Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 25, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Theatre and Performance Studies in Theatre Arts, PhD

Return to Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Return to: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy program is open to all qualified students who have completed, or who will have completed prior to registration, a Master of Arts degree or its equivalent. A Master of Arts in theatre arts is not a prerequisite for admission to the program. Applicants are expected to demonstrate superior writing and research skills and to have substantial background in dramatic literature and theatre history. The GRE is required, along with samples of research writing and a personal statement of objectives.

The PhD program in Theatre History and Performance Studies is distinguished by its emphases on historical and contemporary engagement with exigencies of mobility, ranging from exile, migration, and diaspora to translation and adaptation. The program prioritizes the transnational, the global, and the decolonial in theatre history and performance studies. Gender, race, ethnicity, and class function as primary areas of scholarly and artistic enquiry across historical, historiographical, literary, performance, and practice-based research methodologies. The program prioritizes the integration of scholarship with teaching and artistic practice.

The PhD program in Theatre History and Performance Studies trains scholars in historiographical methodology; performance studies; critical theory; historical, performance, and textual analysis. By the completion of their training, students are expected to demonstrate fluency with established scholarly paradigms of the field as well as facility with emergent and cross-disciplinary approaches. The rigorous five-year curriculum is comprised of departmental seminars offered by the graduate faculty and complemented by a range of seminars from across the University’s thriving intellectual departments and communities, including History of Art and Architecture, Film Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Global Studies Center, the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, and the Cultural Studies program, among others. The PhD program mentors students’ professionalization by actively supporting publication, conference participation, and membership in professional organizations. The program prepares students to participate in and contribute to scholarly conversations nationally and internationally. 

The program’s scholarly training is directly linked to teaching and artistic creation. All PhD students instruct a variety of undergraduate courses under mentorship of the faculty, which may include history, dramatic analysis, and/or performance. The PhD program is integral to the department’s BA’s stated goals of training the next generation of artist-citizens as well as to the creative and critical work of the department’s production season. Graduate students often serve as undergraduate mentors and advisors as well as artistic collaborators with the faculty. Through the Special Option, PhD students are mentored on an individual basis towards enhancing a primary, or developing a secondary, fluency with artistic practice and production processes, most often in the area of directing, dramaturgy, or playwriting. The PhD program welcomes applicants with MAs, MFAs, and other masters degrees.

The PhD program in Theatre History and Performance Studies develops versatile, flexible graduate students with unique creative and critical aptitudes. Graduates of the program are well-qualified and competitive candidates for academic positions at a variety of institutions, post-doctoral research opportunities, and non-academic employment sectors.

Candidates for the PhD must demonstrate knowledge of a second language at an advanced level, demonstrate competence through qualifying and comprehensive exams, and write a dissertation. Typical core courses in the PhD program include nine seminar-level courses in dramatic literature, theater history, criticism, performance studies, or in a related field. At least seven of the nine required courses will be advanced graduate seminars in the Department of Theatre Arts (2000 series). The others may be graduate (2000 series) courses listed in any appropriate University department.

Normally, degree requirements may be completed by passing 72 credits of course work, of which 24 are automatically granted for an approved Master’s degree. A maximum of 36 transfer credits may be accepted, but normally are allowed in theater or a related field. Maintenance of a 3.0 GPA is required. A two-part comprehensive exam-a written exam and an oral exam-is given in the third or fourth year of study. A minimum of three years or six terms in residency is required.

Return to Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Return to: Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Catalog Navigation