Studies & Degrees in Drama/Theatre History

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Are you a fan of Drama and the Theater, particularly the origins and history of this artistic form—a history that dates back to ancient times?  Have you considered pursuing an advanced degree in Drama and Theater history, a course of study now offered by a select number of colleges and universities throughout the world?  If so, you may be the perfect candidate for the Master of Arts degree in Drama and Theater History.  Although the field of Art History has long been a staple at institutions of higher learning, the degree path focused on Drama and Theater History is fairly new, although equally enriching as its “Art History” predecessor.  To help you become a bit more familiar with this burgeoning degree field, below we have provided a brief synopsis of the Master of Arts degree in Drama and Theater History, including a detailed course description, an outline of some of the course content involved with the program and the typical requirements and credentials students must possess to qualify for eligibility.
Master of Arts Degree in Drama and Theater History
The Master of Arts degree in Drama and Theater History is a graduate-level program that typically spans eighteen months to two years in duration depending on the institution.  Through the coursework in the program students are introduced to a variety of theatre histories and historical methodologies, ranging from Classic drama to Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre to performance in Victorian and Edwardian Britain and from dramatic text to theatrical apparatus. Looking at key developments in theatre historiography, students will consider issues such as the materiality of the stage; history and heritage; writing national theatre histories; as well as the theatrical cultures of the past.  At many universities, a significant part of the program is delivered by professional archivists and curators, so as to ensure students engage with a wide variety of histories and practices attached to the study of theatre.
Master of Arts Degree in Drama and Theater History:  Coursework
Like most graduate-level programs, the Master of Arts Degree program in Drama and Theater History features both core and elective coursework, the latter of which allows students to pursue certain subjects and fields of study that are of particular interest to them. Through this coursework, students will be introduced to new approaches for examining and challenging different practices of theatre historiography, and will experiment with ways of analyzing the past in order to gain new critical perspectives on theatre history.  Some of the specific course titles in the program include:
  • Research Methodology and the Theater
  • Debating Dramaturgy
  • Reading and Interpreting Theatrical Performances
  • Theater Archive Placement
  • Issues in Victorian and Edwardian Theater
  • Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama
  • Woman and Drama in the Renaissance Period
  • And more…
To qualify for admission into the Master of Arts Degree program in Drama and Theater History, students must, at minimum, possess a bachelor degree in the same or related field, with a 2.5 grade point average or better in all undergraduate coursework.  Some institutions may also require students to submit two to three letters of recommendation and/or sit for a personal interview with program faculty prior to being considered for program admission.