The Department of Theatre and Film Studies offers two graduate degree programs: the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.), and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The master’s degree program is pre-professional in nature, offered with concentrations in several specialties of dramatic art: dramatic writing, acting, scenic and lighting design, costume design, and dramatic media. The doctorate is a scholarly degree with a program that emphasizes research in the history and theory of dramatic art.
The Master of Fine Arts
Nature and Scope
The M.F.A. program is designed as a terminal degree concentrating on the areas of production and performance in the dramatic arts, including stage, screen, and new media. The student must pursue one particular specialty area (e.g., acting, media, design) to be reflected in the program of study and in the nature of the final project. Nevertheless, to establish a viable basis for a career in any of these areas, a broad understanding of all creative facets is necessary, and this entails study and practice in other areas. Moreover, a genuinely professional dramatic artist must be one who possesses a cultural awareness of the traditions and patterns inherent in contemporary dramatic art. This entails study of history and theory.
Full admission in the M.F.A. program requires an undergraduate degree with a major in dramatic art or its equivalent. An academic average of at least 2.6 and a minimum of 20th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE (approximately 143 on each section or an 800 composite, verbal and quantitative combined, on the older version of the GRE) are normally required. Foreign students whose mother tongue is not English must have a score of at least 550 on the TOEFL. All require evidence of experience and talent in the practice of dramatic art in the form of auditions, portfolios, scripts, etc. In some specialties there is a limit on the total number of M.F.A. students admitted. In case of the performance area, students are admitted only every three years.
Normally the student’s undergraduate degree should be in theatre or in an appropriate cognate field with extensive work in theatre. Additional requirements for admission are listed under each graduate degree.
Upon notification by the graduate school that a student’s materials are complete, the academic faculty in a student’s indicated area of specialization will review the application. The committee may make one of three recommendations: 1) acceptance, 2) refusal of acceptance, or 3) acceptance with conditions.
Upon admission a major professor will be assigned to each student. Prior to the end of second semester in residence, the student must be certified as proficient to pursue a chosen area of specialty by a review board composed of faculty in the appropriate specialty area. Students who fail to establish proficiency will be dropped from the program. Under rare circumstances, they may be encouraged to pursue a different specialty, if strength is evident there. After successful completion of a proficiency review, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination (three hours), which is usually scheduled in the third semester in residence. If the student's performance on the comprehensive examination is satisfactory, a program of study is made out and the student is admitted into candidacy. Upon admission to candidacy, the student is assigned a committee of two to work with the major professor and the student on thesis project preparation, potential internship or special projects.
Minimum Number of Courses
The M.F.A. requires an absolute minimum of 60 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s. This includes credit deriving from the M.F.A. Creative Project for three semester hours. A maximum of six hours in Projects in Dramatic Art (THEA 7560) may also be applied. Each student must take at least six hours of graduate credit courses in theatre history and one 8000 level seminar. With appropriate content, the 8000 level seminar could serve as three hours of theatre history. Graduate assistants enrolled in the M.F.A. program are required to enroll each semester in THEA 7005, which grants credit for assistantship work. This credit, however, does not count toward the degree. The final program of study may consist of special work beyond 60 semester hours, as determined by the major professor and the Specialty Board. A residence of two full consecutive semesters is required.
Foreign Language Requirement
Admission to Candidacy
A student will be admitted to candidacy upon completion of the following steps:
- Certification of proficiency in one of the specialty areas. Students must take their proficiency reviews at the end of their second semester.
- Passing of a comprehensive three hour written examination in the discipline of dramatic art, focusing on history and theory as these areas affect production issues. The comprehensive examination is based on individual study topics given to students upon passing the proficiency review. The faculty in the student’s area of specialty designs and grades the exam. Comprehensive examinations are given on the second Wednesday of each semester. Students must take the comprehensive examination in their third semester.
The Creative Project and Written Document
The Creative Project concentrates on creative work within the student’s specialty area. In addition to the accomplishment of the creative work itself, the student will be required to provide a written analysis and evaluation of the project. The written document must be presented in final form at the oral examination. Two bound copies of the written document are required. A final oral examination on the project completes the process. The major thrust of the project, however, is to be the actual creative work. Complete instructions on the required form for the written document are available from the departmental office. Each area has particular requirements for the written document.
The creative project will be recommended by the appropriate area faculty and approved by the Department Head. In no case will the project be assigned earlier than the summer before the student’s third year in residence, no matter how many hours the student has accumulated. Projects should be done in conjunction with the department’s production program, but under particular circumstances the area faculty may approve its being done outside the department in Athens or elsewhere. The nature, scope and suitability of the project will be determined by the area faculty.
