M.F.A./M.B.A. in Theatre Management

The Master of Fine Arts/Master of Business Administration (MFA/MBA) in Theatre Management is a three-year, full-time program offered jointly between the Theatre Arts Department and the Graduate School of Business.

One of the top programs in the country, the MFA/MBA in Theatre Management is committed to fostering the next generation of leaders in the arts. The program is designed not only to teach skills for theatre management, but to instill a deep understanding of the transformative power of the arts. We believe that the future of theatre lies in leaders who are champions of inclusivity, innovation, and artistic integrity. The program is aligned with a not-for-profit, organizational management approach. We prepare students to push the boundaries of theatre arts management toward bold and just futures. 

Admissions to the MFA/MBA in Theatre Management are highly competitive with only a select few graduate students admitted each year.  Successful applicants to the MFA/MBA in Theatre Management will:

  1. Have completed a Bachelor's or Master's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA in upper division major courses;
  2. Meet university admission requirements;
  3. Gain acceptance into the Department of Theatre Arts.
  4. Gain acceptance into the College of Business administration. 

Application to the MFA/MBA in Theatre Management does not require GRE scores.

When an undergraduate degree has been completed in a program having different requirements than those at CSULB, or in some field other than Theatre Arts, additional preparation and time may be required before the Applicant can be considered for classified status in the degree program. Up to 24 units of credit from an MA degree program may be acceptable after review by the Faculty Evaluation Committee and approval by the Dean.

Information on Applying and Interviews is available.

Experiential Learning: Work with Cal Rep 

A cornerstone of our program is the emphasis on experiential learning. From the outset, students are immersed in the real-world challenges of managing a theatre company through their involvement with the California Repertory Company, presenting 6-8 productions annually to thousands of community members. Students are placed at the forefront, making decisions in a supported environment, and seeing the impact of those decisions. Our flexible structure welcomes students to focus their work with Cal Rep in an area that furthers their individual career goals while earning a stipend that ranges from $5,000 to $8,000 annually. Cal Rep assignment areas include Front of House, Box Office Management, Fundraising, Marketing, Production Management, Company Management, Event Planning, and Grant Development. 

Enriching Internships: Real-World Connections 

Internships are a pivotal part of the MFA/MBA program, bridging classroom learning with real-world application. Our students engage in internships at renowned arts organizations, gaining invaluable experience and building professional networks. Previous internships include many of the leading arts organizations in the LA area including Tony Award Winning South Coast Repertory Company, LA’s Center Theatre Group, Gallup, Inc., Ojai Playwright’s Festival, Hollywood Fringe Festival, LA Opera, Pasadena Playhouse and more.

Pathways to Success: Career Opportunities 

Graduates of the MFA/MBA program find themselves well-prepared for a wide array of career paths. While many gravitate towards theatre, our alumni have successfully ventured across arts and entertainment sectors. The program’s strong network and reputation open doors to prestigious internships and job opportunities. The skills and knowledge gained through the program are universally applicable, enabling graduates to thrive in various leadership roles across the arts and business spectrum. The MFA/MBA also provides the terminal degree in both Theatre Arts and Business, qualifying graduates for faculty positions at universities. 


The curriculum is a unique blend of arts and business education, offering students a comprehensive understanding of both worlds through courses in the Department of Theatre Arts and the Graduate School of Business. It provides a deep dive into theatre production, while equipping students with essential business skills including financial management, marketing, and strategic planning. This dual approach ensures that our graduates able to navigate the complex landscape of contemporary theatre and performing arts organizations. 

In addition to the core courses in Theatre Management, MBA/MFA Graduate Theatre Managers take an additional 30 units of Business courses including Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Strategic Business Management and operations. Graduate Theatre Managers may elect to take classes in other disciplines depending on their interests and previous experience. 

For up-to-date course requirements, visit the CSULB Course Catalog.


The Department of Theatre Arts accepts applications for Fall admission only, with applications being accepted December 1 through June 1. 

The MFA/MBA is a concurrent degree and requires admission to the university, the Department of Theatre Arts, and the College of Business Administration. 

Step One:
  • Please file the Cal State Apply application. The process of filing will provide further details on departmental procedures and important supplemental materials, including: 
    • Letters of Recommendation
    • Academic or Professional Resume
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Unofficial Transcripts (not required but, if easily obtained, sending a completed set of unofficial transcripts will expedite the assessment of your application) 
Step Two:

Interview with the Department of Theatre Arts - For inquiries about interviews forthe MFA/MBA program, contact the Interim Head of Theatre Management: Jeff Janisheski.

Step Three:

Gain admission to the College of Business; after the completion of the Department of Theatre Arts interview process, the applicant undergoes departmental evaluation by the College of Business. This evaluation is based upon diagnostic examination and an analysis of official undergraduate transcripts.

Questions about Applying and Curriculum:

Please note that the program associated with the concurrent MFA/MBA in Theatre Management is the “Evening MBA”. Questions about the MBA curriculum should be directed to the advisor for the MBA program, Lindsay Sterk

If you have questions or concerns about applying to the Department of Theatre Arts, please feel to contact our graduate advisor, Josh Nathan.