in design or production may, at the discretion of the faculty, complete their degree sooner. Normally, 48 hours of coursework are required for the completion of the degree. In addition, six hours are earned with the internship assignment and thesis production.

It is the philosophy of the design faculty that the design process is best taught through the realization of designs in actual production situations. Each year, the Department of Theatre and Dance provides a number of opportunities for such realized design projects. The department produces three to four mainstage productions and one dance concert each year directed by faculty or guest directors. Students in design and technical direction are assigned to these projects as their skills develop. The Third Year Thesis Project becomes the culmination of a number of realized projects. The selection of this production is intended to provide a showcase of each student's talents and skill. Each student's work is reviewed by the faculty on a semester-to-semester basis.

Tulane University requires that each graduate student commit 15-20 hours a week of service to the department in which the student is involved. This is required of a student regardless of acceptance or non-acceptance of a stipend. Any student offered an assistantship will be granted a full tuition waiver. Currently, all of our graduate students receive a stipend and a full tuition waiver.



Core Courses for a major in Design

  • Theatrical Drafting and Model Making (THEA 6350) 3
  • Design Fundamentals I (THEA 6410) 3
  • Design Fundamentals II (THEA 6420) 3
  • Period Styles for Designers I (THEA 6530) 3
  • Period Styles for Designers II (THEA 6540) 3
  • Portfolio Techniques (THEA 6900) 3
  • Graduate Text Analysis (THEA 7010) 3
  • Directing for Designers (THEA 7210) 3
  • Design Seminar (THEA 7800) 3
  • Internship (THEA 7890) 9
  • Thesis Production (THEA 7990) 3

Scene Design Track

  • Rendering for Designers (THEA 6440) 3
  • Scene Design CAD (THEA 6820) 3
  • Advanced Technical Problems (THEA 6310) 3
  • Scene Design I (THEA 7410) 3
  • Scene Design II (THEA 7420) 3
  • Scene Painting (THEA 6830) 3
  • Design for TV (THEA 6470) 3
  • Designing for Puppetry (THEA 6480) 3

Costume Design Track

  • Rendering for Designers (THEA 6440) 3
  • Costume Technology (THEA 6760) 3
  • Costume Design I (THEA 7510) 3
  • Costume Design II (THEA 7520) 3
  • Advanced Costume Rendering (THEA 6460) 3
  • Designing for Other Media (THEA 6840) 3
  • Elective 3

Lighting Design Track

  • Fundamentals of Lighting (THEA 6330) 3
  • Scene Design CAD (THEA 6820) 3
  • Lighting Design I (THEA 7610) 3
  • Lighting Design II (THEA 7620) 3
  • Computer Technology for Lighting (THEA 6340) 3
  • Elective 3

Technical Direction Track

  • Scene Design CAD (THEA 6820) 3
  • Advanced Technical Problems (THEA 6310) 3
  • Technical Direction I (THEA 7710) 3
  • Technical Direction II (THEA 7720) 3
  • Designing for Other Media (THEA 6840) 3
  • Elective 9

For more information on course descriptions please visit the course catalog. (Levels 600+)

Degree Requirements



Admission to the MFA Design program is highly selective and only a small number of candidates are selected every other year. This ensures each student considerable production experience as well as continual one-on-one contact with Theatre Design faculty. Our last class entered in the Fall of 2021. The next application intake opportunity will be Spring 2023.

Please note that while the university states a February 1 application deadline, the department traditionally recruits at USITT in March and allows for submissions through the end of April. Admission to the program is based primarily on consideration of the candidate's academic ability as evidenced by his/her undergraduate GPA, previous theatre experience, and portfolio. The GRE is no longer required.

Ideally, the design faculty would like the opportunity to look at the applicant's portfolio during an interview. However, if an interview is not possible, the department will request that the applicant send a portfolio of representative work for review. Please do not send your portfolio with your application; wait until it is requested by the department.

Apply Now