Students in the M.F.A. program should realize that there are a limited number of opportunities for suitable M.F.A. projects. The departmental administration will make every effort to assign significant and timely projects, but the Department cannot be responsible to students who have not followed a normal program as outlined in this handbook. In general, it is best for a student to commence M.F.A. programs in the fall of the academic year, especially in acting, media and design.
Below are descriptions of the areas of specialization available in the M.F.A. Program.
The primary focus of the program is to provide each student with a strong set of acting tools that can be used whether performing on stage or in front of the camera. Classes in the performance curriculum include intensive studies in acting, voice/speech and movement. Foundational actor training draws on Stanislavsky-based techniques, including the Method of Physical Action, Meisner, Suzuki, and Michael Chekhov, supplemented by approaches such as contact improvisation, Alexander, Linklater, and solo performance. In addition to being trained to perform in all traditional areas of acting—theatre, film and television—students in the program study the latest multi-media and digital technologies being used in the industry, giving graduates of the MFA performance program an edge in the job market.
While a minimum of 60 credits is required for the M.F.A. degree, depending upon the student’s undergraduate background, additional course work may be required for acting specialists. No more than 12 active students may be registered in the M.F.A. program in acting at any one time. Students are admitted to the program every third year, and completion of the degree requires a three year residency period.
The following course of study is the minimum required for the specialization in acting:
|THEA 7590||Acting Process||3|
|THEA 7550||Genre and Style||3|
|THEA 7570||Acting for the Camera||3|
|THEA 7592||The Business of Acting||1|
|THEA 7595||Non-Traditional Performance Methods||3|
|THEA 7571||Acting for Digital Media||3|
|THEA 7521||Voice I||3|
|THEA 7522||Voice II||3|
|THEA 7523||Voice III||3|
|THEA 7524||Voice IV||3|
|THEA 7511||Movement I||3|
|THEA 7512||Movement II||3|
|THEA 7513||Movement III||3|
|THEA 7514||Movement IV||3|
Please note: In order to participate in an internship the student must be in academic good standing, have completed all history requirements, directing requirement, 8000 level requirement, and THEA 6510. Students are not guaranteed an internship. Although the department will create opportunities for networking; it is the responsibility of the student to research, contact, audition, and interview for internships.
|THEA 6510||Introduction to Graduate Studies||1|
|THEA 6210||Theatre and Modernity||3|
|THEA 6220 or THEA 6230||Theatre and Society or Theatre and Ritual||3|
|THEA 7610||Directing Lab||3|
|THEA 7210||Thesis Project||3|
In addition the student must take at least 3 hours of a 8000 level graduate seminar in theory, history or criticism and 6 hours of graduate level electives.
For those students who have already had two semesters undergraduate theatre history survey must take any two of the following graduate level theatre history courses:
|THEA 6280||Women in Performance||3|
|THEA 6300||Queer Theatre and Film||3|
|THEA 6400||Asian Theatre||3|
|THEA 6460||History of Dramatic Art: Special Topics||3|
|THEA 6470||African Theatre||3|
|THEA 6480||African American Theatre||3|
|THEA 6500||The Broadway Musical and American Culture||3|
|THEA 6800||Topics in History||3|
Progression toward degree
Upon admission, a major professor will be assigned to each student. The student and major professor will set out their program of study working towards admission into candidacy for the degree. They will also identify and periodically review the student’s personal goals and assess the student’s progress in the program. In addition to satisfactorily completing coursework, M.F.A. performance students are expected to demonstrate talent, professional potential and to respond to the training over and above the minimum qualifications. All M.F.A. performance students are expected to audition for and perform as cast in the subscription season plays of the University Theatre. Satisfactory academic progress in the curriculum does not in itself guarantee continuance in the program, nor does continuance in the program guarantee the automatic granting of the M.F.A. degree. M.F.A .acting students will be reviewed after the first semester and each subsequent semester and will receive feedback from the appropriate faculty both verbally, and in the form of an official letter.
Factors that figure into the evaluation of the M.F.A. student included, but not restricted to:
- academic progress;
- evidence of growth in craft and knowledge;
- potential for continued growth in the program and craft;
- professionalism according to industry standards and per department’s production protocol (see Production Protocols in Handbook);
- maintaining a positive and open professional conduct and attitude towards the training;
- ability to work in a collegial manner with faculty, personnel, and students;
- ability to work collaboratively within the graduate ensemble;
- personal responsibility and initiative;
- achievements in production;
- being a model of professional standards and conduct for the undergraduate students;
- performance of assistantship duties.
