behind the scenes, building the set for Three Penny Opera

Admission to BFA Production and Design

Step 1
Major-Specific Guidelines

To be considered for admission to the BFA Production and Design program, students must first submit an online application to Montclair State University, then follow the guidelines below:

  • Applicant should be an incoming freshman or sophomore; transfers please note that sequence of courses may necessitate additional semesters to graduate.
  • Students will have the opportunity to register online for an interview as part of the University application.  You will receive an email confirming your interview date and time once you have submitted your application.
      • The University application will request the documents below, which must submitted at least two weeks prior to the scheduled audition appointment:
        • Transcripts
        • Essay response: Please discuss why you wish to study your program of choice in the College of the Arts at Montclair State. Be sure to include highlights of your experience related to your chosen academic program and how those experiences have shaped your current career goals.
        • Resume of experience
        • Small recent school photo or headshot
        • Two letters of recommendation.  One must come from a teacher, director and/or other theater professional who can speak to your potential as a Theatre major. Letter should evaluate your self-discipline, attitude, motivation, creativity and potential for success in the performing arts.
        • Portfolio
        • $50 Audition fee (non-refundable)

    Prospective students interested in scheduling an interview for mid-year acceptance into the BFA Production and Design program should contact the Program Coordinator directly.  Professor Debra Otte can be reached at

  • Applicants should arrive early on the day of their scheduled appointment.
  • Unified Auditions– Prospective students may choose to interview at one of the “National Unified Auditions” as an alternative to coming to campus.

Following the portfolio interview, the Office of Admissions will notify candidates regarding their standing in the review process.

Please note that once enrolled in the Production/Design Program, students must participate in an annual review to continue in the program.

Prospective students are permitted to audition for more than one program. You must attend each audition separately, but you are able to register to audition/interview for more than one program on the same day. You must also provide separate copies of the requested documents for each program.

Step 2
Prepare Your Portfolio
  • Be selective in preparing your portfolio. Portfolios should include the best examples of art work, production work and design, tech or management capabilities.
  • Reflect your area(s) of future concentration and interest:  management, design and/or technical work. For design and technical work also indicate the areas in which you have the most interest:  scenic, costume, lighting, sound, video projection. The program encourages study in multiple areas. If you have a produced design, show examples of your process and the development of the project to the finished product on-stage. Document the evolution of a complex technical project through a series of photographs.
  • Label all photographs and documents clearly.  Identify your work as a class project or realized production with the play title, producer (organization or class), and date.  When submitting artwork, indicate size and medium used. Stage Managers submit sample organizational and reporting worksheets used with blocking and cue sheet samples.
  • You can take credit as “assistant” on your resume and provide applicable paperwork (drafting, lighting plot, etc.) if any.
  • Include examples of non-theater work reflecting your taste and abilities such as graphic arts projects, life drawings, or examples of photography. Photos of three-dimensional work including scenic models, realized costumes and construction projects may also be included.
  • Applicants with an interest in sound design and technology post sound files with images that include an identifier at the beginning of each example stating the play title, the producer (organization or class), and date, or other appropriate information if the example is not from the sound score of a play.
Step 3
Interview Guidelines
  • Arrive at Montclair State University and the designated location a few minutes early to check in. Do not be late.  Candidates will receive a tour of the theatre, shop and classroom facilities. You do not need to bring a physical portfolio or examples of work with you.
  • The faculty from the Production and Design division will review the portfolio presentations in advance of the interview date.  Interviews will be approximately ten minutes in length.
  • Bring three printed copies of your resume and your academic transcript to the interview.  Make absolutely certain that all contact information is correct and up-to-date on your resume. Include an email address.  Include a small, passport or wallet-sized photo of yourself available, either as a printed part of your resume or stapled directly to your resume. This will help the faculty remember who you are when sorting through their notes.
Step 4
Appointment Dates

Refer to Department Admission – Prospective Student Appointment Calendar

Appointment Cancellations:

Please give as much advance notice as possible if an appointment must be canceled.  If a cancellation is necessary, you must send notice and confirm that the department acknowledges receipt of cancellation. A last-minute cancellation or failure to attend an appointment may make you ineligible to schedule a later audition.

Contact Kim Whittam for Program Admission
Contact Debra Otte Program Coordinator