Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (MFA)
M.F.A. in Theatre in Design/Production
The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre in Design and Production is an intensive program intended to prepare students for work as designers in the professional theatre. The program admits 1-4 students each year, with applicants from all over the world. Instruction centres on a core of studio classes emphasizing development of conceptual, graphic, and research skills. In addition, MFA design and production students undertake considerable practical work, which may include assisting faculty and other practicing designers on projects outside the University, designing theatre productions at U.B.C. and elsewhere, and working in film and opera. The program generally takes 2 or 3 years to complete, and culminates in a thesis design or designs, usually for one of the UBC theatres. MFA design students also develop a portfolio of artwork and photographs to demonstrate and illustrate their abilities.
M.F.A. in Theatre in Directing
The M.F.A. Directing program is professionally oriented, intended for those who wish to extend and enhance their directing practice. The program is highly sought after by theatre artists, and the entrance process is competitive; only one or two students a year are admitted. Typically, entrants arrive with at least five years, usually more, of professional theatre experience. These theatre artists have an opportunity to delve deeply into the intellectural and practical world of theatre. Students spend a year investigating a variety of preparation and rehearsal techniques and the demands of various theatrical performance styles. In their second year they join forces with a Creative Writing/Theatre Masters student and workshop a new play, and they direct two full-length productions. One of these shows is the student's thesis production, where, in addition to preparing a fully realized production of a challenging play, MFA candidates conduct extensive research and write about the style, the playwright, the context and the intentions of the play; they record and analyze their directorial process and they defend their analysis as well as their artistic choices.
What makes the program unique?
M.F.A. design students have opportunities to work in theatre, opera, and film, and in a variety of venues. Students emerge from the program with excellent work experience and expertise in their areas of interest.
The MFA in Directing at U.B.C. takes a practice-based approach to an extensive study of directing. Our guiding principle is in engaging practicing professionals for two years of study to closely consider (and reconsider) their current practice. U.B.C. offers student directors the option of working in three different theatre spaces, the 400 seat proscenium Frederic Wood Theatre, the flexible Telus Studio in the Chan Centre, and the black-box environment of the Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre. UBC Theatre takes a "company of artists" approach to the study of theatre. Graduate students in directing work alongside developing actors, designers, production personnel, scholars and playwrights in the evolution of their practice, and out of this many long-term professional partnerships and collaborations evolve. As Theatre at UBC is housed in a department of Theatre and Film, there are also options for MFA directors to explore some techniques of filmmaking. U.B.C. is one of the oldest MFA directing programs in Canada and its graduates are working directors, artistic directors, and college and university faculty members.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Criminal Record Check
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date25 February 2019
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2020
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Firkins, Jacqueline (costume design)
Gardiner, Robert (Sceneography , stage design, lightning )
Heatley, Stephen (Theatre, acting, directing, new play development, comedy, commedia dell’arte, solo performance, play producing, Canadian theatre, Canadian plays, Literature, gender/sexuality)
Johnston, Kirsty (Dramatic literature and theatre history with particular interest in disability arts and intersections between health, disability and performance )
Liu, Siyuan (twentieth century Chinese theatre and Asian Canadian theatre)
Marshall, Hallie (Theatre, Ancient Greek Theatre, Classics, Reception Studies, History of the Book, Tony Harrison, Contemporary British Theatre, Poetry)
Mathijs, Ernest (film, alternative cinema, independent cinema, European cinema, horror film, David Cronenberg, film audiences, film festivals, censorship, fantasy film, Lord of the Rings, Film studies)
Murphy, Gayle (Voice for the Actor, Voice and speech)
Powers, Bradley (Production Technology)
Rizzotti, Patrick (theatre design, production design, augmented reality, narrative visual experience , design for new works, devised work, site specific experiences)
Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)