C.7.b What kind of degree?
You need to have a strong sense of
what you want from an
advanced degree. The
degrees and the institutions that offer them vary widely, and
you’re making a
major commitment. Primary
this point is therefore very important.
Do you want to work professionally in
for this desire are
rooted in financial income, satisfying career, generally good working
conditions with dedicated people around, and a sense of small
is an excellent place
to investigate this interest, ranking right up there with New York and Chicago
in the number of production opportunities offered you.
If you plan to undertake graduate education,
you would do well to take some employment before settling on
“going on.” Direct
involvement will give you a feel for
the life and measure your level of competition and skills against your
If technical direction or theatre
craft work is your
interest, there may be no call to think strongly of grad work for
purposes. Find a
job, get sponsored for
the union, practice your craft with excellence.
It’s a satisfying occupation with interesting
hours and moments of
If your desire lies on the
“artistic” track of design,
acting, directing, writing, or maybe management, you probably
need to think of
going on—in the direction of an M.F.A.
If your need is for additional acting training, you might
consider the “studio” route instead.
These programs were originally set-up outside of the
structure, offering strictly professional training on a master/novice
level. Lately they
have taken to offering degrees of
their own, and confusing things even more, some universities are now
establishing their own resident studio programs.
Increasingly the M.F.A. is the expected
credential for the “creative” positions in the
acting, playwriting, or design will help you build necessary
skills and can help build an important network as well; you may want to
consider applying for programs these degrees relatively early in your
career. Oddly, an
increasing number of
M.F.A. programs in Directing prefer applicants to have significant life
professional experience before undertaking their requirements.
If you are interested in teaching at
the elementary or
secondary level a B.A. degree may
suffice for a while if you have the appropriate teaching
accompany it. An
M.A. will be necessary
to propel you into the better-paying upper ranks.
is typically oriented toward theatre history, theory and
and is ordinarily viewed as oriented to
“traditional” contemplative scholarship
and as a “stopping-out” point on the way to the
The M.A. is typically thought of as
one-and-a-half to two
years beyond the B.A., while most M.F.A. degree— more
remember—are considered at least three years beyond. Whereas the M.A. sets the
stage for the Ph.D.,
the M.F.A. degree is considered terminal—which means rather
that it seen as the
educational culmination of applied studies and creative activity. The Ph.D. is aimed more at
including writing evaluative work about artistic history, theory and activities. Some are involved in
performance study and
experience as well, but many are geared toward theory alone with no
performance venues. The
Ph.D. is also
considered a terminal degree, and probably reflects at least four years
study beyond the Bachelor’s degree.
If your desire to teach centers on
the college level, you
should consider the need for pursuing a Ph.D.
But if you hope to teach in a professionally driven
centers on B.F.A. and M.F.A. offerings—you may need
to obtain an M.F.A., gain
some professional experience, look for opportunities to work
with a college or university (even if not full-time ), and then later
Ph.D. Such a
combination can be a real
winner. If your
interests are oriented
toward liberal arts teaching, you may want to pursue an M.A.
provides scholarship and professional opportunities and head right into
program, preferably one which includes opportunities in the performance
venues. An M.A.
will be of minimal use
in obtaining a college level teaching position unless you pursue a Ph.D.
Finding the Where