Theatre Arts (MFA)

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Theatre Arts
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): TA_MFA

Program Information

Dedicated to Art in Action and offering the only Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre in the United States, our Master of Fine Arts in Performance program offers a three-prong approach. We train actors to act, teach, and make theatre that resonates locally, nationally, and internationally. Our students push boundaries of thinking and challenge conventions of theatre and society through exploration of classical, contemporary, and global dramatic forms. Marrying theory, practice, and engaged outreach, we encourage the application of research, creativity, and sustainability in embodied, socially-conscious performance.

The MFA in Performance offers a three-year course of study that includes classes in acting, movement, voice, drama, and performance theory. Students perform in shows directed by faculty and guest artists and staged in our two main theatres. They also perform in our Repertory Company’s touring production and may mount their own performance projects. The Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre, which can be completed alongside the MFA in Performance, features classes in the craft and theory of acting and directing African American theatre.

The African American Theatre Program, founded in 1993, is integral to the Department of Theatre Arts. Further information about the Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Expectations

  • Evidence of a Bachelor’s Degree and 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  • Audition at the University of Louisville, at a regional or national conference site, or through a video submission
  • Transcripts of all undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate work
  • General Test score on the Graduate Record Examination prior to the start of the first semester in the program
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement (500-800 words, double-spaced)
  • Department committee reviews application materials and makes a recommendation to the Graduate School.
  • All applicants are automatically considered for Graduate Teaching or Research Assistantships that include full tuition, stipend, and health insurance for the academic year (August–May).
  • Students must submit an online application through the Graduate School.

Program Requirements

MFA Candidates must complete the following course requirements. Students are paired with a faculty advisor and graduate committee to review their progress at the end of each semester, evaluating coursework, professionalism, performance projects, and any GTA responsibilities.

Performance Courses42
Graduate Acting I-V (5 semesters, 3 credits each)
Graduate Movement I-IV (4 semesters, 3 credits each)
Graduate Voice I-IV (4 semesters, 3 credits each)
Theatre Arts Elective (at the 500+ level, minimum 3 credits)
Academic Courses12
Playscript Interpretation - WR
Special Topics in Theatre (Tools for a Global Theatre)
Performance Theory
Approaching African-American Theatre
Related Coursework8
Introduction to Graduate Study in Theatre
Theatre Pedagogy
Independent Study in Community Service
Elective (at the 600+ level, outside of Theatre Arts, minimum 3 credits)
Performance Projects10
MFA Performance Project I
Thesis Performance
Thesis Guidance
Minimum Total Hours72