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The Design Program at UHM is a small, personalized, multi-cultural program that emphasizes hands-on training, varied design and teaching opportunities, individualized mentoring with professionally active faculty, and design prospects with area theatres. MFA design students primarily concentrate on one of three disciplines—scenic, lighting, or costume design – and may also choose to have a secondary area of focus.
We believe that design education should be hands-on, and does not stop at the classroom walls. It’s better to see it than talk about it. It’s better to do it, than to see it. Few other universities of this size can offer the complex and robust production season found at UHM. This translates as numerous opportunities to apply skills learned in class to real actualized productions. Students, who apply themselves and take full advantage of their training and design opportunities, will graduate with a resume and portfolio for which they can be proud.
UHM Theatre and Dance provides a unique opportunity to learn and design for a wide variety of production styles. Please visit other parts of this website to learn about our wonderful array of specialized theatre disciplines. The design program supports all these other areas, giving our students a wide range of exposure to genres and styles, and tremendous opportunity for practical experience.
Our faculty are not only educators, but also practicing professionals, respected in their fields, who are encouraged to maintain professional careers and contacts beyond the university. These outside endeavors allow our faculty opportunities to continually develop and stay current in their fields, and also bring invaluable credibility into the classroom by sharing their real-world experiences.
Whenever possible, MFA design students are given the opportunity to gain formal teaching experience – invaluable for the educational theatre job market. These students, under applicable faculty guidance, help to train other students in the shops during production builds, mentor undergraduate design students, and also have the potential to be guest lecturers, teaching assistants, and instructors for appropriate classes.
Because of the Design program’s unique multicultural training, our graduates stand out in the job market. Our graduates have found work across the nation in design, technical and other production positions for regional and semi-professional theatre, as well as teaching and designing for reputable colleges and universities.
Degrees offered: MFA (Theatre Design, with focus in Scenery or Costumes. For 2022-23, applications are not currently being accepted into the Lighting emphasis. All Design students will have the opportunity to take classes in beginning lighting, entertainment electrics, drafting, and digital rendering. A Graduate Assistantship in Electrics is available for Fall 2022 entry; please apply no later than Feb. 1, 2022.)