PhD Program Requirements

There are six main requirements in the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies' PhD program: 

  1. Fulfilment of the residence requirement
  2. Fulfilment of course requirements
  3. Fulfilment of language requirements that vary according to the student’s major area of study
  4. Successful completion of comprehensive examinations
  5. Successful completion of the prospectus defense
  6. The writing and successful defence of a dissertation

For timelines, please see Academic Milestones: PhD Program by Year

  • Students must complete 4.0 approved full-course equivalents (FCEs) with an average standing of at least A-, including:

    • DRA 1011H Traditions of Performance Theory (0.5 FCE)

    • DRA 1012H Twentieth-Century Theatre and Performance (0.5 FCE).

    • Satisfy the centre's academic skill requirements by completing:

      • DRA 5001H The Disciplines of Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies: Research Methods (0.5 FCE) 

      • DRA 5002H Dissertation Proposal (0.5 FCE).

  • Demonstrate reading knowledge of a language other than English by passing an approved language examination no later than the end of Year 2. Students may also be asked to qualify in other program-related languages.

  • Pass comprehensive examinations by the beginning of Year 2.

  • Pass the prospectus defense at the end of Year 2 or the beginning of Year 3.

  • Present a thesis on an approved topic embodying the results of original investigation which shall be judged to constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge of the field.

  • Pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis.

The PhD program provides funding for 4.5 years. 

A PhD candidate must demonstrate a reading competence in a language other than English. This should be either French or another language useful or necessary in the student’s scholarly work.
Examinations and Courses to Fulfill Language Requirements 2018-2019
The following exams are open to graduate students who need to fulfill language requirements. Please contact the relevant graduate department to register for the exam or for more information.

September 14, 2018, 1-3 pm, Room LI103, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park      

Note: Non-Departmental Qualifying Latin Examination. Bilingual dictionaries are allowed. Students must register with Coral Gavrilovic at least two weeks in advance of the exam. Consult the department for the date of the spring examination.

February 28, 2019, 1-3 pm, Location TBA

Note: Bilingual dictionaries are allowed. Students must register with the Italian Studies graduate coordinator at least two weeks in advance of the exam. We also require from students the name and email address of their home graduate coordinator so that we could inform them about the results of the examination.


Note: Exams are offered on an individual student basis twice a year, normally in late October or in February, but are not scheduled unless required. Students who wish to take an exam in any of the following listed languages (Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Finnish) should contact the Slavic Department at least one month in advance and indicate which language they wish to be tested in, which department requires the test, and what kind of test is required (e.g. reading competence, speaking fluency, writing).

Spanish & Portuguese 
November 2, 2018, 10-12, Location TBA

Students who would like to sit for a Spanish or a Portuguese exam must register with Sara Solis at least two weeks in advance of the exam. Students should write stating the language of the exam, and providing the name and email address of their home graduate coordinator so that we could inform them about the results of the examination.

Note: Bilingual dictionaries are allowed.

East Asian Studies

Note: Students who need to be examined in Mandarin, Korean or Japanese should contact Natasja VanderBerg.


FSL6000HF, Reading French   Tuesdays, 4-6              Teefy Hall, 101
FSL6000HS, Reading French   Tuesdays, 4-6              Teefy Hall, 101

Note: Open to Masters and PhD graduate students who need to fulfill their graduate language requirement. On a case by case basis, students with prior language qualifications can access the exam-only option (still with course registration) after prior screening by the home department in support of the exam-only option. For more information, visit the French website


GER6000H F – Reading German, Wednesdays, 2-4 Teefy Hall Room 203
GER6000H S – Reading German, Wednesdays, 2-4 Teefy Hall Room 2

Note: This is an intensive course that covers German grammar with focus on acquiring essential structures of the German language to develop translation skills. The course is conducted in English, with a focus on reading and translating German. Prior knowledge of German not mandatory. U of T graduate students who are not enrolled in either the fall or spring course but wish to write the exam may contact the German graduate office at 416-926-2321 for registration This course is not intended for MA or PhD students in German.

Comprehensive exam (September of Year 2): this four-hour written exam tests a doctoral candidate’s ability to critically engage with a broad range of dramatic texts, theatre and performance theories and histories. The exam has two parts. In the first part, students are asked to identify and explicate important passages from a selection of key works (see Dramatic Literature Comprehensive Exam Reading List (2016-2017)). The second part consists of essay questions, with students asked to draw connections among a range of plays from across time periods and geographical locales, according to thematic, generic, or other criteria, in each essay. Both parts of the exam give students a choice of questions.
View the full dissertation process at Academic Milestones: PhD Program by Year
For thesis information, please visit Producing Your Thesis on the School of Graduate Studies website. 
For more information about the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies requirements, please visit Academic Milestones: PhD Program by Year

What constitutes good academic standing?

The Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies defines good academic standing following the School of Graduate Studies' Maintaining Good Academic Standing requirements.

MA students are required to achieve a minimum average of A- in their coursework, with no individual course grade below A-. 

Many decisions are made based on good academic standing including: funding, departmental support for research and grant applications, continuation in the program, and more.