Students can be dismissed from the MFA program at the end of any semester of their tenure for any of the following reasons:
- failure to meet minimum academic standards;
- failure to pass qualifiers, profiencies, comprehensive examinations;
- failure to complete assistantship responsibilities satisfactorily;
- lack of professional conduct in production, classroom or rehearsal;
- failure to respond to the training;
- violation of University’s policies regarding sexual harassment;
- violation of University policies regarding plagiarism, copyright, and fair use;
- creating a hostile and negative work environment in the classroom or production process;
- carelessness or recklessness involving UGA equipment;
- continued, unexcused lack of attendance and support of University Theatre productions.
Qualifying project. The qualifying project consists of a major role in the University Theatre season, followed by an evaluation by the performance faculty on the student’s work in the production and in the classroom. Students who fail to meet the minimum standards on the Qualifying Project will be dismissed from the MFA program.
Proficiency review. Students must take their proficiency reviews at the end of their second semester. A proficiency review is administered in the form of a performance of three monologues with a short presentation describing the student’s process in developing them. Each member of the performance faculty grades the student with a “Pass” “Low Pass” or “Fail.” The student must receive at least “Pass” or “Low Pass” on all three of the monologues. The student's overall contribution for the entire year is also evaluated at this point and a determination is made by the performance faculty whether to continue the student in the MFA program. Students who fail to establish proficiency will be dismissed from the MFA program.
Comprehensive written examination The comprehensive three hour written examination focuses on the history, theory, and techniques of acting as these areas affect performance. Comprehensive examinations are given on the second Wednesday of the fall semester. The faculty develops individual study topics for each student following the proficiency review. The students are given a reading list from which their answers should be drawn. The performance faculty design the questions and a committee of three grades the exam with a “Pass” “Low Pass” “Fail.” The student must receive “Pass” or “Low Pass” on three of the questions to continue in the program.
Admission to candidacy After successful completion of the first three semesters the student will be admitted to candidacy.
Second year creative project. It is expected that student will have shown growth in areas identified by faculty. Evaluation will focus on issues that need to be addressed in the thesis project.
Fifth and Sixth Semester
Thesis project. The thesis project will be selected by the appropriate area faculty and approved by the Department Head. In no case will the project be performed earlier than the summer before the student’s third year in residence, no matter how many hours the student has accumulated. Projects should be done in conjunction with the department’s production program, but under particular circumstances the area faculty may approve its being done outside the department in Athens or elsewhere. The nature, scope and suitability of the project will be determined by the area faculty.
Students in the M.F.A. program should realize that there are a limited number of opportunities for suitable M.F.A. projects. The departmental administration will make every effort to assign significant and timely projects, but the Department cannot be responsible to students who have not followed a normal program as outlined in this handbook.
Written thesis and defense. In addition to the accomplishment of the creative work itself, the student will be required to provide a written analysis and evaluation of the project. The final written document must be presented in Chicago Manual of Style format at the oral examination. Two bound copies of the written document are required. A final oral examination on the project completes the process. The major thrust of the project, however, is to be the actual creative work. Complete instructions on the required form for the written document are available from the departmental office.
The Department offers an MFA program in Design/Technology that allows students to focus on costume, scene or lighting design. While the primary focus is on designing for stage, students also learn to apply these same design principles to a wide range of media, including film, television, computer animation, video games and interactive installations.
Students in the program are required to become proficient in more than one area of design and to test their skills by designing for University Theatre productions. Students also gain proficiency in a secondary design area. In addition to mastering traditional design techniques and technologies, students train with digital media and high-end computer-assisted design (CAD) software.
Design students progress through a series of increasingly difficult assignments as assistant designer, followed by one or more realized designs for smaller scale stage or media productions, and culminating in the design of costumes, scenery and/or lighting for a major stage or media production.
Of the minimum 60 credits required for the M.F.A. Degree in Design and Technology, most will be taken within the Department; however, up to six credits (normally two courses) may be taken outside of the Department.
Three-year schedule outline:
|THEA 6510||Introduction to Graduate Studies in Drama|
|THEA 7351||Scenic Design for the Performance Arts|
|THEA 7352||Lighting Design for the Performance Arts|
|THEA 7380||Design Technology for the Performance Arts|
|THEA 7310||Technical Problems|
|THEA 7320||Computer-Aided Design for the Performance Arts|
|THEA 7330||Costume Design for the Performance Arts|
|THEA 7340||History of Costume and Decor|
|THEA 7370||Design Studio|
|THEA 7560||Projects in Drama|
|THEA 7970||Design Portfolio|
|THEA 8300||Seminar in Design for the Performance Arts|
|Two advanced design courses (THEA 7730, 7751 or 7752)|
|THEA 7210||M.F.A. Thesis Project|
In addition students are required to take at least 6 hours of graduate level theatre history, 3 hours of Applied Drama Laboratories, and 9 hours of graduate level electives (6 hours may be approved non-departmental courses).
