University of Southern California

School of Dramatic Arts

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts in theatre allows the choice of an area of emphasis in theatre performance studies including acting, directing, dramatic writing or theatrical design.

Seventy-two units of study at the 400- or 500-level are required for the acting emphasis, 72 units for the dramatic writing emphasis and 48 units for the directing and theatrical design emphases. Regardless of the emphasis, at least two-thirds of the units must be at the 500 level or higher. In design, instead of a conventional thesis, the MFA student completes a final project in the area of design and defends it orally before the design faculty. A grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved in all graduate work taken in the School of Dramatic Arts. Graduate candidates whose undergraduate degrees are in disciplines other than theatre may be required to satisfy undergraduate prerequisites in theatre as determined by School of Dramatic Arts faculty.

Curricula for the Master of Fine Arts Degree

Acting Emphasis Units
THTR 480ab Performance for the Camera 2-2
THTR 504 The Art of Collaboration and Ensemble 2
THTR 515abcde Advanced Movement 10
THTR 520abcde Advanced Acting 16
THTR 529ab Textual Studies for Performance 8
THTR 540abcdef Advanced Voice Diction 12
THTR 541 Diction and Dialects 2
THTR 570 Acting on Camera: The Collaborative Process 2
THTR 571 Professional Seminar 2
THTR 575 Creative Production Projects 6
THTR 597 Theatre Practicum 8
72

Directing Emphasis Units
THTR 520ab Advanced Acting 8
THTR 525 Seminar in Contemporary Theatre 4
THTR 528 Seminar in Dramatic Analysis 4
THTR 555 Directing Fundamentals 2
THTR 556ab Directing 4
THTR 558ab Design for Directors 4
THTR 567a Studies in Playwriting 4
THTR 591 Seminar in Producing Theatre 4
THTR 593 MFA Project 4
Electives by advisement 10
48

Theatrical Design Emphasis Units
Two courses from:
THTR 550a Seminar in Scene Design 3
THTR 552a Seminar in Costume Design 3
THTR 553a Seminar in Lighting Design 3
Two continuing courses from:
THTR 550b Seminar in Scene Design 3
THTR 552b Seminar in Costume Design 3
THTR 553b Seminar in Lighting Design 3
One remaining course from:
THTR 550a Seminar in Scene Design 3
THTR 552a Seminar in Costume Design 3
THTR 553a Seminar in Lighting Design 3
All of the following:
THTR 407ab Drawing and Rendering for the Theatre 2-2
THTR 435 Advanced Theatrical Drafting 3
THTR 493ab Periods and Styles 2-2
THTR 593 MFA Project 4
Two seminars, one of which must be
THTR 528 Seminar in Dramatic Analysis (4) 8
400- or 500-level electives by advisement, 5 units of which must be at the 500 level 10
48

Dramatic writing emphasis Units
CTWR 513 Writing the Short Script 2
CTWR 514ab Basic Dramatic Screenwriting 2-2
THTR 486 Creating Characters 4
THTR 501 Poetry and Prose into Drama 4
THTR 504 The Art of Collaboration and Ensemble 2
THTR 510 Writing the Short Drama 2
THTR 512 Studies in Dramatic Analysis 2
THTR 525 Seminar in Contemporary Theatre 4
THTR 529a Textual Studies for Performance 4
THTR 554 Visual and Spatial Relationship 2
THTR 567ab Studies in Playwriting 4-4
THTR 572 Global Dramatic Writing 4
THTR 574 Dramatic Writing Across Media for the Playwright 4
THTR 576 Creative Process for Dramatic Writers 4
THTR 593 MFA Project 4
THTR 595ab Graduate Playwrights’ Workshop 4-4
Electives 10
72

A minimum of 72 units of graduate course work must be completed prior to the degree being granted. Thesis Requirement: The student is required to complete a thesis portfolio consisting of four theatre projects: (1) a full-length original play, (2) a full-length original play or an adaptation, (3) a full-length screenplay, (4) a project that is either a play of any length, or a short subject or feature length script, a set of television speculative scripts (either in three half-hour short form of drama from the same TV program or a set of characters; or one-hour long form) or an interdisciplinary/multimedia project (approved in advance by the dramatic writing faculty.) An oral defense and review by program faculty and the developing portfolio is required when the student has completed two-thirds of the program, generally in the fall term of the student’s third year.