Theatre: Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technical Theatre

The Good Person of Szechwan Zombie Prom Inside the Costume Shop Desire Under the Elms The Good Person of Szechwan Set Design Jean Isaacs' San Diego Dance Theatre Birds of Paradise Inside the Costume Shop Chorus Line from The Musical of Musicals (the musical!) A Mark Twain Centenary Tribute Scene Painting for The Vagina Monologues The Good Person of Szechwan Eurydice Making Hats In Costuming Paradise Hotel Paradise Hotel Costume Design Little Women



MFA design and technology students have a good deal of flexibility determining their exact program of study. In consultation with his or her advisor, a particular costume student may want to elect more technical courses than another student; or a scene design student may want to take a number of courses in our film and art direction area; or a lighting student may want to spend time in the television area. The program is intentionally geared toward a student's individual needs and desires.

An important philosophy of the program is the belief that in order to excel as collaborative artists, MFA students must understand and appreciate all areas of design and production. Accordingly, as part of their program, each student enrolls in three semesters of the core studio/design course: Collaborative Studies. This course is team-taught by three design faculty members each semester. Content varies from semester to semester according to the needs of the students but is normally project-oriented, often involving guest directors and emphasizing design research and skills, script analysis, and the design process. Areas of design other than theatre are included in each semester's curriculum.


The 62-64 unit MFA program consists of the course work listed below. You can click each course title to expand the section and learn more about the requirement. You can also choose to expand or close all of them at once here:

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I. A Foundation of 27 Units of Core Theatre Courses:

500-level advanced design course in area of emphasis

Theatre 530: Period Dress and Décor A & B (3,3 units)

Theatre 539: Theatre Rendering (2 units)

600-Level Theory Courses (6 Units)

Theatre 643: Collaborative Studies in Design (elected three times for a total of 9 units)

Theatre 644: Contemporary Designers (3 units)

TFM 605: Seminar in Production of TV and Film (3 units)


II. 16 Units of Production-Related Courses:

About the Practicums:
Practicums provide credit for specialized production work. A student may assist a more advanced student, or design a fully-mounted departmental production supervised by his or her advisor. The first of these realized designs is considered a qualifying project that must be successfully completed before the student can be advanced to candidacy. A subsequent practicum is the student's thesis production.

Theatre 640: Business of Design for Theatre, TV, & Film (2 Units)

Theatre 642: Theatre Practicum Skills (assistant design or specialized production work, elected four times for a total of 4 units)

Theatre 746: Theatre Practicum Internship (Professional Field Work, 3 units)

Theatre 795: Practicum in Theatre Arts (1-6 units)

**Theatre 790: Directed Readings in Theatre Arts (portfolio thesis, 3 units)

**Theatre 799A: Thesis (written production analysis, 3 units)

**NOTE: Students can take Theatre 790 or 799A.

Theatre Internship:
Professional field experience in design or technical production. The MFA design student often assists a professional designer on a regional theatre project. This internship is normally completed during the second summer of the program.


III: 7-11 Elective Units:

In consultation with their area advisor, most MFA students use their elective units for skills coursework offered by the Theatre Department or design-related coursework in the Art, English, Engineering, Business, History, or Television and Film Areas.

The following represents a sampling of other courses offered in the program; classes are not exclusive to students focusing on a given emphasis. In addition, students are encouraged to look outside the School of Theatre, Television and Film for additional enrichment. Classes in the Art, History, Dance, Music, Literature, Business and Physics programs at SDSU are all available for interested students on a case-by-case basis.

Design Technical History and Analysis
Art Direction Advanced Electrics British and Continental Theatre
Costume Design for Film & Television CADD for the Theatre Design Aesthetics
Figure Drawing Draping Event Coordination in Entertainment Industry
Hair and Makeup Design Dying & Painting Gender and Shakespeare Studies
Cinematography Fabric Modification Research and Bibliography
Model Making Jewelry Visual Language of Film
Production Design for Film & Television Mask Making  
Scene Painting Mechanical Drawing for Theatre  
Software for Technical Design Patterning  
Sound for the Theatre Production Design  
Rendering Textiles  
Wig Design & Construction 3D Printing  
Lighting Design for Related Fields Digital Communication for Lighting Design  
Projection Design Digital Rendering  

Sample Program Outlines

The sample program outlines below are simply examples of how a student could structure his or her program. While these will give prospective students an idea of when to take certain classes during a course of study, they are not mandates. Students should discuss their educational and professional goals with an advisor to create tailored programs suiting their individual needs.

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***For a complete listing of all graduate courses and official course descriptions, please visit the SDSU Graduate Bulletin page.