Upcoming Events

  • September 4
    TFMS Open House, 7:30-8:30 p.m.+, Bruce Davis Theater, MH. Come enjoy the party! Mandatory for declared and intended TFMS majors.
  • September 9-10
    Auditions, Much Ado About Nothing, 6:00-10:00 p.m., Bruce Davis Theater, MH. Contact the director, Michael Ellis-Tolaydo, for information.
  • September 22
    Eighth Annual TFMS Film Series, with filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer ("The Act of Killing"), 7:15 p.m., Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Free and open to the public. 
  • October 20
    Eighth Annual TFMS Film Series, with filmmaker Lynne Sachs ("Your Day Is My Night"), 8:15 p.m., Cole Cinema, Campus Center. Free and open to the public.
  • October 30-31
    Performances of "Falling Man, a dance-art project," with Leonard Cruz & Caitie Sullivan, 8:00 p.m. (Oct. 30) & 4:30 p.m. (Oct. 31), Boyden Gallery, MH. Free and open to the public.


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TFMS Alumni
Where Are They Now?

Megan Rippey

Megan Rippey (class of 2008, B.A. women, gender, and sexuality studies, minor in theater studies) recently completed her M.F.A. in acting at the California Institute of the Arts (class of 2013).

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Site maintained by:
Mark A. Rhoda
For comments about this site or suggestions for its improvement, contact: marhoda@smcm.edu

Opportunities for Graduates

Arms and the ManA Bachelor of Arts degree in theater studies and in film and media studies from a liberal arts college prepares and qualifies students for a variety of undertakings following graduation. Careers in law, education, business, politics, public service, and even scientific fields, as well as the more typical pursuits of theater-related and film/media-related futures, may be built upon the foundation of studies done in preparation for this degree. Because student options following graduation are so numerous, the space limitations of this handbook prevent an exhaustive inventory of possibilities and their resources; therefore, students are strongly encouraged to capitalize on the services of the Career Development Center for assistance in making and pursuing future plans. The Junior Year Faculty-Student Conference will also cover many of these topics, according to individual student interests.

The most typical routes for graduates of this department involve graduate study, professional training, and/or employment in theater-related or film/media-related positions. Basic information about these possibilities is provided in the paragraphs below, and department faculty invite students to seek more specific advice and information by conferring with them.

Graduate Schools and Professional Training Programs: Graduate study allows students to pursue further education in specialized areas of their chosen field. Numerous institutions offer graduate degree and professional training programs in performance studies, film and film studies, and media and cultural studies, and students interested in pursuing graduate work should begin researching these institutions, their curricula, and their financial aid packages early in their junior year. The specializations, resources, cultural settings, programs, faculty, and reputations of these schools vary, and students should carefully consider these differences in selecting appropriate programs to which they may apply. Applications to graduate schools are usually accepted during late fall or early winter of a student's senior year, and acceptance depends generally on some combination of the following: undergraduate GPA; the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), when applicable; letters of recommendation; and/or regional audition, especially in the case of M.F.A. acting programs. Other factors, such as student interests and plans or student work portfolios, may also influence decisions at some institutions. The Career Center and the Library at St. Mary's can provide further information on graduate schools and procedures for application, and faculty in TFMS welcome consultation on this subject. Brochures, flyers, and advertisements for graduate schools and professional training programs are posted on the bulletin boards in rm. 172, the Green Room, and in the Theater lobby.

Graduate degrees in the fields of performance studies and film and media include the Master of Arts (M.A.), the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). M.A. and Ph.D. programs are generally located in university settings, and involve a curricular mix of scholarly and artistic course work that varies in emphasis. Usually, however, M.A. and Ph.D. programs are better suited to students preferring academic study (theater history, dramatic literature, film and media studies, cultural studies, arts management, performance studies, and even craft-based fields, such as acting, directing, production design, dance, playwriting, screenwriting, cinematography, etc.) over training in craft. Sometimes, the M.A. functions as an intermediate degree for students who plan eventually to work toward a Ph.D., but it is also a useful degree for students planning a teaching career. The M.F.A., like the Ph.D., is considered to be a terminal degree, but it emphasizes artistic training (acting, directing, production design, dance, playwriting, screenwriting, cinematography, etc.), rather than scholarship. M.F.A. programs usually include an academic component that supports artistic training, and some professional training programs lead to an M.F.A. degree, which may also be earned at some universities. Admittance to most M.F.A. programs will require an audition or portfolio, depending on the applicant's area of intended study.

The BalconyStudents from St. Mary's have attended the following degree programs:

Ph.D., Theatre Studies / Performance Studies: University of Louisiana; Northwestern University; University of Maryland, College Park

M.A., Critical Film Studies: California State University, Los Angeles; New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

M.A., Cultural Studies: The Johns Hopkins University

M.A., Directing: Brown University

M.A., Broadcast Journalism: Northwestern University

M.F.A., Acting: California Institute of the Arts; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Virginia; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; University of Cincinnati; Wayne State University; Catholic University of America

M.F.A., Design and/or Design Technology: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; George Washington University; Rutgers University

M.F.A., Film and Electronic Media: American University

M.F.A., Film: Howard University; Montana State University (science and natural history filmmaking)

M.F.A., Lyric Theater and Playwriting: New York University

Bread and Puppet TheaterRegional/Professional Positions: Students may choose to "pound the pavement" immediately following graduation or before pursuing work at the graduate level. To those who venture into the competitive world of professional and community theater or in film and/or media-related professions, opportunities exist for work as actors, directors, dramaturgs, choreographers, dancers, free-lance designers and technicians, stage managers, shop assistants, box office managers, television editors, and so on. Theater organizations, for example, may be reputable or disreputable, conventional or unconventional, large or small, nationally-known or regionally-known, permanent companies or ad hoc groups. Work is usually found through contacts and by recommendation, by relentless auditioning or door-pounding, and ultimately based on the merits of background and skills.

Students from St. Mary's have worked at the following regional theatres in various capacities: Arena Stage; Folger Shakespeare Library; Round House Theatre; Woolly Mammoth; Signature Theatre; Goodspeed Opera Company; The Shakespeare Theatre; The Source Theatre; Shakespeare and Company; Center Stage; Dallas Theatre Center; The Guthrie Theatre; Utah Shakespeare Festival; Lincoln Center, N.Y.; Seattle's Children's Theatre.

Other Fields: A Bachelor of Arts degree in theater studies or in film and media studies from a liberal arts college prepares and qualifies students for a variety of undertakings following graduation. Students who have majored in TFMS at St. Mary's or who have simply pursued a course of study in theater or film and media while fulfilling the requirements of another major have gone on to successful careers in law, medicine, elementary and secondary school education, horticulture or environmental design, to name only a handful. Careers in areas unrelated to theater, film, and media studies may be built upon the foundation of studies done in preparation for a liberal arts degree in TFMS.

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