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Theatre (Dramatic Writing), MFA

Theatre (Dramatic Writing), MFA

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Theatre (Dramatic Writing), MFA

DEVISING, Film, New Work Development, Playwriting, Screenwriting, drama, theater, theatre, writing

Are you interested in playwriting? Do you love telling stories for the stage and screen? This MFA program provides a collaborative, immersive environment where students receive rigorous training, creative opportunities and individualized mentorship --- everything you need to take your passion to the next level.

Program description
Degree awarded: MFA  Theatre (Dramatic Writing)

The concentration in dramatic writing under the MFA in theatre includes coursework in playwriting, screenwriting, historical studies in theatre, and dramatic theory. Students direct new work, study dramaturgy and literary management, and pursue related topics such as writing for solo performance, storytelling, devising and collaborative writing in a variety of genres such as comedy, horror, science fiction and fantasy.

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre supports the production of new plays and performance works written by its Master of Fine Arts students. Student-written work is showcased in annual Theatre Labs and is considered for main stage productions.

At a glance
Degree requirements

60 credit hours including the required applied project course (THP 693)

Required Core (27 credit hours)
THE 500 Research Methods (3)
THE 504 Studies in Dramatic Theory and Criticism (3)
THE 520 Theatre History and Literature (3)
THP 560 Dramatic Writer's Workshop (15)
THP 561 Scripts in Progress (3)

Concentration (9 credit hours)
THE 562 Dramaturgy Workshop (3)
THP 520 Directing the New Play (3)
THP 598 Special Topics (3)

Electives (18 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
THP 693 Applied Project (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
As part of the electives coursework, students have the option to complete an internship (THP 684) for three credit hours.

Students should see the academic unit for a complete list of approved electives. Additional information on degree requirements for this degree is available on the curriculum check sheet located at the bottom of the school's program page.

The applied project is the writing of a thesis play, to be developed as one of the following: a full production on the school's main stage, a staged reading or a workshop production.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in theatre or in creative writing from a regionally accredited institution. An applicant may have an undergraduate degree outside of theatre and may be admitted on the basis of excellent creative writing and academic work. Deficiencies in undergraduate preparation may be removed while pursuing the MFA degree.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. three letters of recommendation
  4. School of Music, Dance and Theatre Application, including a current resume, statement of career goals (including writing endeavors or interests), and a manuscript sample of either a full-length play (60 pages or more) or a series of one-act plays (30 pages minimum)
  5. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Application deadlines
Session A/CIn Person 01/15Final
Program learning outcomes

Program learning outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. This program has the following program outcomes:

  • Students will create new dramatic works reflecting advanced knowledge of the dramatic writer's art and craft with each new work
  • The MFA writer will be able to critique dramatic works, employing knowledge of the history, theory and dramaturgy of the art form.
  • The MFA student in dramatic writing will be able to teach in dramatic writing and in other related areas in dramatic analysis, storytelling or theater history.
Global opportunities
Global experience

Students are encouraged to apply to international conferences and fellowships such as the Fulbright Program.

Career opportunities

Professionals with a Master of Fine Arts degree in dramatic writing regularly have their work produced at festivals, staged readings and theatres across the country. They have obtained highly competitive artist residencies and awards for their work. Some have had their plays published.

Career examples include:

  • presenting readings and full productions of work at theatre conferences and festivals
  • publishing plays
  • teaching in a variety of contexts: as adjunct faculty, visiting faculty or tenure-track professor
  • working at an established arts organization in a variety of roles
  • working as a teaching artist
Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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