For detailed program information including curriculum and requirements, please view the academic bulletin, the university's official document of record concerning graduate-level academic programs and regulations.
All University of South Carolina system institutions will be closed through the end of the spring semester. Columbia campus virtual instruction will continue through the end of the Summer II semester (Aug 1). Details can be found on the coronavirus landing page.
The MFA degree is an intensive three-year program of study designed to provide professional-grade training in the areas of: costume, hair and make-up design, supported by comprehensive technology coursework.
The program is designed to build strength in analytical, artistic and technical skills and to provide students with a strong visual perception for creating and supporting the environment and characters in the world of the play.
A flexible, hands-on approach allows students to pursue individual interests while receiving expert instruction in such areas as the design process, pattern making, costume crafts and hair/make-up. A student's first two years are filled with a comprehensive curriculum covering advanced studies in design, technology and history. The curriculum is structured to support the student’s realized production work on the department’s main stage.
The program experience includes a competitive assistantship and a financially supported internship. Each student graduates with at least three fully-realized design credits, as well as a competitive design/tech portfolio. Most of our students are employed in the field immediately after graduation.
The graduate experience includes a competitive assistantship and tuition stipend. The assistantship consists of a 16-hour work week in the costume studio, supporting the technical needs of the department. Students work collaboratively under the guidance and mentorship of three, full-time design/technology faculty supervisors.
In the third year, each student completes a financially supported, semester-long internship. The internship can be in a professional theatre, film or television venue, which the student finds with the guidance of a faculty mentor.
Our costume faculty are unique in their approach to active learning, working alongside students in the classroom as well as within departmental productions. Leading by example is central to the overall teaching philosophy of our professors and instructors, who are dedicated to helping students put together the highest quality design portfolio possible. Our faculty maintain design careers outside the university so they're often able to connect students with other working professionals as they begin to explore their career opportunities.