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Design for Theater and Entertainment Media MFA

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IMPORTANT: Application Information and Requirements for the Fall 2017 application period will be updated early to mid-October. Please check this page at that time for the updated information.

The Design for Theater and Entertainment Media M.F.A. is a three-year program offering advanced professional training in four artistic areas: scenic design, costume design, lighting design and sound design.

The faculty include internationally recognized theater artists with many years of design experience in theater, opera and other dramatic forms. The diverse professional backgrounds, aesthetics and teaching approaches of the faculty allow for a wide-ranging, flexible program that can be customized to address the talents, needs and interests of each student. The program is highly selective and admits just a few students each year, permitting small classes and individualized attention not available in other professional training programs. While the development of specific design skills is important, the design faculty believe that a good overall design sense, heightened dramatic sensibilities and critical thinking are the essential qualities a designer must cultivate in order to be prepared for any kind of future creative challenge. The program's goal is to produce artists who know how to think creatively, how to conceptualize, and how to find new ways of designing for the theater. Students frequently work as assistants to faculty members on their professional projects. There is a strong emphasis on helping the student build a professional portfolio that reflects the designer's unique individual style and approach as an artist in the theater.

The School offers designers outstanding production facilities, which include four professionally equipped theaters; a professional design studio with superior computer-assisted design facilities; a professional model shop; a lighting laboratory; and professional shops for scenery, lighting, costumes and sound. All major theater productions in the School are designed by students and there are classes and design opportunities in film and television as well.

The master of fine arts degree is awarded on the basis of successful completion of the required courses and critical evaluation of student work. The Department expects consistent progress as well as attainment of professional skills. These and other factors will also influence the Department’s allocation of production resources including the number, scale, and scheduling of projects and productions.

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The Design for Theater and Entertainment Media M.F.A. offers advanced professional training in four artistic areas: costume design, lighting design, scenic design and sound design

The M.F.A. Degree

The degree is awarded on the basis of successful completion of the required courses, 104 quarter units of course work, of which 86 units must be at the graduate level; additionally a critical evaluation of design projects must culminate in a manner to show professional competence in the field. Courses are scheduled so that the required courses and projects can be completed within three years.

Design Thesis Project

The training program culminates in the Design Thesis Project that is a series of group design projects that serve as the comprehensive examination for the M.F.A. degree. The Design Thesis Project is reviewed and evaluated by the Design faculty. On completion of this project or last quarter of residency, whichever is last, students must file for advancement to candidacy. If the student fails the Design Thesis Project, the student may be reexamined. The number of reviews will be determined by the committee with final approval of the Chair of the Department.

Degree Requirements

Students will be required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units per quarter. Required courses will be scheduled to permit completion of the program within a three-year period. In addition to the successful completion of a minimum of 104 units or 26 courses, candidates for the degree must pass a comprehensive examination that is a critical evaluation of design projects demonstrating professional competence in the field.

By petition, the 104 unit or 26 course requirements may be fulfilled with approved alternative courses. A minimum of 94 units or 23.5 courses must be at the graduate level, a maximum of 10 undergraduate units and a maximum of 12 units of 596 courses may be applied toward the degree.

Time to Degree

The M.F.A. Program in Design for Theater and Entertainment involves students in its specialized area of study for a continuous period until all required courses are completed, typically nine quarters. The maximum residency allowable is 12 quarters.

I. Scenic Design M.F.A. in Theater

Required Core Design Courses
Scenic Design 
Scenic Design for Theater
Production Design for Film and Television
Production Design for Film and Television
Projection Design
Costume Design (any from the 400 series) 
Lighting Design (any from 400 series) 
Introduction to Design in Production (Scenography)
Design Thesis Project

Design Practice & Collaboration
Production Practice in Theater (Assistant Design Assignments) 
Advanced Projects in Design and Production (Design Assignments) 
Professional Internship in Theater, Film and Television

History Courses
History of Decor
Elective History of Theater, Opera, Film, Art and Architecture
History of Costume

Computer Design Skills Courses
Intro to Computer Assisted Drafting (AutoCAD)
Advanced Computer Assisted Drafting (AutoCAD 3D Max)
Computer Assisted Rendering (Maya & Rhino)
Computer Previsualization
Scenic Design Technology

Foundation in Design Skills Courses
Perspective Drawing
Multimedia Rendering
Digital Rendering (Photoshop) 
Model Making
Life Drawing
Costume Rendering
Scenic Painting
Digital Concept Rendering for Film & TV
Hand Drafting for Theater Film and Television
Design Portfolio Development and Marketing

Elective Courses
History electives in Theater, Opera, Film, Art and/or Architecture
Art and the process of Entertainment Design

II. Costume Design M.F.A. in Theater

Required Core Design Courses
Costume Design
Costume Design for Theater and Live Entertainment 
Costume Design for Film and Television 
Scenic Design (any from the 400 series)
Lighting Design (any from 400 series)
Introduction to Design in Production (Scenography)
Design Thesis Project 4

Design Practice & Collaboration
Production Practice in Theater (Assistant Design Assignments) 
Advanced Projects in Design and Production (Design Assignments) 
Practice of Costume Design for Film Productions
Professional Internship in Theater, Film and Television

History Courses
History of Costume
Advance Costume History (Special topics in Historical costume)
History of Costume Design in Film
Advance Critical Studies in Costume Design ("Deconstructing Glamour")
Projects in Costume Design Management

