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Frequently Asked Questions

MFA in Theatre, Design Concentrations

Q. How many shows will I design?

  • Scenic Design: Most MFA Scenic Design students will design 3-5 realized productions during their time at UTK. Students are expected to work professionally over the summer.
  • Costume Design: Most MFA Costume Design students will design 4-5 realized productions during their time at UTK. Students are expected to work professionally over the summer.
  • Lighting Design: Most MFA Lighting Design students design or assist on 3-5 realized productions per semester. Students are expected to work professionally over the summer. The typical MFA lighting student leaves UTK with 24-30 realized designs in their portfolio.
  • Sound and Digital Media: Most MFA Sound and Digital Media students will design 6-8 realized productions during their time at UTK. Students are expected to work professionally over the summer.

Q. How many total design students are in the program?

  • There are 12-15 students: 4 in Costume Design, 4 in Lighting Design, 4 in Scenic Design and 3 in Sound and Digital Media. On alternate years there are two in each area. An incoming class consists of 2 Lighting Designers, 2 Costume Designers, and 2 Scenic Designers, 1-2 Sound and Digital Media Designers.

Q. How many design students are on assistantship?

  • All design students are on assistantships.

Q. What does the assistantship cover?

  • It covers full remission of tuition, an annual stipend of about $15,000.00, and up to $1500.00 annual travel funding as approved by the faculty. Total average support over three years: more than $158,000.00

Q. What kind of expenses will I incur in this program?

  • Books, art supplies, passport, computer supplies (paper and ink), a student activities fee, and any travel costs that exceed $1500.00 per year. There is about $1800 of university fees each year. In the second and third year of study these can be paid out of the scholarships. We require all incoming design students to have a laptop capable of running Adobe Creative Suit and Vectorworks.

Q. Does the University provide health insurance?

  • Yes.

Q. How many theatres does the university have?

  • Three: The Clarence Brown Theatre, a 550-seat proscenium theatre; The Carousel Theatre, a 350-seat round theatre; and the Lab Theatre, a 100-seat thrust theatre.

Q. Do the design professors work professionally?

  • Yes, our faculty designers are nationally and internationally recognized for their work at theatres such as the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The Denver Center Theatre, among others.

Q. What other graduate degree programs are offered?

  • We offer an MFA in Theatre, with concentrations in Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Sound and Digital Media, and Acting.

Q. Will I need to get a passport?

  • Definitely.