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Master of Arts in Performance Studies: Arts Education

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The MA in Performance Studies, with the concentration in Arts Education, is a one-year, initial graduate program that provides an interdisciplinary exploration into the realms of course design, advanced pedagogy, equity in the classroom, historical contexts, academic literacy, and innovative curriculum planning tailored for the diverse and dynamic field of performing arts education. In this program, students: Investigate the socio-political forces and creative impulses that have shaped theatre and performing arts education. Develop a critical perspective of the diverse pedagogical approaches and historical contexts that have contributed to the evolution of the field. Navigate the complexities of teaching and learning in the performing arts with an understanding of effective and inclusive pedagogical theories, curriculum design, and assessment strategies, equipping students with the skills to develop engaging and culturally responsive curricula. Explore the essential tools and approaches needed for theatrical analysis and production. Develop the ability to apply rigorous research methods, critical examination, and innovative thinking, all in preparation to take on advanced roles in theatre production, research, and education. This program underscores a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, preparing students to act as advocates for meaningful change in performing arts educational contexts. The capstone experience of the Performing Arts Studies: Thesis and Course Development Seminar allows graduate students to embark on a journey of academic innovation and practical implementation, showcasing a comprehensive understanding and ability in vital areas including research, cross-cultural responsibility, academic writing, course development, and arts education advocacy. This holistic program culminates in a valuable and real-world teaching experience, fostering academic and professional growth and preparing students to emerge as leaders and pioneers in the field of performing arts education, ready to contribute with insight and innovation to the evolving performing arts educational landscape.

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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 +

    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 papers related to history, criticism and/or 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 performance and/or media of the time. 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 Performance Studies program will achieve the following program learning outcomes.

    • History, Theory, and Criticism: Understand and Analyze: Understand and analyze theatre history, theory, and criticism reflecting both current and historical contexts and debates.
    • Research: Apply and Analyze Conduct original, focused research in the field of study, applying appropriate methodologies and analytical techniques.
    • Cross-cultural Responsibility: Understand and Evaluate: Gain understanding and evaluate global perspectives and cross-cultural conversations, showcasing adept cross-cultural analysis skills.
    • Academic and Professional Writing: Apply and Create: Demonstrate adeptness in academic and professional writing by applying effective research, organization, drafting, and editing skills, creating work worthy of publication and peer review.

Concentration in Arts Education Learning Outcomes

    • Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning: Analyze and Evaluate: Analyze historical and contemporary contexts to evaluate and plan inclusive arts education curricula effectively.
    • Course Development and Implementation: Apply and Create: Apply knowledge in developing and presenting a new course, synthesizing essential components including syllabus, learning outcomes, and assessments. Assist in teaching to create an effective learning environment.
    • Arts Education Advocacy: Understand, Evaluate, and Create: Understand challenges in arts education, evaluate opportunities, and create contributions to discourse and practice through research, teaching, and advocacy.
  1. Summary of Required Courses



    History, Theory, etc.

    Total Program Credit Hours





  2. Sample curriculum

    Year One

    First Semester

    RES501 Advanced Academic Writing I3.0
    PED501 Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning I3.0
    HTC501 Theories of Theatre3.0
    HTC502 A History of Performing Arts Education I3.0
    Total Credits12.0

    Second Semester

    RES511 Advanced Academic Writing II3.0
    PED511 Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning II3.0
    RES502Dramaturgy and Research Methods3.0
    RES504 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Performing Arts3.0
    Total Credits12.0

    Third Semester

    RES505Performance Studies Thesis Seminar6.0
    Total Credits6.0
    Total Program Credits30.0

Course Descriptions

RES501 Advanced Academic Writing I
This course is an advanced scholarly exploration tailored for emerging performing arts educators, emphasizing the foundational principles of academic literacy. As an integral part of the master's program, the content and activities are designed not only to instill the rigors of effective research, critical reading skills, and nuanced written communication in the MLA style, but also to lay the groundwork for the early stages of the program's culminating project: the thesis and new Course Development initiative. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on the iterative processes of invention, research, drafting, revision, and editing. Participants will hone their capacities to provide and receive constructive critiques of both personal projects and the scholarly endeavors of their peers. A pivotal component of the course focuses on the art and science of crafting a compelling academic argument, particularly as it pertains to innovative contributions in the realm of performing arts education.

PED501 Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning I
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the foundational principles of teaching and learning in the context of the performing arts. Students learn about pedagogical theories and practices, as well as strategies for curriculum design and assessment. Through a combination of lectures, readings, and hands-on activities, students explore the complexities of teaching and learning in the performing arts and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to design effective and engaging curricula that meet the needs of diverse learners. By the end of the course, students can critically analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of various teaching approaches and design curricula that are inclusive, rigorous, and culturally responsive.