Foundation in Design Skills Courses
Perspective Drawing
Multimedia Rendering
Digital Rendering (Photoshop) 
Life Drawing
Costume Rendering
Digital Concept Rendering for Film & TV
Makeup Design for Stage
Design Portfolio Development and Marketing

Costume Construction
Costume Construction 3 Parts
Advanced Historical Costume Interpretation and Construction

Elective Courses
History electives in Theater, Art, Decor and/or Architecture
Art and Process of Entertainment Design

III. Lighting Design M.F.A. in Theater

Required Core Design Courses
Lighting Design
Scenic Projection & Media Techniques
Lighting Design for Special Events
Introduction to Cinematography
Intermediate Cinematography
Scenic Design
Costume Design
Introduction to Design in Production (Sceneography)
Design Thesis Project

Design Practice & Collaboration
Production Practice in Theater, Film, Television
Advanced Projects in Design For Theater, Film and Television
Production Practice in TFT Video and Digital Media
Art and Process of Entertainment Design
Professional Internship in Theater, Film and Television

History Courses
Elective History of Theater, Opera, Film, Art and Architecture
History of Decor
History of Costume 

Computer Design Skills Courses
Intro to Computer Assisted Drafting Vectorworks
Adv. Computer Assisted Drafting Vectorworks
Lighting Design Technology
Intro to Computer Assisted Drafting AutoCAD
Advanced Computer Assisted Drafting AutoCAD
Sound Design

Foundation in Design Skills Courses
Drafting for Theater
Hand Drafting for Film and Television
Perspective Drawing
Multimedia Rendering
Digital Rendering (Photoshop) 
Model Making
Life Drawing
Scenic Painting
Digital Concept Rendering for Film & TV

All Theater, Film and Television degree programs are full-time, daytime programs. The Theater graduate programs have daytime classes and evening production activities. The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television only accepts applicants for admittance for the Fall. The admissions information below is for Fall 2016.

The UCLA Department of Theater will be participating in the U/RTA Interviews for students applying for Fall 2016.

The Design for Theater and Entertainment Media M.F.A. is a three-year program offering advanced professional training in three artistic areas: costume design, lighting design and scenic design.

APPLICATION POSTMARK DEADLINE: December 1, 2015

Please complete all of the following steps:

Step 1: Online

    Complete the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • Indicate M.F.A. as the degree, THEATER as the major, and DESIGN as the area.
    • Submit the application and pay the application fee by December 1, 2015.
  • Upload unofficial copies of all transcripts to the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • Include all Undergraduate and Graduate institutions attended.
    • NOTE: Community college transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation.
    • Enter the names and emails of all recommenders into the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • NOTE: If needed, letters can be submitted by mail.

Step 2: Upload & Mail

  • Complete the UCLA Graduate Theater Departmental Online Application.
    • Print and mail the generated confirmation page from this application along with any mailed supplemental materials.
  • Upload and mail the Statement of Purpose.
    • Compose a 1-3 page document giving the faculty a sense of who you are. Please address the following: Why are you interested in the program? What life experiences have contributed to you applying to UCLA TFT? What do you hope to achieve by participating in the program? What are your professional goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • Upload and mail a resume of training and experience in Theater or other related work.
  • Upload and mail a portfolio to the Department of Theater section, under “Supporting Documents” on the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • All M.F.A. design applicants must submit a portfolio. This should provide evidence of the applicant’s ability appropriate to the area of emphasis as demonstrated by sketches, renderings, photographs, production books, plots, technical papers, reviews, or other exhibits appropriate to the field of study.
    • NOTE: Applicants are advised that all portfolios mailed to UCLA TFT in support of an application, including creative work (original or otherwise), will not be returned nor is the department responsible for such material.

Step 3: Mail

  • Mail an official copy of transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended.
    • NOTE: Community college transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript.
    • Please have transcripts sent to the address below or include them in sealed envelopes with the supplemental application packet.
  • If you take the GRE, request that all test scores be sent directly to UCLA TFT. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Theater Code is 2403.
    • Only test scores taken by the end of December 2015 will be accepted.
    • NOTE: THE GRE IS NOT REQUIRED FOR M.F.A. APPLICANTS.

MAILING ADDRESS:

Please SEND all applicable materials to:

Graduate Theater Admissions
UCLA Department of Theater
103 East Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622

APPLICATION POSTMARK DEADLINE: December 1, 2015

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

English Proficiency: Any international applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Theater Code is 2403. Only test scores taken by the end of December 2015 will be accepted. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/international-applicants/.

Academic Records: Although the UCLA Graduate Division Application enables applicants to upload an unofficial copy of their academic records, all applicants are required to submit official records from each academic institution attended. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records/ Proof of Funding for Visa: U.S. immigration law requires that international applicants, if admitted, show documented evidence that sufficient funds to cover all tuition, fees, transportation and living expenses are available for the first year of their studies at UCLA. This must be proved before a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS2019) for a visa can be issued. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/visa-procedures/.

For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid, note that the Fellowship Application and Financial Aid Application (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2, 2016. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and fellowships that UCLA offers. Please also check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities.

By the time of entrance, Theater Graduate applicants must:

  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Satisfy the University of California’s Graduate Admission Requirements.
  • Complete equivalent to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Please visit the FAQ page for additional questions, call 310-206-8441, or e-mail theatergrad@tft.ucla.edu. Please do not contact the department to check on your application, as we cannot update you on your application status or materials.

For Prospective Students:

For Current Students:

Theater Counselors: Barrett Korerat and Catherine Hernandez-Shibata

Theater Staff

Theater Faculty