PhD: Theatre Studies
Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre Studies
The Theatre Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers graduate and undergraduate degrees (BFA, MA + PhD) in the academic study of theatre as a liberal art. Our focus is on the history of theatre, dramaturgy, and the development of dramatic criticism through the ages and across borders, with particular emphasis on American theatre. Established under the guidance of Barnard Hewitt, the program has granted more than 150 degrees to date and has affiliated faculty spanning the campus, from English to Classics, from New Media to Medieval Studies. The program supports students developing a nuanced understanding of the history, literature, and theory of theatre in its social and cultural contexts. The University Library is ranked among the top in the nation for the breadth and depth of its holdings.
- Opportunities to work with Theatre Faculty Affiliates in many different units
- Potential for up to four years of funding
- Build expertise in a range of spoken and lyric dramatic forms: Ancient Greek, Early American, Early Modern, Eastern European, German Theatre, Medieval Drama, Multimedia Music Theatre, and Opera
- Curriculum oriented toward historiography, production history, criticism, gender theory, critical race theory, adaptation studies, cold war studies, diaspora studies, and devised theatre
- Opportunities to develop a teaching and mentoring portfolio in courses such as Introduction to Theatre, Dramatic Analysis, Modern Drama, and Theatre History
- Online and face-to-face teaching options
- The chance to mentor undergraduates in directing, dramaturgy, and artistic management
- Strong academic placement history
- Visit the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library
- Outstanding Rare Book and Manuscripts Collection in Theatre
- Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, which regularly supports new work in development and gives students the chance to be part of the process
- The Armory Free Theatre–a blackbox performance space used by students and faculty to create and present cutting-edge work
- Lively campus and local theatre community, including The Station Theatre and Parkland College
Admission to the PhD Program typically requires the presentation of a master’s degree in theatre or a closely related field. A student finishing an MA degree in theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign must apply formally. The Admissions Committee prioritizes applicants who present a solid array of theatre and dramatic literature courses and real promise of earning their degree within a reasonable time. Preference is given to applicants who will be full-time students and active degree candidates.
While interviews are not required, we strongly recommend prospective students visit the Illinois campus to meet with faculty and students. To arrange an interview or for further information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Katherine Syer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone interested in applying should obtain an Application for Admission to the Graduate College. The application process can be found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/apply
Applicants are required to complete this form, pay a processing fee, and supply the following material:
- Transcripts of all previous college work.
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores in the verbal section.
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably from instructors of the applicant’s theatre and drama classes or from experienced theatre professionals (to be sent separately by the letter writers).
- Two writing samples consisting of original scholarly or critical thought. These may be papers written for earlier courses and should demonstrate the applicant’s competence in writing, and in addressing a significant theatre/drama-related topic.
- A statement of academic and professional intentions.
- A resumé of activities in theatrical production.
- International students must submit recent TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum score for consideration is 550. In addition, the Test of Written English (TWE) is strongly encouraged for non-native speakers.
For fullest consideration of financial support, the deadline for applications is December 15, 2018. Applications will be accepted up until March 15, 2019.
Financial aid is available to most PhD students admitted to the program. The Department offers several teaching and research assistantships and a limited number of fellowships. Tuition and fee waivers are included with all assistantships and fellowships. Financial aid is typically provided for four academic years to students who remain in good standing and successfully complete their assigned duties.
Some special funding opportunities to note (with deadlines starting as early as January 15, 2019):
Diffenbaugh Fellowships, for applicants from Missouri
Graduate College Fellowships for Underrepresented Students
Illinois Distinguished Fellowships
See more here: https://grad.illinois.edu/fellowship/competitions
Current students needing assistantship in the following academic year must write an email to the Director of Graduate Studies describing all previous assistantships the student has had at UIUC and list two ranked choices for desired assistantship in the following academic year. A brief explanation should be given as to why the student is qualified to take on the assistantship. All current students may submit the email, but preference will be given to those in their first three years of the program. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis, and the faculty considers the student’s performance in coursework and previous assistantships when making the decision. The email must be received by February 1.