Little Shop of Horrors

MU’s PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies is a 72-credit hour program typically completed in-residence. Our PhD programs seeks to train artist-scholars—individuals grounded in performance practice and rigorous engagement in scholarship. Our doctoral graduates obtain professional positions teaching and practicing theatre in higher education, with professional theatre companies, and cultural organizations. With the guidance and support of a distinguished faculty of artists-scholars and the resources of one of the largest university libraries in the United States, MU doctoral students develop artistic, scholarly, and pedagogical specializations. The success our graduates have attained in professional theatre and in college and university teaching speaks to the effectiveness of the doctoral program in preparing students for the marketplace.

Program of Study

In the first year, PhD students take a diagnostic exam, complete coursework within the Department of Theatre and, in conversation with their advisor, select a “doctoral minor”—a twelve credit hour unified content area of study outside the Department of Theatre.

In the second year, PhD students continue to take courses within the Department of Theatre and begin coursework in a doctoral minor outside the department.

In the third year, PhD students complete any remaining coursework, take comprehensive exams, and begin dissertation work.

In the fourth year, PhD students complete a dissertation project. Our students’ dissertations are wide-ranging in topic and methodological approach. We value research that relies on archival study, qualitative inquiry, field work, oral history, and writing for performance.

While the program is designed to be four years, several of our graduate students receive followships for a fifth year of research. This year is especially effective in not only completing the dissertation but working on publications in the field.