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Progression Toward Degree

Upon admission, a major professor will be assigned to each student. The student and major professor will set out their program of study working towards admission into candidacy for the degree.  Through vigorous mentoring, they will identify the student's artistic and professional goals.   Please note, as part of determining your path in the program it may be necessary to change advisors at some point in the program.    Each semester the advisor will assess the student's progress in the program. In addition to satisfactorily completing coursework, MFA Performance students are expected to demonstrate talent, professional potential and to respond to the training. 

Satisfactory academic progress in the curriculum does not in itself guarantee continuance in the program, nor does continuance in the program guarantee the automatic granting of the MFA degree. MFA Acting students will be reviewed after the first semester and each subsequent semester and will receive feedback from the faculty both verbally, and in the form of an official letter.

Factors in the evaluation of students in the MFA Acting program include, but are not restricted to:

  • Academic progress;
  • Evidence of growth in craft and knowledge;
  • Potential for continued growth in the program and craft;
  • Professionalism according to industry standards and per department’s production protocol (see Production Protocols in Department Handbook);
  • Maintaining a positive and open professional conduct and attitude towards the training;
  • Flexibility in approach to the demands of the work
  • Respect and adherence to the teaching styles of the faculty
  • Ability to work in a collegial manner with faculty, personnel, and students;
  • Ability to work collaboratively within the graduate ensemble;
  • Personal responsibility and initiative;
  • Achievements in production;
  • Achievements in mentoring and teaching
  • Being a model of professional standards and conduct for the undergraduate students;
  • Performance of assistantship duties.

Students can be dismissed from the MFA program at the end of any semester of their tenure for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to meet minimum academic standards;
  • Failure to pass qualifiers, proficiencies, comprehensive examinations;
  • Failure to complete assistantship responsibilities satisfactorily;
  • Lack of professional conduct in production, classroom or rehearsal;
  • Failure to respond to the training;
  • Violation of University’s policies regarding sexual harassment;
  • Violation of University policies regarding plagiarism, copyright, and fair use;
  • Creating a hostile and negative work environment in the classroom or production process;
  • Inability to respond to criticism in a respectful manner
  • Carelessness or recklessness involving UGA equipment;
  • Continued, unexcused lack of attendance and support of University Theatre productions and events.

First Semester

Qualifying Project

The qualifying project consists of the student performing a role in a production to come out of the Collaborative Ensemble class.   This class will spend the semester working on a project determined by the performance faculty. The project will be presented at the end of the semester. Following that performance, the student will deliver a written self- assessment of their process on the project and be engaged in an evaluation by the performance faculty on the student’s work in the production and in the classroom. Students who fail to meet the minimum standards on the Qualifying Project will be dismissed from the MFA program.

Students are expected to maintain journals, analyze scripts, keep director's notes, dramaturgical notes, production books, etc. These are the resources from which the student will eventually draw both the practical and creative aspects of their performance and provide source material for their reflection document and explanation of their process.

By the completion of the production the student should be able to identify, explain, and present:

  • their creative process, the methodologies, techniques, or theories used in preparing the role, and the practical and creative skills required to complete the demands of the role
  • the "question" or "problem" this particular role presents to them as an actor and their strategies for attacking them
  • the goals and objectives they are making for themselves in playing the role
  • the manner in which they integrated work from classroom into their work in rehearsal and production
  • what they learned about their own strengths and weaknesses as a performer

At the actual Qualifier session, the student will make a brief statement highlighting major points of areas listed above, then the faculty will respond to the student's performance with comments or questions regarding these areas, and also their work in the classroom, and other general observations. Following the faculty response, the student will be able to ask questions for clarification from the faculty regarding their responses and to ask questions regarding areas they may still want some more feedback on.

Students are assessed on their ability to meet the demands and responsibilities of rehearsal and production as outlined in the department handbook and on their ability to synthesize and explain their work through a defined process as outlined above.

Second Semester

Proficiency Review — Production Practicum #1

At the conclusion of the first year, students will have the opportunity to be cast in a mainstage production or create a project that represents their growth and focus as a performer. This presentation may take many forms depending on the individual interests of the student. They will work closely with their major professor in determining the focus of this piece.  Their assessment will be an opportunity to share their rationale behind their performance, their objectives, and their process in an oral presentation.  Each member of the performance faculty will evaluate the student’s presentation.   In addition, the student's overall contribution for the entire year is also evaluated at this point and a determination is made by the performance faculty whether to continue the student in the MFA program. Students who fail to establish proficiency will be dismissed from the MFA program.

third Semester

Production Practicum #2

Entering their second year, students will be assigned a substantial role in the mainstage season.   It may be in either the fall or spring semester.  This role is meant to address issues or skills which the performance faculty have identified as areas in which the student could experience growth or discovery. 

In the semester in which they are not cast they have the option to audition for the season, or to propose a project connected to their goals, or to direct a piece involving undergrads.  They may take this second practicum for credit if so desired.

Fourth Semester

Comprehensive Written Examination

Comprehensive examinations are given early in the spring semester of the second year. In the summer, prior to the second year, the student will be assigned a reading list of major theoretical texts and scripts selected specifically to address their performance and research interests by their major advisor.  The comprehensive written examination focuses on the history, theory, and techniques of acting as these areas affect the realization of a performance. The performance faculty design the questions and a committee of three grades the exam with a “Pass” “Low Pass” “Fail.” The student must receive “Pass” or “Low Pass” on all three of the questions to continue in the program.

Admission to Candidacy

After successful completion of the comprehensive exams and the first four semesters the student will be admitted to candidacy.

Fifth and Sixth Semesters

Thesis Project

The thesis project is ultimately meant to be a capstone project representative of the student’s professional and artistic goals.   A proposal for the project will be submitted by the student in the spring of their second year.  The performance faculty will review the proposals, meet with the student for clarification, and possibly offer alternative suggestions.  The appropriateness of the proposal will be determined by the appropriate area faculty and approved by the Department Head. It will be assigned no later than the summer preceding the third year. In no case will the project be performed earlier than the summer before the student’s third year in residence, no matter how many hours the student has accumulated. Projects might be done in conjunction with the department’s production program, self produced, and under particular circumstances the area faculty may approve its being done outside the department through a professional residency or similar situation. The nature, scope and suitability of the project will be determined by the area faculty.

Written Thesis and Defense

In addition to the accomplishment of the creative work itself, the student will be required to provide a written analysis and evaluation of the project. The final written document must be presented in Chicago Manual of Style format prior to the oral examination. A final oral examination on the project completes the process. The major thrust of the project, however, is to be the actual creative work. Complete instructions on the required form for the written document are available from the departmental office.

Deadlines for Graduating Students

For deadlines, visit the graduate school website here

Note: MFA students do not submit candidacy or advisory committee forms or an electronic thesis/dissertation. They do apply to graduate and submit a program of study for a non-doctoral professional degree. They should plan to defend their thesis before the final defense date, submitting thesis title and advisory committee information two weeks before their scheduled defense.

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