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MFA Theatre, Directing

Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, Directing

From the production of Hamlet, Hamlet is being confronted by the ghost of his Father.
Hamlet, 2017

The TXST Directing Program is a rigorous practice-based program that trains the next generation of live performance makers. Our highly selective program is only open to two directors each year. Students in the program direct extensively, including up to five full-length productions, one-act plays, staged readings, short scenes and class projects.

Our students develop a considerable body of work, and we provide ample opportunities for feedback and growth throughout their MFA. Students are also encouraged to take part in an internship with a professional theatre company during their three years.

In addition, the department offers specializations in musical theatre, new play development, and theater history/dramaturgy. Faculty mentors help guide student training and progress, along with clear landmarks that create a well-rounded portfolio for each student.

Moreover, we offer numerous opportunities for international summer study, including the Shakespeare in England study abroad program (6 hours), Oregon Shakespeare Festival Intensive (3 hours) and Internships for credit.

Recently, the TXST Directing program was highlighted in American Theatre Magazine.

Ethan McSweeny

Our MFA in Directing program hosted guest artist Ethan McSweeny. One of our students held an interview with Ethan while he was visiting to conduct directing workshops.

Course Description

1st Year          FALL                                                     SPRING

                        MFA Studio I   TH 5342                       MFA Studio II TH 5343

                        Text Analysis TH 5302                        Director/Designer Collab TH 5312

                        Scene Design TH 5357                       History/Theory Class


2nd Year         MFA Studio III TH 5352                       MFA Studio IV TH 5353

                       Concept/Composition TH 5303           History of Directing TH 5313

                       History/Theory Class                           History/Theory Class


3rd Year         MFA Studio V TH 5382                       MFA Studio VI TH 5383

                       Exit Project TH 5398 or Elective         Exit Project TH 5398   or

Elective          History/Theory Class                           Elective        


To reach 60 hours for the degree, students will need to take an additional 6 hours of prescribed electives in two of the semesters or in the summers (see below).  Possibilities include; Shakespeare in England summer study abroad program with courses at the RSC/Birthplace Trust and Shakespeare’s Globe (6 hours), Oregon Shakespeare Festival Intensive (3 hours) and/or Internships for credit.


Details of Course Descriptions

Jimmy directing

Graduate Assistantships/Scholarships/Tuition:


Almost all graduate students receive a $12,000-13,000 assistantship, paid over 9 months. It comes with in-state tuition.

Typical assignments include:

Introduction to Fine Arts (Teaching Assistant)

Introduction to Fine Arts (Teacher)

Acting 1 (Teacher)

Directing 1 (Teacher)

Assistant to Head of Graduate Studies or Head of Directing

To receive a full assistantship, students teach or assist two classes a semester. Acting and Directing classes are usually assigned to our 3rd year directing students.


In addition, there are scholarships available through the Graduate College and through the Department of Theatre and Dance. They can range anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per year. Most applications are due by March 1 each year. Outstanding Graduate Merit Fellowship is $2500 awarded in the first year. It is possible to receive more than one award. Additional support is available for thesis research – up to $2000.


Directing Faculty 

Deb Alley, (Department Chair):

Deb Alley joined the faculty at Texas State University in 2013 and teaches directing to graduate and undergraduate students. Prior to her arrival in Texas, she was head of the Master of Fine Arts directing program at Illinois State University where she received the University’s Outstanding Teacher award in 2005. She was artistic director of Illinois Shakespeare Festival from 2007 to 2012. Her association with ISF goes back to 1995 and includes associate artistic director and production manager positions. She currently is also chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at TSU.

Charles Ney (Head of Directing)

Charles “Chuck” Ney is a professor of directing and acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance where he teaches graduate directing courses and BFA actors in Shakespeare and acting styles. He is also program director of TSU's annual summer Shakespeare in England program, working with the

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and with London's Globe Theatre. He is the author of Directing Shakespeare in America: Current Practices (2016) and Directing Shakespeare in America: Historical Perspectives (forthcoming October 2018) from Arden Shakespeare. His Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois and has an MFA in Directing from Southern Methodist University as well as a BFA in Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Application Deadline

March 15

Send your application to

Graduate College
Texas State University 
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666

How To Apply

  • Complete an application online using the Apply Texas Application
  • Once you have applied and received your Net ID, upload documents to the Graduate Admissions Document Upload (GADU) tool when your application has been received by the graduate admissions office.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Submit a current theatre resume
  • Submit a statement of purpose that details your experience in directing, related background information and your goals for pursuing the MFA in Directing

For More Information Contact:

Chuck Ney, Head of Directing
Texas State University 
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666