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Master of Fine Arts in Design

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  • Practical experience
    The M.F.A. is earned in a three-year conservatory program where extensive classroom and studio work is balanced with practical production experience. Studio and production assignments escalate in scale and complexity to prepare students to take full responsibility for productions as designers and technicians. Classes are small and the resident faculty members are working professionals and full-time participants in the training program. The faculty regularly gives guidance and evaluation to each student throughout the three-year program. As part of the training process, the faculty
    occasionally participates in UNCSA productions as designers and technicians. Guest master teachers add to the curriculum with workshops in specialized areas. The studio and production work in which the student participates is of the highest professional level in both design creativity and technical execution.
  • Academic Title
    Master of Fine Arts
  • Course description
    The Master of Fine Arts professional training program is a terminal degree program consisting of three years of advanced study. The Program is open to college graduates holding an undergraduate degree who wish to specialize in one of four design concentrations, one of five production concentrations, or the management concentration.

    Design Concentrations:

    Costume Design
    Scene Design
    Sound Design
    Wig and Makeup Design

    Costume design
    is a rigorous program that offers hands-on design experience in theatre, opera, dance and film. Four resident faculty members teach a demanding curriculum designed to prepare students for successful careers in the entertainment industry. Students study life drawing, rendering, costume history and three full years of costume design as well as all aspects of costume production and costume crafts. Students are given considerable production experience, working in five completely different state-of-the-art theatrical spaces on several fully staged productions each year. The program enables the student to graduate with an impressive portfolio of renderings and photography of realized designs.

    Scene Design

    This is one of the only programs in the country that provides training in scene design for theatre, dance, opera and film. The comprehensive curriculum helps students develop basic skills in drawing, rendering, drafting and scene painting. The students' preparation includes the study of lighting and history of decor, and in the final years of the program, the area of concentration narrows to studio classes and individually directed study and practical production experience in design and scene painting. Productions are mounted in five different theatrical spaces ranging from a black box to a Broadway-scale house. A graduate in scene design enters the profession with an enviable portfolio.

    Sound Design
    The school is one of only five programs in the country that offers training in sound design and engineering for dance, theatre, musical ensembles, opera and film. The curriculum addresses analog and digital reproduction as well as live reinforcement. It offers a challenging progression of skill acquisition, from the technical aspects of sound engineering and the craft of sound, to the art of sound design, including acoustical effects. Sound design students will be responsible for sound design and reproduction with an artistic team for 25 annual productions in a variety of performance spaces including a 390-seat proscenium thrust, a 200-seat black box and a 1,300-seat proscenium road house. They will become proficient in the business of sound design in the entertainment industry as well as post-production sound and scoring for film.

    Wig and Makeup Design
    The School offers one of the few undergraduate and graduate programs in wig and makeup design in the country. The curriculum provides thorough and comprehensive training for professional careers as makeup artists, wig-makers and period hair specialists in theatre, dance, opera, television and film. Classes in wig design focus on wig-making, toupees, extensions, wefting, ventilating, punching, and period hairstyling; and in makeup design, glamour makeup, fantasy and realistic character design, trauma makeup, prosthetic application, and two- and three-dimensional aging techniques. Students also study and utilize fundamental techniques in mold-making, foam latex, foam urethane, and silicone. Classes are small and students often work one-on-one with teachers. The 25 fully staged dance, theatre and opera productions and numerous films each year offer unparalleled opportunities for students to practice their craft. Students are also prepared in the business of the profession in classes and production experience and are assisted in portfolio development through career counseling.

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