Taught course

Fine Arts

University of Otago · Division of Humanities

Entry requirements

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

Every applicant must either:

  • be a graduate, normally in a relevant field, or
  • have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities)

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements as follows: IELTS score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0); we also accept a number of other English language tests. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Months of entry

February, July

Course content

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a practical, studio-based degree designed to enable students to attain a high level of professional mastery, craft and practical skill, through the presentation of both a creative art-work (or art-works) and a written component (exegesis).

The degree will equip students with the ability to create theatrical works at a high professional level, providing training to an advanced level of proficiency in the field of specialization (e.g. acting, direction, design, or scriptwriting). It will enhance students’ lifelong ability to contribute to, and to critically reflect upon, the cultural life of New Zealand and the world, with a particular focus on the theatrical and performing arts.

Theatre Studies at Otago is based in Allen Hall Theatre, which is a working theatre featuring a very full programme of lunchtime and evening productions throughout the academic year. You will become involved in productions at the theatre, (both onstage and backstage) as part of your course work.

Courses are not intended as full professional training for theatre, film or television. However, Theatre Studies graduates have found work as actors, primary and secondary school drama teachers, television production managers, script writers, lighting designers, stage managers, directors in theatre, film and TV, drama tutors and coaches. The courses are also a useful background for such occupations as broadcasting, journalism, arts administration, law and marketing amongst others.

Theatre Studies improves communication skills, lateral thinking, team-building, creativity and imagination, and self-confidence, and its principles can be applied to a wide range of teaching and management skills.


Thesis THEA 5A

Structure of the Programme

The degree shall be awarded in the following subject: Theatre Studies

The programme of study shall consist of the preparation and presentation of production work (one or more substantial theatrical or live performance works, or a suite of shorter works), plus a written exegesis on that body of work. In some cases the candidate may also be required to take and pass approved papers, normally at 400-level.

A candidate shall, before commencing the project, secure the approval of the Programme Co-ordinator for the supervisor(s), and for the selection of performance works to be prepared and presented.

A candidate may not present work that has previously been accepted for another degree.

The Senate shall approve the proposed area of study on the recommendation of the Programme Co-ordinator and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

Information for international students

Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.

Fees and funding

International students
NZ $28,805

New Zealand is a relatively affordable country to live in. Dunedin, being a student-focused city, has living and entertainment options for all budgets.

Students are eligible for the Otago International Excellence Scholarship.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MFA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details