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MA in Theatre

Degree Requirements

The degree of Master of Arts in Theatre will be awarded upon completion of the curriculum outlined below with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

Completed Undergraduate Curriculum

Most students have completed this course of study before seeking admission to MU. However, applicants holding undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than theatre will be asked to complete those courses, which were not part of their undergraduate curriculum. In some cases, professional theatre experience may substitute for certain courses.

Graduate Curriculum

The student must complete at least 24 graduate hours while in residence as a graduate student at MU. A significant portion of credits must be within the Department of Theatre. THEATR 8100 is a required course. At least 12 hours must be at the 8000 level or above. A maximum of 6 hours directed readings/problems allowed toward total credit hours. The academic program should be established in consultation with an advisor no later than the end of the second semester of residence. No more than six semester hours of graduate work may be transferred from another university. The student submits Form M-1: Program of Study for the Master’s Degree to Graduate Studies listing the courses to be taken to complete the graduate curriculum.

Independent Project

Each candidate for the MA must complete an independent project, which should be specified on the M-1 form as part of the plan of study.

There are two options:

·       This may be a written thesis of original research, for which up to six semester hours of credit in Theatre Research may be earned.

·       Another option is to write an original play, translate a play, or complete a project in acting, design, dramaturgy, or directing. Credit of up to three semester hours may be earned in a graduate Problems course.

Accelerated Master of Arts in Theatre

Current MU undergraduate students are eligible to apply to this program. Applicants must have completed at least 90 credit hours toward a bachelor’s degree and have a GPA of 3.0 (A=4.0) on the latest 60 hours of the baccalaureate program. Students take 108 undergraduate credits and 30 graduate credits, for 138 total credits. 12 credit hours are shared undergraduate and graduate credits in 7000-level courses. Students who complete the accelerated program will have earned a BA in Theatre and an MA in Theatre. Students must apply and be admitted to an accelerated program before reaching 90 undergraduate credit hours. Students apply using the standard Graduate School application for admission. When submitting an application, applicants to the accelerated program should select the year that corresponds to their senior year of undergraduate study. Students will apply for the accelerated program in the spring of their junior year and, if accepted, will being the fall of their senior year.

Satisfactory Progress: General Guidelines

Probationary Status

The following constitute grounds for placing a student on departmental probation:

  • Earning a grade of C or below in any departmental course taken for graduate credit will result in probationary status.
  • A grade of incomplete in any course will result in probationary status for the subsequent semester. Incomplete grades must be changed to a grade of A or B by the end of the probationary semester (dissertation research incompletes are evaluated as S/U until the dissertation is defended).
  • Failure to comply in a satisfactory manner with all responsibilities related to graduate assistantships.
  • Graduate students in our department are expected to conduct themselves in a manner reflecting the university’s commitment to professional integrity, collegiality, and good citizenship. Students who consistently fail to conduct themselves in this manner may be subject to probation or dismissal.

In the case of each student on departmental probation, the director of graduate studies will confer with the advisor (in the case of an MA student), or the members of the program committee (in the case of a PhD student) to determine the grounds for removal of probation, and will communicate this decision to the student.

Annual Review

Each Fall semester the director of graduate studies convenes the Graduate Studies Committee to review the progress and performance of all graduate students. Each graduate student in residence should meet with his or her advisor within the first two weeks of each semester to determine whether satisfactory progress has been maintained, and the advisor shall report the results of this meeting to the director of graduate studies.

Losing & Regaining Financial Support

Termination of departmental financial support will result if the student is considered to be making unsatisfactory progress and the student’s program may be terminated. Departmental financial support may be restored when the student has made satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree for one semester, has made an A or a B in all incomplete courses, and is judged to be off probation by the director of graduate studies.
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Master’s Final Examination

Each candidate for the MA is required to pass a final examination to demonstrate mastery of the fundamental principles of the work included in the course of study. A Master’s Examining Committee consisting of at least three members of the faculty shall administer a written examination over the history of theatre, dramatic theory, criticism, writing for performance, performance studies, and theatre pedagogy.

Length of Exam

Two hours are allotted for answering each question, making a total of eight hours for the examination, typically administered over a two-day period. If the Master’s Examining Committee determines it is needed based on their assessment of the examination, an oral examination may be administered by the committee. This examination provides an opportunity for the student to correct, amend, or defend assertions made in the written examination, although the oral examination is not bound by any limits established by the written examination. Ordinarily of two hours duration, the oral is an additional opportunity for the student to demonstrate skill in oral explanation and argument.

Notifying the Graduate School of Results

As soon as the performance on the Master’s Final Examination has been evaluated, the student’s advisor informs the Graduate School, using the appropriate M-form. MA students completing a thesis will complete Form M-2: Report of the Master’s Examining Committee. After completion of the MA Final Examination the advisor will prepare Form M-3: Report of the Master's Examining Committee. If any area examination is unsatisfactory, the examining board will give the student an oral examination on that area, with special emphasis on the questions or questions missed. If examinations are determined unsatisfactory by the exam committee, the student is failed.


Admission Criteria


Deadline: January 15. We only admit once a year, barring extraordinary circumstances.

  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
112 650
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in the last 60 hours

Probationary admission is possible. The director of graduate studies will advise the student in writing of what must be done to change the probationary admission to regular admission.

Required Application Materials

To the Office of Graduate School:

  • All required Graduate School documents

To the Program:

  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Scholarly writing sample
  • Professional resume or portfolio
  • Creative (dramatic) writing samples

Financial Aid from the Program

Some programs require an extra form or statement from those who wish to be considered for internal assistantships, fellowships or other funding packages. Check the program website or ask the program contact for details.

Contact Information

Graduate Contact
Jabarbara Jennings
129 Fine Arts Building; Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2021

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. David Crespy
129 Fine Arts Building; Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-0535


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