MFA Directing

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in directing at Boston University College of Fine Arts provides early-career professionals with the opportunity to cultivate their artistic identities and professional objectives while refining and enhancing their technical skills and range.

Degree Type

  • Graduate


  • In-Person


  • On-Campus
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Individually designed with each student’s artistic strengths, challenges, and personal ambitions, BU’s MFA program in directing prepares students for a rewarding career, as resident or freelance directors, in a variety of fields.

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With an average class size of six students and a 3:1 student-to-instructor ratio, MFA directing students gain hands-on experience, regularly interacting with BU faculty and guest artists. They get the chance to direct their own plays and work in BU’s state-of-the-art theatre complex, Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre, along with partners from prestigious theatre companies like the Huntington Theatre Company.

BU’s MFA in directing seeks to…

Extend, intensify, and focus the director’s theatrical versatility and imagination

Explore creative collaborations with actors, designers, playwrights

Envision possibilities for new artistic leadership in American theatre

Program of Study

The CFA School of Theatre admits one or two students each year to the MFA directing program. Ideal candidates have at least three to five years of professional directing experience outside of a university setting.

The core curriculum includes colloquium, scene study, design master class, dramatic literature, dramatic criticism, directed studies, and an internship with a recognized professional arts organization. A required professional development residency in the third year with a theatre company or artistic mentor of the student’s choice.

Direct a large-scale, and widely-promoted, thesis production in the third year with a full complement of designers. An Artistic Director Option is available that joins the MFA directing curriculum with a graduate certificate in arts administration at BU Metropolitan College.

… and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, directed by Sara Katzoff

Angels in America Part One: Millenium Approaches, directed by Jillian Robertson (CFA’19)

The Corruption of Morgana Pendragon, directed by Noah Putterman (CFA’22)


Collaborations with actors and playwrights. Engage with playwrights and new work via our MFA playwriting program and the BU New Play Initiative. Work alongside both BFA Performance and BFA and MFA Design & Production majors in a wide selection of elective coursework designed to address individual challenges.

Direct two to four productions per calendar year in a variety of venues with ever-growing access to designers. Participate in the School of Theatre’s casting process, drawing from our acclaimed BFA Performance programs.

Interact with BU faculty, guest artists, and onSET partners, including the Huntington Theatre Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Company, and more.

Guest lectures by many professional directors, playwrights, producers, and dramaturgs. Opportunity to direct productions throughout three years. Valuable connections with professional companies for internships, observerships, and assistant directing.

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Meet BU’s Directing Program Head

Wendy Goldberg, program head and professor of directing at BU, has spent more than 20 years leading the foremost programs in the development, direction, and production of new works for the American Theatre. As Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center for 16 seasons, under Goldberg’s tenure, 100 plays were developed and the O’Neill was awarded the 2010 Regional Tony Award. Goldberg has also been ranked by Variety as one of the top 50 film instructors from around the world.

In CFA’s Faculty Feature series, Goldberg explains the role and importance of the director in a theatrical production and shares her thoughts on why a director should choose BU’s directing program.

“In the BU College of Fine Arts alone, students have the opportunity to work with the next great musicians and visual artists. There’s a lot of creative energy here which helps to expand and open your vision of what’s possible. You can be endlessly inspired here. You’re not looking at a few artistic offerings. You can work within CFA and around the city. Other cities are a short train ride away where you can go to hear work, see work, and visit museums. As an artist, it’s very important for you to see what’s going on out there and to be inspired.”

read Q&A


Notable Graduates

Adrienne Boris (CFA’15), Chief Strategy Officer at Helios Opera; National New Play Network (NNPN) Producer in Residence at New Repertory Theatre (NRT), Boston. Boris was featured in a 2017 issue of CFA Magazine, speaking with playwriting professor Kirsten Greenidge about Baltimore. The BU production, co-produced by NRT, traveled to universities throughout the country in 2016. Boris directed the touring production.

