The doctorate in theatre at MU, established in 1965, is intended for experienced theatre practitioners who understand the working theatre, its legacy, and its disciplines. The program aims to add to these already acquired practical competencies the research skills necessary to launch the student who completes the program on a career as a scholar-artist. Courses and research seminars in theatre history, dramatic literature, performance theory and criticism develop these research skills and lead to a dissertation involving independent research on a significant topic in theatre studies.
PhD candidates are encouraged but seldom required to participate in departmental productions. All gain supervised teaching experiences while at MU. The MA program similarly involves courses and seminars in theatre and culminates in an independent project and a master's final examination.