Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

Format: On Campus
Application Deadlines
  • Fall 2021 Priority Deadline: Pending
  • Fall 2021 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

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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 Priority Deadline: Pending
  • Fall 2021 Regular Deadline: Pending
Apply Now

Student/Alumni Profiles

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."

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.”

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."

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."

Recent News About Master of Arts in Applied Theatre

This Labor Day, These Workers Are Trying to Stay Afloat

September 04, 2020

The New York Times

The New York Times, in an article examining how arts workers are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights two first-year students in the CUNY SPS Master of Arts in Applied Theatre (MAAT) program. The article profiles Caitlyn McCain, an artistic associate at New York City Children’s Theater (NYCCT), who has just started the MAAT program. McCain’s collaboration with Nicole Hogsett, a fellow NYCCT employee and MAAT student, is also mentioned.

Virtual Theater Pick of the Week

August 05, 2020

WWNY 7News

WWNY 7News reports that CUNY SPS MA in Applied Theatre alumna Erin Woodward is one of several performers selected to do a stage reading of an original short theatrical play during the Orange County Ten Minute Play Festival.
Sindy Castro

CUNY SPS Alumna Earns Theatre Award

August 03, 2020

An alumna from the MA in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has received accolades from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE).

UCI Dance Welcomes Two New Faculty Members

July 29, 2020

UCI Claire Trevor

UCI Dance is welcoming two new faculty members, one of whom is Ariyan Johnson, who graduated from the MA in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS).