NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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CRICOS: 113112H

MFA (Directing)

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Delivery

18 months full-time on campus
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Fees 2024

$40,680 AUD (domestic)
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Semester Dates 2024

Semester 1: 12 Feb – 21 Jun
Semester 2: 22 Jul – 22 Nov
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Application Deadlines

Sign up for our Higher Education list for updates about 2025 applications.
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Contact Admissions

+61 (02) 9697 7686
applications@nida.edu.au

Course Overview

NIDA's Master of Fine Arts in Directing is supported by Prime logo

NIDA’s immersive directing course enables talented, early-career practitioners to master the directing process. Students are guided to create and express an artistic vision for the future of the arts and entertainment industries and connect with contemporary audiences through their work.

Learning is embedded in real-world collaborative projects that span classical and contemporary theatre, screen, opera, musicals, devised performance and event-based directing. Students develop projects alongside and are mentored by leading Australian and international industry guests. Directing students engage with local and international actors, designers, production companies, performing arts centres and festivals.

In their graduation project, students develop, cast and direct a short live performance of their choice in a season at NIDA Theatres. MFA Directing students graduate with an advanced approach to collaboration and leadership, a comprehensive process as a director, and a distinct directorial voice, having forged industry connections to activate their career.

Applicants should note that the course may involve some interstate travel. Previous field trips and learning experiences include visits to leading theatre companies, the Adelaide and Perth arts festivals, and NAISDA (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association).

  • Confidently direct live theatre productions with expert embodied knowledge in preparation, structuring, rehearsing, and staging methodologies.
  • Transform and extend directing methodologies to engage with diverse artistic mediums that span live performance, screen, digital narratives, event direction, curation, and artistic directorship.
  • Demonstrate expert-level collaboration skills, built upon clear communication, emotional intelligence, empathetic leadership, and ideation practices.
  • Articulate a unique directorial voice and employable brand which showcases a clear sense of cultural context, social responsibility, personal politics, aesthetics, philosophy, and creative potential.
  • Use practice-based research skills to generate new insights about directing practice.

The duration of the MFA course is 18 months and comprises seven subjects with 180 credit points in total, with the lead subject Directing Practice (50 credit points) as the focal point.

Students will need to reside in Sydney and be available on a full-time basis from late January to early December of the first year, and January to March of their second year. In the final three months (April to June), students complete their research project and engage in an industry experience or placement. It is normally not essential that students reside in Sydney during the final three months of the course, but some attendance in Sydney may be required during this period.

Students are at NIDA from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm from Monday to Friday. During non-project weeks, Friday afternoons are free. During production terms, students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason, it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment, so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

2024 Term Dates

Welcome Week

5 – 9 February 2024 (First years and MFA only)

Term 1

12 February – 12 April 2024

Term 2

29 April – 21 June 2024

Semester Break

24 June – 19 July 2024

Term 3

22 July – 13 September 2024

Term 4

23 September – 22 November 2024

Term dates exclude public holidays. View 2024 NSW public holiday dates.

Semester one

  • Directing Techniques
  • Directing Practice
  • The Contemporary Director
  • Dramaturgy

Semester two

  • Directing Techniques
  • Directing Practice
  • The Contemporary Director
  • Practice-Based Research Project

Semester three

  • The Contemporary Director
  • Major Directing Project
  • Practice-Based Research Project

Download 2024 Course Overview

Our graduates are critically acclaimed and have won awards such as AACTA Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards, Helpmann Awards, Green Room Awards, Adelaide Theatre Critics Awards, awards at New York Independent Film & TV Festival, and the Prix Italia Award for Directing. Our graduates have been employed by Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir St, Melbourne Theatre Company, The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Bazmark (Baz Luhrmann) Films and more.

Potential careers

  • Theatre director
  • Film director
  • TV director
  • Artistic director
  • Resident/touring director

Admissions Criteria

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.
International students with academic qualifications that are not in English will need to attach a certified, official translation in English in application portal.

