May 25, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Production Design - MFA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit

Degree Title and Name:  Master of Fine Arts in Production Design

Program Name and Number:  Production Design – MF5159

Department/Unit:  School of Theater

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall, Spring, Summer

Program Overview:  The goal of the Production Design degree is to prepare 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 strive to provide students opportunities that will be a first step into their professional careers.

The first year of the Design program focuses on unleashing the imagination and examining the process of translating the text into visual images and images into practical physical reality. The second year emphasizes skills development and specialization in an area of concentration. The third year contains three primary elements: thesis project, portfolio refinement, and internship, as well as broadening skills. Design studies include at least one class per semester in the area of concentration (scenic, costume, lighting or sound design), plus skills building classes that relate to that area, such as rendering for costume designers, model buiilding for scenic designers, Vectorworks for lighting designers, etc. Participation in a specified production activity related to the student’s area of concentration is required each semester. These assignments include all aspects of the particular design area, so the design student is knowledgeable about how to achieve the design they visualize. 

All Production Design students are expected to:

  1. Attend at least one national convention yearly. Qualified students may be invited to participate in the annual National Design Portfolio Review.
  2. Spend their summers breaks working in professional theaters. Winter break may also be utilized for professional development.
  3. Complete an internship of at least 6-8 weeks in the third year at a major LORT or commercial theater in the United States or abroad if it can be arranged.
  4. Complete a thesis a main stage design assignment with all attendant materials.
  5. Complete a formal exit portfolio review demonstrating prevailing professional standards.

Total credit-hour requirements are based on a normal load of 15 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

Program Learning Outcomes:  Successful Theater M.F.A. students at Ohio University will:

  • 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 production 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 Schools of Film, Music, Dance, Art + Design, and Interdisciplinary Arts.

Link to Program:

Graduation Requirements:

  1. 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. Fulfill a thesis production assignment. While each design specialty varies, the thesis production includes all processes of the production. Beginning in the spring semester prior to the production, the design process begins. A product of the process includes the creation of a fully produced “Production Bible” that details the development and execution of the assignment.  Specific documentation required for the Production Bible differs somewhat among design areas but the main focus is that of documenting process. 
  3. Create and continuously update a portfolio that is up to professional portfolio standards.
  4. Form a thesis committee made up of at least 3 PD&T faculty/staff and 1 reviewer from outside PD&T, and schedule and sit for the exit portfolio review which is formatted as an oral defense.

Admission Requirements:  Admission to the program is by interview and portfolio review, conducted at the University Resident Theatre Association (URTA), the SETC conference, the annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo, as well as on the OHIO campus in Athens. Our recruiting season begins in late January/early February with the URTA event and tends to conclude by the end of April. The faculty is looking for talented students with the potential for advanced skills in theater design and/or related technology studies which may form the basis of a design foundation.  Candidates should have the ability to communicate practical, interesting production challenges and the means by which they resolved them as well as portfolio samples that demonstrate a potential toward professional growth.

In addition to the portfolio review/interview, an online application to Ohio University is required. That application requires a Bachelor’s degree, undergraduate transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.  If a talented student has a GPA of less than 3.0, the student will enter on probationary status, and be re-evaluated at the end of the first semester’s 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.

International Students:  This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study by Academic Unit