Master of Fine Arts in Design

Advance your career building the visual experience of contemporary theater with the Master of Fine Arts in Design in Temple’s School of Theater, Film and Media Arts. Specialize in costume, lighting and scene design, and develop your creative passion for bringing a story to life on the stage. Graduates with an MFA in Design primarily go on to work in theater, as well as the entertainment industry and higher education.

Students in this three-year, full-time graduate conservatory program have opportunities to work closely with professional faculty and guest artists, participating in fully mounted productions. Since the Theater Department is part of Temple’s interdisciplinary Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts, Theater-Design MFA students complete intensive training in the full range of theatrical design practice areas, including costume crafts, drawing and rendering, projection design, and model making. Starting in your first year, and continuing on through the full duration of the program, you’ll assist in the creation of designs within professional productions. In your third year, you’ll produce a production-based thesis with a written component.

Full-time professional design faculty individually mentor each Theater-Design MFA student based on a customized and flexible curriculum. Through Temple’s informal affiliations in Philadelphia, you can explore internships with organizations including The Freedom Theatre, The Lighting Practice and The Philadelphia Theatre Company. 

Student backstage building a prop for a theater set.

Classes & Curriculum

The Theater-Design MFA curriculum is built around a combination of experiential learning and classroom studies tailored to give you an in-depth understanding of American musical theater, the business aspects of theater, and techniques for directing and scene setting. Unique courses include 

  • Design for TV and Film,
  • History of Decor,
  • History of Fashion,
  • Theatrical Model Making, and
  • Projection Design.

Learn more about Theater-Design MFA courses.

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Master of Fine Arts offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency, and more. These tuition costs apply to the 2023–2024 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: $1,169.00 per credit
Out-of-state: $1,565.00 per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.


You can focus on Theater-Design or you can take one of the following concentrations.

  • Design

Additional Program Information