Applied Drama 1 credit to be taken every semester. Order to be taken are: 1st year (THEA 7050), 2nd year (THEA 7060), and 3rd year (THEA 7070). Outside reviews/critiques (2/semester) will be assigned through the Applied Drama. Additional Applied Drama is earned under THEA 7080. One credit is required in the first year of study and is earned while fulfilling the role of an assistant designer for a departmental production. THEA 7080 can be repeated for up to 6 credits and is reserved for special opportunities (Examples include: Assisting, Special Seminar Topics, Additional Production Activities like Sound, Scenic Painting or Media Assignments, and Remedial Work or Activities in Special Topics).
History requirement. Students must complete a minimum of six credits in theatre history. The design area will allow a student to use any departmental history classes as well as any other design history classes related to their discipline (as approved by their advisor) to satisfy the departmental history requirement. In order to pursue this option, a student's transcripts (graduate or undergraduate) must demonstrate a minimum grade of B in a traditional Theatre History course (i.e., Theatre History I and II) for each class to be substituted by any alternate history courses.
Proficiencies and Assessment
First semester review. All first year students will go through an informal portfolio review in the first several weeks of their second semester to (1) evaluate their progress and transition into the MFA program, (2) identify student design assignments for the upcoming season, and (3) discuss their topic assignment for the writing component and preparation for the Proficiency/Comprehensive Exam.
Proficiencies (first and second year students). This review will be conducted near the end of the second and fourth semester of a student’s study. The first year proficiency forms a critical point of examination for first year students who must pass the proficiency in order to continue in the program. The actual proficiency exam has three primary components: a writing component (which forms the design area’s comprehensive exam), a review of a student’s portfolio, and progress/work in the classroom and production program. The proficiency exam primarily consists of a formal portfolio presentation and interview with the design faculty who are accompanied by several external guest reviewers. First year students will receive a formal evaluation of this exam along with a notification of their passing or failing the exam. Second year students will receive a formal evaluation that will become part of their permanent graduate record. The writing portion of the exam will consist of a written research assignment based on a topic (with student input) that is assigned to the student shortly after their first semester review and based on materials and topics drawn from the design area’s reading list. The student will have the majority of the semester to work on this paper ,which will be due approximately one week prior to the proficiency exam. Failure to pass a proficiency exam will result in a student being placed on probation or being dismissed from the program.
Comprehensive exam. There is no comprehensive exam in the design area. The formal paper that is submitted as part of the proficiency exam replaces the comprehensive exam as a means of student evaluation.
Qualifying design assignment. All design students will complete a significant design assignment within their major discipline for a departmental or otherwise approved realized design/production. This assignment is completed under THEA 7560 (Projects in Drama) and is advised and graded by the student’s major professor. Upon satisfactory completion of this assignment, the student will be assigned to a thesis production.
Thesis production/creative project. The creative project concentrates on creative work within the student’s specialty area and is based on a realized design assignment to a major production within a student’s specialty area. In addition to the accomplishment of the creative work itself, the student will be required to provide a written analysis and evaluation of the project. The written document must be presented in final form at an oral examination formed by a committee of the student’s advisor and at least two additional thesis committee members. Two bound copies of the written document are required. A final oral examination on the project completes the process.
Digital technology has become a strong influence in the entertainment industry. Students in the Dramatic Media program acquire the complex mix of technical and artistic skills necessary to create computer-generated animation, live stage productions incorporating interactive media, and special digital effects in filmmaking. This unique program of study in the UGA Department of Theatre and Film Studies provides students with the skills and vision to become leaders in the rapidly growing and expanding digital media industry.
Students in the UGA program come from diverse backgrounds ranging from professional stage directors with little previous computer experience to experienced digital artists who know little about theatre. Whatever their previous experience, all students graduate with a solid background in both dramatic art and digital media technologies. The expectation is that students who graduate from the program will be qualified to work professionally with digital technologies either as theatre/performance practitioners, or in the film, television or video game industries.
The Dramatic Media program focuses on three distinct but interconnected areas:
- 3D computer animation. The program's governing principle is to recognize that animation is not just a visual medium, but first and foremost a form of drama. Intensive training in high end, commercial level 3-D animation software is combined with training in dramatic writing, acting and design.
