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M.A. in Theater Arts

A Dream Play
The Theater Arts Department offers a twelve-month Master of Arts in Theater Arts for a select number of students.


Our M.A. program serves as a bridge from undergraduate work to professional work in a range of performance-related fields. It also places students in an excellent position to pursue further graduate academic work, such as an M.F.A. or Ph.D.

The degree does not require students to focus exclusively on one aspect of theater-making. Instead, we encourage students to explore performance from a broad perspective, and then to hone in on one capstone project that will test them to the best of their abilities. These projects have included practice-focused and scholarly-based research in Directing, Performance, Design, Technical Theater and Stage Management, Dramaturgy, and Dramatic Literature.

The Master of Arts degree 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 M.A. in Theater Arts. This includes three graduate seminars (THEA 290A, THEA 290B, and THEA 290C), for a total of 15 units. These courses are required of all M.A. candidates, regardless of 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 internship portion be completed during the summer before the regular M.A. program begins. This work will be supervised and assessed by a Theater Arts faculty member.

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

Course descriptions may be viewed in the UCSC General Catalog (graduate-level courses are numbered 200 and higher).

Teaching Assistantships

There are no teaching requirements for graduate students in the M.A program; however, students are encouraged to act as teaching assistants, as positions are available at UC Santa Cruz. Historically, Theater Arts has offered graduate students between one and three quarters of teaching assistant (TA) positions. Other fellowships and grants are available to many students. Students may elect to find and undertake a paid internship in a quarter in which they do not receive a TAship.

To Apply

Applications for the M.A. in Theater Arts program are due by 11:59 pm on February 1. The application consists of an online application, a statement of purpose, a personal history statement, and 3 letters of recommendation. Applicants will be asked to specify a subfield of interest for a potential capstone project (Directing, Performance, Design, Technical Theater and Stage Management, Dramaturgy, or Dramatic Literature). From this selection, applicants will be asked to upload a digital portfolio, video reel, or writing sample based on that subfield specification. Applicants must also submit an official transcript from their undergraduate school(s). All materials must be submitted online. 

You may find application instructions at the UCSC Graduate Division.

To be considered for admission to the M.A in Theater Arts, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, or expect conferment by August 1 before the beginning of the master's program in September, and be able to furnish proof to UCSC.

Who may I contact for more information?

Moon Rinaldo, Graduate Program Coordinator, (831) 459-2974,
Michael Chemers, Director of Graduate Studies, M.A. in Theater Arts,