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Master of Arts in Theatre

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The Master of Arts program at AMDA offers students the opportunity to develop as original scholars of theatre. Unique at AMDA is the opportunity to study theatre arts at the graduate level amongst an active and diverse community of performing artists. This intensive graduate program is completed in one year, including three semesters of immersive courses and an original thesis project. Student theses are completed under the mentorship of faculty and through collaboration with peers. The program’s curriculum includes a course sequence in academic writing that emphasizes peer learning and review as well as organization, technique and writing project management. Students graduate from this program with highly developed skills in the analysis of theatre literature, history and criticism.

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Master of arts
  1. Completion of the AMDA Graduate Degree Application +

    Students who are qualified to apply for this program will:

    1. Have a passion for the arts and a strong desire to contribute to the field
    2. Be committed to actively supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion amongst our community and beyond
    3. Hold a completed undergraduate degree at time of enrollment
  2. Statement of intent for graduate study +

    In 250 words or less, please explain your goals for engaging with the program, if admitted. Please submit your statement to or click the button below.

  3. Writing portfolio +

    Please send a sample of writing materials that includes examples of theatre history, criticism and analysis. A minimum of two completed pieces is required, which could include written work from undergraduate degree or independently written pieces. Please submit your documents to or click the button below.


    In 300-500 words, please identify a significant social movement and reflect on how it impacted both the performance and study of Theatre. Please submit your writing sample to or click the button below.

  5. Interview with an AMDA representative +

    Once you have completed your application, an AMDA representative will reach out to you by phone to discuss your interests, background, and experiences related to the focus of this program.

  6. Reference letters +

    Three reference letters from people who have known the applicant for two years or longer, such as instructors, directors or faculty advisors, or employers (but not a friend or family member). Reference letters may be emailed to or mailed to the address below and should note the relationship of the writer to the applicant.

    AMDA Records
    211 West 61st Street
    New York, NY 10023

  7. Official transcripts +

    Please submit transcripts for completed undergraduate degree and any graduate coursework attempted or completed. The minimum grade point average (GPA) expected for AMDA's graduate programs is 3.0 out of 4.0 or its equivalent in other grading systems.

    AMDA Records
    211 West 61st Street
    New York, NY 10023

AMDA students within the MA in Theatre program will achieve the following program learning outcomes.

    • History, Theory, and Criticism: Acquire a comprehensive understanding of theatre history,  theory, and criticism as it reflects current and historical discussion and debate.  
    • Research: Engage in original, focused research pertaining to their field of study.
    • Cross-cultural Responsibility: Exhibit a command of cross-cultural analysis, demonstrating a grasp of global perspectives and cross-cultural conversations.
    • Interdisciplinary Competency: Demonstrate a command of interdisciplinary research through written and oral presentation. 
    • Academic and Professional Writing: Demonstrate skills in academic and professional writing, including an effective understanding of primary research, project organization, drafting, revision, and final editing, resulting in work worthy of critical peer review and publication.
    • Praxis: Produce original scholarly work and/or analysis of creative primary research that will add to the general body of knowledge.
  1. Summary of Required Courses

    Advanced, Analytical & Academic Theatre Studies

    Advanced, Analytical & Academic Theatre Studies, Elective

    Total Program Credit Hours




  2. Sample curriculum

    Year One

    First Semester

    THR570 Academic Writing in Theatre Studies: Development, Revisions, and Critique3.0
    THR550 Seminar in Research Methods3.0
    THE550 Seminar in Theories of Drama and Theatre3.0
    THR520 Seminar in Theatre History I3.0
    Total Credits12.0

    Second Semester

    THR541 Seminar in Cross-Cultural Theatre Studies3.0
    THR530 Seminar in Theatre History II3.0
    THR580Academic Writing in Theatre Studies: Articles, Conferences, and Publication3.0
    THR540 History of Musical Theatre, or Critical Race Theory, or Queer and Gender Theory3.0
    Total Credits12.0

    Third Semester

    Thesis Seminar6.0
    Total Credits6.0
    Total Program Credits30.0

Course Descriptions

THE550 Seminar in Theories of Drama and Theatre
Students experience an intensive survey of theories of drama, theatre and performance from historical and contemporary perspectives. Topics include semiotics, phenomenology, queer and gender theory, critical race theory and ecocriticism. (3.0 credits)

