MA in Theatre and Performance

Students on stage with lights on.

UB’s MA in Theatre and Performance is a research-oriented program featuring an integration of scholarship and practice. By training students not only in a discipline, but also at the intersection of history, theory, and production, this program will equip students with the critical tools necessary to negotiate emerging fields and the scholarly rigor to produce high-level scholarship within the dynamic fields of theatre and performance studies. 

Applications Deadline for Fall 2025: February 1, 2025

Financial awards available.

Our 30 credit MA is designed so that self-supporting students can complete the degree after two semesters of full-time course work and one semester of thesis work. The goal of the MA program is trifold: 

  • To prepare BA and BFA graduates for MFA and PhD programs at UB and elsewhere
  • To train theatre and performance faculty capable of integrating research, theory, and performance at the highest levels
  • To produce scholar-artists capable of advancing the field regionally, nationally, and internationally through rigorous programming that includes practice-based performance scholarship. 

Guided by a faculty of highly skilled and deeply experienced in innovative theatre, performance, and dance production and theory, aims to develop aesthetically skilled thinkers who can research, write about, and teach theatrical performance. Within a program designed to be both small and experimental, students will develop their artistic and scholarly skills through core coursework in the department, guided cognates in extra-departmental arts and humanities fields, and supervised studio projects designed to allow students to allow students to apply critical tools to the creation of performance projects in a lab setting. 

In the 21st century, the traditional boundaries of theatre and performance have become increasingly fluid. With this in mind, our program explores not only drama, musical theatre, and dance, but also new forms such as intermedia performance and collaborations with art, media study, and music. MA students join us from a wide range of backgrounds, from performers to designers, engineers to educators, our Theatre and Performance program provides foundational skills applicable to all fields and interests in the performing arts. 

Course of Study

The following is the approved normal course of study for students pursuing the MA in Theatre and Performance. In all cases, a student's particular program should be determined in consultation with his/her academic advisor.  Students may also take cognate courses outside the Department of Theatre and Dance to augment their areas of interest. These must be planned in advance with the advisor.

Courses Credits
TH 610: Performance Research 3
Dramatic Literature, Theory, and Criticism 3-6
Theatre and Performance Historiography 3-6
Advanced Study in Production 3-6
TH 540: Graduate Studio 3
Cognates 3-6
TH 600 or TH 601: Master’s Thesis or Master’s Project 6
Total 30


The MA in Theatre and Performance requires a minimum of 15 credits in course work designed to give students the critical tools in theory, history, and practice of theatre. These seminars are distributed among the areas of literature and theory, history, and production. All students must take Performance Research in their first semester of study. 

Graduate Studio

MA students are required to register for 3 credits of Graduate Studio in their second semester of coursework. This weekly studio course is designed to give all students a practical outlet for performance theory. 


Students take an additional 3-6 credits as elective courses, which can be taken outside the Department of Theatre and Dance. Selection of these electives will depend upon each individual student’s background and career ambition and are selected in consultation with their major advisor. 


The student must submit a final scholarly thesis that demonstrates advanced competence in their field of study. Students may choose to complete a thesis paper or a thesis project, as developed and approved with their faculty advisor. If a student desires to take this course over more than one semseter, this may be repeated for credit. 

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