Open Forum

MA vs. MFA program

  • 1.  MA vs. MFA program

    Posted 01-28-2019 10:20
    Hi there! I have a BFA in Drama, and I'm looking into getting a degree to become a theatre teacher in high schools and universities. I know most universities won't hire anyone who doesn't have an MFA, so I'm wondering what steps I should take, as well as which programs I should look into. I've been researching MA in Theatre Education (top picks are NYU Steinhardt and Emerson), but I'd love any input on all programs that can help me achieve my goal. Thanks so much!

    Elias Rubin
    Brooklyn NY

  • 2.  RE: MA vs. MFA program

    Posted 01-29-2019 07:39


    I received my MFA from Columbia University in Stage Management.  They also offer an MFA in Acting, Directing, Theatre Management etc.  It was an amazing program and you get to meet and work with professionals working in the field.  Highly recommend it.


    Michelle Cote Fernandez
    Theatre Teacher
    Miami FL

  • 3.  RE: MA vs. MFA program

    Posted 01-29-2019 07:42
    In my experience, you aren't going to have much luck at the university level of you don't have at least an MFA. If you think you would teach acting, directing, or design an MFA would serve you well. If you are a generalist I'd recommend a PhD if you would like to get beyond the adjunct level. I would need to know your area before recommending programs.

    If you are considering independent schools, an MA could serve you well. I probably give preference to a strong MFA candidate with teaching experience over a strong MA candidate but both degrees bring advantages. Honestly, experience and a strong approach to teaching matters most to me.

    William Addis
    Chair of Visual and Performing Arts
    Westtown School
    West Chester PA

  • 4.  RE: MA vs. MFA program

    Posted 01-29-2019 08:28
    I got my MA from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Great program that takes place for 8 weeks in th summer, perfect for working teachers.  However, if your goal is to teach at a univeristy, you will need the terminal degree which is the MFA or the PhD.

    Lauren Canfield
    Goose Creek SC

  • 5.  RE: MA vs. MFA program

    Posted 01-30-2019 14:12
    Hi Elias

    Most universities require a terminal degree (MFA or PhD) in order to teach at a graduate level.

    NIU has very thorough MFA training in acting and design/technology.  Our acting MFA is recruiting this year for the three-year cohort, and the design and technology areas recruit every year.

    Hop that helps :-)

    Tracy Nunnally
    NIU - Professor/TD/Area Head
    Vertigo - Owner/System Designer
    ETCP Certified Rigger/Trainer
    DeKalb, Illinois