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Academic Milestones: PhD Program by Year

Year 1 and 2: Coursework

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

Mandatory courses: 

  • DRA1011H Traditions of Performance Theory (0.5 FCE)
  • DRA1012H Twentieth-Century Theatre and Performance (0.5 FCE)
  • DRA5001H The Disciplines of Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies: Research Methods (0.5 FCE)
  • DRA5002H Dissertation Proposal (0.5 FCE)

Elective courses:

  • Selected from the list of courses offered by the Centre and other units depending on the student’s research interests.

Independent Study:

  • FCE or two 0.5 FCE courses maximum (related to research interests). The expectation is that the students will complete 3.0 FCEs in their first year.

Year 2

September: Comprehensive Examinations.
September to mid-November: Choosing your supervisor.
December 15: Deadline for submitting the thesis proposal for approval by the Academic Committee.

End of year 2: Language requirement. You must demonstrate reading knowledge of a language other than English by passing an approved language examination, or providing adequate documentation of language knowledge (e.g. native speakers of other languages who plan to do research in those languages and were previously academically educated in them need to present their university record to meet this requirement). Students may also be asked to qualify in other program-related languages, depending on their research.

Year 3 

Start of Year 3 (September-October): Prospectus defence. 

After completing and defending their prospectus, students start writing their thesis. Their supervisory committee has to meet twice that year (including the prospectus meeting). 

Year 4

Dedicated to writing the doctoral thesis, with two supervisory committee meetings. 

Year 5

Thesis. Submission of a dissertation 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. Final Oral Examination. 

The Dissertation Process

  • Mandatory theory and history courses (DRA1011H and DRA1012H) lay the ground for preparing students for their comprehensive exams, whereas the academic skills development courses (DRA5001H and DRA5002H) prepare them for their Prospectus. 

  • 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. 

  • Prospectus defence (September-October of Year 3): Students should develop the draft of their Prospectus in DRA5002H (Winter, Year 2), in collaboration with their supervisor and the supervisory committee. The final Prospectus has to be submitted to the supervisory committee no later than three weeks prior to the set exam date. The dissertation prospectus should be no more than 30 double-spaced pages, with an accompanying annotated bibliography of not more than 15 pages. 

The prospectus should have the following elements: 

  • title; date, institution; 
  • names of the committee members; 
  • a concise description of the project; 
  • clearly specified core research question(s); 
  • a brief literature review informed by the annotated bibliography; 
  • a statement about the significance of research and the contribution it is expected to make; 
  • a description of key primary sources (e.g. archival sources, visits with theatre companies, etc.), including the scope, nature, and availability of evidence; 
  • a description of the methodology(s) to be used; 
  • a timeline for the dissertation research and writing from inception through completion, including travel to archives; and 
  • an outline of the whole dissertation (chapters). 

Before Your Thesis Defence

10-12 weeks before examination date:

After Your Successful Thesis Defence

Submit: