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Ph.D. in Theatre

Ph.D. in Theatre

The doctoral program in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University is especially designed for those students planning careers as faculty members in higher education with a degree emphasis in the theories (both historical and contemporary), histories, and cultural applications of theatre and performance in various contexts. It is this aspect of the program that prepares students to contribute meaningfully to theatre and performance scholarship and to be effective teachers within those disciplines.

Practically, the course of study aims to prepare graduates to conduct original research in a way that will contribute to the level of scholarship in the student's area of specialization, to teach, and to participate in theatre production in educational settings in a range of capacities. Accordingly, students are evaluated in three areas: scholarship, teaching ability, and artistry. Thus, it is assumed that upon graduation the holder of a Ph.D. will possess a thorough understanding of the theory and history of theatre and performance.

While the mission of the Department is to prepare graduates who approach the theory and practice of theatre and performance in an integrated manner, it should be understood that the primary emphasis of any doctoral program in the arts focuses on historical, theoretical and pedagogical approaches to the subject matter rather than solely or even predominantly on artistic practice.

It should also be noted that in addition to offering a degree in film at the undergraduate level, the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University also contributes in meaningful ways to the graduate level media studies program that is offered through the American Culture Studies program. Additionally, the Department supports student exchange/study abroad opportunities with the Department of Theatre at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Creativity - Inventive practice within and beyond the traditions and processes of theatre and film performance, including expressive application of the various technologies of performance. To do so requires

Collaboration - as a necessary process of inquiry in creative activity. To do so requires

Communication - fluency in the various languages of artistic expression (both high and low cultural forms) and critical practice (textual as well as applied).To do so requires

Commitment - to the processes of artistic practice as collaboration and commitment to the larger critical values associated with the role of theatre and film in society as an agent of personal expression as well as public discourse. To do so requires an awareness of

Community - an understanding of social responsibility and individualism and the ability and desire to contribute to each within and outside the academy as scholar-artist-citizens.

The doctoral faculty in the Department of Theatre and Film are accomplished researchers and artists. Many serve or have served as leaders in numerous regional, national and international scholarly organizations, including the editorial boards of a number of refereed scholarly journals. Individual members of the faculty serve or have served as senior editor for Theatre Annual and editor for Theatre Topics and Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.

Members of our faculty have published or are contracted to publish book length studies with:

  • University of Michigan Press
  • University of Mississippi Press
  • Southern Illinois University Press
  • Alta Mira Press
  • Wayne State University Press
  • Scarecrow Press
  • University of Alabama Press

Essay length studies authored by our faculty have appeared in numerous prestigious journals including:

  • The Drama Review
  • Text and Performance Quarterly
  • Theatre Topics
  • Theatre Annual
  • Journal of American Drama and Theatre
  • Theatre History Studies
  • Qualitative Inquiry
  • Women's Studies Quarterly
  • Popular Culture Review
  • Spectator
  • International Review of Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative Inquiry

In terms of artistry, the doctoral faculty has and continues to be involved practically in theatre in both university and professional contexts, participating as performers, directors, and dramaturges.

The Department of Theatre and Film accepts two to four new students into the Ph.D. program annually. We seek to accept students who we believe are capable of contributing to the scholarly conversations in the field and, at the same time, excel as theatre educators and artists. Successful applicants will have already earned the M.A. degree in theatre or a related or cognate field (e.g., English, Communications, Performance Studies, History), and demonstrate their skills as readers and writers through the application materials they submit. 

Students apply for admission through the Bowling Green State University Graduate College website: /content/bgsu/en/arts-and-sciences/neuroscience/graduate-program/apply-online.html

Applicants must have completed a Bachelors degree and have completed or be on course to complete a Masters degree by the time they would be admitted to the program in order to apply for the doctoral degree in Theatre.

GRE scores are required for consideration of admission.

In addition to the Graduate College requirements, student should send the following material directly to the Department of Theatre and Film Graduate Coordinator, Jonathan Chambers, PhD.

  • Three letters of Recommendation. The letters should speak directly to the applicant’s potential for success in a graduate program in Theatre that focuses on the theoretical, historical, critical and cultural scholarly applications of performance and theatre.
  • A Sample of the Student’s Written Scholarship. The sample should demonstrate the student’s strength as a writer as well as the student’s interest in an area of performance and/or theatre scholarship.
  • A Personal Statement of Intent detailing the student’s purpose for enrolling in the program and outlining his or her career goals (no more than three pages).
  • The Application for Assistantship is required if the student is requesting funding (due no later than January 15th to be considered for admission in the subsequent fall).

