M.A. Theatre Degree Requirements

There are two main areas of interests in the Master of Arts in Theatre. One is Theatre History/Dramatic Literature, which allows you to take advantage of graduate courses in Theatre History and Text Analysis, as well as certain graduate-level courses in other departments at UMKC. The study and practice of dramaturgy is an attractive option for involvement in theatre production. A thesis is required to complete this degree. When you graduate, you’ll be fully prepared to go on to a doctorate program in theatre.

The other interest area is Playwriting, which may include certain graduate-level courses in screenwriting from the Communications Studies and English Departments, as well as Department of Theatre courses in Playwriting. Besides building a portfolio of plays, the playwright has special opportunities for involvement in theatre production through dramaturgical work. The master’s candidate in the area of Playwriting may submit an original “full-length” play as a special thesis option under guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies. If you choose Playwriting, you should submit playwriting samples upon application for admission and build a portfolio of plays throughout your course of study. Given the professional requirements of the department’s Master of Fine Arts training programs, we cannot offer fully staged productions of Master of Arts thesis plays.

The graduate-level theatre history courses are at the core of the master’s curriculum. There is a six-semester rotation of these courses, though most students complete their degree work within four semesters. The six courses are: 19th-Century Continental European Theatre/Drama (fall), Russian/Soviet Theatre/Drama (spring), 20th-Century Continental European Theatre/Drama (fall), French Theatre/Drama (spring), and a two-semester sequence in American Theatre and Drama.

Basic Requirements

  • A minimum of 36 hours are required beyond the B.A. degree.
  • At least 18 of these hours must be in 500-level courses.
  • At least 21 of these hours must be taken in the Theatre Department, including at least six hours of Theatre History/Dramatic Literature and six hours of Research and Thesis. For the Theatre History/Dramatic Literature interest area, the six hours of Research and Thesis will culminate in the submission of a thesis and an oral examination. For the Playwriting interest area, the six hours of Research and Thesis will culminate in the submission of a full-length play, a public reading or staging of the play, and an oral examination.
  • No more than 12 hours of 300-400 level courses may be counted toward the degree. Graduate students enrolled in these courses are expected to do work beyond that expected of undergraduates, both in quality and in quantity.
  • No more than 40 percent of the program of study may be devoted to special project courses like Theatre 400 and 590.
  • Graduate and undergraduate courses taken for graduate credit outside the department must be approved by the head of the Master of Arts program.
  • A graduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) should be maintained. No 300- or 400-level courses will be accepted for graduate credit if the grade is lower than B.