Off-campus internships are one of the best ways for current and just-graduated students to gain experience in the real work-a-day world, explore prospective careers, and even prepare for graduate work. As current students, you can earn academic credit for your experience, too, including satisfaction of the Core requirement, ELAW (Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World).
TFMS students have interned with a variety of organizations, related and unrelated to theater, film, and media, including:
- The San Francisco Mime Troupe
- Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
- Baltimore’s Center Stage
- Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival
- Ken Burns’ Florentine Films
Emily Sillcox (’12, B.A. film and media studies, double minor in biology and environmental studies) found a way to combine her interest in the sciences with her passion for filmmaking when she interned at the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, VA before entering the MFA graduate program in science and natural history filmmaking in the school of film and photography at Montana State University.
TFMS faculty and staff at the Center for Career & Professional Development will be happy to assist in locating internships of interest and value.
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 theaters or in film and/or media-related professions, opportunities exist for work as:
- Free-lance designers and technicians
- Stage managers
- Scene shop and costume shop assistants
- Box office managers
- Production assistants
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 theaters in various capacities:
- Arena Stage
- Shakespeare and Company
- Folger Shakespeare Library
- Center Stage
- Round House Theatre
- Woolly Mammoth Theater
- Signature Theatre
- Dallas Theatre Center
- The Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis
- Utah Shakespeare Festival
- Lincoln Center, NYC
- Seattle’s Children’s Theatre
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:
- Stage management and design technology
- Stage directing
- Film and video production
- Arts management
- Front-of-house operations (box office management, etc.)
- Film festival curatorship
- Secondary and higher education
- Public relations and social advocacy
- Broadcast journalism
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.
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 theater and performance studies, film/video-making 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 Center for Career & Professional Development at St. Mary’s can provide further information on graduate schools and procedures for application, and faculty in TFMS welcome consultation on this subject.
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 in:
- Theater history
- Dramatic literature
- Film and media studies
- Cultural studies
- Arts management
- Performance studies
and even craft-based fields, such as:
- Production design
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 an elementary or secondary school 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.
Students 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
- Brown University
M.A., Broadcast Journalism
- Northwestern University
- The Actors Studio, Pace University, NYC
- 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
- The 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
- Howard University
- Montana State University (science and natural history filmmaking)
- MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art)
Letters of Recommendation
Graduate schools, summer internships, summer stock companies, scholarship programs, and prospective employers often request letters of recommendation from former instructors. Students should follow these guidelines as a matter of courtesy when requesting letters of recommendation from TFMS faculty:
- Students should select professors with whom they have studied for more than one course, have worked on at least one production, and/or have conducted independent work, so that a letter of recommendation may be more authoritative.
- Students should provide a written and signed request for a letter of recommendation at least one month prior to the date on which the recommendation is due, and include their current curriculum vitae (résumé), a list of the addresses and persons to whom the letter is to be sent, all forms properly signed and completed, and deadlines for submissions. A signed recommendation release form must accompany each request.