Research Competencies in Theatre

Expected by NAST

Excerpts from:

National Association of Schools of Theatre Handbook 2005-2006

XI.   Baccalaureate Degrees in Preparation for Advanced Professional Study
XIII.   Graduate Degrees in Theatre
XVI.   Standards and Guidelines for Specific Initial Graduate Degrees
XVII.   Standards and Guidelines for Specific Terminal Degrees

Appendix I.E.   The Education and Training of Directors: V. Advanced Graduate Degrees in Directing


XI.   BACCALAUREATE DEGREES IN PREPARATION FOR ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL STUDY

B.   History and Criticism

A general knowledge of the history of the Western world and, if possible, that of some parts of the non-Western world, is necessary, as is knowledge of the tools and techniques of scholarship. Active research and the writing of analytical and critical essays should continue throughout the program. The student should achieve adequate mastery of at least one foreign language to support research through the reading of primary source materials.

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XIII.   GRADUATE DEGREES IN THEATRE

A.   Practice-Oriented Degrees

B.   Research-Oriented Degrees

The purpose of these degrees is to prepare students for scholarly or research activity directed toward the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. Such programs should be structured with the recognition that advanced scholarship and research at the terminal degree level are intensely disciplined efforts, often at the frontiers of knowledge, where intuition and creativity are as important as the gathering and processing of information.

At the initial graduate degree level, completion of the program is identified by awarding the Master of Arts degree in fields such as Theatre History, Aesthetics, or Criticism.

At the terminal degree level, completion of the program is identified by awarding the degree Doctor of Philosophy in a field of theatre scholarship or theory; the degree Doctor of Fine Arts in a field related to theatre practice; or the degrees Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education in the field of theatre education.

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XVI.   STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR SPECIFIC INITIAL GRADUATE DEGREES

A.   Research-Oriented Degrees

The Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in any field of theatre studies such as history, criticism, methodology, or theory (assuming the completion of a B.A. in Theatre or equivalent and the makeup of any deficiencies) should require at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of advanced study in the discipline. At least two-thirds of the course work shall be in theatre and theatre-related courses.

Work for the degree should develop a broad general knowledge of the theatre, as well as specialization in the area of emphasis. Students should develop a substantial awareness of the history and literature of the discipline, be aware of methods of scholarship, be capable of undertaking independent research, and develop an ability to communicate complex concepts regarding theatre both in written and oral forms. Reading knowledge of at least one foreign language is advisable. Normally, the awarding of the degree requires the satisfactory completion of a thesis and/or a comprehensive examination.

B.   Theatre Education Degree

An initial master’s degree program in theatre education, whether practice-oriented or research-oriented, requires at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours. A practice-oriented program emphasizes the extension of specialized performance and production skills for theatre teachers. A research-oriented program emphasizes theoretical studies and research projects in theatre education.

Either program should include one or more advanced seminars concerned with develop-ments in philosophy of education and with contemporary problems in theatre education. This may include a review of curricular developments, teaching methodology, innova-tions, and interdisciplinary concepts.

A minimum of nine semester hours of graduate theatre education courses taught by theatre education faculty should be included in the practice-oriented program; 12 to 15 semester hours in the research-oriented program.

Whether or not there is an advanced course surveying contemporary general education, there should be specialized study of contemporary needs and developments in theatre and theatre education.

The student should complete a final project indicating achievement within a specialized area of inquiry. This may take the form of a performance, a thesis, or another demonstra-tion of competence related to the graduate program.

C.   Practice-Oriented Degrees

The Master of Arts degree in fields of performance or production should require at least 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of concentrated advanced post-baccalaureate study. At least one-third of the work is in the major area of concentration, supported by related advanced theoretical and technical courses and studies in other areas as appropriate to the major area of concentration and to the individual’s program of study. Additional studies in theatre must total at least one-third of the curriculum. A final demonstration project, research paper, and/or performance should be required.

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XVII.   STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR SPECIFIC TERMINAL DEGREES

A.   Practice-Oriented Degrees

1.   The Master of Fine Arts in Acting

2.   The Master of Fine Arts in Directing ... Work in the major area, including studies in play analysis, performance, and design, occupies at least 65% of the curriculum; studies in theatre history, dramatic literature, criticism, and aesthetics, at least 10% (20% if teaching is contemplated); the remainder is devoted to studies supportive of the major area.

