A performer seen backstage in the wings of a theatre

Theatre and Performance

Excellent, innovative, and forward-thinking research and research training are the hallmarks of The Graduate Center’s top-ranked Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance.
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A performer seen backstage in the wings of a theatre

Excellent, innovative, and forward-thinking research and research training are the hallmarks of The Graduate Center’s top-ranked Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance.

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Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance


Admissions Deadlines

January 1 for fall
(No spring enrollment)


Theatre and Performance


+1 212-817-8870 Room 3111

Students in our program, along with our renowned faculty, investigate the live arts in social, political, aesthetic, and cultural contexts and in diverse places and times. Through their scholarship and artistic discoveries, they make meaningful contributions that benefit humanity.

The program is distinguished in its field for research, and ranks among the top two universities nationwide for placing graduates in tenure-track positions.

Students in the Theatre and Performance program may choose to pursue specializations in historical, modern, and contemporary theatre and performance studies. 

The land upon which we gather is part of the unceded territory of the Lenape peoples. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Lenape community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. We honor and respect the many Indigenous people(s) still connected to this land.

Thoughts from our Faculty

No program in the country is better situated, geographically or academically, to train the future leaders of the American theatre.

— Marvin Carlson

Distinguished Professor

Theatre, Comparative Literature, and Middle Eastern Studies

professor of theatre marvin carlson is pictured standing in the seats of an ancient greek outdoor theatre
graduate center-building-corner view

Interdisciplinary Study

The Graduate Center encourages students to explore interdisciplinary study opportunities with distinguished faculty across its many areas of study. The Graduate Center is also a member of the Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium, which allows matriculated Graduate Center doctoral students to pursue related study at other members institutions, including Columbia University and NYU.

Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium
Broadway in manhattan lit up at night

Take Advantage of NYC

Students draw inspiration from New York City’s theatres, which encompass Broadway, off-Broadway, and legendary downtown performance spaces. The city is known for producing the most important, groundbreaking performances in the U.S. and, arguably, the world. Students also have access to special research facilities at institutions like Lincoln Center, the Players Club, the International Theatre Institute Archives, numerous art galleries and museums, and The New York Public Library.

Film strips layered over a white background

Focus on Film

The Certificate in Film Studies is offered under the auspices of the Theatre and Performance Program, which facilitates a close relationship between these disciplines. The program is grounded in the conviction that film is related to and illuminates other academic fields and disciplines, and that prospective teachers in many disciplines are better equipped to teach aspects of that discipline if they have some knowledge of film and its modes of theoretical and critical discourse.

Film Studies
theatre/stage lights directing beams of light across off screen

Segal Center Ties

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center embraces disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects in theatre, dance, and film and serves as the research and communications center of the Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Performance. The center sponsors symposia and conferences and publishes three journals, with faculty members serving as editors and Ph.D. students working as managing editors and editorial assistants, gaining important experience and connections in theatre studies publications.

Martin E. Segal Theatre Center

Thoughts from our Faculty

Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, the Graduate Center has at its doorstep unparalleled resources for studying theatre: more performances than anywhere else in the U.S., a vibrant community of artists, and many of the best and most extensive theatre archives in the world.

— David Savran

Distinguished Professor


black and white photo of professor David Savran in profile

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Contact Us

James Wilson

Executive Officer and Professor, Theatre and Performance; Professor, Africana Studies

Erika T. Lin

Associate Professor, Theatre and Performance; Associate Professor, English; Affiliated Faculty, Medieval Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Global Early Modern Studies