Curriculum twelve months

The Master of Arts in Theatre (MA) (Theatre Theory and Dramaturgy) with Research Project takes twelve months to complete. Full-time and Part-time option available.

Courses are given in the fall and winter sessions, with the summer session designated for the Research Project.

Core courses

THE 5110 Research Methods in Theatre and Performance Studies
This course teaches students advanced academic research and writing skills. It will introduce them to the research methods commonly used in theatre studies—archival research, collection of pertinent data, forms of empirical research, conceptual research, etc.—and will include various practical exercises leading to students successfully writing academic papers, conference presentations and an MA thesis. It involves possible collaboration with the University of Ottawa library staff, The Institute of Canadian Studies, The Institute of Women’s Studies, the Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture (CRCCF), and Library and Archives Canada (for workshops, tours, etc.).

THE 5120 Selected Topics in Theatre Studies
Study of a selected topic in theatre history, theory or practice.

THE 5130 Dramaturgy
This course defines the dramatic text as a point of departure for theatrical performance. It discusses the art of dramaturgy as the analysis of the poetics of dramatic text as well as the study of its structural specificities and norms. Students will be required to study major elements of—and theories related to—new play development, both from a historical perspective as well as a conceptual one. The objective of the course is to equip students with the skills necessary for pursuing a career as a Dramaturge or a Literary Adviser in a professional theatre.

THE 5140 Theory of Performance
This course takes into consideration a range of performance forms that define contemporary practice including performance art, fine art, film, site-specific theatre and cyber-spectacle. It seeks to prepare students to write an MA or MFA thesis-paper as well as to equip them with the skills necessary for pursuing the career of a theatre critic. Major elements of performance will be studied, both from historical and conceptual perspectives.

THE 6999 Major Research Paper (MRP)
The research paper is prepared under the direction of the research paper supervisor and is approved by the graduate committee. The research paper must be successfully completed by the end of the third session of full-time registration in the master's program. In the event of failure, the student must register for an additional session. A second failure leads to a grade of NS (Not satisfactory) on the transcript and to withdrawal from the program. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory).

Elective seminar or course

Over the course of their tenure in the program, students must take two three-credit elective seminars or courses either within or outside the Department of Theatre. Such courses are intended to allow students to take advantage of the wide range of theatre-related expertise available in departments throughout the Faculty of Arts and elsewhere in the University of Ottawa, particularly—but not exclusively—in literature and language departments, other fine arts departments, the Department of History and the Department of Communications.

The Director of Graduate Studies must approve the selection of each elective course. Electives may be chosen from appropriate seminars or courses offered by any department in the University

There are two distinct categories of elective courses:

  • background electives may fill gaps in students' background preparation as determined at the moment of evaluation for admission into the MA program. In certain cases, registration in a specific course may be a condition of enrolment; and
  • an elective oriented to the principal research topic: students may take at most one course outside the Department specifically geared to their MA thesis. This elective presents an opportunity for students to study an author or a period of practice or other subject directly related to their thesis under the guidance of a specialist.

Language requirements
Students can submit their written work and write exams in French or English, regardless of the language of instruction.

Degree requirements

A total of 18 course units is required:

  • Four core courses of three course units each (12 course units);
    • THE5110 Research Methods in Theatre and Performance Studies
    • THE5120 Selected Topics in Theatre Studies
    • THE5130 Dramaturgy
    • THE5140 Theory of Performance
  • two elective seminars or courses taken either within or outside the Department of Theatre (6 course units);
  • THE 6999 Major Research Paper (MRP) (50 pages)

Grading system

Grades are awarded according to the following scale:


90 - 100 %

10 points



85 - 90 %

9 points



80 - 84 %

8 points



75 - 79 %

7 points

Very good


70 - 74 %

6 points

Very good


66 - 69 %

5 points


All grades below C+ (66%) are failing grades for graduate students.


60 - 65 %

4 points


55 - 59 %

3 points


50 - 54 %

2 points


40 - 49 %

1 point


0 - 39 %

0 points

Any student who receives two failing grades (equivalent to six credits), or who fails the same course twice, is required to withdraw.

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