read more in CFA Magazine

  • Barbara Grossman, Ph.D. (CFA’76), author, vice-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and professor of drama at Tufts University
  • Darryl Jones (CFA’94), Off-Broadway and regional theatre director; head of the musical theatre program at California State University, East Bay
  • Jason King Jones (CFA’12), artistic director of the National Players educational touring company
  • Lenny Leibowitz (CFA’06), founding artistic director of NYC’s Marvell Repertory Theatre
  • Rick Lombardo (CFA’84), stage director, adapter, and former Artistic Director of San Jose Rep
  • Emily Ranii (CFA’13), Boston-based director; artistic director at Wheelock Family Theatre; full-time faculty member at BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development; academic program head, BU Summer Theatre Institute
  • Richard Seer (CFA’85), award-winning actor; director, The Old Globe/University of San Diego Professional Actor Training program
  • Jeffrey Stanton (CFA’09), Boston-based director and founder of Chicago’s Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Douglas C. Wager (CFA’74), associate dean of the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts and artistic director of Theatre, Temple University; former artistic director of Arena Stage

The intimate nature of the program allows me to learn from other directing students while still maintaining the intellectual intimacy needed for personal growth. I like that the program encourages directing students to build relationships with artists in the ever-growing Boston theatre scene.

– Kevin Kolton Bradley (CFA’22) MFA Directing Grad

How many students are accepted into the program? One or two students each academic year.

After I submit my application, when can I expect to hear from BU? Calls are made to between five and ten finalists in mid-March. We invite finalists to spend the day with us in Boston in late March for further orientation, interviews, tours, discussion with current students, and the direction of a scene of your choice with our current BFA acting students. Following this, we make our decisions in early April. Applicants not admitted to the program are usually notified in mid-to-late March.

What is an “early career professional?” This describes an applicant who completed their undergraduate degree at least three to five years prior to applying, and someone who has pursued a life in the theatre or related area, developing their own voice as a director in the field.

What is the “Artistic Director Option?” Students interested in pursuing this option will complete a certificate in arts administration through the BU Metropolitan College in addition to their MFA directing curriculum. This supplemental training allows for the director to gain practical knowledge in the understanding of institutional tasks requisite for the artistic directorship of a non-profit or commercial theatre venture.

Is it possible for a full-time MFA directing student to hold a job while in the program? No. The full-time curriculum in addition to assisting, directing, and homework makes that not feasible during the school year. Students are free to have jobs, do internships, engage in other directing experiences, etc., during the summer or the long winter break.

Is it possible for an enrolled MFA directing student to direct outside of the program? During the school year, we encourage students to direct within the program and to take advantage of our mentorship in residence. As stated above, summers and winter breaks provide time to work elsewhere. Students, in consultation with faculty, have successfully petitioned faculty to adjust the timing of their internship semester away to accommodate an unusual opportunity.

How many plays does an MFA directing student direct over their three years in the program? Students customarily direct six to seven productions in their 2.5 semesters in residence. Year 1: two productions, Year 2: three productions, Year 3: one or two productions (including Thesis project).

Who is in the casting pool for these directing projects? The bulk of the casting pool is comprised of our talented BFA acting and theatre arts students. On rare occasions, MFA directing students and faculty/staff members are cast in productions.

What sort of financial support is offered for admitted MFA directing students? BU School of Theatre offers one full-tuition scholarship to one or two directing students per year. This funding includes an assistantship and a stipend. Living costs are the student’s responsibility. Typically, if students take out loans, it is to cover living expenses. Visit our Graduate Financial Assistance page for more information.

Next Steps for Applicants

The best way to determine if BU is right for you is to explore our admission requirements, financial tools, and resources.

Fill out our request for info about BU theatre programs form to receive additional information about your program of interest and to send us any questions you may have.


We are happy to discuss your educational interests and career goals.



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