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Theatre & Performance MA | PhD


What is Theatre & Performance?

UB offers two graduate programs in Theatre & Performance: a one-year MA and the PhD. Both programs feature a unique integration of scholarship and practice. We believe that if you know a thing theoretically but don’t know it practically, then you don’t really know its whole theory; conversely, if you know a thing practically but don’t know it theoretically, then you don’t really know its whole practice.

With this philosophy in mind, our programs are designed to foster scholar-artists who are well versed in research, scholarship, and performance practice. Theatre & Performance in this context includes not only drama, musical theatre, and dance, but also new forms such as intermedia performance and collaborations with art, media study, and music.

Working closely with faculty in a small cohort, graduate students develop their individual research by combining history, criticism, and theory with lab-based projects that explore research questions in performance. The intentionally small size allows for close mentorship in research, writing, and production within a program of study designed to best serve each individual student.

Unique to this program is the Graduate Studio, the artistic and experimental through-line of the program. In the Studio students explore their research and creative interests in a laboratory setting. With financial support, the Studio enables students to test their ideas in focused projects. In this structure, students graduate with a depth of knowledge in history, theory, and criticism, as well as a body of original creative work that they can use as a foundation for their production specialty.

We are now accepting MA and PhD applications for Fall 2017. If you have any questions about the applications or admissions process, please email

All applicants are eligible to receive a Steig Olson Scholarship through the department. To date, we have been able to offer funding to 100% of our enrolled students. No other information or application is required. PhD applicants may be eligible for additional fellowships and scholarships through the University and the College of Arts and Sciences. Please let us know if you would like to be considered for competitive fellowships and we would be happy to advise you on this process.

Applicants who have submitted complete applications by the deadline will be notified of their status no later than April 1 and we ask that enrollment for the fall be confirmed by April 15.

If you would like additional information regarding the program, please email Katie Mallinson, Academic Manager:; +1 716 645 6318.