FAQs for MFA Theatre Students

Production photo from "And Then There Were None,"


How would you characterize the aesthetic/goals of the MFA program?

This degree is for students who desire a professionally oriented education and training in design and technical production or directing. It is the objective of the department to educate and train highly skilled, motivated individuals for careers in professional theatre (including television and film) or for careers as artist teachers in college or university theatre.

What are the production opportunities (directing, designing)?

The department mounts 12-15 major productions each year in five venues. Often sold out before opening night, productions run from one to three weeks, providing the opportunity for students to learn the joy and challenge of continuing to develop a production with a paying audience. Graduate directors direct three fully-realized theatrical productions, and a number of other projects, in our state-of-the-art theatres. Graduate designers will design a minimum of six fully-produced shows in a variety of venues and in genres that potentially include straight theater, musical theater, devised performance, dance, concert and opera.

What are the CSUF facilities like?

Clayes Performing Arts Center includes several state-of-the-art theatres, rehearsal rooms, dance studios, sound, makeup, lighting, scenic and costume shops and studios. Our performance spaces include:

Little Theatre (475 seat proscenium)

Young Theatre (250 seat thrust)

Hallberg Theatre (150 seat black box)

Arena Theatre (110 seat flex)

Grand Central Theatre (70 seat intimate flex)

Television/Film Studio

Are internships available?

Yes. CSUF students regularly work at several of Southern California’s leading theatres, film and television studios, including South Coast Repertory, A Noise Within, Mark Taper Forum, NBC, CBS, Paramount Studios, and Shakespeare Orange County, to name a few.

What are CSUF Theatre alumni up to?

Upon obtaining an MFA from Cal State Fullerton, you are part of a family of CSUF alumni that includes critically-acclaimed producers, directors, casting directors, actors, stage managers, screenwriters, designers, technicians, playwrights, etc. Current and recent alumni are working or have worked in the following venues:

Broadway: Wicked, The Drowsy Chaperone, A Chorus Line, The Producers, Homebody/Kabul, Hairspray, Altar Boyz, Momma Mia, Beauty and the Beast, and Les Miserables

International/National Tours:  Hamilton, Hairspray, Miss Saigon, Hair, and Camelot

Regional Theatre: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory

Film: Spiderman 2, Fargo, Beauty and the Beast, Homeward Bound and Men in Black II

TV: Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, 24, Boston Public, General Hospital, LAX, JAG, Criminal Minds, Married with Children, Sleeper Cell, The Following, and The Young and the Restless.

Do I need to have a B.A. in Theatre in order to apply? What are the prerequisites for admission?

Not necessarily. It is required that you have a B.A., B.F.A. or M.A. from an accredited college or university, preferably with a major in theatre; or a degree in a related field and extensive work in technical design and production, acting, or directing. Other prerequisites are: minimum GPA of 3.0 in all upper-division undergraduate work in theatre; minimum GPA of 2.75 for the last half of the undergraduate program is also required; completion of any additional prerequisites which may be required by the Graduate Adviser prior to admission and classification.

 Is financial assistance available?

Yes. The department offers a number of scholarships, assistantships, and paid work opportunities in the classroom, scenery shops, library, and production office. CSUF nominates incoming graduate students for out-of-state tuition waivers for student who are not already residents of the State of California, however all students are responsible for in-state tuition and fees. To help offset these costs, MFA candidates may receive either a graduate assistantship or a teaching assistantship, depending on individual qualifications and background. In addition, students may apply for supplementary financial aid, which is administered through the university Office of Financial AidOpens in new window .

Should I  interview at CSUF or will CSUF be at the URTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) National Unified Auditions in New York, Chicago, and  San Francisco? 

Yes. If at all possible, travel to CSUF for an interview. for an interview. Otherwise, attend the live or virtual URTA interviews.

Other questions 

Do I need to take the GRE before applying to CSUF?

No. You do not need to take the GRE before applying to the MFA program at CSUF. If you are accepted into the program, you will need to satisfy the GWR (Graduate Writing Requirement) within the first year of residency.

How many years does it take to get an MFA at CSUF?

Three. The MFA program at CSUF requires three (3) years of residency. It is not possible to complete the program in less than three years.

Can I “double major”?

No. Graduate study in each of the areas of emphasis is extremely demanding. There is only enough time for students to complete their course and production responsibilities, and students do not have time to hold down a job, or fulfill requirements of an additional degree or area of emphasis within the department. 

Do graduate students teach?

Directing MFA Candidates teach undergraduate courses each semester (depending on performance) during residency. Design students may also have teaching opportunities, dependant on the student’s goals and the needs of the department.

Can I visit the campus?

Yes! We encourage visits throughout the year. Discover for yourself what we’re all about. Call the Department of Theatre and Dance Office to schedule a visit: (657) 278-5538.

How do I apply to the program? 

1. Fill out the online Intent to Apply FormOpens in new window .  In filling out the form, you will need to supply a Statement of Purpose, a resume of your theatrical work, 4-5 sample photos of past productions and the names and contact info for two references.

2. Formally apply to the University, by submitting the online application and fee through Cal State ApplyOpens in new window . The deadline for completing online applications is March 1st for admission the following fall semester; mailed applications also need to be postmarked by March 1st. This deadline may change based upon enrollment projections. Check with the graduate studiesOpens in new window office for current information.

If you are planning to interview through URTA, your audition/interview information is administered through URTA. Contact URTA for more details.

Interviews will be scheduled in mid-to-late March, dependent on the availability of the candidate and faculty.

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Last Published 8/25/23

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