Earn your terminal degree in Theatre
The school offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance, Theatre Design and Technology, and Directing. Each program provides the student with sound theory and intensive practical training as well as opportunities for extensive performance experiences and exposure to visiting professional artists.
Admission/acceptance requires audition or portfolio review.
The University of Southern Mississippi is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre.
What Will I Learn?
Skills needed to have a successful career in the professional world. Experiences to set you above the rest.
Students are urged to apply early for work-study or graduate assistantships. Both programs include tuition, out-of-state fees and a living stipend.
Each student plans his or her degree program with the graduate committee and primary
advisor. Thus, each student's degree program is "custom made" -- one of the strongest
features of our department. In addition, all students enroll in the graduate design
studio for four or more semesters of their program. The studio gathers all of the
students from the various design disciplines into one interactive learning environment.
A student will be expected to show a high level of skill in the primary area of costume design or costume technology and management with an acceptable level of performance in the secondary area. Students choosing to emphasize design will be required to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in rendering and design reasoning. Those choosing costume technology and management will be expected to demonstrate skills in historic pattern drafting, stitching, which involves dressmaking and tailoring, and in shop management.
Each graduate costume designer will usually design costumes for a production each semester of residence. The projects begin with modestly budgeted modern-dress shows. Advanced design projects may include fully realized major productions. There also may be design opportunities for concerts staged each semester by the dance program. On average, each design student will produce three or four staged designs during their three years at Southern Miss.
In addition to costume design, students are encouraged to seek the available opportunities in shop management and in makeup design. The student also will be expected to fill other positions, such as assistant designer, cutter/draper, stitcher, or craftsperson on other productions during the semester. Undergraduates with a concentration in costume design are regularly assigned to graduate designers as design assistants. As M.F.A. candidates advance in the program, they will be assigned to a beginning level costume or makeup class as a teaching assistant.
All candidates are required to interview. Students should be prepared to present a portfolio or provide evidence of experience and aptitude in a related visual area. Deficiencies in undergraduate training may need to be completed before students are fully admitted to the M.F.A. program. Admission to the theatre program is facilitated through the Southern Miss Graduate School.
Professor Takes the Stage
Theatre Performance professor Robin Aronson performs in the USM Theatre Season along with undergraduate and graduate students. Recent performances include "You Can't Take it With You" and "Cabaret."
Professor takes the stage in several productions, including the musical "Cabaret"
- Scenic Designer
- Costume Designer
- Lighting Designer
- Theatre Professor
- Yolanda Williams, Directing, 2009
Producing Artistic Director/Co-Founder at Blue Light Underground Ensemble
- Hali Hutchinson, Costume design and technology, 2016
Costume Lab cutter/draper UNC, Charlotte
- Rachael Schwartz, Theatre Performance, 2014
Professor of Acting Emory and Henry College
"USM's exclusive partnership with the Lessac Research and Training Institute under Professor Robin Aronson's careful and innovative guidance has been life altering."
In voice and speech classes at Southern Miss, students gain ways to further incorporate effective and deep breathing, body alignment and flexibility, vocal and physical endurance, vocal resonance and power, articulation and intelligibility; classes also cultivate the unique quality of the individual.