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, led by the core faculty and adjuncts. These labs focus heavily on craft; collaboration and communication between artists of different disciplines; storytelling in music, lyrics and book; and the creation of content that is meaningful and relevant. They are supported by ongoing seminars and tutorials which address both larger aesthetic issues and discipline-specific concerns. Additional classes provide opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration as well as perspective on the state of the field and life as a professional.

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. In their first year, they are divided into frequently rotating teams to conceive, write, and present writing projects in a variety of media to their peers and teachers. Their second year is spent working primarily with the same collaborator or collaborators, creating the music and words for a full-length musical theatre work. During the course of the Program, students learn 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.

The Program is dedicated to a future in which all creative voices are heard equally, with a special emphasis on the collaborative fusion of those voices. We believe the same principles of musical theatre writing apply regardless of style, genre or medium; and view all works from the past as an opportunity to learn how creators throughout history have treated the same musical-dramatic issues the students are grappling with in their own 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.