MA in Theatre & Performance

The 30-credit MA in Theatre (including 6 thesis credits) is designed so that full-time students can complete the degree after two semesters of full-time course work and a summer to write a thesis. Some students may also elect to complete the thesis during the second year.

The MA in Theatre & Performance requires:

  • A minimum 30 credits (including 6-credit thesis)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Master's Thesis Project


1. Core Seminar (3 credits)

  • TH 610 Performance Research (3 credits)

2. Theatre & Performance Seminars

  • Dramatic Literature, Theory, Criticism (3-6 credits)
  • Performance Historiography (3 credits)
  • Advanced Study in Production (3-6 credits)

3. TH 540 Graduate Studio (3 credits)

4. Cognates (3-6 credits)

5. Master's Thesis (6 credits)

Total 30 credits

1. Seminars (12-15 credits)

The MA in Theatre & Performance requires 12 credit hours (usually 4 seminars total) in course work designed to give the student critical tools in the theory, history, and practice of theatre and distributed among the areas of literature and theory, history, and production (noted to include: directing, dramaturgy, acting, dance, and design). All graduate students in Theatre & Performance are required to take TH 610 Performance Research in their first semester of graduate study. This graduate seminar introduces students to the unique knowledge and methods of performance research and prepares students to enter the professional and academic fields with high-level writing and critical skills. In addition to this introductory seminar and in consultation with departmental advisors and the Director of Graduate Study (DGS), students select a minimum of 3 credit hours in Dramatic Literature, Theory, and Criticism, 3 credit hours in Theatre History/Historiography, and at least 3 credit hours in a specific area of advanced Production (directing, dramaturgy, acting, dance, and design).

2. TH 540 Graduate Performance Studio (3 credits)

The MA in Theatre & Performance requires that students register for the Graduate Performance Studio (offered yearly in the spring semester). This weekly studio course is taught by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and is designed to give all MA students in the program a practical outlet for performance theory. Based on a Practice as Performance in Research (PARIP) model, this studio course offers guided projects in the MA year. This session may also include work and discussion with guest artists (past guests have included: Theatre Gargantua, Richard Foreman, David Earle, and Daniel Stein), and students may choose to present their work to the university community. Performance projects are designed as workshop-level productions with minimal budgets. However, students are encouraged to apply for additional funding as available. The Studio will meet in the Katherine Cornell Theatre, a performance space run by the Department of Theatre & Dance and equipped with basic light and sound capabilities. (See "Facilities" for more information.) Students may wish to present work developed in the Studio in other, public venues. The Department of Theatre & Dance has extensive connections with local and regional theatres and can facilitate work in both established performance venues and other found spaces. The course is repeatable for credit.

3. Cognates (3-6 credits)

Students take an additional 3-6 credit hours as elective courses. Because theatre is an evolving field that requires high-level knowledge in multiple disciplines (e.g., English, Music, and Media), students may take these electives outside the Department of Theatre & Dance. For students who desire more specialized production training, these electives may be taken within the department to deepen the student's expertise in a particular area. Selection of these electives will depend upon each individual student's background and career ambitions. All courses must be selected in consultation with a student's major advisor and must be approved by the DGS.

4. Master's Thesis (6 credits)

TH 600 Masters Project Guidance

To complete the MA, students must complete either a scholarly thesis of modest length (approximately 30-50 pages) or a critically informed performance project, including both a production component of substantial accomplishment (e.g., directing a full-length play; creation of a solo performance) and a 20-30 page written explication of the work. The type of thesis will be chosen based on the student's career goals and in consultation with their major advisor. The thesis must be read and approved by the major advisor (or thesis director, if different) and two other faculty members, one of whom may come from outside the department. If a student desires to take this course over more than one semester, this may be repeated for credit.