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M.F.A. Directing

Masters of Fine Arts

The Professional Directing Program prepares advanced students for careers as professional directors.

The program is designed to train and prepare directors for a career in the professional theater. All training is centered on the principle of collaboration with actors, designers, and playwrights.


During a three-year course of study, directors develop and practice their craft in a variety of ways ranging from acting scene work to directing fully supported main stage productions.

Year 1:

The initial year typically includes fundamentals in directing (a two-semester journey through the directing process, from pre-production work through opening night, including auditions, table work, rehearsal techniques and the tech process), the director-designer collaboration, and developing skills working with actors and playwrights. Realized production will include directing a “Realism Project”.

Year 2:

The second year is focused on student directed “Style Projects” and practicum experiences, as well as workshops in period style and sound design for the director. Students are also typically assigned to work with playwrights in the MFA Playwriting program on new work, culminating in readings, workshops, or full productions for the annual Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwriting Festival in the spring semester. Courses in acting, playwriting, design, theater history and criticism, and electives complete the first two years.

Year 3:

The third year is the culmination of the previous two and serves as an entry into the professional theater. Qualified students direct a fully supported main stage project and intern at a League of Resident Theaters (LORT) theater or an equivalent producing organization.


Students have interned at the Victory Gardens Theater, the Goodman Theater, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater, The Abingdon Theater, The Guthrie Theater, The Labyrinth Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Cleveland Play House, Old Globe Theatre, Playwrights' Horizons, San Diego Repertory, and Denver Theater Center, and Tantrum Theater in Dublin, Ohio, among others.

Admission to the program is by interview and audition at the annual U/RTA sites and at scheduled interviews on campus. The Professional Directing program is open to a limited number of talented, mature, and committed students.

Admission Requirements