Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Format: On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Fall 2024 Priority Deadline: January 18, 2024
  • Fall 2024 Regular Deadline: Pending

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

Connect with us

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Meet our Faculty

Headshot of Chris Vine
Chris Vine

Academic Director, Professor, MA in Applied Theatre

Headshot of Adeola Adegbola
Adeola Adegbola White

Assistant Director, Elective Course Instructor, & Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Keline Adams
Keline Adams

Elective Course Instructor, Thesis Advisor, and Independent Study Advisor

Headshot of Daniel Banks
Daniel Banks

Elective Course Instructor and Thesis Advisor, MA in Applied Theatre

Headshot of Kari Berggren Olk
Kari Berggren Olk

Program Assistant

Headshot of Sindy Isabel Castro
Sindy Isabel Castro

Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Jessica Cortez
Jessica Cortez

Elective Course Instructor

Headshot of Jan Cohen-Cruz
Jan Cohen-Cruz

Thesis Advisor and Independent Study Advisor, MA in Applied Theatre

Headshot of Dana Edell
Dana Edell

Thesis Advisor and Former Elective Course Instructor, MA in Applied Theatre

Headshot of Amy S. Green
Amy S. Green

Consortial Faculty Member and Thesis Advisor, MA in Applied Theatre / Chairperson and Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, John Jay College

Headshot of Norma Harris
Norma Harris

Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Toya Lillard
Toya Lillard

Elective Course Instructor

Headshot of Lindsey Buller Maliekel
Lindsey Buller Maliekel

Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Ah-Keisha McCans
Ah-Keisha McCans

Course Instructor, Thesis Advisor, and Applied Theatre & Racial Justice Conference Planning Team

Photo of Sarah Meister
Sarah Meister

Thesis Advisor & Writing Support Coach

Headshot of Sara Morgulis
Sara Morgulis

Thesis Advisor and Disability Services and Accessibility Consultant

Headshot of Tammie L. Swopes
Tammie L. Swopes

Course Instructor

Headshot of Sherry Teitelbaum
Sherry Teitelbaum

Writing Support Coach and Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Diana B. Waters
Diana B. Waters

Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Helen White
Helen White

Course Instructor and Director of the CAT Youth Theatre

Headshot of H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams
H. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams

Adjunct Associate Professor

Headshot of Melanie Willingham-Jaggers
Melanie Willingham-Jaggers

Former Course Instructor

Headshot of Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson

Writing Support Coach and Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Lori Ayela Wynters
Lori Ayela Wynters

Thesis Advisor

Admissions Criteria

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally 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. Letters of recommendation may be submitted before or after submitting an application. Please note that 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 2024 Priority Deadline: January 18, 2024
  • Fall 2024 Regular Deadline: Pending
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

Photo of CUNY SPS MAAT faculty Dr. Williams speaking at public poetry event

8th Annual Racial Justice Conference Inspires and Connects Communities of Performers

August 30, 2023

The 2023 applied theatre conference featured two collaborative pop-up events that sought to connect different theatre communities.

Performance at CUNY SPS MAAT Theatre in Education Festival 2023

Interactive Festival Showcases Imaginative Educational Theatre Projects

August 10, 2023

Over 120 people attended the 2023 Theatre-in-Education Festival, which featured five different projects performed by students from the MA in Applied Theatre program.

Hands raised during Juneteenth celebration

Commemorating Juneteenth

June 15, 2023

Interim Dean Silva-Puras offers his thoughts on the meaning of Juneteenth and how to observe the holiday this weekend.

Arthur Miller Foundation Honors

November 29, 2022

Arthur Miller Foundation

The Arthur Miller Foundation (AMF), a non-profit that provides access and equity to quality theater education in public schools, has selected MA in Applied Theatre alum Linda Ames Key ('12) to receive the AMF Excellence in Arts Education Award.