2012 - 2013 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Theater/Playwriting, M.F.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: June 15

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/or professionals in the field who are familiar with their work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Particular coursework is not required, but evidence of playwritng experience and commitment to theater writing are 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.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals serves as an introduction to the applicant. It constitutes an opportunity for the applicant to set forth her/his relevant experience, values, and areas of intense interest. It is to be written in proper essay form, but may be personal in style, and need be no longer than 500 words.

Standardized Test Scores:

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


The applicant meets with the Head of Playwriting.


A resume is required.

Writing Sample:

Two playscripts are required for admission consideration.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 60

Required Courses:

THTR 5871:  Playwriting 1

THTR 5872:  Playwriting 2

THTR 5873:  Adaptation

THTR 5874:  Docudrama

THTR 8001:  Seminar in Dramatic Literature

THTR 8002:  Seminar in Dramatic Literature II

THTR 8881:  Playwriting 3

THTR 8882:  Playwriting 4

THTR 8883:  Teaching Playwriting

THTR 9881:  Projects in Playwriting 1

THTR 9882:  Projects in Playwriting 2

THTR 9991:  Research

THTR 9995:  Thesis

Other theater and area studies (21 s.h.)

Internship:  No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Additional Requirements:

Reviews are held after each semester. Each review considers all work done, progress made, and future plans. A candidate’s work in the major area is used to measure satisfactory work, rather than in the research areas in which the candidate might be less experienced. These other area courses are included in the GPA, however, and could cause failing grades. Candidates not making satisfactory progress are placed on probation for one semester. If their work improves, they may be returned to full status. If it does not, they are withdrawn from the program.

Culminating Events:


A full-length play is required.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Tomlinson Theater
1301 W. Norris Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:


Leah Dempsey


Head of Playwriting:

Robert Hedley



Douglas Wager



About the Program

The focus of the M.F.A. program in Theater/Playwriting is to develop writers for the professional theater. Although the program is intended for writers seeking a professional career in writing, individual courses are open to qualified writers looking to advance their craft in particular areas. Playwriting classes are available for writers at times convenient for those already working; evening classes and Saturday morning classes are usual. Classes are small, and individual attention is given to all students. Opportunities for readings and staged readings are available for all students, depending on the stage of development of the work. Finished works are submitted to the Artistic Director for consideration for the Main or Second Stage. Writers who have had professional productions (Equity actors with at least a two-week run) can apply for advanced standing that can shorten the time required to complete the program. Combined with the playwriting craft courses, the writer can take other graduate courses (and under specific situations, undergraduate courses) for which s/he may qualify. These courses are allowed to augment play ideas or needed research. These must have the approval of the Head of Playwriting.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 5 years

Campus Location:

Main, Center City

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 W. Norris Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

Research areas are encouraged. Previous areas of interest have included African American Studies, Anthropology, Film, Mass Media, New Media, and Women’s Studies. Permission to enroll in particular courses is determined by the department involved.


Contacts are maintained with professional theaters with new play programs.

Study Abroad:

No formal relationships exist, but SMC Study Abroad programs are available. London and Dublin programs include theater visits and can include courses or internships.


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:

Areas of specialization can be developed through graduate study in any of the research areas. Particularly relevant are courses in film or television writing.

Job Placement:

The program is primarily focused on training our students for careers in the theater industry.


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

Because the program is arranged for working writers, assistantships are usually not available.

Updated 3.20.13