Theater MFA Program Policies
Degree and Residency Requirements
Upon admission to the degree program in theater, a graduate student usually trains for six full-time semesters in residence and accumulates a minimum of 60 credits in graduate courses applicable to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theater in one of the areas of specialization offered by the department. To be considered in full-time residence, a graduate student in theater must carry, during any given period of enrollment at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a minimum of nine graduate credits applicable to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theater. Credits for courses audited or from which a student withdraws do not pertain.
Regulations governing the admission of students with non-degree status are the same as those described in the Graduate School Bulletin. Participation by non-degree students in the Department’s graduate program is on a space-available basis. Non-degree applicants, therefore, should inquire of the graduate program director at the earliest possible date to learn whether enrollment is possible in graduate-level courses in any given semester.
Upon admission to the degree program in theater, students may petition the graduate program director in writing to recommend to the graduate dean the transfer of a maximum of 12 graduate credits earned at other institutions. The credits requested for transfer must be in graduate courses applicable to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as determined by the student’s committee.
Students permitted to transfer credits from other institutions will have the statute of limitations reduced, but by no more than one semester.
Leaves of Absence
Normally, residency in the degree program in theater is continuous. A student may petition the graduate program director in writing for a leave of absence, with a detailed justification and a specific date of anticipated return. Leaves of absence must be personally unavoidable and academically defensible. A given leave may not exceed one calendar year and requires the approval of the graduate dean. The program fee must be paid each semester the student is on leave.
Statute of Limitations
Students may not register for course work applicable to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theater for more than four consecutive calendar years. The statute of limitations is reduced proportionally for students permitted to apply degree credits transferred for other institutions. The statute of limitations for students on approved leaves of absence is extended for a period of time equal to the leave. Students who require more time than permitted by the status of limitations may petition the graduate program director in writing for a specific period of extension, with detailed justification and a timetable for completion. This petition will require the approval of the graduate dean.
Dismissal from the program may be made only by the graduate dean, upon the recommendation of the chair of the department. Failure to meet the requirements, regulations, and deadlines established by the Department of Theater and the Graduate School is considered sufficient grounds for dismissal. In particular, the following pertain:
1. Failure to remain in good academic standing for two consecutive periods of enrollment.
2. Failure to make satisfactory or reasonable progress toward the degree as indicated by the program reviews.
3. Failure to obtain approval for a leave of absence from the program.
4. Failure to obtain approval to complete the requirements of the degree in absentia.
5. Failure to complete the degree requirements within the approved statute of limitations.
6. Plagiarism, fraudulence, or other illegal or unethical practices.