- Interactive media. Students learn to create interactive narratives using 2-D and 3-D gaming and mobile computing technologies. Students in the dramatic media program are leading the way towards making computer games a truly dramatic medium with the focus on story and character rather than simply action.
- Integration of interactive media into live performance. Students explore new forms of art and entertainment that result from the marriage between live theatre and interactive media.
MFA Dramatic Media students are all expected to gain a foundational knowledge of each of these three core areas, becoming aware of key aesthetic and theoretical issues and gaining at least a basic level of technical proficiency. By the time they complete the program, they are expected to demonstrate a high level of technical ability and aesthetic and theoretical sophistication in one or a combination of these core areas.
The Dramatic Media program also offers courses in related areas of digital media such as motion capture, digital filmmaking and special effects, sound design, and locative media.
The M.F.A. in dramatic media production is a three-year program requiring a minimum of 60 hours of graduate work.
Admission to the program is handled in the same way as admission to other M.F.A. specialties. A portfolio or other materials including creative writing, design projects, videos or other evidence of talent and commitment must be provided.
Three courses (nine credits) maximum may be taken in courses outside the Department.
The program requires a minimum of 60 credits including the following:
|THEA 6510||Introduction to Graduate Studies in Drama|
|THEA 7810||Computer Animation for Dramatic Media I|
|THEA 7860||Interactive Media as Drama I|
|THEA 7870||Interactive Multimedia and Live Performance|
|THEA 7610 or FILM 7640||Play Direction Laboratory or Digital Video Production|
|THEA 7210||M.F.A. Thesis Project|
In addition, students are required to take at least two cinema or theatre history courses chosen with the approval of the area faculty, one 8000 level graduate seminar (3 credits), 24 hours of approved graduate level courses and 12 hours of additional electives.
Proficiencies and Assessment
First Year Review. At the end of their first year, students give a presentation providing an overview of the work they have produced to date in the program in 3D computer animation, interactive media, and/or digital performance. The student must demonstrate a moderate-to-high level of technical proficiency and growing aesthetic sophistication in at least one of these three areas. On the basic of this presentation, the faculty provides feedback to the student and determines whether the student’s progress is satisfactory, and also discusses goals for the coming year and possible directions for the thesis project.
Comprehensive Examination. Before the end of the student’s first year, the student and major professor identify three topic areas relevant to the student’s objectives in the program; the topics may be technical, aesthetic, theoretical or historical in nature. The major professor, in consultation with the examining committee, prepares a four-hour written examination on those topics, which student takes during his or her third semester, typically during the second week of classes. The student’s examining committee provides written evaluations within one week. Students who fail one or more questions are given one opportunity to answer a new question on the same topic by the end of the following semester.
Thesis Production. Students must successfully complete a creative project approved by their major professor. Such project may involve the creation of a short 3D animation, film, or interactive media project, or work as writer, director, content creator and/or media director on a work of live theatre or performance incorporating digital media or interactive technologies. The student must submit a written thesis analyzing and evaluating the creative project, and must defend the project and thesis in an oral examination with their thesis committee.
Nature and Scope
The doctoral program is designed to promote the study of dramatic art in all its media: stage, screen and new technology. It is a scholarly, research degree that encourages the interaction of scholarly work with the practice of dramatic art. As such, it is restricted to those who have both a strong creative background and the ability to research, analyze and write. It requires a full prior commitment to the pursuit of research and scholarly writing and, in order to re-enforce this commitment as a habit, the program has a tutorial base, whereby the student is continually at work on individual research with one or another professor.
Tutorial work is complemented by regular course work and by study in cognate fields outside the Department. Naturally, the focus of any individual program of study is determined by the interest and abilities of the student and the faculty.
The program, then, has these fundamental characteristics:
- It is tutorial, encouraging a continuous pursuit of research and writing.
- It is intended to produce graduates who will continue to pursue scholarship while being capable of contributing to programs of artistic production.
- It must yield dissertations that contribute significantly to the knowledge and literature of the discipline.
- The application for admission sent to the Graduate School along with official Graduate Record Examination scores (a minimum of 1000 combined verbal and quantitative scores is normally required) and transcripts of all previous academic work. (An M.A. or M.F.A. degree is required.)
