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Curriculum

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The M.A. in Theatre & Performance Research is designed as a two-year program (4 semesters). It comprises core courses in methodologies and theoretical approaches, while offering students opportunities to tailor their degree to their scholarly interests. The program provides students with foundational coursework as well as opportunities to devise individual research trajectories and projects. Students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary research.

Required Core (15 units)

  • Research and Bibliography
  • Methods of Theatre Criticism or Performance Theory
  • Dramaturgy
  • Race, Gender, Performance
  • Theatre Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Professional Development

The required core provides students with a strong background in methods and theories of theatre and performance analysis, and the practices of dramaturgy and criticism. The core also familiarizes students with professionalization in and beyond the field of Theatre and Performance Research. This allows students to engage with and analyze a wide range of performances, texts, objects of critique, activist work, archives, and historical practices. This foundational work on critical theory demonstrates that political and ethical engagement is integral to work in an expanded field of theatre and performance research.

Two courses in Literature or History (6 units)

  • Classical and Medieval Theatre History
  • Early Modern Theatre History
  • Performance in the Historical Avant-garde
  • U.S. Theatre History
  • History of African American Theatre and Performance
  • History of Acting and Directing
  • Musical Theatre History
  • British Theatre
  • Continental European Theatre
  • Documentary Theatre
  • Contemporary U.S. Theatre
  • Women in U.S. Theatre
  • The Anti-canon
  • Sex and Drama
  • African Theatre and Performance
  • Caribbean Theatre and Performance
  • Performance in/from the Global South
  • Special topics in History
  • Special topics in Literature

Our Master’s program in Theatre & Performance Research ensures graduates are conversant in theatre history and that they may draw from a wide range of theatre and performance literatures, forms, and practices across historical periods and geographies.

One additional course in Theatre

This is not limited to Theatre Studies and may also come from projects/practicum (3 units)

Thesis or Comprehensive Exam (6 units)

  • Thesis track: Thesis credit (6 units)
  • Non-thesis track: Comprehensive exam credit (3 units) + one additional theatre course (3 units)

The MA degree may be earned under a thesis or a comprehensive exam track. At the end of their first year in the MA program, students work with faculty to determine which track will be most helpful for their future plans.

The Master’s thesis track provides students with the opportunity to develop original research on a topic of their choice. Students work with an advisor who mentors them through a directed independent research process. This option is ideal for students interested in delving deeply into a topic of their choosing and exploring their ideas in writing. Students planning to pursue a PhD are advised to pursue the MA with a thesis track.

The Master’s comprehensive exam track offers students the opportunity to take additional coursework and focus on building expertise in multiple areas of interest. Students work with faculty experts to customize reading lists in literature, history, and a unique specialization. This option is especially helpful for students interested in exploring a broader range of materials, for those seeking a foundation for career flexibility, or for anyone hoping to earn a graduate degree without writing a thesis.

Total: 30 units (for both thesis and non-thesis students)

Additional Requirements

  • Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.
  • Students must complete an assignment in production work of their choice within the School of Theatre.

Learn more about the MA/PhD faculty: