Apr 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Theatre (Design and Technology) MFA


The Master of Fine Arts terminal degree program in Theatre at Southern Miss educates theatre artists by offering sound theory and intensive practical training in applied research within one of three emphasis areas: Design and Technical, Directing, and Performance.

Students in the Theatre (Design and Technical) program will choose an area of specialization in Costume, Scenic, or Lighting and Sound. The faculty member in the specialization will serve as the student’s major advisor and M.F.A. Committee Chair.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in last 60 hours
  • Artistic review: Portfolio Presentation and discussion about the prospective student’s artistic work, academic and artistic background, skills, and articulated process. Please contact the Head of Design or the Administrative Specialist listed above for questions about expectations for the Portfolio Presentation.
  • Résumé
  • Three strong letters of recommendation, which should address the applicant’s academic preparation in theatre
  • Successful personal interview


  • Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Theatre graduate students have an approved alternate route for Research and Scholarly Integrity Education/CITI Training, embedded in the required Graduate Seminar, THE 612. 
  • The GRE is not required for this degree plan.
  • Students who do not meet admission requirements may be admitted, but may be required to take undergraduate courses to make up for any deficiencies.

See Admission Requirements and Procedures  for other requirements.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

  • 3 years of full-time graduate study in residence
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA or higher required to graduate
  • Portfolio Review/Evaluation every semester that assesses artistic growth, academic achievement, and professionalism in all campus engagements as carried out by the major advisor/area faculty and, thereafter, by the student’s M.F.A. Committee with the major advisor as chair.  All M.F.A. students must pass proficiency review by the end of their second semester in residence and each subsequent semester.  See the Theatre Program’s Graduate Student Guidelines for additional expectations for graduate students in Theatre. 
  • Completion of assigned duties in main stage season
  • A minimum approved program of 60 hours with at least 18 hours of coursework at 600 level or higher. Students on assistantship or work/study will complete a university minimum of 12 hours per fall/spring semester for a total minimum of 72 hours, which includes credit for production/performance work beyond the assistantship. 
  • M.F.A. Creative Project in area of specialization as approved by the student’s M.F.A. Committee Chair.
  • Comprehensive Exam and Oral Defense of the Creative Project with the student’s M.F.A. Committee
  • Exit Interview

If a student enters with fewer than 21 hours in undergraduate Theatre, including Theatre History, they may be required to take undergraduate courses to make up for any deficiencies.

See General Degree Requirements  and General Academic Information  for other requirements and procedures.

Course Requirements (60-72 hours)

The M.F.A. programs work diagnostically. Semester area reviews and frequent discussions with the major advisor and the MFA Committee may result in adjustments to the plan of study. The University of Southern Mississippi is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. All programs and individual degree plans of study must meet those national standards. The following are typical requirements: