Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Format: On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Fall 2021 Regular Deadline: May 20, 2021

Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

The MA in Applied Theatre degree program, the first program of its kind in the United States, uses theatre as a medium for education, community development, and the pursuit of social justice. The goal of the program is to educate scholar practitioners to become future leaders in the field of applied theatre. Applied Theatre involves the use of theatre and drama in a wide variety of nontraditional contexts and venues, such as in teaching, the justice system, health care, the political arena, community development, museums, and social service agencies.

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Career Prospects

Graduates of the program are prepared for careers as teaching artists with theatres, museums, hospitals, and other community-based organizations; education directors for cultural organizations; facilitators of youth programs; creative aging artists; health and wellness theatre program specialists; conflict resolution; and activities specialists with development programs, aid agencies, and refugee support programs.

Students in the Program:

  • Practice actor-centered, collaborative approaches to leading creative teams and playbuilding original theatre
  • Study a range of artistic, educational, and social theories that inform progressive practice
  • Collaborate as a member of a student ensemble to support creative risk-taking
  • Progress through carefully sequenced courses with an emphasis on the unity of theory and practice
  • Devise and perform theatre-in-education interventions in New York City schools and community settings 
  • Develop work alongside the renowned CUNY Creative Arts Team
  • Research, implement, document, and evaluate an original applied theatre thesis project.


  • 10 Core Courses (30 Credits)
  • 2 Elective Courses (6 Credits)

Sample Courses

  • Community, Culture, and Diversity
  • Playbuilding
  • Teaching through Theatre
  • Theatre of the Oppressed
  • The Co-intentional Director
  • Creating Meaning Through Community Drama
  • Study abroad: Project Rwanda

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Admissions Criteria

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are required to write a personal statement, upload a resume, and provide two letters of recommendation. An individual interview may be necessary.

We encourage applications from people with a variety of undergraduate majors and professional backgrounds. Theatre experience, formal or informal, is expected. Applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria may be asked to take part in an artistic review.

Students are admitted to the program each fall and can enroll in either a full- or part-time course of study.

Funding Opportunities

In collaboration with the CUNY Creative Arts Team, CUNY SPS and the MA in Applied theatre are proud to offer the Graduate Apprenticeship for Diversity in Applied Theatre. Follow the link for details.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall 2021 Regular Deadline: May 20, 2021
Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

Sindy Castro and Morgan Booker

MA in Applied Theater

S: "I’ve taught for other programs and helped to oversee other programs, but I wanted to figure out what it is I’m interested in doing and how to do it." M: "My favorite moment was in theories, in my group project. Our topic was learning theories based on Lisa Delpit, Jonathan Kozol, and bell hooks. I never thought I’d have fun researching."

Jessica Cortez

MA in Applied Theater

"I decided to double major in theatre [in college] because I saw it as a platform that I could use to talk about those issues, and really dive into social narratives, and express people’s stories that aren’t typically told."

Laura Cabochan

MA in Applied Theatre

"If you have something to say, the program would listen…working beyond cultural barriers is very very interesting to me…here, [I] was different, and ah, it’s okay.”

Denise Hughes

MA in Applied Theatre

"Working with my former students to pursue their goals and dreams finally pushed me to follow through with my own."

Recent News About Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Announcing the 2021 Create Change Cohort and Radical Imagination Fellow

January 29, 2021

The Laundromat Project

CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre alum and faculty member Piper Anderson (’11) has been invited by the arts organization Laundromat Project to be their inaugural Radical Imagination Fellow, a year-long post supported by The David Rockefeller Fund. In this fellowship role, Anderson will deepen organizational understandings around timely issues of abolition, healing justice, public memory, and the Black radical imagination.
Participants at the 2019 Racial Justice Conference

6th Annual Applied Theatre & Racial Justice Conference Showcases Political Action and Performance

December 21, 2020

The CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) program hosted its 6th annual Applied Theatre & Racial Justice conference on November 7.

Zoom video call with graduating CUNY SPS MAAT students

Principles and Practice: How MAAT Students and Faculty Adapted to the Pandemic

December 20, 2020

In this essay, two alum from the CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) program reflect upon the ways that its faculty and students have adapted--and even thrived--in the midst of the...


December 09, 2020


Four CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre students have co-authored articles published in the December 2020 double issue of NYU’s ArtsPraxis Educational Theatre journal. Alexis Jemal (’21), Brennan O’Rourke (’21), Jenny Hipscher (’21), and Tabatha Lopez (’21) wrote “Pandemic Lessons" (Volume 7 Issue 2a) and “Theatre for Liberating Social Work Education" (Volume 7 Issue 2b). Both articles draw on work these students undertook in MAAT courses.