Graduate Design Program

The MFA Program in Design is a professional training curriculum where student designers and technicians collaborate with professional faculty, staff, and guest artists to stage exciting, contemporary theater for diverse audiences. Ideal applicants are aspiring designers who will pursue the intent of the play wherever it leads them and whose knowledge and skills are so various that they bring a rich theatricality to the worlds they create. The Design Program combines intensive classroom work with full-scale productions to create well-rounded designers and technicians. Graduates of this program find work in many aspects of theater, including regional theater, educational theater, and the entertainment industry.

The MFA Design Program is a three-year, full-time conservatory program. Students may specialize in one or more of the following areas: Scene Design, Costume Design, and Lighting Design. The department typical accepts three applicants annually.

A complete application should include an application letter, three letters of recommendation, a resume, a portfolio, and a copy of undergraduate transcripts. To receive most favorable consideration, we should receive your application no later than February 1, 2015. Once we have reviewed applications, we will contact select applicants for an interview.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact the Head of Design, Fred M. Duer (

To request more information or submit questions about the admissions process, please email Paury Flowers (

Course of Study

The completion of 60 credits is necessary for the MFA in Design. The degree can be completed over the course of three years excluding summers. Graduate assistantships are available.

Course Work Includes:

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.

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.

A written thesis is required for completion of the degree.

Learn more about the program in the Graduate Bulletin.

For discipline-specific information, please contact:

Requirements & Application Information

To be considered for admission to the program, the following must be submitted by February 1, 2015:

Applications are screened and top candidates are invited to interview with design faculty at Temple University or at the Design/Tech NUAIs in Chicago.

Interview & Portfolio Presentation

The department interviews design program candidates at the University/Resident Theatre Association National Unified Auditions and Interviews in Chicago and on campus. Applicants are encouraged to visit the department in Philadelphia, to attend classes and speak with faculty, staff and current students.

The MFA Design program recruits applicants through the National Unified Auditions and Interviews (NUAIs) conducted by University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) in Chicago. Those interested in the program should apply in the fall for the Design/Tech NUAIs. Candidates are not required to interview through the U/RTA process, but are strongly encouraged to do so.

At the interview we are interested in learning as much about you as possible: your thinking and imagination, your vision, your sense of theater, your visual and graphic abilities. In short, we are interested in your potential. Portfolios should include examples of design and technical work: renderings, rough sketches, examples of drafting, working drawings and realized production work, or other work that demonstrates theatrical and graphic ability.

Portfolio must include, at least, one complete set of design visuals for a realized production; from conception (research, rough sketches, etc.) through renderings, model, drafting, plot, to production photos of the completed work onstage. You may also include artwork, photography or other visual materials, which you think shows your imagination and abilities.

Application Process

  1. Contact discipline-specific faculty member about your interest.
  2. Apply for an audition through the University/Resident Theatre Assocation (
  3. Apply to Temple University Online.
  4. Applications are thoroughly screened, and top candidates are invited to audition at Temple University or one of U/RTA's NUAI locations.

Mail additional application materials to:

Graduate Admissions
Division of Theater, Film and Media Arts
1715 N. Broad Street
118 Rock Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122

To apply now, please visit Graduate School Admissions.