Theatre Arts (MFA)


Theatre Arts, MFA

On Campus 60 cr

The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts is a three-year program offering mentor guided training in the Designing and Technical Production for Live Performance.


The graduate program in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film combine academic depth with professional training to prepare students for professional and academic success. We screen applicants for admission to our programs at nationwide University/Resident Theatre Association (URTA) interviews; we also conduct on-campus conferences with applicants, where we likewise organize portfolio presentations. Individuals at any stage of their current careers or career planning who are interested in design and/or technical production emphases should prepare and provide evidence of current experience, ability and/or technical skills.

The Carson School offers graduate courses in advanced scene design, lighting design, costume design, computer-aided design, drafting, pattern-making rendering, stage rigging, digital motion graphics, and stage technology. Our curriculum also includes courses on dramatic theory, play analysis, and theatre history. We hold classes in the historic Temple Building (funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.), and productions take place in the School's numerous venues, which include the Howell Theatre (Proscenium), the Studio Theatre (Flexible Black Box), and Lab Theatre (Small Black Box). Teaching assistantships and graduate fellowships are available to all students enrolled in graduate study.

Applying for Admission

Standard requirements for all graduate programs

  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • Transcripts (unofficial): Uploaded as part of application form.

    If International: Uploads must include all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.

    After admission: Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.

  • If applicant’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.

    When sending TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.

Additional requirements specific to this program

  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Statement: Discuss and explain your interest in theatre design and/or technology (350 words).
  • Portfolio: Link to online or digital portfolio is preferred.
  • Writing Sample: Provide up to 2 samples of your writing which demonstrate your capacity in communication. Feel free to use an undergraduate paper you may have written, a memo (or memos) you may have written for an employer, or even a diary account that you believe best expresses your ideas.
  • Research Interest:  Indicate your area of interest: Scene Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, or Theatre Technology.
  • Faculty: Review current faculty and their areas of research. Identify a faculty member with whom you would like to work.
  • Three letters of recommendation: We accept letters of recommendation from individuals who know your work best, such as former teachers, professors, employers, or supervisors.

In addition to the requirements in the application form, all Theatre Arts MFA candidates who make it through the screening process must complete an interview and visit the campus.

Admission Application Deadlines

For financial consideration: March 10 for Fall.


Theatre Arts

Graduate Chair

JD Madsen

Support Staff

Todd Cuddy

Tuition & Fees
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The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.

UNL Graduate Chairs and staff please complete the program update form to provide edits. Updates to graduate program pages are made on an annual basis in conjunction with the Graduate Application for Admission.