In an extraordinarily competitive job market, the Ph.D. graduates from the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University do exceedingly well. Over  95% of our graduates have found employment within higher education at institutions across the country and around the world. Generally, our students find employment in institutions that approach theatre studies in the liberal arts tradition.

Successful Ph.D. graduates have secured employment in higher education at Lander University, the College of William and Mary, Lafayette College, University of North Dakota, Ashland University, John Carroll University, Hillsdale College, Goshen College, Central Missouri State University, Truman State University, Northwestern College, California University of Pennsylvania, Seattle Pacific University, University of Otago in New Zealand, Stetson University, Charleston Southern University, Virginia Wesleyan, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Texas A & M University -Commerce, University of Toledo, Cerro Coso Community College, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Kennesaw State University, and National Taiwan University.

Recent Ph.D. thesis include:

“Unmasking Talchum: An Embodied Inquiry into Korea’s Masked Dance-Drama”

“Revelations of a Genealogy: Biblical Women in Performance during Twentieth-Century American Feminisms”

“Rethinking Artaud’s Theoretical and Practical Works”

“Eric Bentley’s 'Double' Lives”

“Woman Writes Herself: Exploring Identity Construction in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Pioneer Girl”

“Musical Theatre in the Mountains: An Examination of West Virginia Public Theatre's History, Mission, Practices, and Community Impact”

“Towards the Horsewoman: Performing Femininity in the American Horse Training and Riding Arenas”

“Miss Homegrown: The Performance of Food, Festival, and Femininity in Local Queen Pageants”

“Playing (With) Space in the 'Author on the Wheel'”

“Culture, Crisis, and Community: Christianity in North American Drama at the Turn of the Millennium

Date of last review: University Program Review in 2005-2006 & National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) accreditation revalidated in 2001-2002.

Date of next scheduled review: NAST accreditation revalidation in Spring 2013

The student develops the degree program and pursues the degree in a close relationship with a faculty advisor.  Decisions are made by the student with the advice and help of the advisor.

Initially, and continuing for the first two semesters (i.e., Fall 1 and Spring 1), registration and advising is accomplished in conference with the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Jonathan Chambers. Coursework is not solely determined by the student’s interests, but depends upon program requirements and course schedules and availability.

Near the end of the first year of study, each student, in consultation with Dr. Chambers, should choose a permanent advisor suitable to direct the student’s course of study and assemble a departmental committee of three or four. The student’s permanent advisor and committee are verified in writing by submitting the Advisor and Committee Approval form.  In addition to the advisor and committee members, the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair must sign this form.  

Only Department of Theatre and Film doctoral faculty members who have been granted Regular Graduate Faculty status are eligible to chair dissertations. The following faculty members in the Department of Theatre and Film currently have Regular Graduate Faculty status and are eligible to chair doctoral committees:

Dr. Cynthia Baron
Dr. Jonathan Chambers
Dr. Eileen Cherry-Chandler
Dr. Michael Ellison
Dr. Lesa Lockford
Dr. Scott Magelssen
Dr. Ronald Shields

The permanent advisor will assist the student with his/her course of study and with preparation for the Qualifying Examination (i.e., Exams Stage I), and as chairperson for the Specialized Portfolio (i.e., Exams Stage II), dissertation prospectus, research and writing of the dissertation, oral defense, and preparation of the final manuscript for submission to the Graduate College.  

Although students are not encouraged to change advisors, they may do so whenever a change is warranted.  Such a change would be considered appropriate if a student decides to change his or her primary area of research specialization, or if faculty newly eligible to advise Ph.D. committees (new hires or people who attain Regular Graduate Faculty status during the student’s course of study) have expertise in the student’s research area.  Usually such changes are mutually agreed upon by the student and the advisor.  A student wishing to change advisors should submit a written request to the Graduate Coordinator and are subject to the approval of the Graduate Coordinator and the Departmental Chair.  It is imperative that any student wishing to change advisors consults directly with the current advisor to discuss the situation before moving forward.  Needless to say, students should communicate their plans in this regard clearly to all parties involved as early in the process as possible.