For more information, read our Admissions Transparency Statement.

Entry is by merit selection.

General entry requirements for accredited postgraduate courses are as follows:

  • Have completed an undergraduate degree (in any area) or have five years relevant experience in a related area.
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.

Applications are encouraged from domestic applicants who:

  • Identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Applications are encouraged from international applicants who:

  • have successfully completed a Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) interview.
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 8.0

Recognition of Prior Learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

NIDA may grant credit for:

  • Formal study undertaken in recognised education institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions.
  • Credentialed courses provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities, where appropriate certification is available; and
  • Prior learning, where such learning can be sufficiently evidenced.

The principles underlying the assessment of credit transfer/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) applications are that the policy and procedures are:

  • Aligned to the Higher Education Standards Framework and the Vocational Standards for RTOs.
  • Designed to maintain the integrity and reputation of NIDA’s accredited courses for which credit or RPL is applied and support the collaborative nature of NIDA’s conservatoire training model.
  • Consistent, equitable, transparent, and accountable.
  • Based on processes of comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant subject.
  • That students are not disadvantaged in achieving the expected learning outcomes for the course of study or qualification.

NIDA Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Apply for RPL/Credit Transfer

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

We select applicants who demonstrate commitment, capacity and willingness to advance their practice by:

  • Working creatively
  • Collaborating as part of a creative team
  • Demonstrating a range of relevant skills and technical abilities
  • Providing evidence of intellectual enquiry and reflection within their work
  • Communicating clearly

How to apply

Applicants MUST apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the MFA Directing is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a CV, critical essay and portfolio as part of their application.

The application process for the Master of Fine Arts (Directing) consists of two rounds:

  • Round One – online application including CV, portfolio, essay, and interview project. All applicants will then have an interview with Directing staff via Zoom.
  • Round Two – directing recall (audition/interview)

Only applicants who are successful in Round One will be invited to Round Two.

Download 2024 Application Guide

1. PROFESSIONAL CV
Upload a detailed CV highlighting your education and training, professional work and other relevant information.

2. ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
You will need to provide proof of your university degree/s or five years of professional experience in a relevant area via your CV. This can be a scan/photograph of your transcript or testamur from the awarding institution.

Your CV must be clearly titled with your name as follows: fullname_cv_MFADIR_2024

3. A CRITICAL ESSAY
Prepare a two-page critical essay or report on your practice, or a particular cultural event you have witnessed. This should be uploaded with your application.

It must be clearly titled with your name as follows: fullname_essay_MFADIR_2024

4. PORTFOLIO
You may upload a digital portfolio with your application; otherwise, you can upload one to the Dropbox prior to your interview date. You should prepare examples of past work that you feel will support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in directing, and the arts and entertainment industry.

It should be clearly titled with your name as follows: fullname_portfolio_MFADIR_2023

Interviews are conducted by two NIDA staff members. All first-round interviews will take place via Microsoft Teams and will run for approximately 45 minutes per applicant.

There will be a brief talk about NIDA, the MFA (Directing) course and what will happen during the interview. There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about NIDA or about the interview itself.

During the interview, we will discuss your project; your ideas about theatre, film and the broader creative industry; and why you want to study Directing at NIDA.

How to prepare for your interview

Prepare a project based on a published play text of your choosing.

Consider the following questions in relation to the specified play and be ready to discuss them at your interview:

  • Text: What ideas is the playwright trying to express? What is the relevance of the play to contemporary Australian audiences?
  • Characters and actors: What kind of people are the characters in the play? In what kind of world do they exist? If you had complete freedom of choice, which actors would you cast in your production?
  • Design: How would you describe the imaginative world of the play? Where is it located?
  • Lighting: How should lighting be used to reveal and expose areas of this play and the design of your production?
  • Costume, sets and props: What requirements are there in each of these areas?
  • Music and sound: What kind of music or sound effects would you use, and why?
  • Theatre: Where would you stage your production? What kind of theatre will it be in? What kind of equipment will you require? What challenges might arise in the staging?
  • Production design concept: Communicate your production through collected material. This could include drawings or models of sets and costumes, impressions in collage or electronic; anything that will help the selection panel to understand your production concept.

