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Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

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The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a practical, studio-based degree designed to enable students to attain a high level of professional mastery, craft and practical skill, through the presentation of both a creative art-work (or art-works) and a written component (exegesis).

The degree will equip students with the ability to create theatrical works at a high professional level, providing training to an advanced level of proficiency in the field of specialisation (e.g. acting, direction, design, or scriptwriting). It will enhance students' lifelong ability to contribute to, and to critically reflect upon, the cultural life of New Zealand and the world, with a particular focus on the theatrical and performing arts.


Theatre Studies Programme
School of Performing Arts



Regulations for the Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities)
    2. Every applicant must either:
      1. be a graduate, normally in a relevant field, or
      2. have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities)
    3. In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualification, as well as the applicant's performance in the programme.

  2. Structure of the Programme

    1. The degree shall be awarded in the following subject: Theatre Studies
    2. The programme of study shall consist of the preparation and presentation of production work (one or more substantial theatrical or live performance works, or a suite of shorter works), plus a written exegesis on that body of work. In some cases the candidate may also be required to take and pass approved papers, normally at 400-level.
    3. A candidate shall, before commencing the project, secure the approval of the Programme Co-ordinator for the supervisor(s), and for the selection of performance works to be prepared and presented.
    4. A candidate may not present work that has previously been accepted for another degree.
    5. The Senate shall approve the proposed area of study on the recommendation of the Programme Co-ordinator and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities)

  3. Duration of the Programme

    1. A candidate shall normally complete the degree within one year of study.
    2. A candidate shall satisfy the requirements for the degree within four years of admission to the programme. A candidate may apply to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) for an extension of this time limit by up to one year.

  4. Withdrawal from the Programme

    Where a candidate withdraws from the programme after completing the prescribed papers, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects in Theatre Studies or determine which papers shall be credited towards the diploma.

  5. Examination of the Production Work and Exegesis

    1. The Head of School or Head of Programme concerned (or nominee) shall appoint a Convener of Examiners who shall oversee the thesis examination.
    2. The production work and exegesis shall be assessed by at least two examiners, at least one of whom shall be external to the University.
    3. The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner but may make a report on the work of the candidate to the Convener of Examiners.
    4. Each examiner shall supply a written report on the production work and exegesis and, on the basis of the work submitted, recommend a mark and grade as well as an overall result selected from the options specified in clause (e) below.
    5. The examiners may recommend that the production work and exegesis:
      1. be accepted without requiring amendments;
      2. be accepted subject to minor corections being made at the discretion, and to the satisfaction, of the Convener of Examiners;
      3. do not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, but, where this is viable, may be revised and resubmitted for examination;
      4. do not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, and should be rejected without right of resubmission.
    6. Amendments (regulation 5(e) (ii)) and revisions (regulation 5(e) (iii)) shall be completed by the specific date to be determined by the Convener of Examiners.
    7. A candidate shall be permitted to revise and resubmit the production work and exegesis for examination once only.
    8. If revised and resubmitted work (production work and exegesis) is finally accepted, the result shall be either 'Pass' or 'Fail' (i.e. ungraded) and without eligibility for the award of the degree with distinction or credit.
    9. Where the examiners cannot agree on a result, the Convener of Examiners should so report to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.

  6. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or credit.

  7. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

    Note: The due date for applications for first enrolment in the programme is 10 December. Late applications will be considered.

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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