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Program Overview


The Ph.D. Program in Theatre offers students a solid grounding in the theory, history, and criticism of theatre studies, while encouraging interdisciplinary thinking.  The program takes advantage of the rich resources of New York City, with its professional theatre specialists, institutions, and myriad productions, as well as its library and museum facilities and its archives and private collections.  The Film Studies Certificate Program is allied with the program.

The Program also features:

Interdisciplinary Options with distinguished Graduate Center Faculty in other fields and through a consortial arrangement with New York University and Columbia University.

Affiliations with the Martin E. Segal Center's Journal of American Drama and Theatre and European Stages.


First-year doctoral courses may be taken at one or several of the senior colleges of the University; advanced doctoral seminars are offered at The Graduate Center and through an academic consortium with New York University and Columbia University.

Doctoral courses in theory and criticism include such topics as dramatic genres, film study, theatre theory and criticism, and theatre and related performing arts. Doctoral courses in dramatic structure include seminars in individual playwrights (such as Ibsen, Strindberg, or Molière), movements (romanticism, realism, modern avant-garde), themes (such as individualism or metatheatre), national traditions, and comparative drama.

Doctoral courses in history and production include seminars in theatre history and production of a given period and country (e.g., 18th-century British Drama and Theatre), seminars in aspects of contemporary performance theory and technique (e.g., simulations, theatre audiences), film seminars, and seminars in varying aspects of theatre organization and development.

Directed independent study and externships in theatre for credit are also available.

Recent Seminars Include:

  • English Restoration and 18 C. Drama
  • Middle Eastern Theatre
  • Interculturalism
  • Animation as Art and Cultural Form
  • The Current New York Season
  • Feminist Theory and Performance
  • Melodrama
  • European Avant-Garde Drama
  • Latin American Performance
  • The American Movie Musical
  • American Political Drama
  • Performing the Renaissance: Theatre and Theatricality
  • Beckett and his Heritage
  • Theatre and Popular Culture
  • Lesbian and Gay Theatre and Performance
  • African Cinema
  • Classicism, Root and Branch
  • Kabuki and No
  • Medieval Performance
  • Opera and Theatre: Tangled Relations
  • Puppets and Performing Objects on Stage
  • Post Colonial Performance


The program's faculty, consisting of distinguished scholars as well as critics of the professional theatre, is very much concerned with the professional opportunities and careers available to its students. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the resources of The Graduate Center as well as to explore avenues of interdisciplinary cooperation.

Theatre program faculty are either Central Appointments, who teach only at The Graduate Center, or Constituent College Appointments, who also teach at one of the CUNY colleges. Central Appointments have offices at The Graduate Center and function as the core faculty of the Program, serving as mentors to incoming students. Current Central Appointments are Marvin Carlson, Peter Eckerasll, Jean Graham-Jones, Frank Hentschker, Erika Lin and David Savran.

Theatre Faculty include:

  • Marvin Carlson
  • Peter Eckersall
  • Jean Graham-Jones
  • Frank Hentschker
  • Erika T. Lin
  • David Savran
  • Jane Bowers
  • Mira Felner
  • Jonathan Kalb
  • Claudia Orenstein
  • Annette Saddik
  • James Saslow  
  • Maurya Wickstrom
  • David Willinger
  • James Wilson
  • Elizabeth Wollman

Film Faculty include:

  • William Boddy
  • Jonathan Buchsbaum
  • David Gerstner
  • Alison Grifitths
  • Amy Herzog
  • Ivone Margulies
  • Paula Massood
  • Joseph McElhaney
  • Edward Miller
  • Joyce Rheuban
  • Elizabeth Weis