CWRU students participating in a theater production
Master of Arts

About the Program

Join students who are just as passionate about dramatic history and literature, writing and directing as you are in the Master of Arts in Theater program at Case Western Reserve University—the only program of its kind in Northeast Ohio. Unlike our Master of Fine Arts in Acting, this program goes behind the stage, preparing you for a career in one of Cleveland’s illustrious performing arts organizations or for further graduate studies.

What to Expect

You’ll start the program with foundations of theater from Greco-Roman times to Romanticism and the global impacts of the art form, then delve deep into American drama history or contemporary studies. Specialize in directing or dramatic writing, or map your own path by selecting a different disciplinary specialty to supplement your base coursework.

Your program, which takes about two years to complete, culminates in a project or thesis focused on the topic of your choice. Over the years, students have analyzed topics such as gender in theater as well as the relationship between television and theater, and musical theater direction. Regardless of your course of study, our multi-talented faculty—whose performance venues include experiences with The National Theatre, the Stratford Festival and Shakespeare Theatre—are there to guide you at every stage.

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Beyond the Classroom

Cleveland is home to the second-largest performing arts district in the United States and is often among the first national tour stops after Broadway. But in addition to that employment opportunity, you’ll have access to incredible theaters around Northeast Ohio as well, including Karamu House, Cleveland Playhouse and more. Students have also gone on to teach at community colleges, serve as marketing directors for performing arts institutions, and pursue their PhDs in the field.

Our soon-to-open Maltz Performing Arts Center will have ample opportunity to get the show on the road. The Maltz Center’s 250-seat proscenium theater is the first of its kind for Case Western Reserve. You’ll be able to take advantage of a 100-seat black box theater, rehearsal studios and workshop space to set the stage for the encore-worthy performances you write and direct. 

By the Numbers


produced at Eldred Theater over the last 10 years


seat proscenium theater opening in our Maltz Performing Arts Center


faculty to student ratio


university alumni network


program credit hours

Admission Requirements

Our program thrives when we have students with diverse perspectives and a range of educational, professional and life experiences. We look forward to learning more about you!

The application process requires:

  • Online application, including a statement of study objectives and statement of purpose
  • $50 application fee (required by the School of Graduate Studies)
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Current resume/CV
  • Test scores for GRE (optional)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE

Please note: While there are no specific degree requirements, we recommend applicants have a drama background.

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