Theatre - Scene Design
Illinois State's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Scene Design program is dedicated to the development of the individual student to reach their professional goals in the field.
The three-year program emphasizes collaboration as the cornerstone for creating quality design work within the ambitious production program at Illinois State. All MFA programs are led by professionally active faculty and staff in the classroom, in our production shops, and on stage. Learn more about design opportunities in the Scene Design program.
Our goal is to guide you toward your professional career in the arts and join our alumni in creating exciting theatre, dance, opera, film, and television across the nation and beyond.
A plan of study will be tailored to meet your individual needs with the guidance of your MFA committee. Learn more about the Scene Design curriculum.
Learn more about the facilities where you will work, including the state-of-the-art Center for the Performing Arts Theatre.
Discover what life as an Illinois State graduate student is like.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- have a minimum 2.8 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
A student applying to this program must:
- submit a current resume.
- provide three professional or academic letters of recommendation.
- interview with a member of the faculty. Interviews are held at U/RTA sites in Chicago and New York or on the Illinois State campus.
Design written materials must be submitted by February 15 to:
School of Theatre and Dance
Campus Box 5700
Normal, IL 61790-5700
For more information regarding MFA in Scene Design, contact John C. Stark.
- Fall Term — Not accepting applications for Fall 2024. The next recruitment cycle will begin in Fall 2024 for a Fall 2025 cohort.
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
Students who meet GPA standards can also earn an assistantship in the School of Theatre and Dance. The assistantship provides a stipend to the candidate for working in the scene shop, the prop shop or in selected teaching assignments. Candidates with an assistantship also are given a full tuition waiver for each semester that they are enrolled in the program.
The Scene Design program admits a limited number of students. There are currently four assistantship positions awarded each year.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.