Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Theatre are as follows; please also consult the English Department requirements for M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D., as these requirements describe the year-by year timetable in very useful detail. ("Degree Programs")

First Year/M.A. Degree

Coursework: In the first year (to fulfill the requirements for the M.A. degree), students must take eight (8) courses and register for two Residence Units:

Second and Third Year/M.Phil. Degree

Successful completion of the M. A. requirements and approval by the Co-Chairs are both conditions for entry into candidacy for the M. Phil. degree.

Coursework: In the second year (as part of the requirements for the M.Phil. degree), students must take eight (8) courses and register for an additional two Residence Units:

  1. Teaching Writing (G6913y), spring term (for R credit); and
  2. Seven additional courses, keeping the following in mind:
    1. Courses may be taken in any department, with the approval of one of the Co-Chairs, though students are strongly encouraged to take courses from Theatre doctoral program faculty.
    2. At least two of the seven must be 6000-level seminars or the equivalent, though students are encouraged to take four 6000-level seminars per year where appropriate courses are available.  (With the instructor's permission, some 4000-level courses may be taken for 6000-level seminar credit.)
    3. No more than two of the seven may be workshop courses (directing, dramaturgy, playwriting) offered through the School of the Arts.
    4. No more than two of the seven may be taken through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (IUDC) (must be approved by one of the Co-Chairs).
    5. No more than two of the seven may be a course (3000- or 4000-level) in which the student is serving as TA (must be approved by one of the Co-Chairs).  Students taking this option should register for one of the following for R credit (depending on whether the course has sections or not):
      1. ENGL G6910 "Teaching Tutorial": For courses in which TAs lead a section of at least 10 students weekly.  Students must: a) provide a record of regular attendance by students; 2)  provide a very brief (one-page) account of what issues they covered in sections; 3) submit a signed form from the professor attesting that they attended lectures.
      2. ENTA G8999 "Independent Study": For courses in which TAs do not lead a section.  Professors will assign writing in line with assignments for other "R" credit courses.
    6. All courses must be graded except Teaching Writing (G6913y) and courses in which the student is serving as TA.
    7. Exceptionally, the Co-Chairs may approve the award of up to two transfer credits in the second year of study to students who have completed graduate-level coursework in another graduate degree program.  Transfer credit would be considered only when a student did not take option "e" above, counting TA courses toward the degree.

Elements of the Orals Proposal (submitted for approval by 1 May of second year or at latest 15 September of third year; the fields are naturally subject to revision throughout the third year in consultation with your committee)

    1. 1-2 paragraphs laying out the overall logic of the three fields. Since this description comes at the beginning of study for the orals, it will inevitably be tentative, suggesting questions for exploration, advancing hypotheses rather than conclusions. At the same time, each field and its description should be sufficiently developed to justify the selection of primary texts.

    2. Major Field
      • Full primary bibliography
      • Representative secondary bibliography
      • Short rationale for the selections

    3. Minor Field
      • Full primary bibliography
      • Representative secondary bibliography
      • Short rationale for the selections

    4. Minor Field
      • Full primary bibliography
      • Representative secondary bibliography
      • Short rationale for the selections

Distribution Requirements: There are no formal period or geographical distribution requirements for Theatre Ph.D. students, but students are strongly encouraged to consider the nature of the field today, in which a range of objects (drama, theatre, performance), periods, critical orientations are assumed to be within the teaching purview of a successful candidate for a position.

Language Requirements: Theatre Ph.D. students must complete the first language requirement by the end of the M.A. year, and the second language requirement before scheduling their oral examinations. Unlike students in the English Department, Theatre Ph.D. students must attain proficiency in two different languages, and cannot fulfill the requirement by attaining advanced proficiency in only one language (though advanced proficiency is, naturally, encouraged). Students should discuss how they plan to fulfill the language requirement with the co-chairs well in advance.

Teaching Requirement: Students are required to participate in the instructional activities of the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Undergraduate Writing Program. Students who are interested in broadening their teaching apprenticeships are eligible to teach in the Core Program once they have received the M.Phil. Students may also be invited to serve as teaching assistants in the Theatre department at Barnard College, which administers the undergraduate major for Barnard and Columbia; students would, in this case, gain some teaching experience in various aspects of theatre and performance studies.

Successful completion of all M.Phil. requirements and approval by the interdepartmental committee are both conditions of entry into the Ph.D. program.

Fourth to Sixth Year/Ph.D. Degree

Within six months of passing the oral examination, students are required to submit a dissertation prospectus; the prospectus is typically 15-20 pp. in length, and identifies the scholarly context from which the dissertation emerges, suggests its potential significance, and describes how the dissertation will be conducted (the kinds of issues to be addressed, usually broken down into chapters). The prospectus contains a relevant working bibliography. The prospectus should be discussed in some detail with the dissertation sponsor and with members of the committee: the sponsor must be eligible to direct dissertations in the doctoral program in Theatre; other members of the committee may be drawn from the Theatre faculty or from the graduate faculty at large, and may include a member of the Consortium faculty. The student will meet once formally with the entire committee to discuss and approve the prospectus, which must also be approved by the Doctoral Subcommittee co-chairs and the faculty sponsor. Students are strongly encouraged to attend and present at the Theatre Colloquium.
To earn the Ph.D. degree, students must--in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences--write, defend, and deposit a dissertation, the topic and research of which have been approved by the interdepartmental doctoral committee co-chairs and faculty sponsor. Candidates for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees should note that six Residence Units (three years of full-time residence) are required.

Financial Aid

The program provides funding (which include the prevailing stipend and appropriate tuition and health fees) to all M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. students. Support is renewed annually as long as satisfactory progress is maintained, through the sixth year. Students complete an annual progress report which is reviewed by the Committee on Guidance and Evaluation. Teaching is considered an important part of graduate training, and so financial support normally includes four years of teaching apprenticeship. A dissertation fellowship free of teaching obligations is available to qualified students in the fifth or sixth year of study. All students are, additionally, required to seek external fellowships.