Graduate Program HeadRick Lombardo
Program CodeTHEA
Campus(es)University Park (M.F.A.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
The Graduate Faculty


The master of fine arts degree program in Theatre pursues the following objectives:

  1. to assist each student in acquiring discriminating taste and critical judgment in theatre;
  2. to help each student attain skills and proficiencies in theatre;
  3. to provide the training, discipline, and opportunities essential to the development of a professional ability in at least one area of theatre; and
  4. to prepare each student for an active career in academic and/or professional theatre or other areas within the entertainment industry.

Facilities include the Playhouse, a 450-seat proscenium theatre; the Pavilion, a 249-seat thrust theatre; a 150-seat proscenium theatre in the heart of downtown State College; theatre production studios for scenic, property, and costume preparation; two computer-assisted design laboratories; a lighting laboratory; a sound and media studio; and rehearsal and dance studios.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, or comparable examination scores, are not required for admission to the School of Theatre.

Requirements for admission to the M.F.A. program are:

  1. a broad undergraduate preparation in theatre, including 3 credits each in acting, directing, stagecraft, and theatre history; and 6 credits of dramatic literature;
  2. 12 credits in related subject areas such as communications, oral interpretation, art, business, music, and dance; and
  3. submission of a vita and at least three letters of recommendation.

Additional requirements for M.F.A. applicants are:

  1. submission of evidence of professional potential in the proposed area of specialization-auditions, prompt books, portfolios, manuscripts, and other appropriate presentations-to the applicable study program(s) by arrangement with the department; and
  2. a personal interview to be arranged by the student.

Degree Requirements

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The program entails specialized professional training in one of the following areas:

  • acting,
  • directing,
  • scene design,
  • costume design,
  • costuming,
  • lighting design, and
  • technical direction.

Six semesters in residence are normally required to complete the minimum 60-credit degree.

Students are evaluated on a semester-by-semester basis on academic progress, creative achievement, and professional potential. The M.F.A. is a professional degree and is granted by the Graduate Faculty on the basis of academic and creative excellence over and above the fulfillment of requirements. Satisfactory academic progress does not guarantee continuance in the program, nor does continuance in the program imply the automatic granting of a degree. M.F.A. students are required to participate in the School of Theatre productions in positions of responsibility. Additionally, each student must complete a committee-approved monograph project in the area of specialization. An international residency is required and is funded by the school.


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Theatre (THEA) Course List


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Rick J Lombardo
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Daniel I Robinson
Program Contact

Judy L King
116 Theatre Building
University Park PA 16802
(814) 865-7587

Program Website View