skip navigation



What is Theatre Performance?

UB’s programs in Theatre & Performance feature a unique integration of scholarship and practice within graduate study. We believe deeply 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, this program is designed to foster Theatre & Performance scholar artists who are well-versed in 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.

What graduate programs are available in Theatre & Dance?

The Department of  Theatre & Dance offers two graduate degree programs. Depending upon the student’s prior experience and goals, a student can apply either to the MA or to the PhD in Theatre & Performance.

The MA in Theatre & Performance is a one-year program designed for a wide range of students and career professionals interested in pursuing graduate study in Theatre Performance. This degree program is particularly well-suited to the performing artist seeking to enter the academy, and to recent undergraduate students who want to pursue further work in theatre and performance fields. Many MA students will continue their study in MFA or PhD programs, including the PhD in Theatre Performance at UB.

The PhD in Theatre & Performance is designed to be completed in four years (two years of coursework and two years of dissertation research and writing) by students pursuing careers as Theatre & Performance faculty. Students applying to the PhD from outside UB will have completed an MA prior to admission (though not necessarily prior to acceptance). This is a small program in which students work closely with faculty to design and pursue an original course of research and practice.

We have scholarship funding available for both MA and PhD students. Don’t hesitate to contact us regarding funding opportunities.

Will the Department accept late applications to the graduate programs in Theatre?

We will consider late applications on a case by case basis; we cannot guarantee the availability of slots or financial aid for late acceptances. Complete submissions received by the deadline will be notified of their status by April 1.

How do I request an application to the Theatre graduate programs?

The MA and PhD programs in Theatre & Performance accepts applications prior to the listed deadlines. Applications will be considered after the deadline until the cohort is filled. Applications are submitted online via the UB Graduate School.

Additional materials and questions may be sent directly to:

Rachel Olszewski
Graduate Studies Assistant
Department of Theatre & Dance
285 Alumni Arena
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260-5030

What are the application requirements for the Theatre & Performance graduate programs?

For complete information, visit application requirements.

Who reviews my application?

All applications are reviewed by a committee of Theatre & Dance graduate faculty.

Will my submission materials be returned?

We encourage applicants to submit all materials electronically. We regret that if you chose to submit hard copies of your work, these submission materials cannot be returned.

When are applicants notified?

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application (accept, reject, or wait list) by April 1. Waitlisted applicants will be notified of their final admission status by June 1.

What is the average GPA required of applicants to the Theatre Performance programs?

Applicants to the MA in Theatre & Performance come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. With this in mind, we look at each prospective student. Although the Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0, we will consider a lower GPA, if offset by extraordinary talent or ability in another area. Generally, we look for one area of strength (e.g., writing, academic excellence, performance experience) and additional areas of potential.

Applications to the PhD are necessarily more selective. We expect an undergraduate or masters GPA of 3.0 or higher; 3.5or above is preferred

Is the GRE required of applicants applying to the programs in Theater & Performance?

No GRE score is required for application to the MA program.

GRE scores are required for applications to the PhD program.

What are the school and department codes for the GRE?

The GRE Institution code is R2925.
The GRE Departmental code is 2403 (Drama/Theatre Arts).

I am an international student applying for your graduate program. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam? If so, what is the required score for admission to UB?

The TOEFL Institution code is 2925.
The TOEFL Department code is 53 (Dramatic Arts).

The university’s official minimum score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based (PBT) test or 79 for the computer-based (CBT) test. The TOEFL score must be dated within two years of the time the application is reviewed by International Admissions in GrAdMIT.

How should I send in supplemental materials?

All materials should be uploaded directly into the online application, or made available via a website, with url address included in your application.

Should the transcripts and letters of recommendation be in sealed envelopes?

We will accept unofficial transcripts for initial applications uploaded to GrADMIT. Official transcripts may be required later. Official transcripts, if requested, must be copies with a raised seal (not simply photocopies) forwarded from your prior institution. You should bring these with you on your first day at UB. Letters of recommendation should be sent electronically. Our GrADMIT system will automatically email your chosen recommenders, based on who you have entered on your application.

How much does it cost to attend UB?

