Graduate Schools and Professional Training Programs
Graduate study allows students to pursue further education in specialized areas of their chosen field.
Types of Degrees (M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D.)
Graduate degrees in the fields of performance studies and film and media include:
- the Master of Arts (M.A.)
- the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
- the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Master of Arts (M.A.) & Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
M.A. and Ph.D. programs are generally located in university settings, and involve a curricular mix of scholarly and artistic course work that varies in emphasis. Usually, however, M.A. and Ph.D. programs are better suited to students preferring academic study.
Subjects of academic study could include:
- theater history
- dramatic literature
- film and media studies
- cultural studies
- arts management
- performance studies
- craft-based fields
- production design
Sometimes, the M.A. functions as an intermediate degree for students who plan eventually to work toward a Ph.D., but it is also a useful degree for students planning a teaching career.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
The M.F.A., like the Ph.D., is considered to be a terminal degree, but it emphasizes artistic training:
- production design
M.F.A. programs usually include an academic component that supports artistic training, and some professional training programs lead to an M.F.A. degree, which may also be earned at some universities. Admittance to most M.F.A. programs will require an audition or portfolio, depending on the applicant’s area of intended study.
How to Apply
Students interested in pursuing graduate work should begin researching these institutions, their curricula, and their financial aid packages early in their junior year.
Students should carefully consider these differences in selecting the appropriate programs because specializations, resources, cultural settings, programs, faculty, and reputations of these schools may vary.
Applications to graduate schools are usually accepted during late fall or early winter of a student’s senior year, and acceptance depends generally on some combination of the following:
- undergraduate GPA; the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), when applicable;
- letters of recommendation;
- regional audition, especially in the case of M.F.A. acting programs
- student interests and plans
- student work portfolios
The Career Center at St. Mary’s can provide further information on graduate schools and procedures for application, and faculty in TFMS welcome consultation on this subject.