Master's Program in Theater and Performance Studies

The Master’s Program in Theater and Performance Studies at Washington University in St. Louis is one of the strongest programs of its kind. We offer students rigorous scholarly training, opportunities to meet and work with visiting scholars and artists, and support in developing their own independent research projects—all within a collegial, supportive environment that prizes critical thinking and creative practice.

Our students enroll in small, intensive seminars in theater history and performance theory, as well as in studio courses in directing, playwriting, and theatre for social change. There are ample opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and we have strong relationships with affiliate faculty in allied departments, including Film and Media Studies, English, Music, Comparative Literature, African and African American Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Our faculty has been recognized with numerous accolades for both their artistic and their scholarly work, and the small size of each admitted class allows for individual attention and one-on-one mentorship. We routinely place our graduates in top Ph.D. programs in the field, including Brown, Stanford, Northwestern, University of California, San Diego, and University of Minnesota. Other graduates have pursued careers in the arts, social justice work, and education. Whether you studied theater and performance as an undergraduate or are making a new turn in your scholarship, we invite you to learn more about our program.

Program of Study

Learn more about the MA program course of study and requirements.

Review Program Requirements

financial support

The MA in Theater and Performance Studies offers generous support to admitted students. Many of our students receive full tuition remission; select students also receive stipends to assist with living expenses.


The application deadline is January 15. Applicants must apply to the MA program online at the The Graduate School website. The MA in Theater and Performance Studies no longer requires applicants to submit results from the GRE exam.

Applications for the MA in Theater and Performance Studies require the following:

  • a completed online application plus fee
  • a statement of purpose describing your research interests and your rationale for graduate study
  • a sample of analytical writing (one long or two shorter essays, 15-25 pages total); please upload to the GSAS website under 'Supplemental Forms'
  • transcript(s) from undergraduate institution(s)
  • three letters of recommendation

Still have questions? 

Visit our Admission FAQ

Accelerated MA Degree

WashU undergraduate majors can earn a Master’s Degree in Theater and Performance Studies with one additional year of study, with reduced tuition.

Learn more about the Accelerated MA


Still have questions about the MA Program? Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.

Email Professor McGinley