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Grad Program: Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts

Basic Information

Do you love Theatre? You’d better, if you choose to pursue graduate study in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts. During your studies, you’ll gain knowledge of the entire spectrum of what makes theatre happen. You’ll learn, first of all, about theatre history, dramatic literature, great playwrights from the past, and the origins of theatre as we know it. You’ll study Shakespeare and other great writers for the stage. You’ll learn all about where theatre began, and how it got to where it is today—and you’ll gain the skills to make hypotheses about future theatre trends and possibilities.

You’ll also learn how to make theatre happen by taking courses that involve directing, acting, and teaching drama. You’ll learn about all the components of theatrical productions, from costumes to makeup, from stage lighting to scenery. You’ll learn about technological advancements that have taken theatre to new heights. By the end of your studies, your ample knowledge will enable you to design, write, direct—or whatever path you choose to pursue.

While many programs require graduate students to submit a thesis, some programs give the option of a creative thesis—which can include anything from writing a play to directing a theatrical production. In all cases, your studies in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts will be far from classroom-bound.

Degree Information

There are several degrees related to this field; they go by different names in different programs and vary slightly from one to the next. There is a M.A. in Theatre Production, designed for educators who wish to produce theatre productions in their schools; there is a M.A. in Theatre Arts, covering a broad range of drama concepts from directing to playwriting. Some programs link Dramatics with Communication for a M.A. in Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts. Those programs that offer a Ph.D. generally have a similar range of options. Because of the broad range of possibilities, it’s important to research programs to be sure their emphasis is the emphasis you want.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • What kind of thesis is required? Can you submit a creative thesis?
  • Does the theatre department have a good reputation for performances? Are they involved at all with the local community?
  • What kind of projects do faculty and graduate students work on? Do many of them write plays? Scripts? Are they concerned primarily with directing?
  • What is the department’s main focus, if it has one?
  • What sort of degree options are available? Is it as specific or as general as you’d like?
  • Will you have the opportunity to get involved with on- or off-campus productions?
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