May 18, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 [Archived Catalog]

Production Design - MFA

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Degree Title: Master of Fine Arts

Program Name and Number: Production Design - MF5159

Department/Unit: Dance, Film, and Theater

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall | Spring | Summer

Program Mission: The Ohio University MFA Theater Degrees prepare students to:

  • Demonstrate heightened skills in professional presentation, collaboration and communication.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of research practices, dramatic literature, theory and history.
  • Apply heightened skills and demonstrate a comprehension of theories and methodologies as they relate to professional practice in specific disciplines.

The MFA in Production Design prepares students to understand and work in the professional theater. Our training provides a strong foundation in design and technology and the skills to compete in the professional market. We feel a graduate school needs to combine good training with professional opportunities. To that end, we make a point of pursuing student job placement.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Comprehend and interpret text and translate into appropriate and imaginative visual  images for the stage.
  • Exhibit comprehensive knowledge of research practices, dramatic literature and history.
  • Demonstrate heightened skills in professional standards, practices and presentation.
  • Collaborate with a director and creative team with a generous and professional demeanor.
  • Develop a quality digital portfolio and website and hard copy portfolio.

Program Overview:  The M.F.A. in Production Design is a six-semester program that strives to prepare students for professional or academic careers. For designers, the first year of the program deals primarily with unleashing the imagination and examining the process of how to translate the written word into meaningful visual images. The second and third years allow for refined skill development and specialization in an area of concentration with an emphasis on professional portfolio development. Technology studies include coursework in production, craft, and skill refinement. Participation in a specified production activity each semester is required. These assignments relate directly to the student’s area of concentration. At specified times they will consist of assuming senior staff positions on the main stage, such as designer, technical director or cutter/draper. The thesis for all students consists of a main stage design and a formal exit portfolio review. For scenery and costume designers, this simulates the United Scenic Artists Union interview/exam. In all cases, portfolios are expected to meet prevailing professional standards for job placement in the field.   At least 8-10 weeks of the third year is expected to consist of an internship at a major LORT or commercial theater in the United States or abroad (usually London). Students are expected to attend at least one national convention every year. Qualified design students may be invited to participate in the annual National Design Portfolio Reviews. Students are strongly encouraged to spend their summers and winter breaks working in leading professional theaters. Total credit-hour requirements are based on a normal load of 18 credit hours per academic semester for six semesters of residency. Minimum course requirements for the three-year design MFA include 45 credits of core courses (including intradisciplinary, academic, and applied studies), at least 30 credits of specific area requirements (including studio courses and directed electives), and 15 credits of thesis studies for a total of 90 credits.

Concentrations: Areas of Specialization are: Scene Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, and Sound Design

Opportunities for Graduates: The program is structured to allow specialization and to encourage dual area interests. Electives relevant to the student’s primary or secondary areas of interest are encouraged in the School of Dance, Film, and Theater as well as the larger College of Fine Arts, which also includes Music and Art. A great deal of emphasis is placed on professional portfolio development. The thesis is the design of a realized production for design majors or project management for technology majors. Presentation of a digital and traditional “exit portfolio” that meets prevailing professional standards is required of all areas. Upon completion, graduates will be employable in today’s market and should be able to pass the portfolio review portion of the United Scenic Artists Union exam or gain entry into a significant regional or Broadway studio.

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Graduation Requirements:

  1. Students are required to complete 90 course credits that include: Interdisciplinary studies: 14 semester credits, Theater and Performance Studies:  8 semester credits, Applied Skills/Practical Experience: 20 semester credits, Internship:  9 semester credits, Studio Courses:  24 semester credits, Thesis/Portfolio Courses: 15 semester credits.
  2. Students are required to fulfill a thesis production assignment.
  3. Students are required to create and continuously develop a professional portfolio that is up to professional portfolio standards.
  4. Students are required to create a thesis committee made up of 4 PD&T faculty and staff and 1 reviewer from outside PD&T, and schedule and conduct the exit portfolio review which is formatted as an oral defense.

Culminating Experience: A main stage (or equivalent) production assignment in the student’s third year of study, encompassing all training thus far. Each area of production will have different requirements for this “thesis project” but will include an oral thesis defense covering research, process, and outcomes of the production.

Admission Requirements:  Admission to the program requires a Bachelor’s degree and is based on an evaluation of your portfolio, resume, and recommendations, as well as a review of your academic qualifications for graduate work. A visit to inspect the facilities and an interview with the design staff is encouraged. The GRE is NOT required for this program. International students must consult the University webpage for international studies for further information on such topics as the TOEFL, speak test, visas, and others.

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