- The Applicant Information Sheet sent to the Department of Theatre and Film Studies. This should provide:
- contact information for three people asked to send letters of recommendation under separate cover;
- a clear statement of the applicant’s objectives in pursuing this degree;
- at least two samples of completed research (M.A. thesis, research papers, articles, etc.);
- a prospectus for scholarly study in theatre or performance studies, or an annotated list of research topics that the applicant would like to explore;
- a resume or statement detailing the applicant’s experience in one or more areas of theatre or media practice.
Admission will be granted by the graduate faculty upon the recommendation of a member who will agree to work in the area(s) of investigation outlined by the applicant.
A limited number of departmental assistantships are available. Students seeking additional financial assistance should consult the graduate school website for information on the Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Dean’s Research Award, the Jo Ann Terry Walker Scholarship, and other potential funding opportunities.
Minimum Number of Courses
The Ph.D. is designed as two years of coursework plus the researching and writing of a dissertation. The degree requires 40 semester hours of graduate level course work, a minimum of 10 hours of dissertation research, a research skills proficiency (this is most often in a foreign language) and an original dissertation that contributes significantly to the discipline.
Generally doctoral students will carry a 12-14 semester hour course load for four consecutive semesters, successfully complete the first-year proficiency review and the written and oral comprehensive examinations (described below), be admitted to candidacy, and register for dissertation hours in their third year. During the first year, the student must participate in some significant way in the Department’s creative programs.
The 30 hours of course work required for the degree includes: (1) the Department’s Introduction to Graduate Studies; (2) at least 12 hours of 8000-level seminars in the Department; (3) at least 6 hours of independent directed study; (4) at least 6 hours of major electives in the Department; (5) at least 6 hours, and no more than 12 hours, in cognate field(s). Graduate assistants enrolled in the Ph.D. program are required to enroll each semester in THEA 9005, which grants credit for assistantship work. This credit, however, does not count toward the degree.
Beyond these stipulations, the program is designed on an individual basis to explore the nature of, and approaches to, the research topic.
After advancement to candidacy, the student must enroll in a minimum of ten credit hours and must be registered for a minimum of three credit hours during the semester of dissertation completion and graduation. Registration must continue for two out of three semesters (fall, spring, summer), until completion.
Foreign language requirement
All students must acquire facility with essential research skills by demonstrating a reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages applicable to research in the field, as determined by their major professors. This requirement must be met prior to taking comprehensive examinations, and may be satisfied by one of the following methods:
- earning a grade of B or higher in a University of Georgia language course specifically designed for graduate students who are attempting to fulfill their language requirements, such as SPAN 2500, GRMN 3500, and FREN 2500
- passing the language exam given by the language department
- passing the language exam given by a faculty member—this option requires permission of both the student’s major professor and the Graduate Coordinator.
During the first semester in residence, the student will work closely with the major professor in exploring and defining his or her research area and in developing appropriate methods of research. On the basis of the above work, a preliminary program of study will be established before the end of the year. The program of study should follow these requirements:
|THEA 6510||Introduction to Graduate Studies in Drama (1 hour)|
|THEA 8100||Seminar in Critical Methods (3 hours)|
|THEA 8200||Seminar in History of the Performance Arts (3 hours)|
|THEA 8400||Seminar in Dramatic Theory and Criticism (6 hours). Students are required to take one seminar each semester as offered during their first two years of study|
|THEA 9000/9010/9020or FILM 7640||Doctoral Research. During the student’s residency, he or she must be involved in individual research each semester, and should work with at least three different professors on a tutorial basis; credit for this work is variable, from 1-9 semester hours|
|THEA 9300||Doctoral Dissertation. A minimum of 10 hours are required after advancement to candidacy|
- Minimum of two courses from the following: THEA 6280, 6400, 6470, 6480, 6800, 8030, 8200, 8400; FILM 6250, 6260, 6490, 6600, 6650, 6660, 6670, 7481, 7900
- Minimum of two cognate courses at the 8000 level
- Any three graduate-level courses
Students in the Ph.D. program are expected to have completed an advanced survey of theatre history, at least one full year in length, that covers material comparable to both THEA 6210, THEA 6220, and THEA 6230. When the student begins matriculation in the program, the major professor in consultation with the graduate coordinator will determine whether the student has already satisfied this requirement. If not, the student will be required to complete either THEA 6210, THEA 6220 and/or THEA 6230. These courses will contribute to the overall number of required graduate credits, but will not count as major electives.
An examining committee comprised of the major professor and at least two additional faculty members in the Department's Theory/History area will approve the program of study and administer the comprehensive written examination in the areas of concentration and the preliminary oral examination in the area of specialization. The student, in discussion with his or her advisor, must select the members of this committee—who agree to serve at their discretion—by the end of the student’s second semester.
