Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (MFA)
Please note that the applications for the MFA in Design/Production, Costume stream and Lighting stream are pausing for one year and there will be no in-take into Fall 2023. Applications for Fall 2024 will open in late September 2023.
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.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 90
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2024 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2023
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (MFA)
Criminal Record Check
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,802.52||$3,166.73|
|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)||$1,081.64 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $18,517.90 (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.
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.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their 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.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Fine Arts in Theatre (MFA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
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)
Gagnon, Olivia Michiko (Performance studies; minoritarian performance and cultural production; Multimedia art-making; critical race and ethnic studies; feminist and queer theory; critical Indigenous studies; Archival Theory; performative writing)
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 )
Lachance, Lindsay (Indigenous approaches to developing Indigenous theatre)
Liu, Siyuan (twentieth century Chinese theatre and Asian Canadian theatre)
Marshall, Hallie (Performing arts; Ancient Greek Theatre; Arts and Cultural Traditions; Classics; Contemporary British Theatre; Cultural Industries; History of the Book; Literary or Artistic Work Dissemination or Reception Contexts; Performance and Theatrical Productions; Poetry; Reception Studies; Religion, Culture and Space; Theatre; Tony Harrison)
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)
Morris, Leora (Directing; Acting; New play development)
Murphy, Gayle (Voice for the Actor, Voice and speech)
Pennefather, Patrick (theatre design; Theatre Production; digital media; Public VR projects; xR development; Scalable virtual and augmented reality prototypes; Rapid prototyping for mixed realities; Design of spatial audio in physical and virtual environments)
Powers, Bradley (Production Technology)
Rizzotti, Patrick (Performing arts; design; Design and Planning of Space; Theatrical Productions; Virtual Reality; Augmented reality; design for new works; devised work; narrative visual experience; production design; site specific experiences; theatre design)
Santos, Alessandra (Cinema studies; Film, television and digital media; Latin American history; Latin American literatures; Spanish language; Artistic and Literary Analysis Models; Artistic and Literary Theories; Arts and Cultural Traditions; Arts and Technologies; Brazilian Literature and Culture; Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies; Latin American Literatures and Cultures; Modern and Contemporary Literatures and Cultures)
Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)
Sample Thesis Submissions
The Theatre Program offers opportunities for advanced studies leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and the Master of Arts (M.A.) in dramatic literature, theatre history, and criticism. The program also offers advanced studies leading to the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in the direction of plays and in the design of scenery, costume, and lighting.The program has diverse offerings in both practical theatre and the academic study of dramatic literature, history, and criticism.