Ph.D. students on assistantship are normally awarded a half-time contract for a nine-month period, which carries a 20 hours per week service obligation.  Whenever possible, students’ preferences are taken into consideration in making these assignments.  Nonetheless, departmental needs must take priority.  All questions in regards to assistantship assignments in the Department of Theatre and Film should be addressed to the Chair, Mr. Steven Boone.  Mostly, Ph.D. students in the Department of Theatre and Film are given assignments in teaching and/or production during any given semester.  

A.  Renewals of Assistantships:
Renewal of an assistantship is not automatic.  Students must formally reapply through the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Film.  Application guidelines for reappointment will be provided during the spring term (usually in February).  Such applications will be evaluated by the Chair on the basis of the following criteria:

-Satisfactory progress toward the degree in accord with expectations and timeliness articulated by the department
-Satisfactory performance of assistantship duties
-Availability of funds
-Departmental staffing needs

The reapplication procedure must be followed.  Ph.D. assistantships usually are eligible for renewal for up to potentially four years of on-campus study. Given the ever-present possibility of funding cuts for graduate study, students are encouraged to seek assistantships in other areas on campus if they have appropriate qualifications for available positions.

B. Removal of Assistantship:
An assistantship may be taken from a student for any one of the following reasons:

1. Failure to make satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree.
2. Inadequate performance of the duties associated with the assistantship.

a. If teaching a course this includes (but is not limited to), failure to follow and execute in good faith course syllabus, guidelines and objectives as determined by the departmental course coordinator; failure to attend regularly scheduled course planning sessions (usually weekly) as determined by the departmental course coordinator; and failure to complete departmental and university course evaluations.
b. If in a non-teaching assignment this includes (but is not limited to), failure to complete duties and satisfy hour requirements as determined by supervising personnel.

3. Failure to maintain minimum registration (at least 9 semester hours of graduate credit per semester).
4. Academic suspension for ethical or legal misconduct as specified in student code.

C.  Summer Assistantships:
On occasion, the Department of Theatre and Film offers a limited number of assistantship positions in the summer.  The exact number of positions varies from year to year and is dependent on instructional and production program needs. Graduate students should not assume they will automatically receive summer assistantships if requested.  They should also be aware that availability of summer teaching assistantships is directly linked to course enrollment.

D.  Dissertation Fellowship:
The Department of Theatre and Film, through support from the Graduate College, usually offers one non-service fellowship on a competitive basis each year to an exceptionally qualified doctoral candidate in his/her final year of study.  If available, this non-service fellowship carries a waiver of fees (except the General Fee) and a stipend that is at least the equivalent of a half-time contract for a specified period (one semester or two consecutive semesters). The two objectives of this fellowship are to improve the quality of the dissertation and to assist the progress of students through the doctoral program.

The qualifications are:

1. Only doctoral students who are on track to have completed all requirements for ABD status before commencement of the fellowship are eligible.
2. It is expected that students receiving this award will be entering their final year of eligibility for University support.
3. The student must have his/her dissertation topic approved at all levels including the Graduate College before the first pay period of the academic year for which the fellowship was granted.
In consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, the student will register for a specified number of credit hours for the duration of the fellowship. Typically, full-time enrollment (9 credit hours per semester) would be expected. However, this number will vary depending upon the student’s progress in the program.  The student must be supervised by his/her major professor. Research work, course work, and dissertation work are to be carried out at BGSU unless off-campus study has been approved.  Information pertaining to application for the non-service fellowship is available from the Graduate Coordinator in the beginning of spring semester.

A.  Supplemental Employment:
Because academic success is the primary goal of graduate study, graduate students are strongly discouraged from engaging in paid employment of more than 20 hours per week, including the assistantship assignment, when classes are in session. Graduate assistants must confer with the Graduate Coordinator and the Chair of the Department before accepting additional employment, whether on or off campus.  Dissertation fellow appointees may not engage in any employment during the period of their appointment.  Federal regulations strictly prohibit international students from working more than 20 hours per week.

Before a graduate assistant contracts with an on-campus unit for additional employment, a Graduate Assistant Supplemental Payment form must be submitted to the Graduate College.  The signature on the form indicates that the Graduate Coordinator and Chair have been informed of the student’s intent to take on supplemental work.

B.  Financial Aid:
Any questions you may have concerning your eligibility and maximum allowances for financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid office.  It is the student’s responsibility to monitor how federal regulations concerning financial aid will have an impact on his or her continuance in graduate education.