First-Year Proficiency Review
The examining committee will formally review the student’s progress and proficiency at the beginning of the second semester of residence, typically in early January. The review will clarify the student’s progress up to that point and will establish whether the student will be encouraged to continue. In preparation for the review, the student will provide to the examining committee:
- At least three papers written for courses or tutorials, together with a brief statement outlining the ways in which the student would revise these papers in order to make them stronger;
- A brief written statement defining the area of specialization, three areas of concentration, and three critical paradigms, including a rationale for selecting this combination of areas;
- Preliminary bibliographies for the area of specialization and each area of concentration and theoretical paradigm.
Upon completion of a successful first-year review, the student will use the committee’s recommendations to refine these bibliographies before the end of the semester (that is, May of the first year) and prepare final reading lists for the area exams.
If the first-year review reveals problems with the student’s progress, the committee will schedule a second review upon completion of the student’s second-semester coursework.
Comprehensive Written Exam: Areas of Concentration
In the comprehensive written examination, students must show knowledge of a substantial body of the history and theory of theatre, cinema, or other forms of performance, together with the related dramatic literature, films, or equivalent traces of performance. The examination process is designed to prepare students to teach courses in these areas of concentration.
Each student must select three areas, which can be defined by historical period, performance genre, or geographical region, by traditional curricular areas, or as the history of a particular performance practice, such as acting, directing, or scenography. Possible areas of concentration include but are not limited to:
- Western Theatre to 1800
- Western Theatre from 1800 to the present
- Asian Theatre African Theatre
- History of Cinema
- Film Theory
- Philosophical Aesthetics
- Digital Media and Performance
- American Ethnic Theatres
- World Theatre from 1970 to the present
- Theatre of the Americas
- Performance Art
- Musical Theatre
- Popular Entertainments
- Ritual Performance
In addition to the subject areas, each student will select three theoretical/critical approaches from the following list:
- Performance Anthropology
- Cultural Theory
- Gender Studies (feminist, gay/lesbian, queer, etc.)
- Semiotics/Structuralism/Speech Act Theory
- Marxist Theory
- Postcolonial Theory
- Cognitive Science
- Audience Response Theory
- Critical Race Theory
- Film Historical Analysis
- Film Theoretical Methods
- Media/New Media/Interactive Performance Theory
The theoretical/critical approaches are expected to inform answers throughout the exam, although there may be some purely theoretical questions as well. The student and major professor may define up to two theoretical/critical approaches that are not on this pre-defined list.
Comprehensive Examination Schedule
The comprehensive written examination will be completed at the start of the Spring semester of the second year, typically in early January. The exam will be administered on site, in four-hour sessions (a total of 12 hours) scheduled over the course of one week with one area per session. Students will be provided with a computer and lab or office space but are not allowed to use notes, books, or articles during the exam. The department will make provisions to cover the student’s teaching assignments during exam week.
The committee will provide a written evaluation of the exam within one week after completion. An oral defense of the exam will follow, ideally within two weeks of the written exam. Students who pass the written comprehensive exam in January will take an oral examination on the area of specialization before the end of the semester.
Students who do not pass the written comprehensive exam in January will take another exam on the same areas before the end of the semester, with an oral examination in the area of specialization scheduled only after passing that written exam. Any student who does not pass the written exam on the second attempt will be asked to leave the program.
Preliminary Oral Exam: Area of Specialization
In the preliminary oral examination, the student must show both general and specific knowledge of the chosen dissertation area. The examination process is designed to prepare the student to complete the dissertation prospectus and begin work on a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the field.
The oral examination must be scheduled through the Graduate School and announced publicly, two weeks in advance of the exam date. Program of Study paperwork must be submitted to the Grad School at this time.
Students who fail the oral examination will be allowed a re-examination during the following semester.
The Dissertation Committee
The student will select a Ph.D. dissertation major professor and form a dissertation committee at the time of formally proposing a prospectus. The dissertation committee and major professor are charged with approving or disapproving the proposal and aiding in the completion of an approved study.
The Department of Theatre and Film Studies requires a minimum of four members on the doctoral dissertation committee (including the student’s major professor). Three members must be from within the Department and one must be from outside the Department. (The outside member may be from off campus, with proper credentials; however, the Department is unable to provide funds for travel to participate in the dissertation defense.) At least three of the four members must belong to the University’s Graduate Faculty, and at least three of the four must hold a doctoral degree or equivalent. A successful vote to pass requires three of the four committee members' approval of the dissertation.