HTC501 Theories of Theatre
This course focuses on a critical inquiry into the evolution of theatre, unraveling the interplay of socio-political forces and creative impulses from ancient Greece to modern experimental theatre. Examine the pivotal influences and events that have sculpted theatrical exploration and creation over the ages. Navigate the intertwined relationships between theatre performance, literature, and the cultural and political ideas that fueled intellectual and artistic endeavors across various eras. Engage in rigorous analysis of diverse theatrical styles, from the foundation of classical realism to the avant-garde realms of contemporary theatre. This course cultivates an understanding of the theoretical frameworks and historical contexts that have defined the trajectory of theatre, empowering students to critically engage with and contribute to contemporary theatrical discourse and practice

HTC502 A History of Performing Arts Education
In this course, students will explore the evolution of performing arts education, examining its roots, transformations, and contemporary manifestations. The course encompasses an analysis of various pedagogical approaches, influential figures, pivotal movements, and the impact of historical, socio-political, and cultural contexts on performing arts education. Students will engage with a diverse array of sources, from archival documents to modern scholarly discussions, enhancing their understanding and appreciation for the intricate world of performing arts education. This exploration equips students with a robust knowledge base and a critical perspective, fostering a more informed, reflective, and innovative approach to the field.

RES511 Advanced Academic Writing II
This course offers 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.

PED511 Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning II
Building on the foundational knowledge acquired in Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning I, this advanced graduate-level course, Pedagogy and Curriculum Planning II, deepens students’ understanding and expertise in the domains of performing arts education. Students engage in a comprehensive exploration of advanced pedagogical theories, innovative curriculum development, and effective assessment strategies tailored for diverse and inclusive performing arts education environments. Through immersive learning experiences, including in-depth seminars, collaborative projects, and practical application opportunities, students refine their abilities to craft, implement, and assess dynamic, inclusive, and culturally responsive curricula for the performing arts. This course emphasizes a critical and reflective approach to pedagogy and curriculum planning, empowering students to emerge as leaders and pioneers in the field of performing arts education, prepared to navigate and contribute to the evolving educational landscape with insight, agility, and innovation.

RES502 Dramaturgy and Research Methods
This course offers an exploration of the essential tools and approaches vital to the analysis and production of theatrical works. Students delve into text, context, and the synthesis of various elements that contribute to the entirety of a performance. The course emphasizes rigorous research methods, equipping students with the skills to investigate and interpret dramatic texts, historical contexts, and performance theories. Through readings, discourse analysis, and practical projects, students engage in the critical examination of scripts and performances, honing their abilities to contribute meaningfully to the production and scholarly analysis of theatre. This course synthesizes the roles of the dramaturg, scholar, and artist, fostering an environment of collaborative learning and innovative thinking, preparing students for advanced roles in theatre production, research, and education.

RES504 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Performing Arts
This course is designed to equip students with a deep understanding of the historical and contemporary issues related to diversity and inclusion in the world of a performing arts. Students will critically analyze the structural inequities and biases present in performing arts and performing arts education and learn strategies for fostering inclusive and equitable performance experiences and educational environments. Through lectures, readings, and practical exercises, students will delve into the multifaceted dimensions of diversity including race, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, and more. By the course’s conclusion, students will be prepared to act as advocates for equity, contributing meaningfully to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in performing arts producton and educational contexts.

RES505 Performance Studies Thesis Seminar
In the Performance Studies Thesis Seminar, graduate students embark on a exploration of academic innovation and practical implementation in the arts education landscape. Students will craft a new course, starting with in-depth research and culminating in a detailed thesis paper that outlines the development process. Participants will also compile a syllabus, complete with learning outcomes, required texts, activity planning, and assessment elements, ensuring a well-rounded and complete educational plan. The course offers real-world teaching experience through an undergraduate teaching assistantship at AMDA, where students present a module of their newly formulated course to undergraduates or peer graduate cohorts. The course experience culminates with a Thesis and Course Design Defense, enabling students to demonstrate their expertise and receive critical feedback for refinement. Within this six-credit course, students will showcase a range of skills aligning with the MA in Performing Arts Studies' Program Learning Outcomes and the Arts Education Concentration outcomes, underscoring their comprehensive understanding and ability in areas including research, cross-cultural responsibility, academic writing, course development, and arts education advocacy. This course is a valuable capstone experience, fostering holistic academic and professional growth in the field of arts education.