Criteria for Admission

Students applying for the M.F.A. program must have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in Theatre Arts (or a related discipline) from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in upper division major courses, meet university admission requirements, and submit evidence of creative ability and professional intent.

For complete information please contact: 

Meadows Admission Office


Design candidates are required to schedule an interview with our design faculty and present a portfolio of design work. We strongly urge that potential students visit the campus to get a better sense of the program, the SMU community, and the nature of our training. The interview is a requirement of admission into the program.

Faculty representatives will be present at the U/RTA held interviews in New York and Chicago. Applicants may choose to interview in Dallas and combine a site visit.

Expect the interview process to take a full day and when possible view a divisional production in the evening.

  • Attend classes
  • Portfolio review
  • Interview with faculty
  • Meal with current M.F.A. students
  • Tour of campus
  • Attend evening production

Appointments for on-campus interviews (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) can be made by contacting: 

Steve Woods, Head of Design 214.768.3816


The purpose of the portfolio is to introduce your skills, work history, and level of experience to the faculty for consideration of admission into the graduate program.

The M.F.A. in Entertainment Design at SMU is a holistic program, in that students are required to study all three-design disciplines in the first year of study. It is possible to continue with the study of two areas in the second and third year of the program.

While the interview portfolio does not need to show a balanced history of work in three areas it is best to show all of your work. If in doubt include a particular item in your portfolio. It is impossible for the faculty to evaluate work left at home.

Rough sketches, art class projects, magic sheets, drafting, ground plans, photographs of your work, and sketchbooks all support the application process.

Portfolios are not scrapbooks so please leave out flashy borders, program copy, newspaper clippings, and other items that distract from the work.

The portfolio should include one complete show presented as a designer package including, but not limited to, research, concept, scene breakdown, and supporting materials needed for a successful scenery, costume, or lighting design.

By design area this may include: a ground plan, section, photos of the model, character breakdown, sketches, renderings with fabric, bible, magic sheets, cue synopsis, hook-up, and all the paperwork needed by design area. Be sure to include production photographs of the finished work. Photographs should be a minimum of 8 x 10. Slides and DVD's will not be accepted.

Electronic portfolios are discouraged for the site interview. An applicant and design faculty huddled around a laptop or tablet is not the best way to view and discuss a portfolio.

Please be prepared to present three letters of reference and an "unofficial" transcript of your undergraduate studies.