Students perform in a scene from "Shakespeare in Hollywood."

M.A. Theatre & Performance Studies

The master's and doctoral programs in theatre & performance studies combine rigorous study of theory, criticism and history with production work in a collegial atmosphere. Students can expect to develop expertise in current methodologies, such as those derived from or applicable to contemporary historiography, semiotics, post-structuralism, post-modernism and cultural studies. The research of our faculty ranks us in the top ten among a selection of major institutions in the 2005 Faculty Productivity Index by Academic Analytics. The department is an organizational member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and home to the prestigious Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.

The M.A. in Theatre & Performance Studies helps students to begin developing  a broad, comparative grasp of the major methods, approaches and protocols currently used in both the study and practice of theatre and related art forms.  Special emphasis is placed on (1) an analytic understanding of specific episodes in the history of theatre and similar genres of enactment, (2) the ability to grasp the assumptions and practical protocols that are or have been influential in the creation of theatrical art, and (3) the capacity to examine and appreciate the way theatre influences and is influenced by the context in which it occurs.

By virtue of its broad regard for the way context and live performance interact, the M.A. helps to prepare students for leadership roles in community and regional arts organizations, especially when course work is complemented by a thesis about the arts in community.  Several states regard an M. A. in theatre to be a creditable enhancement of a teacher’s qualifications in grades K-12.  In addition, the focus on those assumptions and history that shape theatre studies and production provide students with a strong transition to a Ph.D. program. 

Recent and former students from the M.A. and Ph.D. programs work or have worked across a wide array of academic and artistic settings, including Junkyard Dog Productions, The Ohio State University System, Chapman College, Washburn University, CBS, Disney Productions, University of Costa Rica, University of Minnesota (Morehead), Southern Illinois University, University of Georgia, Texas Christian University, University of Minnesota (Duluth), University of Arizona, California State University (Fresno), Southern Utah University, Bismarck State College, SUNY-Buffalo, Columbus State University, University of Kansas, Benedictine College, Wayne State College (Nebraska) and Converse College.