Wayne State University

Master of Fine Arts - Scene Design

The Hilberry Scene Design program is a pre-professional terminal degree that emphasizes practical training and experience while providing design opportunities in a wide variety of styles — from the classics to modern works. The Hilberry is devoted to cultivating new theatre artists through the development of particular production-related skills, and our applied learning environment emphasizes collaboration, conceptualization, originality and self-discovery.

The Hilberry offers students both coursework and studio time, as well as opportunities to fully realize their designs on the main stage and in the department's various spaces. Hilberry graduate students work in rotation as scene designers, technical directors, assistant designers, property masters and scene painters. The Hilberry program prepares the student to enter the professional theatre and the broader world of professional entertainment.

The following selection of courses is typical for scenic designers:

  • Stage Design
  • Advanced Design
  • Introduction to Scene Painting
  • Advanced Scene Painting
  • Style of Design
  • Advanced Stage Lighting
  • Costume Design for Theatre
  • Technical Theatre Problems
  • Repertory Theatre (design practicum)
  • Development of Drama
  • Play Direction
  • Teaching Internship Option
  • Theatre Aesthetics
  • Design Studio I-IV

Application requirements

  • A resume
  • 3 or 4 letters of recommendation
  • unofficial transcripts
  • samples of design work (submitted electronically)

Interview requirements

Candidates for each of the design programs must bring a design portfolio. The portfolio should convey information about the ability of the candidate to express artistically, to be sensitive to the dramatic materials, to work with space, and to use color, form and research materials. Each piece in the portfolio must be marked with the candidate's name, the name of the play, the date of the piece, and whether it was realized in production.

Admission is based off audition and/or interview and you must also be admitted by The Graduate School at Wayne State University.

To apply, please visit the Graduate School Application Portal.

Financial Package

  • Stipend: 2017-2018 $17,994 (will be increased for 2018-2019)
  • Full Tuition Waiver
  • Insurance: Medical/Dental/Vision (employee contribution)
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