Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre


The Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre is designed to serve prospective teachers, critics, and scholars in theatre studies. Also, in support of the scholarly degree, it provides some training opportunities in production. Each candidate, working with an adviser, develops an individual program of study that includes not only a wide range of general courses in history, critical theory, dramatic literature, performance analysis, and research methods but also a specialized group of courses in the candidate's areas of interest. Each candidate also selects at least one area of production for training (acting, directing, design, or dramaturgy). In addition, candidates have the opportunity to take courses taught by faculty outside the department. Candidates will thus develop a strong foundation in theatre studies; they will also be able to design special programs of study, appropriate to their backgrounds and professional aims.

Areas of Study

Theatre history; historiography; critical and dramatic theory; production analysis and dramaturgy; ancient and modern Greek theatre; Latin American and US Latino theatre; performance studies; translation; theatre pedagogy; ethnography; postcolonialism and nationalism; American drama and historical pageants; race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in performance.

Departmental Affiliations

The doctoral program has close ties to the Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute, a major archive in theatre studies. Director Jeanine Thompson and Curator Beth Kattelman work directly with doctoral students on study and research projects. In addition, the Department of Theatre is affiliated with The Wexner Center for the Arts, a contemporary arts center and educational program at Ohio State, with a wide range of local, national, and international presentations in the visual and performance arts, film, video, and architecture. Also the university is a member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, an exchange program that allows students to study at other Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago. Exchange opportunities also exist with foreign universities.


The PhD applicant must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School of The Ohio State University, have substantial undergraduate work in theatre or related fields, have a Master's degree (MA or MFA) in theatre or performance studies, show interest and achievement in theatre production, and present evidence of promise in scholarship (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. Applicants should make every effort to begin the program in the autumn semester of the academic year. Apply now.

General Program Requirements


Ohio State operates on the semester system. A minimum residency of three years (excluding summer) is required, with at least 8 credit hours per semester


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. All post-candidacy doctoral students must register for a MAXIMUM of three (3) credit hours per semester whether they are funded or self-funded; continuous academic year registration is required for post-candidacy doctoral students admitted Autumn 2008 or after; summer registration is optional.

Degree Credit Hours and Requirements

A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours beyond the MA degree must be completed (including credit hours for the dissertation). No more than one-third of the required courses (10 credit hours) may be transferred from another institution. Each candidate is evaluated annually by the doctoral faculty and the Graduate Studies Committee. A candidate's continuation in the program and financial aid depend upon satisfactory work and timely progress.


Each doctoral candidate will be assigned an interim academic adviser at the beginning of the first semester of residence. The candidate is responsible for choosing a permanent adviser by spring semester during the second year. This adviser will normally serve as the dissertation director.

Candidacy Examination

Each student will complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours in courses, seminars, and projects before taking the Candidacy Examination. The Candidacy Examination, written over three days, should demonstrate scholarly competence in three major areas of theatre studies (history, literature, theory and criticism). In addition, the candidate is examined on an area of specialization. An oral examination will be given by the same examining committee for which the student has written.

Foreign Language

Prior to the Candidacy Examination, the student is required to demonstrate a comprehensive reading proficiency in one foreign language or reading proficiency with dictionary in two foreign languages.


Each candidate, after passing the Candidacy Examination, must prepare a dissertation prospectus (normally 10-20 pages), with a selective bibliography. This prospectus must be approved by the dissertation committee. The prospectus should be approved within a maximum of six months after the student passes the Candidacy Examination. Extensions of time require the approval of the dissertation director and the dissertation committee.


The student must complete a satisfactory dissertation in theatre studies within five years following the successful completion of the Candidacy Examination. An oral examination on the dissertation will be conducted by the student's dissertation committee and a representative of the Graduate School. The dissertation must be prepared according to departmental guidelines.

Deadlines, Application and Admission Process

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