Feb 26, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Theatre (Performance) 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 Theatre (Costume, Scenic, Lighting and Sound), Directing, and Performance.

Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate major or last 60 hours
  • Artistic review: audition (at conferences, online, or on campus) with a package of two contrasting monologues/pieces with headshot and resume.  An additional song selection, normally 16 bars, is welcome but not required. (Please contact the graduate recruitment faculty member listed above to set an audition time and place. Online applications should also include a short, 1-2 minute introduction.)
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • Audition every semester for main stage roles in the Theatre Season and play as cast. Performance faculty will consider special proposals to work outside of the main stage framework on a case-by case basis.
  • 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 Performance as assigned by the Performance Faculty and 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.

Program faculty regularly provide training and opportunities on campus for certifications in stage combat and practitioner’s exams in Lessac. While certifications are not required for the program, most students find that they provide valuable skills and enhance resume listings.

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: