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M.A. in Theater Studies

In the master’s program, Theater Studies sees itself as a discipline straddling cultural studies, art, and media studies, embracing interdisciplinary openness, and incorporating the interrelationship of theory and practice, sciences and the arts in its questions, methods, and modes of presentation.

The M.A. program is a research-oriented program that qualifies graduates to do research in theater studies, taking into account the interplay of theoretical reflection and artistic and media practice. The program focuses primarily on theoretical, analytical, historical, and critical issues. It offers no artistic or technical education.

A completed B.A. in Theater Studies or equivalent degree is a prerequisite for admission to the M.A. in Theater Studies.

Standard time to degree is four semesters. The program concludes with a master’s thesis.

For detailed information on the M.A. in Theater Studies, see the Theater Studies Degree Program and Examination Regulations. 

About the Program

The M.A. in Theater Studies comprises the areas of Theory and Aesthetics, Contemporary Theater/Performance Analysis, Theater History, Theater/Arts/Media and moreover focuses on current perspectives in research and research practice. It centers around all genres of theatrical performance (drama, music theater, dance theater, performance art) but also theatrical ways of thinking and acting (today comprised under the term of theatricality) in all areas of society, both in historical perspective and with a view to contemporary performance cultures.

The Institute for Theater Studies harnesses its contacts to other theater studies institutes and programs in Europe and worldwide, as well as to theaters and cultural institutions in Berlin, to guarantee a curriculum at the highest international level. Close contacts with research projects based at the Institute for Theater Studies ensure a high-profile international integration of the M.A. program. Interdisciplinary inputs are provided by the neighboring Collaborative Research Centers on “Affective Societies” and “Episteme in Motion,” whose conferences and talks are generally open to master’s students.

Academic and Career Goals

Graduates have in-depth academic knowledge and advanced professional skills.

The M.A. program qualifies graduates to do research in theater studies, taking into account the interrelationship of theoretical reflection and artistic and media practice. The program’s focus on theoretical, analytical, historical, and critical issues qualifies graduates for a variety of careers in academia, theater, film, television, broadcasting, journalism, and cultural institutions.

Theater Studies graduates working in these fields hold a variety of positions. The interdisciplinary openness, the ability to critically reflect on aesthetic, theatrical, and media processes, and the capacity for precise observation and description typical for the field are important resources that graduates can bring to their professional practice.

Curriculum – Modules – Application & Admission

The M.A. program consists of six modules and concludes with a master’s thesis. It is recommended that students study abroad (Erasmus+ or DAAD) in their second or third semester.

Theater History
This module deals with theater historiography problems in the context of cultural, political, social, and gender history. Theater history is understood to be the study of theatrical structures, discourses, and phenomena in all areas of culture and society.

Theory and Aesthetics
This module deals with approaches and perspectives of aesthetic theory and cultural theory that are opened up by research in theater studies. Students are introduced to the theoretical discourses that are particularly relevant for current research practice in theater studies (e.g., theories of the performative, theories of the theatrical, theories of aesthetics, gender aspects, media theories, cultural theories).

Contemporary Theater/Performance Analysis
This module deals with different approaches to performance analysis. Students are introduced to positions on contemporary theater and performance analysis that are are particularly relevant to the current research practice in theater studies.

This module studies theatrical forms at the interface of different arts and media. The focus is on issues of media change, intermediality, intertextuality and hybridity, interart phenomena, and the comparative methodologies essential for studying these fields.

Current Research Perspectives
This module provides insight into current research fields practiced at the Institute, in which the Institute has set and continues to set research priorities (e.g., on theatricality, performance cultures, interweaving of theater cultures, interart phenomena, aesthetic experience, emotions research, gender discourses, etc.).

Research Practice
In this module, the students independently work on a topic of their choice, building on the knowledge they have acquired. The focus is on developing own formats of presenting and implementing research results.

General Information on Modules and Credit Points (CPs)

The application and admission procedure is centrally organized by Freie Universität Berlin.

Fore more information on application deadlines etc., visit: Application and Admission.

Please also see the information on Transferring between Higher Education Institutions in Higher Semesters.

To be admitted to the master’s program, applicants need to submit proof of the following:

  • B.A. degree in Theater Studies or equivalent university degree corresponding to the curriculum of the B.A. program in Theater Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.

The M.A. in Theater Studies is a limited admission program.

For more information, see Admission Regulations for the M.A. in Theater Studies.