You cannot program the cutting edge.

You are going there. Shape it yourself.

Tomorrow's curriculum is never today's.

     But everyone needs to know how to teach plays.



Since 1967, the University of California at Santa Barbara has offered two graduate degrees in the Department of Theater and Dance: the M.A. and Ph.D. These programs are widely recognized for their high standards of scholarship and for the many distinguished graduates who have earned those degrees. Since it began a period of rapid growth in the early 1960s, UCSB has become a Research I institution with numerous degree programs of national and international reputation. In 2016 U.S. News & World Report  ranked UCSB 37th among National Universities, 8th among U.S. public universities and 24th among Best Global Universities. Further, the graduate program in Theater Studies ranked fourth in the National Research Council’s assessment of Doctoral Programs in 2010. Theater has sustained this level of achievement by offering small and highly competitive programs that are closely instructed by an excellent faculty. Graduates of these programs have gone on to careers in numerous institutions of the academic and professional theatre; many have published books and articles, directed or written plays, and otherwise distinguished themselves as leaders in the field.

The University of California at Santa Barbara offers to a select group of students an ideal environment for graduate work in most aspects of the theater. On a campus that is noted for its outstanding faculty in the humanities and arts, the Department of Theater relates the academic study of theater to a rich field of interdisciplinary studies as well as to a large and vigorous undergraduate program in fine arts. Its M.A. and Ph.D. programs provide a thorough training for a career in academic theater and have shown an excellent record of degree completion, employment, and publication.

While the department enrolls approximately 300 undergraduate majors each year, the graduate program is relatively small and highly selective. At any given time, there are between 10 and 14 students taking courses and a comparable number completing their dissertations. All graduate students thus benefit from close interaction with, and individual mentorship from, the graduate faculty

Each member of our faculty both exemplifies and avows a belief in an integrative mode of research and we gear our teaching to students who take the initiative to seek new combinations of skills and knowledge in pursuit of the future of the field. Rather than expect each student to fit a particular mold, we look to build connection and expertise in the areas most vital to each doctoral student’s needs while maintaining a nurturing community for diverse investigations among faculty and fellow students. Notably, we provide a point of access to a global perspective on theater, with expertise in five continents, and full acquaintance with the linguistic, anthropological, philosophical, and artistic discourses pertinent to the study of World Theater. We also offer a multicultural, multilingual, self-interrogative approach to the history and literature of diverse forms of theater in the United States. Faculty areas of expertise include such topics as ethnography, theater history, performance studies, critical race theory, feminist and queer studies, dramatic adaptation, the Aristotelian tradition, dance history, dance criticism, theories of embodiment and corporeality, opera, history and theories of acting and directing, dramaturgy, and writing/editing.

Historiography, criticism, theory, and research are the core of our graduate program. Some production opportunities are available for graduate students interested in expanding their directing, acting, design and playwriting. However, the emphasis remains on scholarship. Please see GRADUATE COURSES AND WORKSHOPS for more specifics about the curriculum. Additionally, all graduate students gain teaching experience and are encouraged to publish. Most graduate students receive financial support competitive with other programs.

Visit PROGRAM AND DEGREE REQUIREMENTS for more information on our Ph.D., M.A./Ph.D., and M.A. programs. To set up a campus Visit Program and Degree Requirements for more information on our Ph.D., M.A./Ph.D., and M.A. programs. To set up a visit to the department, please contact our GRADUATE ADVISOR.