If the selection panel would like to see more, you may be asked back for a recall interview on a separate date. Your recall audition may be in person or online.

Should you be short-listed for acceptance into the course after the recall, you may be asked to submit a list of three referees who have seen your work or worked with you in some arts-related capacity. NIDA may contact these referees before making a study offer.

Please note applicants who do not make it through to the recall stage for Master of Fine Arts (Directing) should consider their application unsuccessful for the 2024 intake.

Important note: NIDA may keep all or part of your project until the final selection of applicants is made. Make sure your name is clearly marked on all project materials. Ensure you keep a copy of all written work, as this will not be returned. The project will be available for collection from NIDA during office hours after final selection of applicants is complete. Interstate applicants’ projects will be returned on request. Be prepared to take your project away with you as well, as we may choose not to keep any material.

Some tips

Preparation: the more time and effort you put into the project and interview preparation in advance, the more confident you will be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

Come with a clear idea of why you want to study Directing at NIDA.

We know that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as interesting and enjoyable as possible. The interview is designed to give you the very best opportunity to show your potential and readiness to study at NIDA.

Fees and Scholarships

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

Domestic Students

Domestic tuition fees overview

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

DegreeCourse duration2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD*Estimated total course tuition fee*
Master of Fine Arts (Directing) 18 months $27,120.00$40,680.00*

2024 Domestic Graduate Student Fee Schedule

2023 Domestic Graduate Student Fee Schedule

International Students

International tuition fees overview

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students, please read full details here.

Degree Course duration 2024 Annual tuition fee $AUD* Estimated total course tuition fee*
Master of Fine Arts (Directing) 18 months$42,360.00 $63,540.00

2024 International Graduate Student Fee Schedule


*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

** EFTSL – Effective Full-Time Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full-time study load of 1.0 for an academic year. For consistency, the EFTSL have been rounded to 3 decimal places. This is not indicative of the full value of the EFTSL but represents an accurate load for fee calculations.

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees.

In 2024, the FEE-HELP loan limit is $121,844 for most students.

A loan fee of 20% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to https://www.studyassist.gov.au/.

Who is eligible for FEE-HELP?

  • You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:
  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa

Those NOT eligible for FEE-HELP are:

  • New Zealand citizens - refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students

Financial Assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

NIDA is committed to making its education and learning more accessible to the most creative and talented individuals across Australia with a range of scholarships aimed to remove financial barriers, providing students with the opportunity to study at NIDA while being relieved of some of the cost of living, relocating and study expenses.

NIDA scholarships are made available by the generous support of donors, sponsors, corporate partners, trusts and bequests, through the NIDA Foundation Trust, and enable a significant increase in financial assistance to ongoing and students commencing study in 2024.

Scholarships

Further Information

NIDA’S Registration Status

Registered as a Higher Education Provider by TEQSA
https://www.teqsa.gov.au/national-register/provider/national-institute-dramatic-art

Registration Renewal Date

25 June 2025

CRICOS Registration

Code: 00756M

This allows NIDA to enrol international students on student visas into CRICOS approved courses.

Self Accrediting Authority*

Yes – partial self accrediting

Registered Higher Education providers may be authorised by TEQSA to self-accredit courses of study.

Course NameStatusCRICOS Code
Master of Fine Arts (Directing) Self-Accredited by NIDA under TEQSA’s determination of Self-Accrediting Authority for NIDA. 113112H

Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for more info about NIDA courses, admissions and facilities? Check our FAQ page for answers to commonly-asked questions from future students.


This qualification is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training. Read more information about the AQF.