Master of Arts in Theatre Studies

Master of Arts in Theatre Studies (MA-TS) aims at preparing students to become drama critics, scholars and theatre practitioners, who are well trained in cultural criticism. It introduces students to the latest developments in performance studies and equips them with theoretical frameworks and skills to study and critique the dynamic interplay between theory, drama, theatre and performance. MA-TS also aims to enhance students’ ability in assessing, reviewing and comparing Chinese and Western theories of drama and performance.
Study mode
: Full-time (1 year) or Part-time (2 years)
Total number of credits
: 24 (8 modules)
Commencing semester*
: September (Semester 1) or January (Semester 2)
Tuition Fees
: HK$112,320
* The Programme Committee of MA-TS reserves the right to determine the commencement semester of study.

Programme Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme, students should be able to:
·     Conduct research on performance theory
·     Write research essays on drama and performance
·     Produce comparative studies of Chinese and Western drama and              performance
·     Write informed critical reviews of drama and performance
·     Contribute new critical knowledge on drama and performance


Students are required to take a total of 8 modules, which include 6 compulsory modules and 2 elective modules.

Compulsory Modules

The module aims at providing students with knowledge of critical and interpretive approaches required of graduate studies in literature. Various literary and critical paradigms from a range of traditions will be reviewed with a discussion of the basic issues in interpretation theory and criticism. The module will also focus on the implications of recent orientations in social science and philosophy for literary and cultural studies. This module will lay the theoretical foundation for critical studies.
The module serves as an introduction to the comparative study of drama as both literature and performance from transcultural perspectives. With a view to enhancing their ability in identifying problems and topics for research, students will be familiarized with the basic techniques and methods of research. This will involve the use of specific original literary and stage texts. Emphasis will be put on giving the students an overview of historical as well as current developments in the field. The concept of comparative drama studies as methodology will be investigated along with the various literary as well as cultural issues involved in the study of drama in the transcultural context. Through this module, students will be equipped with concepts and methodology of comparative and transcultural studies for advanced work in Theatre Studies.
Specific area(s) of investigation cover one or more of the following aspects in the critical study of dramatic forms: dramatic theories; form and style; theme and period/movement; generic conventions and institution; as well as other topics related to the study of particular genres or sub-genres of drama. Emphasis will be placed on the dialectic between theory and practice. Texts will be analysed in relation to the critical investigation of cultural and historical contexts.
The module is designed to investigate how performance theories develop according to dramatic conventions, and also in resistance against them, in the Western and Chinese contexts. Areas of investigation include theatricality in the Chinese theatre, the dramatic theatre, the Brechtian theatre, intercultural performance, the post-dramatic theatre, and digital theatre. Performance systems, including those of Stanislavsky and Meyerhold, will be studied.
The module will explore how global representations of major dramatists are formed and how variations occur in the processes of globalization. Concepts of universalism and particularism will be studied along lines of the global-local interaction, and the colonial and postcolonial paradigms. Oriental philosophy and concepts of the theatre will also be discussed as alternatives to the Western tradition. Dramatists studied in the module include, for example, Ibsen, Brecht, Beckett, Pinter, Abe Kōbō and Gao Xingjian.
In the module, major performances across the globe and across time, such as those of Shakespeare and Ibsen, will be studied to examine the formation of global theatrical representations and transformations. Changes in performance styles, as well as adaptations, will be examined in relation to new artistic visions and ideological representations.

Elective Modules

Students will attend lectures and seminars for a semester as preparation before they start to work with a supervisor on the dissertation. The module consists of lectures, individual consultation and seminars. Students will learn how to conduct research on drama and performance. At the end of the module, students  will complete a 4000-word bibliography and literature review leading to research questions on a topic in drama and performance.
Students will complete a dissertation, which is a critical study (5,000-7,500 words in English) on an aspect of drama and performance. Students will work with a supervisor on the dissertation. The dissertation topic and assignment of supervisors which will be approved by the Programme Committee. The dissertation is normally written in English. In case there are strong reasons for the dissertation to be completed in other languages, approval must be obtained from the Programme Committee. The module consists of regular meetings of individual consultation.

Two of the following modules:

A critical introduction to the theory, history and practice of world literatures. Considering the vast number of literary works produced in the field, this module focuses on those published and circulated in English. The first part of the module discusses key theoretical issues about world literatures, such as circulation, translation, comparative studies, readership, vernacular literature, etc. The second part, adopting a case-study approach, examines writers whose works have been considered as world literature, such as Conrad, Dostoevsky, Ibsen, Ezra Pound, Toni Morrison and Kazuo Ishiguro.
This module provides students with a broad overview of the historical reasons behind the development of English into a global language. Moreover, the module aims to critically examine the linguistic features, role, status of English in a wide range of socio-cultural and political contexts around the world. The module is designed to develop students’ language expertise through the analysis of linguistic features of varieties of Englishes and aims to develop an appreciation of the effects of different socio-cultural contexts including language contact and multilingualism.
Neoliberalism can be taken as a political economics that aims to remove barriers and restrictions on markets with a particular focus on the international flow of capital in globalised networks of trade and finance. This module aims to introduce students to the cultural impact of this mode of politics and economics, considering its relationship to the production, circulation, and reception of literary and cultural texts. It starts from the assumption that a combination of close and distant reading will produce the most useful and comprehensive surveys of these complex networks.
The module is designed to provide students with the knowledge of digital and cognitive approaches to literary and cultural studies. The module uses artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology and linguistics as the theoretical foundations of literary criticism. It aims to bridge the two academic domains of humanities and sciences and to investigate the relationship between reading, writing and cognition. The module covers the close analysis of literary genres fiction, poetry, and drama through which students will explore the prototypicality and the notion of literature, conceptual structure in human cognition and narrative shaped by frame, schema and script as well as to use AI/digital tools to answer questions of literary studies in the digital age, especially those of quantity, distance, and scale.

Graduation requirements

Students must complete and obtain Grade D or above on all the 6 core modules of the Programme as well as two other electives with a total of 24 credits. Students also must obtain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Career Prospects and Further Studies

  • Graduates of MA-TS may seek employment in a wide range of jobs, including drama teaching , dramaturgy, and art and cultural management.
  • Further studies opportunities, such as MPhil and PhD, in local and overseas institutions.

Supporting Organizations (for research resources and visits)

  • Centre for Ibsen Studies, University of Oslo, Norway
  • International Association of Theatre Critics (Hong Kong)
  • Hong Kong Repertory Theatre

Qualifications Register Record Details

QR Registration No.: 22/000167/L6

Registration Validity Period: 18/03/2022 To 31/08/2024

Level: 6


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