Graduate Musical Theatre Writing (MFA)

Department Website

Program Description

The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program curriculum is designed in a nontraditional format with a major emphasis on collaboration. This involves both team-teaching by the core and adjunct faculty and extensive writing collaborations among the students. At the heart of the program are the writing labs, which are supported by ongoing seminars.

Most class time is devoted to these labs, led by the core faculty and adjuncts. The labs focus heavily on craft; collaboration and communication between artists of different disciplines; storytelling in music, lyrics, bookwriting and meaningful content. In the first year, students are divided into frequently rotating teams. Together they conceive, write, and present writing projects for peers and teachers.

Concurrently, in ongoing seminars, students learn how creators of theatre and music theatre throughout history have treated the same musical-dramatic issues they are grappling with in the writing labs.

In addition to studying classic works of the American Musical Theatre which have most often been created by white artists, we also study the contributions of artists of color and elements of world music that are foundational in the evolution of our art form.

The Program is dedicated to the concept of including all voices equally in the creation of the musical theatre in the future with a special emphasis on the collaborative fusion of those voices. Our students come from across the United States and around the world to share their lived experiences and their desire to express them in words and music.

During the course of the program, students learn both how to give constructive criticism and how to incorporate feedback that is useful to them as individuals and to their collaborative teams in the rewriting of their work.


All graduate applicants to the Tisch School of the Arts are required to submit the General Graduate Application, as well as a department-specific portfolio or creative supplement. Each of these can be submitted online.

See Graduate Admissions for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.

For international applicants, see International Applicant RequirementsApplicants with international credentials should be sure to check to see if their credentials are equivalent to an American Bachelor’s degree before applying.