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Graduate Program

We are still seeking an individual to join our graduate program in the scenic or lighting design area. Rolling admissions start May 15.

The Department of Theater at UMass Amherst offers professional training programs with specializations in Directing, Dramaturgy, Costume Design, Lighting Design, or Scenic Design. Graduates of our program receive the Master of Fine Arts degree and are prepared to work in resident professional theaters, in colleges and universities, and in many other areas of performance.

The graduate program values personal mentorship, with the production season serving as a teaching laboratory. Our rigorous core curriculum teaches students the skills to collaborate successfully. All graduate students receive full tuition-waivers and assistantships during their three years. For 2017-18, these assistantships are slated at approximately $19,200 for September-May duties.

We accept students two out of every three years. The application deadline is January 15. In some years, we may have a special late-admissions cycle with a June deadline. Please check here in May to see if we are doing late-cycle admissions.

Find out more about the application and admission process »

Ours is a dynamic, hands-on program that offers plenty of opportunities for practical experience alongside a dedicated faculty of committed teachers with active careers in the professional theater. Many students get extensive teaching experience, and most undertake internships. We have close relationships with outstanding theaters such as Hartford StageShakespeare & Company, and Double Edge Theatre

The small size of our program insures small classes, a maximum of personalized attention, and, in many cases, the opportunity to customize. Collaboration, creativity, discipline, craft and a strong personal sense of our collective past and of the possibilities of the future are the building blocks of our graduate program. We value personal growth, artistic integrity, cultural sensitivity, and a commitment to the theater of the future. Our departmental production season serves as a teaching laboratory for students in each of our program areas.

We have a strong commitment to cultural diversity. This commitment is reflected in our faculty and our curriculum, as well as our Multicultural Theater Certificate, for which we soon hope to have a graduate program counterpart. Graduate students will find faculty mentors who specialize in African-American, African, Latino, and Spanish-language theater, as well as feminism and gender studies.

We believe no student should finish an MFA program in debt. Therefore, we provide financial support for every full-time graduate student enrolled in our degree programs, including full tuition waivers, health benefits and generous assistantships for the entirety of the three-year program. 

We warmly welcome applications from international students and are proud that international students regularly chose to pursue their MFA. Please note, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required for admission. More information about required scores on these exams here.

UMass enjoys the advantages of an outstanding location in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, a beautiful, vibrant area known for great cultural amenities, recreational activities, and academic institutions, including the famous Five College consortium. Boston is approximately 90 minutes away, and Times Square approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.

For questions, contact Graduate Program Director Harley Erdman, or 

Harley Erdman
Graduate Program Director
Department of Theater
112 Fine Arts Center
University of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive Ofc. 2
Amherst, MA 01003-9331

Download a copy of the MFA open house schedule.