MA Theatre Studies

The two-year M.A. program offers students the opportunity to pursue theatre studies through coursework, a one-year graduate theatre studies reading competency examination and an M.A. thesis project. Students are expected to give primary attention to an area of expertise of their choice while training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field. All M.A. students will be given the opportunity to develop their academic teaching skills as teaching assistants in UBC’s undergraduate theatre studies classes. Graduates of the M.A. program have been successful in a range of pursuits following the completion of their degrees. Many have been accepted into doctoral programs both at UBC and prestigious institutions elsewhere. Others have had found the program invaluable for enhancing their credentials and finding work as professional dramaturgs, actors, directors, college instructors, secondary school teachers and arts administrators.

Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Theatre

Residence and Time Limits

The Department of Theatre and Film adheres to the standard M.A. policies and requirements of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC.

  • Students may enrol in either full time or part time studies. Full time students must be in residence at UBC for at least one year.
  • All Master’s degree students, whether full time, part time or provisional, must complete their programmes within five years on initial registration. Under exceptional circumstances, a leave of absence or an extension for up to one year may be granted.
  • All students are required to register in successive years of their candidacy. A student who fails to register as required will forfeit his or her candidacy.

Course Work

The minimum number of course credits for the M.A. in Theatre is 30. Courses which M.A. students are required to take are as follows:

  • THTR 500 (Research Methods and Bibliography, 3 credits)
  • THTR 562 (Studies in Dramatic Theory and Criticism, 3 credits, offered in alternating years)
  • THTR 549 A and B (M.A. Thesis, 12 credits)

The remaining 12 credits will normally be taken through graduate seminars in Theatre, English, Classics, Comparative Literature, French, Film, Education or any other Department that offers seminars on drama, theatre, or performance topics. Masters students may take a maximum of 6 credits of 300 or 400-level undergraduate classes, with the approval of the graduate advisor.


The MA thesis is an independent piece of research in the range of 50-60 pages. The topic should reflect the student’s particular interest, and is chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor. The student will convene a thesis committee of two or three faculty members. Incoming students may familiarize themselves with previous theses written at UBC by checking the Departmental Thesis Library. The final form of the thesis should be prepared in accordance with the regulations set down in the brochure entitled Instructions for the Preparation of Graduate Theses available from the Graduate Office of FOGS. Documentation should follow MLA style guidelines A two-hour oral thesis defence will follow completion of the work. The student makes a 20-minute presentation of his/her thesis to the committee, situating it in its disciplinary, theoretical, and historical contexts, followed by questions and comments about the thesis by each member of the committee. The student is informed of the thesis grade upon completion of the defence. Students should consult Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for thesis submission deadlines each academic year.

Annual Review

All MA students will prepare an annual review of their progress through the degree program at the end of the spring term (normally the second week of April). The Annual Review is intended to:

  • Monitor a student’s progress
  • Evaluate that progress
  • Establish an agenda for subsequent work
  • Provide an opportunity for student feedback on the program

Review Process:

  1. The Graduate Chair will circulate a memo to all Theatre Program Masters and Doctoral candidates requesting that they prepare for their annual review. Normally, the annual review will take place at the end of the second term, on a date designated by the Graduate Committee, except in cases where review is necessary before the annual date.
  2. To prepare for the Review, each student should:
    • prepare the necessary statement (see below);
    • meet with the Graduate Chair to discuss the Review, if necessary;
    • circulate that statement to the Graduate Committee one week in advance of the Review.
  3. At the Review, Graduate Committee members will discuss with each student individually the student’s statement and any issues which arise from it, plus any other issues related to the student’s progress in the Program.

Review Agenda

  • Courses Completed or In Progress:

Review of course results and performance; firm dates for completion of incompletes; contribution of course work programme to personal intellectual development; courses completed; and programme requirements.

  • Courses Planned:

Rationale for the list of courses planned for the summer and ensuing year(s); programme requirements and necessary training.

  • Reading Competency Course and Exam:

Status and Concerns

  • Thesis:

Outline of Thesis research plans; potential committee members; feasibility of thesis plans; timetable for proposal/chapters.

  • Financial Support:

Assistantship, fellowship, etc. for summer and following year; special needs for field or archival work; sources of support; and adequacy of support.

  • Status report; which language(s); opportunities for study
  • Oral Defence:

Planning for the internal oral defence of Master’s Thesis

  • Any Other Business

Graduate Funding Opportunities

All domestic and international students who are accepted and registered full-time in our department’s graduate programs (Ph.D., M.F.A., M.A.) will be eligible for financial assistance from teaching assistantships, research assistantships and Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) funding allocated as entrance awards, multi-year funding awards, tuition awards and/or scholarship top-up awards. Please visit our Graduate Funding Opportunities page for details.

Online Resources

Academic Advisor

If you have any further questions about the MA Degree in Theatre program, please contact the appropriate Academic Advisor for the program.