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Distinctive Features

MFA in Theatre, Design Concentrations


1:2 Faculty to Student Ratio
There are 12-15 students: 4 in Costume Design, 4 in Lighting Design, 4 in Scenic Design and 3 in Sound and Media Design. 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/or Media/Projection Designers.

Assistantships and Funding
All design students are on assistantships. Full remission of tuition, an annual stipend of about $16,000.00 and up to $1500.00 annual travel funding, as approved by faculty.  Total average support over three years: more than $161,000.00

Travel Abroad Study Tour
Supported travel to design seminars and cultural exploration.
The New York Study Tour In the first year of study all MFA design students travel to NYC with design faculty to see current shows, meet working designers, and explore the museums.

LORT Theatre Company
The Clarence Brown Theatre is a professional theatre on campus that works very closely with our graduate students. This affords excellent design opportunities and the ability to work with our world class professional staff and guest artists.

Shop Staffing
All shops at the Clarence Brown Theatre and the Department of Theatre are staffed with fully professional personnel.  In most cases, your assistantship hours will include working alongside and learning from these professionals.

Graduate Workspaces
Each of the concentration areas have dedicated workspaces/labs, with appropriate technology for each area, and with personal assigned space to work, create, research, and study.

Computer Lab
This new computer lab is for the exclusive use of theater students. Computers are available to students 24 hours a day. Printers, plotters, scanners, a laser cutter, and a 3D printer are included in the lab.

State of the Art Media Labs
UTK is proud to be the only institution in the world to have 4 light/media labs that include: two 1:6 scale media labs to explore light, sound, and projection and their integration; a model lab designed specifically to explore light on scenic models and costume fabric; and an arena style moving light lab.

Professional Guest Directors
Directors of our productions, whether in the lab theatre or in the main season are professional directors. This is a great way to begin your networking base.

Funded Conference Travel
Students receive up to $1500 per year in funding for travel. This may include travel to national conferences, design assisting, and other opportunities as approved by the faculty. Additional travel funding may also be available by application to the graduate school.

Library Collection
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville library has an extensive theatre collection and a theatre specific librarian to help students with research needs.

Assistant Design Opportunities
Our students have the opportunity to travel with and assist the faculty on professional work in this country and overseas. Students will also have the opportunity to assist nationally recognized guest designers. Guest designers have included: Jennifer Tipton, Kevin Depinet, Michael Ganio, Beverly Emmons, Jane Cox, Kris Stone, and Jane Greenwood, among others.

Actual design work, not just paper projects
We believe that the best way for students to learn the art of theatre is to study in the studio and then to practice alongside first-rate professionals. This dual mission informs everything that we do.

“The mixing up of young actors and designers with first class professionals is manifestly the only right method of training future theatre artists.”
– Clarence Brown