MFA in Design and Technology

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

Design and Technology faculty and Staff

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.

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

How to Apply

The Fall 2020 application deadlines are

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.

  1. First, you must make formal application to the University. Graduate admission forms are available on-line at http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/admissions/grad/index.html. GRE General Test scores are required, but may be waived based on GPA after application to the university. For information regarding international students, please refer to the International Student Center for Prospective Students.

  2. Second, you must request a portfolio review and interview. Please contact:
    • Professor Anne E. McMills

      Head of Lighting Design
      School of Theatre, Television, and Film
      San Diego State University
      San Diego, CA 92182-0219
      amcmills@sdsu.edu

  3. Third, you must submit a resume and three letters of recommendation to the contact above.




Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships

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.




Curriculum

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.

Core Courses (27 Units):


- THEA 530 A - Period Dress and Décor, 3 units
- THEA 530 B - Period Dress and Décor, 3 units
- THEA 600 - Research and Bibliography, 3 units
- TFM 610 - Seminar in Design Aesthetics for Theatre, Television, and Film, 3 units
- THEA 621 - Seminar in Theories of the Theatre , 3 units
- THEA 643 - Collaborative Studies In Design, 9 (3x) units
- THEA 644 - Contemporary Designers, 3 units
- TFM 605 - Seminar: Production for Television and Film, 3 units

Electives A (10 - 12 Units):

Based on design or technology emphasis


Scene Design (11 Units)

- THEA 539 - Theatre Rendering, 2 units
- THEA 559 - Scene Design II , 3 units
- TFM 550 - Art Direction for Television and Film, 3 units
- TFM 551 - Production Design for Television and Film, 3 units

Costume Design (12 Units)

- THEA 539 - Theatre Rendering, 2 units
- THEA 552 - Costume Design II, 3 units
- THEA 554 A - Costume Design Technology , 2 units
- THEA 554 B - Costume Design Technology II , 2 units
- TFM 558 - Costume Design for Television and Film , 3 units

Lighting Design (10 Units)

- THEA 539 - Theatre Rendering, 2 units
- THEA 547 - Lighting Design II, 3 units
- THEA 556 - Digital Communication for Lighting Design, 2 units
- TFM 522 - Advanced Film and Television Cinematography, 3 units

Technical Direction (10 Units)

- THEA 553 - Technical Direction , 3 units
- THEA 544 - Advanced Stage Technologies, 2 units
- THEA 546 - CADD for Theatre, 2 units

Core Courses (16 Units):

Practicum Projects and Portfolio Review


- THEA 640 - Business Of Design For Theatre, TV, & Film, 2 units
- THEA 642 - Theatre Practicum Skills, 4 (4x) units
- THEA 746 - Theatre Internship , 3 units
- TFM 790 - Portfolio/Examination Preparation, 6 units
- THEA 795 - Practicum in Theatre Arts , 6 units

Electives B:

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.


- THEA 541 - Scene Painting , 2 units
- THEA 542 - Studio Skills for Theatre: Model Making , 2 units
- THEA 544 - Advanced Stage Technologies, 2 units
- THEA 545 - Mechanical Drawing for the Theatre , 2 units
- THEA 546 - CADD for Theatre, 2 units
- THEA 548 - Sound Design for the Theatre, 3 units
- THEA 549 - Lighting and Sound Technology, 2 units
- THEA 550 - Software for Theatre Design, 2 units
- THEA 551 - Advanced Media Design, 2 units
- THEA 554 A - Costume Design Technology , 2 units
- THEA 554 B - Costume Design Technology II , 2 units
- THEA 557 - 3D Fabrication for Entertainment Design, 2 units
- THEA 561 - Projection Design and Integrated Media, 3 units
- THEA 564 - Costume Topics , 1-3 units
- THEA 442 A/B - Practicum in Theatrical Production (Scenery or Costumes), 2 units
- THEA 596 - Selected Topics in Theatre, 2 units
- THEA 643 - Collaborative Studies In Design, 9 (3x) units
- THEA 645 - Seminar in Lighting, 3 units
- THEA 795 - Practicum in Theatre Arts , 6 units
- THEA 798 - Special Study, 1-3 units
- TFM 550 - Art Direction for Television and Film, 3 units
- TFM 559 - Digital Design for Film and Stage, 3 units

For additional curriculum details, please consult the following:
Graduate Bulletin

Learn More about the program: