2012 - 2013 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Theater/Design, M.F.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: February 1

Applications are processed on a semi-rolling basis throughout the spring.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university professors and professionals in the field who are familiar with the applicant's work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Standardized Test Scores:

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 79 iBT or 550 PBT.


The student's portfolio should contain examples of work, ranging from projects and classroom exercises to completed projects. The portfolio should include research materials, rough sketches, and examples of works in progress.


The interview is scheduled with members of the design faculty or at the U/TRA auditions.


A resume is required.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 60, earned in the following areas: 33 credits in required courses (below), 15 credits in costume design, and 6 credits (one per semester) in production seminar. The remaining 6 credits are determined by consultation and approval of the design faculty, with the student developing her/his own program of study based on individual interests, academic needs, and talent.

Required Courses:

Year 1:

Costume Design

Costume Production

Draping and Flat Patterning

Drawing and Rendering I

Drawing and Rendering II

Lighting Design

Scene Design

Seminar in Design or Technical Production

Seminar in Drama I

Seminar in Drama II
Technical Practice I

Technical Practice II

Year 2:

Costume Design

History of Costume and Architectural Decor I

History of Costume and Architectural Decor II
Lighting Design

Scene Design
Seminar in Design or Technical Production

Year 3:

Costume Design

History of Modern Design

Lighting Design

Scene Design
Seminar in Design or Technical Production

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

All design and technical students must actively be a part of the Theater Department's mainstage season. The production work is an extension of what is presented in the classroom and gives practical experience.

All design students must participate in portfolio review and faculty evaluation at the end of each semester.

Culminating Events:


The master's thesis is typically a realized and produced production, executed by the Theater Department as part of its mainstage season. The underlying premise is to create and produce a professional design within a professional production. Along with gathering all research and creating all designs, drafts, renderings, models, and samples for the design, the student is required to write a document defending the design and explaining the process. Students meet with their thesis advisors throughout the period of designing and executing the show as well as during the writing of the thesis. The thesis advisor, in consultation with the design faculty and the artistic staff of the production, discusses the progress and results of the thesis.

Note that a "paper" thesis may be assigned. In this case, the student completes all the same research, designs, drafts, renderings, models, samples, and written documentation defending the design and explaining the process, but the design will neither be realized nor produced.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Tomlinson Theater

1301 West Norris Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


Leah Dempsey


Head of Design:

Marie Anne Chiment




Douglas Wager

About the Program

The Design Program for Theater is a professional training curriculum where M.F.A. designers and technicians collaborate with professional faculty, staff, and guest artists to stage exciting contemporary theater for diverse audiences. We are looking for aspiring designers who will pursue the intent of the play wherever it leads them, into any period or style, into any emotion or state of mind, and whose knowledge and skills are so various that they bring a rich theatricality to the worlds they create. The Design Program for Theater combines intensive classroom work with full-scale productions to create well-rounded designers and technicians. Our graduates find work in many aspects of theater, including regional theater, educational theater, and the entertainment industry.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Tomlinson Theater

1301 West Norris Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Design students are encouraged to explore other fields of study, such as art history, cinematography, and photography, as their fields of study allow.


The Theater Department of Temple University has informal affiliations with Freedom Theatre, the Philadelphia Theatre Company, and The Lighting Practice. With special permission from their advisors, students have the opportunity to intern at these and other professional theaters and production companies in the greater Philadelphia area. The Theater Department is a member of ATHE, NAST, U/RTA, and USITT.

Study Abroad:



The Temple University Theater Department's M.F.A. Program was rated 13th for graduate theater programs in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report.


The Theater Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theater (NAST).

Areas of Specialization:

Each student, in consultation with the faculty, develops her/his own program of study based on individual interests and talent. Students may specialize in one or more of the following areas: Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Scene Design. Full-time faculty members are available for mentoring.

Job Placement:

The program is primarily focused on training our students for careers in the theater industry. Graduates of the Design Program find employment in regional theater, higher education, and the entertainment industries.


Not applicable.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy:

Along with all university approvals, non-matriculated students are required to get written approval by the instructor for each class they wish to take.

Financing Opportunities

Lab, studio, and classroom teaching opportunities are available for Teaching Assistants. Duties include assisting in grading papers for survey and literature classes. Assistantships carry a stipend and full-tuition remission. Academic Internships are also available in production work, including rehearsal and performance of plays for the theater season.

Updated 3.20.13