MA Requirements FAQ

MA Program FAQ


Q—How long does it take to complete the MA in Theatre?

A—The MA in Theatre consists of 32 hours of graduate study along with the successful completion of an examination or portfolio review.  If a student takes 16 hours of credit each term, it’s possible to complete all the requirements in one academic year, though unlikely.  Typically, an MA student can complete the degree in three semesters.  Four semesters is the maximum.

Q—How do I choose an advisor?

A—All incoming graduate students in the TH&C program are automatically assigned a temporary advisor (normally Professor Davis), who will consult with you initially to get you started.  You are then free to choose from any qualified theatre faculty member to serve as your official MA advisor, after consulting first with Professor Davis or Professor Hohman.

Q—What happened to the MA thesis?

A—We no longer offer the thesis option for the MA degree in Theatre.  Our work with doctoral dissertations prevents us from taking on thesis advising.  The only two options for completing the degree are 1) an examination, or 2) a portfolio review.

Q—What is the MA examination like?

A—The MA examination consists of two half-day exams taken on consecutive days.  Your MA advisor normally prepares the examination.  There is no oral examination, though students are encouraged to meet with their advisors to discuss the results.

Q—Do I need an MA examination committee?

A—No.  Your advisor, in consultation with other graduate faculty, will design and conduct the examination, and will serve as the committee.

Q—How will I know if I pass?

A—Your advisor will contact you with the results.

Q—What if I fail?

A—The Grad College allows students to retake a failed examination once—and only once.  A second failure is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  Failure, however, is unlikely.  Your advisor will not put you up for an examination if he or she thinks you’re not ready.  You should be more concerned with doing poorly–as a poor or low pass might influence your recommendations.

Q—How do I prepare for the exam?

A—You should begin studying on your own as soon as you arrive on campus.  Your advisor can help you prepare a reading list and study plan.  Coursework alone is not enough to prepare you for the MA examination.  You must undertake a rigorous course of self-directed study similar to that required of doctoral students, though more limited in scope and comprehensiveness.

Q—What is the portfolio review?

A—A portfolio review is a one to two hour oral examination conducted with your advisor in which a complete collection of your papers, projects and other products as a graduate student are evaluated and assessed.  These materials must be presented to your advisor at least two weeks in advance of your scheduled oral examination.  The portfolio should be of sufficient length and breadth to indicate a solid command of theatre, including research, scholarship, and/or production abilities.

Q—What is the value of a Master’s Degree in Theatre?

A—In most cases, MA students are preparing themselves to continue work in a doctoral program somewhere.  An MA is often the preferred degree for those wanting to teach on a community college level.  While the MA in Theatre does not qualify you to teach elementary or high school, it can be used to enhance the careers of those who already hold appropriate teaching credentials.