Emerson offers both a Master’s (MA) and Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre. You may apply to only the MA program, or if you would like to be considered for both the MA and MFA at the same time, you may apply for both programs at once.

Master’s Program

  • 36 credit hours
  • Fall admission only
  • Full-time students usually complete the degree in 1–2 years
  • Part-time students usually complete the degree in 2–4.5 years

Master’s of Fine Arts Program

  • Requires successful completion of Emerson College’s Master’s in Theatre Education*
  • 12 credit hours (following the completion of the MA program)
  • Fall and spring admission 
  • Full-time students complete the MFA degree in 1 year

*Current students or alumni of Emerson’s Master’s in Theatre Education who wish to earn their MFA from Emerson may do so.

Application details are as follows:

  • Successful completion of Emerson’s MA program
  • 12 credit hours
  • Fall and spring admission
  • Full-time students complete the degree in 1 year

Professional Tracks

The program offers you the opportunity to choose between two professional tracks to study, allowing you to reach your professional and educational goals.

Track 1: Theatre Educator

As a student in the Theatre Educator track, you will learn how to teach drama to children Pre-K through grade 12 in public and private school settings, as well as in workshop and after-school environments. For those interested in pursuing a career in public school teaching, Theatre Educator students can earn an initial Massachusetts teaching license (all levels) as a Teacher of Theatre in our Department of Elementary and Secondary Education–approved program.

Track 2: Theatre and Community

As a teaching artist and community advocate, you will explore the uses of theatre in a variety of community settings such as community theatre, recreation and arts centers, museums, professional theatre for young audiences, or in education outreach for a professional theatre. In the Theatre and Community track, you may also focus on theatre as a catalyst for social justice and civic engagement.


Master’s Curriculum Requirements (36 Credits)

Your curriculum begins with 12 credits (3 courses) of Foundational Courses in the specific track you have chosen to study.

Track 1: Theatre Educator

Foundation Courses: 12 credits (3 courses)

Course Credits
Drama as Education I 4
Drama as Education II 4
Theatre and Community: Stories of Us 4

Track 2: Theatre and Community

Foundation Courses: 12 credits (3 courses)

Course Credits
Theatre and Community: Stories of Us 4
Applied Theatre: On the Page and on Our Feet 4
Drama as Education I 4


Both tracks require 20 credits of electives. You must take 12 credits (3 courses) from at least 3 different elective categories. Once the 12 credits from the 3 categories are fulfilled, you may mix and match the remaining credits from any elective category of interest.

Elective Categories

20 credits total; 12 credits (3 classes) must be from at least 3 different categories

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Playwriting / Devising
  • Dramatic Literature / Theatre History
  • Theatre Design / Technology

Sample Category Courses*

  • Ensemble Workshop Topics (4 credits)
  • Special Topics in Acting (4 credits)
  • Principles of Acting (4 credits)
  • Ensemble Workshop Topics (4 credits)
  • Directing the Musical (4 credits)
  • Directing: Theory and Practice (4 credits)
Playwriting / Devising
  • Ensemble Workshop Topics (4 credits)
  • Playwriting Workshop (4 credits)
  • Theatre of the Oppressed (4 credits)
Dramatic Literature / Theatre History
  • Theatre for Young Audiences (4 credits)
  • Seminar in Dramatic Literature (4 credits)
  • Theatre Studies Seminar (4 credits)
Theatre Design / Technology
  • Puppetry (4 credits)
  • Special Topics in Design and Technical Theatre (4 credits)
  • Design in Production (4 credits)

*Note: Class offerings are subject to change. This is only a sampling of our offered courses. Please reference our course catalog for the most up-to-date course information.

Capstone Requirements

You must complete 4 credits (1 course) of Capstone Requirements.

Course Credits
Master’s Project or Thesis* 4
Student Teaching, Practicum, and Seminar (Theatre Teacher Education track only) 4

*A project/thesis is not required for MA students continuing their education with Emerson’s MFA program.

Master’s of Fine Arts Curriculum Requirements (12 Credits)

MFA students must complete the following courses in addition to earning their Emerson Master of Arts in Theatre Education to receive the MFA in Theatre Education & Applied Theatre. The MFA is designed to be completed over the course of one year.

Course Credits
Advanced Studio or Theory 4
Qualitative Research 4
Colloquium 0
MFA Thesis* 4

MFA Thesis*

Graduate students completing an MFA thesis project must follow the latest copy of the Master’s Thesis/Project guidelines and use the appropriate templates for the title, approval, and abstract pages. The guidelines can be found on the Contract Courses page under the Registrar.