Graduates must demonstrate the following:

a.   The ability to develop and guide fully mounted productions of a wide variety of plays from statement of concept through public performance.

b.   A broad knowledge of dramatic literature and theatre history, including a demonstrated ability to undertake research.

c.   The ability to work with actors in their process of creation and performance.

d.   An understanding of the basic principles of color, mass, line, and space in the theatre.

e.   An understanding of all the theatre arts and crafts at a sufficient level of knowledge to communicate with other artists and to make critical judgments in all areas of theatre.

As a culmination to study in the major area, the student must direct at least two full productions that are presented to the public, one of which must receive full technical support.

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3.   The Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting

4.   The Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design (General)

5.   The Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design

6.   The Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design

7.   The Master of Fine Arts in Scene Design

8.   The Master of Fine Arts in Film/Video Production

9.   The Master of Fine Arts in Arts Management

10.   The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Technology (Design, Costume, or Sound)

11.   The Master of Fine Arts in Theatre for Youth

12.   The Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre

B.   Research-Oriented Degrees—Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees are earned only in graduate programs which emphasize research in some aspect of theatre. Although the emphasis is scholarly, it is appropriate for degree candidates to be concerned with the application of research and learning to theatrical production as well as to teaching and writing.

Doctoral programs require the equivalent of at least three years of full-time graduate work beyond the baccalaureate. The Master of Arts or Master of Science degree may comprise part of this study but is not prerequisite to it. While credit-granting policies vary widely, normally 60 to 90 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate are required. Programs leading to the doctorate utilize similar procedures, the specifics of which are determined by each institution. These are outlined in Section XIV.G above.

Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre or the Doctor of Education in Theatre Education shall demonstrate the following as a prerequisite to beginning the dissertation:

    • Intellectual awareness and curiosity sufficient to predict continued growth and contribution to the discipline.
    • A knowledge of bibliographical resources appropriate to critical, theoretical, historical, and empirical research in theatre.
    • A knowledge of representative plays and playwrights of each major epoch and/or movement.
    • A knowledge of the history of theatre production (including acting, directing, theatre architecture, theatre management and organization, and the visual elements of theatre production).
    • An understanding of the function the theatre performs in today’s culture and of the functions it has performed in the major periods of theatre history.
    • A knowledge of the major theories that inform today’s theatre.
    • A knowledge of the major theories that informed the theatre throughout its history.
    • Considerable depth of knowledge in some aspects of theatre studies, such as an historical period, theatre criticism, or theatrical theory.
    • Sufficient writing and speaking skills to communicate clearly and effectively to members of the scholarly community and to the wider community.
    • A reading knowledge of one or more foreign languages or the substitution of other special research techniques.

The final project requirements for the doctorate include a dissertation demonstrating scholarly competence.

1.   Theatre Studies. The program shall prepare professionals for the scholarly study of theatre at the highest level in such areas as theory, history, criticism, and aesthetics. Course work and research projects may involve theatre from all cultures of the world and its relationship to other fields, to the other arts, and to their interrelationships.

2.   Theatre Education. The program shall prepare professionals to develop vital research studies and utilize research findings in the day-to-day instructional processes at the K-12 level. Course work and research projects may also involve research into the cultural foundations of theatre and address the need for applied research into the mechanisms of influencing values in theatre.

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APPENDIX I.E

THE EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF DIRECTORS

V.   ADVANCED GRADUATE DEGREES IN DIRECTING

C.   Curricular Requirements

1.   Program Structure. Work in the major area of directing, including studies in play analysis, acting, directing techniques, and design, should occupy at least 65% of the curriculum; studies in theatre history, dramatic literature, theory, criticism, and aesthetics, at least 10% (20% if teaching is contemplated); the remainder is devoted to studies supportive of the major area.

Graduates must demonstrate the following:

a.   The ability to develop and guide fully mounted productions of a wide variety of types and styles of plays from a statement of concept through public performance.

b.   A broad knowledge of dramatic literature and theatre history, including a demon-strated ability to undertake dramaturgical research.

c.   The ability to work with actors from the early stages of creation through the finished performance.

d.   The ability to work in collaboration with designers and an understanding of the basic principles of light, sound, color, mass, line, texture, and space in the theatre.

e.   An understanding of all the theatre arts and crafts at a sufficient level of knowledge to communicate with other artists and to make critical judgments.


Last modified February 7, 2007
by Boris Teske, Prescott Memorial Library,
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71272