M.F.A. in Theatre Arts

The 60-unit, three-year Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts offers a Concentration in Design/Technical Production and is designed to provide rigorous, professional training to prepare students for careers as professional theatre artists or artist teachers. The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts combines the elements of professional practice and scholarly work to project a production concept through a specific discipline. The philosophy of the curriculum is based on two necessities of theatrical art: collaboration and discipline. Students progress through a full-time sequence of courses which trains them to work with other specialized theatre artists in realizing a total work of theatre, as well as to excel in their own chosen arts. The program is designed to develop the candidate's practical skills and personal strengths towards motivating communication, commitment and support among the production group.

Application Procedures

Please note: We are not accepting new MFA students for the Spring 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 academic years. 

Application materials for the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts are due May 1 for the following fall semester, or by October 15 for the following spring semester. Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants are required to file two separate applications, one to the University, and one to the School of Theatre & Dance — applicants who do not complete both requirements cannot be considered for admission.

Step 1: Apply to the Division of Graduate Studies

Admission procedures and eligibility requirements are available from the Division of Graduate Studies and SF State Bulletin (Catalog):

  • Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • Domestic Applicants FAQ
  • International Applicants FAQ
  • Apply to Graduate Studies

Step 2: Apply to the School of Theatre and Dance

Application requirements include:

  • Letter of intent stating proposed area of emphasis and start semester.
  • Portfolio with visual, written, and technical documentation examples.
  • Copy of all college transcripts.
  • Undergraduate degree with a major in theatre, or equivalent experience.
  • 3 letters of recommendation relevant to theatre work.
  • Relevant materials supporting your application.
  • Résumé or cv.

Program Requirements and Curriculum

For graduates, the normal load during spring and fall is from nine to twelve units per semester and seven units during the summer. For international students immigration regulations require a minimum academic load of twelve units for undergraduates and eight units for graduates for spring, fall and summer semesters.

Additional details about the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts are available from the SF State Bulletin (Catalog).

Fees and Expenses


  • Estimated Per Semester Resident Tuition and Fees: $3,858
  • Estimated 2-year Resident Tuition and Fees: $15,432

Nonresident (U.S. and International)

In addition to the estimated regular tuition and registration fees listed above, nonresidents of the State of California must pay an additional $372 per unit (or fraction) for nonresident tuition fee. The total nonresident tuition fee paid per term will be determined by the number of units taken.

  • Estimated Per Semester Nonresident Tuition and Fees: $7,206
  • Estimated 2-year Nonresident Tuition and Fees: $28,824

Financial Aid and Scholarships

M.F.A. Theatre Video Playlist