MA and PhD Admissions and Application Information

Admissions and Application Information

Master of Arts: Theatre and Performance Studies

The MA degree provides students with the necessary research skills to productively engage in scholarly conversations about theatre and performance. 
Curriculum and Requirements for the Completion of the Degree
A minimum of one and a half years or three semesters of residency is required.
33 hours of courses, made up of those stipuated in the curriculum and electives required.
Required Course Work:
  • Eight courses in dramatic literature, theatre history, criticism, or theory at least 5 of which are graduate seminars in the department
No lower-level undergraduate courses numbered 0001-0999 may be applied toward a graduate degree.  MA students may not take THEA 2990 Independent Study for graduate credit.  The student's advisor will regularly monitor selection of courses and approve the overall sequence chosen.
Minimum Grade Requirement
The MA degree is conferred only on those students who have completed all courses required for the degree with an average grade of B (i.e., a 3.00 QPA).
Diagnostic Exam
All entering MA students will be asked to take the Diagnostic Test in World Theatre History before the first week of classes in the Fall. A general knowledge of world theatre history is necessary for all graduate degrees in the Department.  Scores on the diagnostic exam determine which courses in the 3-semester theatre history sequence should be taken by each graduate student.
Comprehensive Examination or MA Thesis
MA students in the Department of Theatre Arts may elect to take a Comprehensive Exam or write a Master’s Thesis. For more information, please see the Graduate Handbook.
More details about the MA program and the requirements listed above are available in our Graduate Student Handbook.
More information about graduate student courses is available here.
For application information please see admission requirements.


PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies

Entrance Qualifications

The Doctor of Philosophy program is open to all qualified students who have completed, or will have completed prior to registration, a Master of Arts degree or its equivalent. An MA in theatre arts is not a prerequisite for admission to the program. The department admits some highly qualified students with BAs directly into the PhD program.  These students proceed to the highter degree more efficiently, receiving an MA enroute.

International students - The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences requires a TOEFL score of 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing); or a minimum IELTS of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections).

PhD Application Material Requirements ​

  1. University of Pittsburgh’s on-line application (there is a $50.00 application fee)
  2. A personal statement indicating your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh and your academic and professional goals.
  3. Official or Unofficial College Transcripts are uploaded with application. After a student is recommended for admission, official copies of all college transcripts will then need to be sent directly from the institution(s) to the Dean’s office before a student can be matriculated.
  4. Current, official GRE scores (GRE scores cannot be older than 5 years old). These scores must be sent directly from ETS to the University of Pittsburgh.  INSITUTIONAL CODE: 2927  DEPARTMENT CODE: 2403
  5. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  6. Two (2) samples of academic writing. 
  7. Non-US citizens: TOEFL or IELTS scores - this is mandatory and cannot be waived.

The deadline for application is January 15.  Click here to apply


For questions or information regarding the application process, please contact:

Maggie Bupp
Graduate Student Services Administration

For questions or information regarding the Theatre Arts Graduate Programs, please contact:

Lisa Jackson-Schebetta
Director of Graduate Studies