UB ranks among the top 10 US colleges and universities for lowest student debt and we have scholarship funding for both MA and PhD students.

Graduate study at UB is very reasonable in comparison with other New York State universities. In 2012-2013, the total fees and tuition for in-state residents were $11,231.50 for full time students enrolled in 12 credit hours per term, and $18,541.50 for non-residents. Students receiving Teaching Assistantships are required to apply for in-state residency during the first semester of their assistantship.

Residency is considered permanent residence in New York State for 12 months prior to enrollment. For more information on residency requirements and policies, visit

More information on tuition, fees, and other expenses is available through the UB Graduate School website.

How do I apply for financial aid, awards, and scholarships?

Detailed information on Financial Aid in the UB Graduate School.

You can also check out the Department page on Funding. Your application will have a place to request consideration for additional funding. Selecting this option will automatically qualify you for consideration for the Steig Olson Scholarship.

Do you offer teaching assistantships and other forms of financial support?

Yes. Students accepted into the PhD Theatre Performance program are eligible to apply for Teaching Assistantships, which cover tuition, fees, health costs, and offer a stipend for living expenses. Exceptional MA candidates may also receive partial funding to help defray some of the costs of tuition. Students should indicate their interest on their UB Graduate Online Application.

How do I apply for departmental awards and scholarships?

When you select the option to be considered for funding awards in your online application, you will automatically be considered for additional financial awards. In 2013-2014 100% of our full-time graduate students received additional scholarship awards from the department.

Does the Department of Theatre & Dance offer financial aid for international students?

International students are eligible for Teaching Assistantships and other Departmental awards. We value our international students and will do everything we can to support your studies at UB.

I would like to visit your facilities, meet the faculty, and audit classes. Is this possible?

Absolutely! Prospective students are welcome to visit and to attend classes any time. Please contact Katie Mallinson, Academic Manager, to schedule an appointment to visit the department and faculty.

What is the residence requirement for tuition purposes?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolled at the University at Buffalo may be considered New York State residents when they are determined to have had a New York State domicile (i.e., a permanent and principal home in New York) for a twelve-month period prior to registration. Note: Shorter time limits may apply to supported graduate students. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who do not meet these criteria are presumed to be out-of-state residents and must pay out-of-state tuition rates unless they can present satisfactory proof that domicile in New York State has in fact been established, notwithstanding the durational requirement. Such proof should confirm that it is the student’s intention to make New York State his or her permanent home. International students are not eligible for New York State residency.

Applications for residency are available in the Student Response Center, located at 232 Capen Hall on the North Campus. The application is also available online at: Completed applications and supporting materials should be returned to Student Response Center.

More information (on UB’s Graduate School Policies and Procedures) is available here.

Where can I find housing information?

On campus housing information can be found at

Off campus housing information can be found at

Please feel free to contact us with questions regarding housing. We will be happy to connect you with currently enrolled students who can provide information and help locating appropriate housing.

How active is the theater in the area?

Buffalo is home to more than 20 professional theatres amid a vibrant arts community with a long history of experimental and avant-garde music, visual arts, poetry, and performance art. For example, the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center houses a performance art archive of more than 2500 individual documents, including unique videos of Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, and Spalding Gray, among others. Both the Albright Knox Gallery and the Burchfield Penney offer regular performance programming.

UB is within two hours of Toronto, Canada (by car, bus, or train) with exceptional art and performance offerings, including the annual Luminato Festival (which has included work by Robert Wilson, Robert Lepage, among others), the Toronto Fringe Festival, the Images Festival, and numerous theatre and performance events throughout the year. Less than 30 minutes away is the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Drive a few hours from campus to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, whose Tony nominated productions are regularly featured during the summer/fall repertory season. New York City is readily accessible by less than an hour by plane with cheap fares regularly available.

How may I obtain additional information?

Go to Graduate Study at UB for more general information, or for more information on Theatre & Dance, please contact either Rachel Olszewski, Graduate Studies Assistant, or Anne Burnidge, Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre & Dance.

Rachel Olszewski                                     Anne Burnidge
Graduate Studies Assistant                   Director of Graduate Studies