MFA Graduate Programs

The Department of Drama offers advanced study leading to the Masters of Fine Arts degree in the following areas: Acting, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Technical Direction, and Costume Design & Technology. Training is led by a full-time professionally active faculty supplemented with visiting guest artists. In theory and practice, course work and production experiences are combined to create an integrated training curriculum. Diversity of experience is encouraged through a balanced focus in both traditional and innovative practices.

Our mission is to prepare advanced students to work in today’s theatre through providing excellent training and meaningful interaction with resident faculty and guest artists and fostering creative collaboration in course work and productions. Because our work is grounded in the idea that the arts are a vital component of society, we encourage artists and audiences to look to theatre as a means to engage, question, and seek truth. For inspiration in this endeavor, we remember one of Thomas Jefferson’s founding principles for the university: “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

MFA Graduate Program Admissions

All programs require a personal interview. Beyond that, each program has its own specific requirements for application (such as an audition, portfolio review, etc.). To learn more about a program and its application procedure, please click on the link for that program.

After a program has completed interviews and reviewed submitted materials, a select number of final candidates will be invited to make formal application to the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In other words: although you are certainly welcome to apply to the University of Virginia at any time during this process, you do not need to apply to U.Va. until after your interview and only if you are invited to do so. Those applicants who are invited to make formal application will be required by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences to submit General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. A combined score of 1,000 or higher on the verbal and quantitative portions is desirable. (U.Va. school code is 5820).

Financial Support and Responsibilities

All graduate students in the Department of Drama serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants and, as such, receive full tuition remission, a stipend (currently $18,000 per academic year) and a U.Va. health insurance voucher. All students will be expected to work an equivalent of 20 hours per week each semester. Assistantship assignments are specific to each program.

MFA Program Information Links:

MFA, Professional Actor Training Program

MFA in Lighting Design

MFA in Scenic Design

MFA in Costume Design & Technology

MFA in Technical Direction

Quick Facts

The University
The University of Virginia founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson is consistently the top-ranked public university in the nation. It is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, recently ranked by Frommer’s Cities Ranked and Rated as the best place to live in America. Charlottesville is located in the rolling hills of central Virginia 100 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

The Department
The Department of Drama offers a full-time professionally active faculty supplemented with visiting guest artists. In theory and practice, course work and production experiences are combined to create an integrated training curriculum. Diversity of experience is encouraged through a balanced focus in both traditional and innovative practices.

Production Season
We produce 4-6 mainstage productions in each academic year in three, theatres: The Culbreth Theatre (520 seat proscenium), the Helms Theatre (200 seat black box) and the Ruth Caplin Theatre (300 seat thrust). We also produce a series of short plays in our lab season in the Helms. The Department of Drama is the summer home of Heritage Theatre Festival, a professional repertory theatre.

Faculty/Staff
• 20 Faculty
• 6 Staff

Students
The Graduate Program is usually comprised of:
• 2 Lighting Designers
• 2 Scenic Designers
• 3 Costume Designers
• 4 Technical Directors
• 8 Actors
There are also 80-100 undergraduate Drama majors and Drama and/or Dance minors.

Financial Package
Graduate students in the 2011-2014 cycle received the following financial package:
• annual full tuition remission for in-state and out-of-state students
• $18,000 annual 9 month Graduate Teaching Assistantship
• annual health insurance coverage subsidy
As part of this program, all students will be expected to work an equivalent of 20 hours per week each semester. Assistantship assignments are specific to each program.