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Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities

This research-based PhD is designed for individuals who intend to pursue positions as academics, researchers, scholars, curriculum developers, and educational consultants. You may choose to pursue doctoral study in four areas: Drama in Education, Applied Theatre, Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production, or Drama Therapy.

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Degree Details

Official Degree Title

PhD in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities

Full-time or Part-time
Start Date
Application Deadline

Mission Statement

Our PhD provides comprehensive research and artistic training that will equip you with the knowledge and skills to have significant impact on scholarship in educational theatre. You will gain a foundation in education, cognate study, research electives, and course work in a specialized research methodology, as well as develop your expertise in one of four areas of specialization: 

  • Drama in Education (i.e., studies in drama/theatre curriculum, special education, integrated arts, assessment and evaluation)    
  • Applied Theatre (i.e., studies in community-based theatre, theatre of the oppressed, the teaching artist, diversity and inclusion)    
  • Theatre for Young Audiences and Play Production (i.e., studies in acting, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting, dramatic literature, arts-based research methodologies)    
  • Drama Therapy (Note that this PhD is not a credentialing program leading to licensure. View the MA Program in Drama Therapy if that is your area of interest.)

Program Goals

By the end of their studies, PhD students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate competence around the artistic processes outlined in the New York State Learning Standards for Theatre
  2. Engage in systematic and ongoing analysis as a reflective practitioner
  3. Demonstrate competence around arts-based, qualitative, and/or quantitative research paradigms
  4. Create, design, and implement original research projects that expand upon existing scholarship

Working closely with faculty who are leaders in the field, you’ll conduct cutting-edge and innovative practice-based research that addresses the most pressing questions in the cultural and educational arenas. You’ll also receive personal mentoring and advisement from program faculty, as well as those from the larger Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions; the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and other NYU schools that have resonance with interdisciplinary, practitioner-led, and arts-based research modalities.

You will have the opportunity to participate fully in all Educational Theatre programming, including:

  • Study abroad programs in Puerto Rico, London, and Dublin
  • Main-stage productions in our Blackbox Theatre and the historic Provincetown Playhouse
  • Annual conferences related to the program’s areas of specialization; you’ll also have access to grants and funds for conference participation and research

Educational Theatre Scholarships

Graduate and Doctoral students in the Program in Educational Theatre may receive scholarships through one or both of the following methods. The first is through completing the Steinhardt Financial Aid process and potentially receiving merit or need based scholarships. Information on this process is available through the Financial Aid website for graduate students.

The second method is by applying for Educational Theatre Scholarships directly through the Program.

Eligibility Criteria for Educational Theatre Scholarships

  • Educational Theatre Scholarship applicants must be graduate or doctoral students in the Program in Educational Theatre who demonstrate service to the Program, academic merit, or artistic merit.
  • Doctoral students can receive scholarships up to two times, but not in consecutive semesters. Master’s students can receive a scholarship only once.
  • If doctoral students who have already received the award apply again, information included in the statement should only pertain to work completed after the previous award.
  • Priority is given to students with financial need.


Up to a $5,000 bursary will be awarded to students and applied to their Bursar account in one of four areas: Service-based, Academic Merit, Artistic Merit, or Study Abroad.

Note that these scholarships can only be applied towards tuition and/or registration fees for NYU/Educational Theatre courses.

Application Procedure

Students can apply for these scholarships after completing one semester of study. An application form will be circulated to current students through the program’s list serve approximately two - three weeks prior to the start of registration for the upcoming term.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall – April 1
  • Spring – November 1
  • Summer – January 24

The application form requires:

  • a faculty member to support the application
  • selection of one of the four award areas (Service-based, Academic Merit, Artistic Merit, or Study Abroad)
  • a statement of no more than 500 words responding to a corresponding prompt

Statement Prompts:

Statement of Service describing the ways in which you have provided service to the Program that is deserving of acknowledgement.

Academic Merit:
Statement of Academic Merit describing the ways in which your academic work is deserving of acknowledgement.

Artistic Merit:
Statement of Artistic Merit describing the ways in which your artistic work is deserving of acknowledgement.

Study Abroad:
Statement of Service, Academic Merit, or Artistic Merit describing the ways in which your work is deserving of acknowledgement through scholarship for the study abroad program.


Nancy and Lowell Swortzell Permanent Fund in Educational Theatre Scholarships

This scholarship honors the legacy of Nancy and Lowell Swortzell, distinguished professors who founded the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU Steinhardt in 1966, and continued teaching in the program for 40 years. In the spirit of their work, we are pleased to support the financial needs of students as they work toward completion of their degree. Awards are available to students at the graduate and doctoral levels.

Myoung-Cheul Chung Scholarship in Educational Theatre

This scholarship for Educational Theatre students was created by one of the Program's alumni, Mr. Myoung-Cheul Chung, MA '95. The scholarship has supported graduate students in Educational Theatre since its inception in 1999. Mr. Chung was a student of Nancy and Lowell Swortzell, the founders of the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU.

Email Jonathan Jones for more information.


Funding for Full-Time PhD Students

NYU Steinhardt offers a competitive funding package for PhD students who study full time. Learn more about our funding opportunities.


If you have any additional questions about our degree, please feel free to contact Jonathan Jones at

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