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A Sampler of Graduate Dramaturgy Programs in the U.S.

Places to study how plays are made.

The institute was founded in 1987.
Vision: The program bridges the worlds of academic study and theatrical production. Students participate in the professional lives of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge and the Moscow Art Theatre. To complement their rigorous academic training, students serve as the primary or assistant dramaturg on a wide range of student and professional productions both in Cambridge and Moscow.
Degree: MFA from Moscow Art Theatre School, certificate from the IATT
Heads of Program: Arthur Holmberg, ART literary director; Gideon Lester, ART resident dramaturg; Anatoly Smeliansky, Moscow Art Theatre School

A redesigned dramaturgy program began in 1994.
Vision: The program combines intensive scholarship with an abundance of practical experience and professional involvement. Central is a commitment to the dramaturg as an artist and to the process of collaboration. New dramaturgy coursework is organized around teams of dramaturgs and directors, focusing on the creation of student projects, including revivals and new plays. A new theatre and education initiative responds to the increasing participation of American dramaturgs in education programs at professional theatres.
Degree: MFA in Dramaturgy and Theatre Criticism
Head of program: Dr. Benito Ortolani, chair, department of theatre; Dr. Lynn M. Thomson, head, dramaturgy program

The theatre program was founded in the 1930s.
Vision: Our program focuses on theatre history and criticism and includes dramaturgical work on our productions. A dramaturgical point of view influences all graduate classes. Our directing faculty thinks “dramaturgically.” Academics are stressed, but a balance between academics and production work is maintained. Our goal is to enable each student to develop a personal vision of theatre that embraces the artform’s dynamic cultural force.
Degree: M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism with a dramaturgical thrust
Head of program: Dr. Gitta Honegger

The dramaturgy program was established in 1982.
Vision: The goal is to train informed practitioners for literary and dramaturgical positions in the full range of American theatre. At the same time we aim to expand the definition of dramaturgy to include script development for television and film and to provide our students with the tools for moving into artistic leadership, producing and related fields. All students participate in classes, workshops, and productions with playwrights, directors, actors and managers.
Degree: MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. There is also a Ph.D. with a dramaturgical component offered in conjunction with English and Comparative Literature.
Head of Program: Kristin Linklater, chair of the division of Theatre; Arnold Aronson, head of dramaturgy and co-chair of the Ph.D. program in theatre
Contact: cu/arts/theatre

The Ph.D. program for directing/dramatic criticism began in 1973.
Vision: Stanford emphasizes the integration of theory or criticism and performance. We base this format on the assumption that scholarship is strengthened by people who are directly involved in performance, and that performance is enhanced by practitioners whose analytic skills have been honed in scholarship. Focuses on process as much as product.
Degree: Ph.D. in Direction/Dramatic Criticism
Head of Program:: Michael F. Ramsaur

Dramaturgy degrees were first offered in 1984.
Vision: Stony Brook seeks to find and nurture dramaturgical collaborators skilled in numerous practical sides of the theatre. Student dramaturgs work from the center of the production process, not as critics working from the outside or from the margins; they also act, write, produce and stage plays in addition to more traditional dramaturgy work.
Degree: M.A. in Theatre Arts and an MFA in Dramaturgy
Head of Program: John Lutterbie, chair of theatre arts; Michael X. Zelenak, director of graduate studies in theatre arts at SUNY Stony Brook
Contact: www./

The redesigned program began in 1997.
Vision: The UCSD/UCI Joint Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Drama offers students the combined faculty and research resources of two nationally ranked theatre departments at two leading research campuses. Students take seminars on both campuses and write dissertations under the supervision of faculty at both locations. An innovative curriculum allows each student to develop a custom-designed program of instruction in collaboration with the faculty.
Degree: UCSD Theatre and Dance, in conjunction with the Department of Drama at UC Irvine, offers a Ph.D. in Theatre. Students were admitted to the new Ph.D. program in 1997. The department decided to offer a Ph.D. in Theatre rather than an MFA in Dramaturgy in response to a student demand that emerged in the early 1990s, fueled in part by the scarcity of career opportunities for dramaturgs (i.e., positions that paid a living wage) and the increased opportunities in the universities.
Head of Program: Jim Carmody

Dramaturgy degrees were first offered in 1977.
Vision: The UMass program is small and prides itself on the intensive mentoring of projects and production assignments. Our dramaturgy students are actively involved in all aspects of the department’s production work. They also have an opportunity to intern with New World Theater, an institution devoted to developing new work by playwrights of color. Though the dramaturgy program is academically rigorous, its emphasis is on training the professional dramaturg. All students accepted into the program receive full teaching assistantships.
Degree: MFA degree in Dramaturgy
Head of Program: The program is collectively administered by Harley Erdman, Julian Olf, Virginia Scott and Roberta Uno.

The theatre criticism program began in 1966, and the first MFA in dramaturgy was conferred in 1977.
Vision: MFA students receive intensive training to prepare for careers in three areas: to work in theatres as dramaturgs and in related positions; to work in theatre publishing as critics and editors; to teach theatre as practitioners, critics and scholars. At the core of the training are seminars in literature, theory and criticism, and history. Of particular importance are the criticism workshops, designed to improve skills in thinking and writing. Qualified students also have the opportunity to work for Theater, the tri-quarterly published by the Drama School in conjunction with Duke University Press. Under the supervision of the resident dramaturg of the Yale Repertory Theatre, students are assigned to work on varied productions; they also assist in the literary office with script evaluation and communication with writers and agents. Students may also take courses offered by the Theatre Management department. In addition, every effort is made to give interested students teaching experience within the university.
Degree: MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. Upon completion, a student is eligible to register as a DFA candidate and propose a dissertation topic. If the proposal is accepted, a student may proceed toward a terminal degree.
Head of Program: James Leverett, chair

Since 1989, MA students have been able to declare a concentration in dramaturgy.
Vision: Our program stresses a commitment to a theatre of ideas, vision, language and experience that stretches and opens awareness beyond materialism. There is great departmental commitment to the interaction of the academic/scholarly with the artistic/imaginative in a dynamic synergy. We have close relationships with several professional theatres in the Philadelphia area.
Degree: M.A. degree with a concentration in dramaturgy
Head of Program: Fr. Peter Donohue, OSA

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