THE560 Seminar in Critical Race Theory
This seminar identifies and examines existing power structures that perpetuate white heteronormative ideologies and the marginalization of people of color. It investigates race and racism as a social construction and highlights the ways these theories are supported and/ or condemned in the performing arts. Topics include Afropessimism, Latinx race theory, Orientalism, Native American race theory and multiculturalism. (3.0 credits)

THE570 Seminar in Queer and Gender Theory
This seminar offers an intersectional approach to understanding identity and its relationship to sex and sexuality. It is a post-structural analysis of heteronormative power structures that promote heterosexuality as the preferred sexual orientation and institutionalize patriarchy. It examines the ways these analyses and theories are supported or condemned in the performing arts. Topics include identity and performance, queer theory and intersectional feminism. (3.0 credits)

THR520 Seminar in Theatre History
This survey course provides a concise study of the diverse expansion of drama and the development of theatre from its earliest ritual beginnings through the turn of the 21st century. Students will read, discuss and analyze the theatrical, societal and cultural significance of each historical era as well as seminal playwrights and plays. Plays and course lessons are drawn from Western and non-Western sources. Some of the topics explored could include the evolution of the physical stage, acting styles, the introduction of psychology as a new science, cultural diversity and the rise of women in theatre. (3.0 credits)

THR530 Seminar in Theatre History II
This course offers a deep exploration of highly impactful periods in the history of theatre and drama. Critical moments in theatre history are examined through the lenses of their social, political and economic environments. Individuals who made significant contributions to these paradigm-shifting eras are discussed in terms of how theatre shaped their perspectives and how their perspectives shaped theatre. (3.0 credits)

THR540 History of Musical Theatre
This topical course explores the history and development of musical theatre (primarily, American musical theatre) as well as various related subjects, themes, concepts and ideas. The contributions of major composers, lyricists, directors, performers and choreographers are examined as well as various genres of musicals including book, concept, jukebox and rock/pop. Possible topics explored could include the deconstruction of Oklahoma, race and cultural diversity in casting, women in musical theatre, and the Off-Broadway musical. The course utilizes lectures, student presentations, video clips, sound recordings, live performance attendance and assigned readings. (3.0 credits)

THR541 Seminar in Cross-Cultural Theatre: Asian Theatre
This survey course introduces students to the dramatic texts, theatrical arts, traditions and new developments in Asian theatre. The course focuses on traditional as well as modern Asian theatre and explores material drawn from each of the five diverse regions of Asia. Topics explored could include politics and the theatre in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea; the Muhammadan religion and theatre; and rising female playwrights in modern Japanese theatre. The reading and viewing of dramatic material from each region covered is supported by class lecture and discussion and relevant critical texts that provide the student with an informed perspective on the rich cultural, artistic, intellectual, historical and sociopolitical contributions of Asian theatre. (3.0 credits)

THR550 Seminar in Research Methods
Research and theatre have a variety of developing relationships. This course considers those relationships from multiple angles, including research as theatre, archival research and practice-based research. As such, the course explores experimental research practices that bring theatre together with sociological, communication and historical practices. Students in the course engage in collaborative research through the media of performance, text and visual documents. (3.0 credits)

THR570 Academic Writing in Theatre Studies: Development, Revisions and Critique
This is a practice-oriented introduction to the fundamentals of academic literacy, including effective research, critical reading and written communication using the MLA style. The course focuses on invention, researching, drafting, revising and editing, along with effective techniques for critiquing both personal work and the work of colleagues. Special attention is given to constructing an effective argument. (3.0 credits)

THR580 Academic Writing in Theatre Studies: Articles, Conferences and Publication
A practice-oriented, intensive analysis of the principles of excellent academic writing as they specifically pertain to the goals of conference presentations and publication of articles, chapters in anthologies, and books. Practical instruction includes the submission process and guidelines for submissions for academic conferences, preparing and submitting a book proposal and the specifications of academic journals. (3.0 credits)

THR600 Thesis Seminar
This seminar is designed to guide candidates in the development and effective completion of their thesis. Focus is on the essential components of identifying the subject and methodology for the thesis; producing, critiquing, analyzing and revising the thesis; and completing a finished thesis, edited according to MLA guidelines and suitable for publication. (6.0 credits)