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Graduate Program Descriptions
All MFA and PhD students are offered a full financial package that covers all university tuition and insurance (health, dental, vision).

MFA in Acting

The body and mind of the actor are synthesized to serve as an instrument of expression. The actor must depend on his or her instrument to perform, and the program places great emphasis on the strengthening and tuning of that instrument. The innate talent of the student is nurtured, coaxed, and challenged with individual attention from a team of professionals and specialists in actor training.
Click here to learn more about the Acting MFA Program.

MFA in Contemporary Dance Making and Performance

The purpose of the MFA in Contemporary Dance Making and Performance is to nurture the unique vision of the next generation of dance theatre artists. Students will create original works that foster cross-fertilization between choreography and other artistic disciplines. The focus of the program will encourage the development of concepts and processes, which expand the language and aesthetics of dance theatre.
Click here to learn more about the Dance MFA Program.

MFA in Design

The MFA Design program trains students of Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and Sound Design in the best professional practices of regional and commercial theatre. The design faculty are award-winning working professionals also committed to teaching. The design training program stresses an interaction with the works of many visual artists from a wide range of disciplines. We teach students traditional methods, but also encourage spontaneity, free of preconceptions. We train students to create designs that "comment" on the play and the text, not merely "illustrate" it. Students' talent and design work are showcased at a number of venues that have directly resulted in many national grants, awards, and other work opportunities for our alumni.
Click here to learn more about the Design MFA Programs.

MFA in Directing

The Directing Program develops directors who are creative, impactful leaders of highly collaborative theatrical processes. UCSD Directors create compelling theatrical events in direct dialogue with the contemporary landscape of American theatre. They are strong visionaries who inspire collaborators to do their best work. Directing students balance specific production goals while also seeking discoveries in the unknown. Our curriculum focuses on text analysis, execution of narrative vision, production process, and new play development. With the audience at the center of attention, Directors make sophisticated choices about style and form to create engaging, relevant theatre. Click here to learn more about the Directing MFA Program.

MFA in Playwriting

The American theatre needs bold, committed, and compassionate playwrights who are connected to the world they live in. Each year we admit one or two such playwrights who will be nurtured by the close individual attention and extensive production opportunities that are unique to this program. We believe that the theatre itself is a valuable teacher of playwrights and so playwrights work collaboratively with their colleagues in the MFA acting, directing, design, and stage management programs to create stimulating and meaningful works of art. The year-long development process includes a series of readings and a workshop week culminating in the Wagner New Play Festival, produced each April. The Festival provides a dynamic opportunity for all its featured plays to receive greater local and national attention as it attracts professional guests from theatres across the country.
Click here to learn more about the Playwriting MFA Program.

MFA in Stage Management

The stage management curriculum wholeheartedly embraces the practical and theoretical, acknowledging that the most fertile ground for learning is where the two intersect. We teach stage managers how to set intentions and goals, which allow the cultivation of a supportive space for creative collaboration. Stage Management students approach each production with a keen collaborative sensibility, aided by a strong knowledge of directing, design, acting, and all production areas.
Click here to learn more about the Stage Management MFA Program.

PhD in Theatre and Drama

UCSD Theatre & Dance offers a groundbreaking Ph.D. in Drama and Theatre in conjunction with the Department of Drama at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). The joint nature of the Ph.D. program provides an unrivalled diversity of theatre faculty and affiliated faculty between both campuses available for coursework and advising. Within the context of the program’s twin focus on theory and history, an innovative structure permits each student to pursue a custom-designed curriculum that draws from a rich variety of seminars in faculty research areas that include: Theatre of the Americas (modernist and postmodernist theatre and performance; African American theatre and dance; Asian American performance) and European Theatre, as well as Asian Theatre, Gender Studies, Intercultural Theatre, and Critical Theory.
Click here to learn more about the PhD Program.

If you have questions or would like more information about our Graduate programs, call the Graduate Coordinator at 858-534-1046 or email at meward@ucsd.edu.

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