Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Format: On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Fall 2022 Regular Deadline Extension: June 16, 2022

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 (On Parental Leave Through Mid-August 2022)

Photo of Sarah Meister
Sarah Meister

Temporary Assistant Director (Through Mid-August 2022) & Writing Support Coach

Headshot of Brynn Asha Walker
Brynn Asha Walker

Temporary Program Assistant (Through Mid-August 2022)

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 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 Toya Lillard
Toya Lillard

Elective Course Instructor

Headshot of Ah-Keisha McCants
Ah-Keisha McCants

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

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 Helen White
Helen White

Course Instructor and Director of the CAT Youth Theatre

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

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

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 Norma Harris
Norma Harris

Thesis Advisor

Headshot of Lori Ayela Wynters
Lori Ayela Wynters

Thesis Advisor

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. 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 2022 Regular Deadline Extension: June 16, 2022
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

Sara Morgulis Named Executive Director of TYA/USA

May 10, 2022

American Theatre

Sara Morgulis, an alum and faculty member in the CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) program, has been named executive director of the nonprofit Theater for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA). In this interview, Morgulis highlights the multilingual theatre company Jugando N Play, which is run by MAAT alums Sindy Castro and Madeline Calandrillo.

Musical Theatre Factory Announces New Artistic Director Brisa Areli Muñoz; Shakina Nayfack to Become Board Chair

March 08, 2022


Brisa Areli Muñoz, an alum of the CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) program, will become Musical Theatre Factory's new artistic director, succeeding Mei Ann Teo.

Match: Lit to Present HENRY V And TWELFTH NIGHT In Rep Beginning in February

January 27, 2022

Broadway World

Zeynep Akca, a CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) alum and member of independent theater company Match : Lit, is quoted in this Broadway World article about two new productions of Shakespeare's Henry V and Twelfth Night that she will be directing for the company starting in February.

National LGBTQ group GLSEN appoints first Black, nonbinary executive director

January 27, 2022

NBC News

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, a CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre (MAAT) alum, has been named the executive director of the national LGBTQ nonprofit GLSEN. Mel, who graduated from the program in 2012, has also served as an MAAT faculty member, teaching the course "Theories II: Community, Culture, and Diversity" from 2018-2021.