The MA in Theatre and Performance Studies is open to all qualified students who have completed an undergraduate degree or who will complete one prior to registration. An undergraduate major in theatre arts is not a prerequisite for admission to the program.
The deadline for applying to the MA program in theatre arts is January 15. Please note that some financial aid requires that applications be received before January 5, so review the Note on Financial Aid to determine whether you should apply earlier. We recommend that you explore the Graduate section of our site and read the online Graduate Handbook (PDF) before applying.
The University of Pittsburgh requires online applications for graduate programs. Before applying, please review the following list of required materials, as well as the following paragraphs describing admissions procedures for each of our graduate programs. Note that most of these materials must be delivered via the online application site. Any materials not attached via the online application site must be sent directly to the following address:
Graduate Admissions Administrator
University of Pittsburgh
2720 Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Required Materials for Admission
- A personal statement indicating your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh and your academic and professional goals
- Three academic writing samples
- Curriculum vitae
- Transcripts of undergraduate and graduate study (see Note below)
- Current GRE Scores
- Three letters of recommendation
- Non-US citizens: TOEFL or IELTS scores
- Non-US citizens: International Graduate Student Supplemental Forms Academic Year 2013-2014. (PDF) This form will be requested and required when the departmental admission is recommended.
Note: Applicants should upload copies of their undergraduate transcripts as is required with the online application. All students will be admitted with a transcript contingency in their letter. Certified transcripts and translations of all undergraduate and graduate study will be required at the time of matriculation (upon enrollment). Students will be required to forward official transcripts/translations at the time of matriculation (upon enrollment) to the Dean's office to clear transcript contingencies.
Required Course Work:
- Year-long graduate course in the History of Theatre
- Materials and Methods of Research in Theatre Arts
- One course in technical theatre (can be waived)
- One course in performance (can be waived)
- Six additional courses in dramatic literature, theatre history, criticism, or theory
Normally at least three of the required six additional courses in dramatic literature, theatre history, criticism or theory will be graduate seminars in the department. The others may be undergraduate (1000 series) or graduate (2000 series) courses in the department. With approval of the student's advisor, some of these may be taken in a separate department in the University.
Courses labeled research, directed study or independent study cannot be used to fulfill this requirement, except by the approval of the graduate faculty. The student's advisor will regularly monitor selection of courses and approve the overall sequence chosen.
Technical Production Assignments
All candidates for the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies are required to complete 20 hours of production work each semester during which they are not taking a technical theatre course.
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 stipulated in the curriculum and electives (including independent study, supervised study, and/or in-training programs) are required.
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).
The Master of Arts Comprehensive Exam is centered on theatre history and dramatic literature. For this purpose the periods of theatre are divided into two groups:
|Group A||Group B|
|Greek & Roman|
18th Century European
19th Century European & American
Modern (1880-1939) European & American
|English Renaissance (1558-1642)|
Contemporary (1940-present) European & American
|17th Century European|
American (to 1914)
|Specified non-Western areas* (to 1700)|
Specified non-Western areas * (after 1700)
|Non-text Driven Western Performance|
|* African, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Latin American, etc.|
Students are required to pick five of the above areas for examination, two from one group and three from the other. The exam consists of a two-hour essay paper on each of the five chosen areas in addition to a list of terms to be identified in a brief paragraph. The topics may include critical and theoretical approaches to theatre and drama of the periods and might also contain shorter, factual questions. In order to pass the MA Comprehensive exam, students must successfully complete all five essay papers. If a student fails in more than two of the areas, the student must take the entire exam again. If the student fails in two or fewer areas, he/she may retake the exam in those areas only.
Students are required to make arrangements for taking the exam by consulting the faculty member currently writing and reading questions in the chosen area. The method for preparing each area exam is to be determined by the faculty member writing the questions.
Note: Full-time faculty are not on-contract between May 15 and August 15 each academic year. Students wishing to take exams during that period must receive special permission from the graduate faculty.
The MA degree is conferred only upon those students who show they have mastered the general field of their graduate study by successfully completing the comprehensive examination. Students on inactive, special, or provisional status or on probation are not eligible to take a comprehensive examination. These examinations must be taken at least one month prior to the last day of the term in which the degree is to be granted
For inquiries or questions, please email Mary Gerber, Graduate Admssions Administrator at email@example.com