M.A. in Theater Arts

The Theater Arts Department offers a one-year Master of Arts graduate program for a select number of students. Our MA program in Theater Arts serves as a bridge from undergraduate work to professional work in a range of fields.  It can also place students in an excellent position to pursue further graduate academic work, such as an MFA or PhD.

To Apply
Applications for the master's program are due by 11:59 pm on February 1st.  The application consists of an online application, which will be available starting October 1st; a statement of purpose; a personal history statement; and 3 letters of recommendation. You may also be requested to submit a portfolio or sample of work. All materials must be submitted online.  You can find instructions at the UCSC Graduate Division. You must also submit an official transcript from your undergraduate school. To be considered for admission to the Theater Arts master's program, you must hold a Bachelor's degree, or expect conferrment before the beginning of the master's program, and be able to furnish proof to UCSC.


The degree is not an MFA, and it does not require students to focus exclusively on one aspect of theater-making.  Instead, we encourage you, as a student, to explore performance from a broad perspective, and then to hone in on one project that will test you to the best of your abilities.  This project, which you may undertake in collaboration with other students in your cohort, forms the basis of your master's thesis.  The capstone thesis project can be creative and/or scholarly, and it is the culmination of coursework in both academic and professional theater.

The Master of Arts degree follows a one summer/one academic year structure.  It combines intellectually rigorous coursework with challenging artistic practice. Like our undergraduate curriculum, our graduate program integrates the study of ancient and modern theater texts and practices, and it examines diverse approaches to performance.  It encourages collaboration, initiative, and cross-disciplinary thinking.


Students are required to complete 40 units for the Theater Arts MA. This includes the three graduate seminars (290A, 290B, and 290C), for a total of 15 units. These courses are required of all MA candidates, whatever their area of emphasis. Students must also complete THEA 293, a 10-unit Performance Research Project that includes a professional internship project. Students may take this course in any quarter in the academic year, though it is advised that the student complete the internship portion during the summer before or after the regular MA program begins. This work will be supervised and assessed by a Theater Arts faculty member.

Students must also complete the 5-unit Theater Arts 295 course, Group Critique; 5 units  of an Independent Study (Theater Arts 297); and the 5-unit Theater Arts 299, Capstone Thesis.  MA Students may also take an undergraduate upper-divsion or graduate course in another department as an elective. These courses must be approved by the Graduate Committee and Graduate Director each academic year.

Teaching Assistantships

There are no teaching requirements for graduate students in the Theater Arts MA program; however, students are encouraged to act as teaching assistants, as positions are available, while they are at UC Santa Cruz.

For further information on the master's program and/or admissions, please contact the Theater Arts administrative office at theater@ucsc.edu, or by calling (831) 459-2974.

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For current MA students.