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Master of Arts in Theatre

theatre ma masters villanova


The Graduate Theatre program at Villanova offers a distinct fusion of both academic work and practical experience. 

As a student, you will have the opportunity to expand your mind through rigorous academic courses, covering topics such as theatre history, dramaturgy, dramatic literature, theatre criticism and script analysis. In addition to these academic courses, Villanova also offers a number of performance-centered classes in acting, characterization, directing, musical theatre, playwriting and more.   

Full-time students take three classes a semester and finish in two years, but it's possible to take classes part-time as well. Semesters are comprised of required coursework and electives of your choosing. You can find more information about courses here.


Villanova Theatre is also fully committed to theatre practitioner training through the production of professional theatre.

Our four-show seasons provide students with exciting opportunities to work on many aspects of our productions, from acting to costume and set construction/design, stage management to dramaturgy. Villanova’s 180-seat theatre is located just a few miles outside of Philadelphia, allowing students the chance to work with professionals in the Philadelphia-area both during their time in the Graduate program as well as after graduation. 


In the second year of the program, students complete a comprehensive thesis project.

Students will choose their area of focus (which could be acting, directing, an academic paper, stage management, set or costume design, marketing/management, solo performance or dramaturgy) to craft a thesis project. Each experience is different and requires different preparatory work. Mentors are assigned to students to guide them through the process. The project culminates in a thesis defense, in which the student will present and discuss his or her work to a panel of faculty members.  


If you feel like the Masters may not be for you, allow us to highlight two other options:

  1. We now offer the Master of Arts in Theatre with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. This unique combination of creative, practical theatre and nonprofit management expertise can position you for a sustainable career in the nonprofit sector. It's worth noting that students equipped with this Certificate have done very well post-graduation, in terms of snapping up those desirable non-practical or academic theatre positions at Philadelphia theatres. 
  2. We also offer a Certificate in Practical Theatre, which gives a broad background in practical theatre to the student who may not wish to pursue the M.A. degree but would like to acquire the skills, vocabulary, and methodology fundamental to the practice of theatre. Students take five performance or production-related courses and participate in the theatre season. This Certificate can be completed in a year and is a perfect tack for a part time student or teacher earning Continuing Education credits.