The Dissertation ProspectusIn a meeting separate from the oral preliminary exam, the student will present the dissertation prospectus to the committee for review. This review meeting may take place before or after the oral preliminary but not in direct connection with the preliminary examination. If the prospectus review is favorable, the student may begin work on the dissertation.
The dissertation prospectus should be a proposal, usually 10-12 pages, that clearly lays out the overall context for the student’s research, the specific research topic, and the organization of the dissertation.
The purpose of the prospectus is to prove convincingly that the dissertation will be based on a sound historical, critical, and/or theoretical argument. The prospectus must also explain how this study builds upon and surpasses previous research and publication in the discipline. Thus a summary review of the most pertinent literature on the subject is essential. More detailed instructions on the preparation of the prospectus are available in the main office.
The body of the prospectus should specify the student’s methodological framework, clarifying, for instance, whether the student will apply a specific critical model, undertake archival research, or investigate some original theoretical approach. The prospectus should also explain the type and range of conclusions the student hopes to forge by the end of the project. Finally, the prospectus must include a proposed table of contents and a working bibliography.
As the Graduate Bulletin explains, “The dissertation must represent originality in research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of the field of study. The conclusions must be logical, the literary form must be acceptable, and the contribution to knowledge merit publication.” The dissertation committee must therefore be convinced by the prospectus that the dissertation will indeed be a solid, academic study, and that the student has adequately researched the project and has the appropriate academic background for the project, so as to complete the research and writing within an appropriate amount of time. Students are encouraged to read previous dissertation proposals as models.
In summary, the prospectus should address the following:
- Isolate and define the central research problem and situate it in a critical, historical, or theoretical context.
- Review previous research and publications related to the topic in order to help prove its interest and reveal that the writer is aware of pertinent literature in the area.
- Explain how the topic will be approached, including the methodology to be adopted and any specific research needs, and clarify any special skills needed to accomplish the study.
- Suggest the sort of conclusions that could be anticipated and explain how the dissertation will enrich our discipline and how it might affect our understanding of theatre and drama studies.
- Include a table of contents and a working bibliography.
Admission to Candidacy
Candidacy is granted upon the completion of these steps
- Completion of 30 semester hours of course work
- Formal approval of the student’s program of study
- Formally satisfying the foreign language requirement
- Passing the comprehensive written examination
- Passing the preliminary oral examination
The dissertation should be in continual development from the time the student first enters. The student may submit a proposal for formal approval at any time in the course of his or her program. The dissertation should be a study of a single topic based on new research or approached in a new way. It must be a study that contributes to or enhances knowledge of theatre or performance studies. The dissertation should conform to the style guidelines set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, using the humanities style (notes and bibliography). Pay particular attention to the special requirements for dissertations, which stipulate that all text is to be double-spaced, including footnotes, block quotations, and bibliographic entries.
The major professor is available for more complete instructions on dissertation form. The Graduate School provides for the submission of the dissertation electronically. Information on that matter is available through the Graduate School.
The Oral Dissertation Defense
Following completion of the dissertation, the major professor and the dissertation committee will conduct an oral dissertation defense.
Ph.D. Program Checklist
Below is a schedule for a typical Ph.D. program, including key targets and deadlines.
- Submit preliminary program of study.
- Complete THEA 6510, 8100 or 8200 (as offered) in the fall, at least one 8400 seminar in the spring, and one major elective.
- Form examining committee (major advisor plus two faculty) for first-year review and comprehensive examinations; select subject areas for examination and prepare preliminary bibliographies.
- First-year proficiency review at the start of the spring semester.
- Two 9000 tutorials (strongly suggested).
- Satisfy language requirement (suggested).
- Every year: Teaching Assistants should apply for summer tuition waiver (eliminates tuition for summer courses; technology fees must still be paid).
- Complete THEA 8100 or 8200 (as offered) in the fall, the remaining 8400 seminar in the spring, one major elective, and cognate courses.
- Comprehensive written examination at the start of the spring semester and preliminary oral examination before the end.
- Form dissertation committee.
- Review/revise program of study.
- Prepare first draft of prospectus (suggested).
- Complete graduate school IRB form if required for dissertation research (mandatory for using data from any type of interview or survey in the dissertation).
- Two 9000 tutorials (strongly suggested).
- Finalize program of study.
- Finalize dissertation committee.
- Finalize dissertation prospectus.
- Apply for advancement to candidacy.
- Complete exit interview with graduate program coordinator.
- Enroll in a minimum of ten hours of dissertation research credit.
- Remain registered during at least two of three consecutive semesters.
- Register for three credit hours during semester of completion, defense, and graduation.