Master of Arts in Theatre


The Master of Arts in Theatre provides training in theatre studies. Beyond the required course in research methods, students may elect a wide range of courses in theatre history, criticism, theory, and dramatic literature. There are also opportunities to take courses in acting, directing, and design and to participate in theatre production. The MA degree, culminating in a MA written thesis offers a generalist foundation in theatre studies appropriate for (1) teaching in secondary schools and some colleges, (2) entering into a doctoral degree program, and (3) beginning a possible professional career in theatre companies, the entertainment media, government arts programs, or private arts institutions. Students are expected to develop analytical skills in historical research, critical writing, dramatic interpretation, and the nature of theatrical practice.


The MA applicant must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School of The Ohio State University, have substantial undergraduate work in theatre arts or related fields (preferably an undergraduate degree in theatre and/or drama), show interest and achievement in theatre production, and present evidence of scholarly promise (e.g., sample essays that reflect a high level of competence in research, analysis, and expository writing). Also the applicant must present have three letters of recommendation, provide college transcripts and a statement of purpose, and TOEFL scores for foreign students. Apply now.

General Program Requirements


Ohio State operates on the semester system. A minimum residence of two academic semesters (excluding summers) devoted to graduate work at The Ohio State University is required.

Foreign Language

Students are required to demonstrate a comprehensive reading proficiency in one foreign language. This may be met by passing an examination or by satisfactory completion of a graduate course in the reading of a foreign language.  Credit does not count toward the minimum hours required for the Master's degree.


The course offerings and the procedures for course registration are spelled out in the Ohio State Course Bulletin and Master Schedule. The Department of Theatre also provides a list each semester of courses being offered. Students holding 50% Graduate Associateships are required by the Department of Theatre to register for a minimum of eight (8) graduate credit hours per semester excluding summers when a minimum of four (4) credit hours is required if a fee waiver is utilized.

Degree Credit Hours and Requirements

The MA degree requires 31 credit hours (including four credit hours for the thesis), a foreign language proficiency, and a written thesis. The program requires one course in Research Methods (TH 6701) and three Core Seminar Courses (selected from 7701-7704); otherwise, each student, in consultation with his or her advisor, works out an elective plan of courses in theatrical history, dramatic literature, and critical theory. In addition, depending upon their interests and skills, students have opportunities to take production courses (e.g., in acting, design, directing, and video) and to participate in departmental productions.


Each MA student will be assigned an interim academic adviser before the first semester of residency commences. The student is responsible for selecting a permanent adviser by the third Friday of spring semester; this adviser will serve as the thesis adviser.

Prospectus and Thesis

The MA candidate must complete a satisfactory research thesis in theatre studies. After a faculty member has agreed to serve as the candidate's thesis director and adviser, the candidate prepares a prospectus (5-10 pages normally). This prospectus must be approved by the thesis committee before the fifth week of spring semester. The final draft of the MA thesis must be delivered to the committee at least 20 days prior to the date of the oral defense (which must occur before the Graduate School deadline for graduation). The thesis may be completed during any semester of the second year of study, but no later than spring semester.

Thesis Defense

An oral examination (defense) will be conducted by the thesis committee of the candidate. During the examination the candidate must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the subject matter of his or her thesis and defend the thesis successfully.

Deadlines, Application and Admission Process

Deadlines, application, and admission process details for the graduate program may be found by following this link.