Performing Arts

MA/MFA in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre

Department of Performing Arts

Program Summary

The Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre program is for students who want to work at the intersection of education and theatre. Our graduates have gone on to become theatre teachers, community educators, directors, and playwrights, while others have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees. Completion of the MFA opens the door to teaching full-time in colleges and universities for those interested in a career in higher education. The opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant in a variety of courses during the MFA program offers valuable experience and resumé credentials that facilitate a successful transition into teaching Theatre Education and Applied Theatre courses in post-secondary education.

Both the MA and MFA offer two tracks of study:

  • Theatre Educator
  • Theatre and Community

Our programs allows you to grow and refine your craft as both an artist and an educator.  No matter which track you select, you will have the flexibility to choose elective courses that align with your unique interests and customize a course of study that supports your educational and professional goals.

Theatre Educator Track

As a student in the Theatre Educator track, you will learn how to teach drama to children Pre-K through grade 12 in public and private school settings, as well as in workshop and after-school environments. For those interested in pursuing a career in public school teaching, Theatre Education students can earn an initial Massachusetts teaching license (all levels) as a Teacher of Theatre in our Department of Elementary and Secondary Education–approved program.

Theatre and Community Track

As a teaching artist and community advocate, you will explore the uses of theatre in a variety of community settings such as community theatre, recreation and arts centers, museums, professional theatre for young audiences, or in education outreach for a professional theatre. In the Theatre and Community stream, you may also focus on theatre as a catalyst for social justice and civic engagement. 

Teaching Theatre Education/Applied Theatre on the College Level

Completion of the MFA opens the door to teaching full-time in colleges and universities for those interested in a career in higher education. The opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant in a variety of courses during the MFA program offers valuable experience and resumé credentials that facilitate a successful transition into teaching Theatre Education and Applied Theatre courses in post-secondary education.

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Curriculum 

Overview

The MA degree requires the successful completion of 36 credit hours, including 20 credits of foundational and core courses. To complete the program, you must complete either a master’s thesis or master’s project in your chosen concentration.

The remaining credit requirements may be satisfied through electives approved by your advisors. Students who choose to earn initial licensure in Massachusetts as Teachers of Theatre at all levels (Pre-K–12) use these electives to complete additional coursework and experiences that fulfill state requirements.

The MFA degree requires the successful completion of a MA in Theatre Education or a MA in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre from Emerson College. Whether you’re beginning the MFA program with 36 MA credits (per the MA curriculum as of 2019) or 40 MA credits (per the MA curriculum for 2018 and prior) you will need to complete an additional 12 credits, including an MFA thesis project in your chosen concentration, to receive the MFA in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre.

MA Sample Curriculum

TRACK 1: THEATRE EDUCATOR

  • This track prepares students to teach theater and drama to young people or adults in schools, universities, and other institutional settings.
  • Foundations: 12 credits/3 courses
    • Drama as Education I
    • Drama as Education II
    • Theatre and Community: Stories of Us

TRACK 2: THEATRE AND COMMUNITY

  • This track prepares students for theater work in community settings.
  • Foundations: 12 credits/3 courses
    • Theatre and Community: Stories of Us
    • Community Engagement from the Stage
    • Drama as Education I

CORE FOR BOTH TRACKS: 12 CREDITS/3 COURSES

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Playwriting/Devising
  • Dramatic Literature/Theatre History
  • Theatre Design/Technology

CAPSTONE REQUIREMENT (4 credits)

  • Master’s Project or Thesis
    OR
  • Student Teaching, Practicum and Seminar (Theatre Teacher Education track only)

SAMPLE ELECTIVES—OPPORTUNITY TO DIVE DEEPER INTO TOPICS OF INTEREST

  • Community Engagement from the Stage
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • Documentary Performance
  • Directing a Musical
  • Theatre for Young Audiences (we were the first college to do a class in theatre for young audiences in 1920)
  • Design in Production
  • Shakespeare Workshop
  • Viewpoints
  • Linklater Voice and Text
  • Playmaking

MFA Requirements 

The MFA is designed to be completed over the course of one year. MFA students must complete the following courses in addition to the completed Emerson Master of Arts in Theatre Education to receive the MFA in Theatre Education & Applied Theatre.

  • Advanced Studio or Theory (4 credits)
  • Qualitative Research (4 credits) 
  • Colloquium (0 credit, required course) 
  • MFA Thesis (4 credits)

MFA Thesis Project

Graduate students completing an MFA thesis project must follow the latest copy of the Master’s Thesis/Project guidelines and use the appropriate templates for the title, approval, and abstract pages. The guidelines can be found on the Contract Courses page under the Registrar.