MFA in Design for Theater & Live Arts

MFA in Design for Theater & Live Arts

Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts

B Kleymeyer, I Think I’m Starting to Want to Be a Mother. Performance view.* Photo: E. Lieu Wolhardt

December 8, 2023
MFA in Design for Theater & Live Arts
Virtual open house
Virtual open house: December 15, 12pm
Preferred application deadline: January 6
Instagram / Facebook

Learn about CMU Drama’s MFA programs in Costume, Lighting, Scenic, Sound, and Video & Media Design. Join us on December 15 at 12pm EST for a virtual tour and information session. Please visit here to RSVP and receive a link.

We will show the facilities, look behind the scenes on recent productions, and host a discussion with current students, alumni and faculty about the program. 

The CMU School of Drama’s Design area consists of five MFA programs: Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, Sound Design, and Video & Media Design. Each program is a three-year intensive course of study exposing students to the most up to date tools and techniques for designing theater and live events. Graduate students participate fully in the ambitious School of Drama production season across three theaters and non-traditional theater spaces. All CMU productions are student designed and produced, with close faculty and staff support. Graduate students are involved in at least one production per semester, which range from one-act plays to full-scale main-stage productions and devised or experimental works. 

All MFA students receive tuition scholarships. There are also numerous opportunities for student employment within the School of Drama. MFA students may also participate in the Future Faculty program, where they can teach a course of their design, mentored by Drama faculty and the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. The school also produces two very popular Graduating Student Expositions in New York and Los Angeles, where graduating MFA students network with alumni and industry professionals. We are committed to our students’ future success and are an ongoing resource as they advance through their careers.

Carnegie Mellon is a world-class research university, with exceptional programs across the Arts & Sciences, and MFA students can take advantage of a wealth of electives, cutting edge technologies, and study with leading faculty both within the School of Drama and across the university. The 3rd year of the program is dedicated to the creation of a student-defined thesis project, where students synthesize their unique perspectives by bringing in faculty, skills and methodologies from across campus.

The program aims to inspire students to create signature work in their chosen discipline and to celebrate unique voices from diverse cultures. The school also fosters curiosity about the fusion between other art forms and progressive theater practice, including exploring the storytelling and entertainment potential of new technologies.

Graduates leave with a wide range of skills and our alumni work across many performance and entertainment disciplines, including theater, film, television, dance, opera, game design, extended reality, immersive experience design, concert design and live events.

The program is accepting applications with a preferred deadline of January 6, 2024. Applications after that point are considered until positions are filled. Interested students are encouraged to contact: Sarah Shechtman— sshechtm [​at​]

*Image above: Scenic Design by Yafei Hu; Costume Design by Izzy Kitch; Lighting Design by Zhegdao (Ernest) Wan; Media Design by Kolton Cotton; Pictured: Anya Edwards and Ted Guzman.

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Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts
December 8, 2023

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