The Master of Fine Arts Program in Design and Technology in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at San Diego State University accepts students who are seriously interested in achieving the artistry and skills necessary to become practicing professionals in the fields of theatre, television, and/or film. A balance of theoretical coursework, studio work, and production is achieved through the curriculum and close consultation with faculty advisors. While the learning environment is protective enough to enable our students to succeed, direct exposure to the diverse and richly active theatre life in San Diego and its environs is an important element of the program. Students work with theatre professionals both within and outside the academic environment.
Our three-year degree program has emphases in scenic, costume, lighting, projection, and sound design and technology, as well as technical direction. Under normal circumstances no more than two students are admitted into each emphasis per year. This allows ample opportunity for design and individual guidance from the faculty. MFA students are allowed to design as much as their individual capabilities permit, as well as participate in an intensive internship – often working as an assistant to a professional designer or in a television or film studio.
The MFA in Design and Technology at San Diego State University provides the essential education, technical training, and creative experience necessary for professional careers or college-level teaching. The three years our students spend with us should be among the most rewarding and fulfilling of their lives.
Review the Graduate Degree Learning Outcomes
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.
Sample Roadmaps can be viewed and downloaded here:
For a complete listing of all graduate courses and official course descriptions, please visit the SDSU Graduate Bulletin
Cal State Apply Application-March 2, 2020
Submit Documents to Graduate Admissions-April 1, 2020
Submit Supplemental Documents to Department-April 1, 2020
Application to the MFA program at San Diego State University is a two-fold process.
Head of Lighting Design
School of Theatre, Television, and Film
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-0219
Most of our students in the MFA program receive some sort of financial assistance. Many of them are awarded Graduate Assistantships in the department. The G.A. stipends range from $1,100 – $4,400 per semester and requires that the student devote 5 – 20 hours per week working in some area of production. Most often, students work in an area related to their design emphasis. Out-of-state tuition waivers are available to those students who qualify. For those students particularly interested in teaching, laboratory and classroom experience is available. When making application to the program, speak to your area advisor for information concerning Graduate Assistantships.
The 60-63 unit MFA program consists of the course work listed below.
Thirty-seven of the sixty to sixty-three units required must be completed in courses numbered 600 or above. The remaining units may be selected from 500-, 600-, or 700-numbered courses in theatre or outside departments.
Based on design or technology emphasis
Scene Design (11 Units)
Costume Design (12 Units)
Lighting Design (10 Units)
Technical Direction (10 Units)
Practicum Projects and Portfolio Review
Minimum of 5-10 units of electives selected by student and adviser from graduate level courses in the following areas: theatre, art, music, English and comparative literature, history, and television, film, and new media. In special circumstances courses acceptable for graduate credit in other departments may be selected with the approval of the student’s advisor.
For additional curriculum details, please consult the following: