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Master’s Degree Programs in Theatre Overview

Majors Overview February 25, 2016

This article talks about master’s degree programs in theatre and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Theatre

A combination of studio, lecture, and production courses is available in Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) programs in Theatre. Consequently, few schools, if any, offer online master’s degree programs in the field. However, theatre graduate programs are provided by some schools with courses offered remotely. Yearly practicums offered during the summer can help students gain theatre production experience.

Armed with the foundation provided by programs, students may seek careers as directors, actors, design technicians, or playwrights in numerous settings, including colleges, professional theatres, and universities. Related degree programs include:

•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Film Production
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Set Design
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Acting and Directing
•Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Playwriting

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) Programs in Theatre

Enrollees in a master’s degree program in theatre get training in numerous concepts, including theory, dramaturgy, and history, as well as costume, scenic, and lighting design. Students can also customize a program in areas such as mime or puppetry, in keeping with their interests.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, in addition to submitting proof of an applicant’s experience in directing, acting, designing sets or writing plays. Such proof may be in the form of samples of written plays, a resume, reviews, photographs, sound recordings, or sketches. Varying by concentration, an audition may also be a requirement.


Program coursework is devised to introduce numerous common topics, including group workshops, history of theatre, and criticism, which may be in the coursework, despite the selected specialization. Through theatre programs, students are provided the foundation for production-related concepts, such as decision-making and the creative process. Students may have to review numerous dramatic texts and complete courses on topics such as:

•Drawing and rendering
•Lighting and sound
•Performance theory
•Studio Directing
•Performance art
•Costume design

Career Choices

Program graduates can choose from numerous career choices in the performing arts, education, production, and entertainment industries. Armed with a broad array of skills such as organization, communication, and creative problem-solving, they can choose from popular career options such as:

•Talent manager
•Computer design specialist
•Special effects designer
•Drama Coach
•Arts administrator

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates who seek continuing education may earn doctoral degrees in theatre. Coursework in these programs combines the focused study and research of criticism, theory, performance and history. Students gain the skills and knowledge they would need in combining scholarship and artistry. The doctoral degree program could lead to teaching positions in universities and colleges.

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