Theater/Playwriting MFA

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM AND MEDIA ARTS

Learn more about the Master of Fine Arts in Theater/Playwriting.

About the Program

The Theater/Playwriting MFA program is dedicated to developing each writer's unique voice and equipping the writer with skills necessary to sustain life as an artist. Core coursework provides rigorous training with attention to craft in a range of forms. Additional courses emphasize the collaborative nature of theater-making and provide an environment for creating a network of fellow artists from across disciplines. The curriculum is designed to allow writers to explore areas of interest both within the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts, and outside of it, including research in areas such as African American Studies,  Anthropology, Art History, Music or Women’s Studies in augmentation of a particular project or idea. Class sizes are small, with individualized instruction as a priority.

Our interest is in training playwrights for artistic success in both current and potential future landscapes. We seek students who are motivated by a desire for passionate self-expression and a sense of social purpose. The program sits within the context of our highly regarded acting, design and directing programs and the vibrant, diverse theater community of Philadelphia.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 5 years

Campus Location: Main, Center City

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered during daytime hours, as well as evening classes.

Interdisciplinary Study: Research areas are encouraged. Previous areas of interest have included African American studies, anthropology, film, mass media, new media and women’s studies. Permission to enroll in particular courses is determined by the department involved.

Affiliation(s): Contacts are maintained with professional theaters with new play programs.

Study Abroad: No formal relationships exist, but study abroad programs in the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication are available. London and Dublin programs include theater visits and can include courses or internships.

Ranking: The Theater Department's MFA program was rated 13th for graduate theater programs in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report.

Accreditation: The Theater Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).

Areas of Specialization: Areas of specialization can be developed through graduate study in any of the research areas. Particularly relevant are courses in film or television writing.

Job Prospects: The program is primarily focused on training our students for careers in the theater industry.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Along with all university approvals, non-matriculated students are required to obtain written approval from the instructor for each class they wish to take.

Financing Opportunities: Assistantships, including tuition remission and a stipend, may be available for exceptional candidates.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15, 2025

* * APPLICATIONS will next be accepted for FALL 2025 ADMISSION * *

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university professors and/or professionals in the field who are familiar with their work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Particular coursework is not required, but evidence of playwriting experience and commitment to theater writing are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals: Introduce yourself in approximately 500 words by relaying your relevant experience, values and areas of interest. Proper essay form should be used, but it may be in a personal style.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Interview: The applicant meets with the Head of Playwriting.

Writing Sample: One full-length script or two one-acts are required for admission consideration.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 60

Required Courses:

Playwriting I
Playwriting II
Seminar in Dramatic Literature
Seminar in Dramatic Literature
Playwriting III
Playwriting IV
Teaching Playwriting
Projects in Playwriting
Projects in Playwriting
Other theater and area studies

Additional Requirements:
Reviews are held after each term. Each review considers all work done, progress made, and future plans.

Culminating Events:
A full-length play is required.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Theater Graduate Admissions

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/School of Theater, Film and Media Arts

2001 N. 13th Street, 127 Presser Hall

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016


Fax: 215-204-4957

Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


James Short

Recruitment Coordinator


Fred Duer