  1. General Degree Requirements:

    1. A minimum of 90 semester credit hours including M.A. degree and dissertation hours.

    2. No less than 18 or more than 30 credit hours of THFM 7990, Dissertation Research. Students may list 18 credit hours on the TDP.

    3. Language preparation courses may not be included in the minimum of 90 credit hours even though they may be expected or required by the department.  (See “Research Tool Requirement” on page 7 of this handbook).

    4. Undergraduate and M.A. repair courses, and courses that are audited, may not be included in the minimum of 90 credit hours even though they may be expected or required.

    5. Thirty hours of credit from a student’s masters program may be counted toward the minimum 90 credit hours required.  Up to nine additional hours of post M.A. work from another school may be accepted (if these credit hours were earned as doctoral work elsewhere).  See the Graduate Catalog for specifics regarding transfer of credit.

    6. No more than 6 credit hours of THFM 6880, 7960, or 7970 (Internship or Practicum in Theatre) may be included in the minimum program.  These credit hours may potentially be used to satisfy specific program requirements upon approval by the Graduate Coordinator.  Approval must be secured in advance of registering for the course.

    7. More than two registrations/six credit hours of THFM 7840, 7850, and 7860 (Directed Readings and Independent Study) will require special justification.  

    8. All full time students are required to attend the Graduate Seminar, a weekly meeting for departmental and/or professional discussions.

    9. All students must complete the following Tool Sequence for a total of 12 credit hours:
      THFM 6590 Research Methods in Theatre and Performance
      THFM 7810 Research and Publication
      THFM 6630 Introduction to Performance Studies
      THFM 7680 Interdisciplinary Theory

    10. All Students must complete 15 credit hours offered from the History & Literature/Theory/Criticism (HLTC) sequence:
      THFM 6600 Theatre/Performance in Cultural Context I
      THFM 6610 Theatre/Performance in Cultural Context II
      THFM 6650 Period, Style, and Form
      THFM 6700 History of Theatre/Performance in the Americas
      THFM 7660 Theatre/Performance History: Ancients – 16th Century
      THFM 7670 Theatre/Performance History: 17th Century – 21st Century
      THFM 7720 Critical Traditions in Theatre/Performance I
      THFM 7730 Critical Traditions in Theatre/Performance II
      THFM 7740 Contemporary Theory
      THFM 7750 Modernism and Theatre

    11. All students must complete 15 credit hours offered from the Performance Studies/Practice (PSP) sequence:
      THFM 5630 Performance Composition
      THFM 5720 Scene Design
      THFM 5730 Costume Design
      THFM 5740 Lighting Design
      THFM 5750 Scene Painting
      THFM 5760 Styles of Rendering for Theatre and Film
      THFM 6640 Directing Practice
      THFM 6670 Staging Image and Text
      THFM 6680 Performance Studies (may be repeated when topic changes)
      THFM 6690 Theatre for Young Audiences
      THFM 6710 Theatre Organization and Management
      THFM 6820 Theatrical Visions (may be repeated when topic changes)
      THFM 7600 Theatre/Performance Pedagogy
      THFM 7620 Directing and Staging Theory

    12. Independent Studies (THFM 7840 Directed Readings in Theatre/Performance & THFM 7860 Research Problems in Theatre/Performance may potentially be taken to fulfill any of the three categories subject to approval by Graduate Coordinator. Approval must be secured in advance of registering for the course.

    13. Courses in other departments may in rare cases be taken as a substitute for a required course, upon approval of the Graduate Coordinator.

  2. Sample Course of Study:

    Fall 1:
    THFM 7660 Theatre/Performance History: Ancients – 16th Century (HLTC)
    THFM 6670 Staging Image & Text (PSP)
    THFM 6820 Theatrical Visions (PSP)

    Fall 2:
    THFM 6650 Period, Style, and Form (HLTC)
    THFM 6590 Research Methods (Tool)
    THFM 7740 Contemporary Theory (HLTC)

    Fall 3: 9 credit hours of Dissertation Research

    Spring 1:
    THFM 7670 Theatre/Performance History: 17th Century – 21st Century (HLTC)
    THFM 7620 Directing and Staging Theory (PSP)
    THFM 6660 Introduction to Performance Studies (Tool)

    Spring 2:
    THFM 7680 Interdisciplinary Theory (Tool)
    THFM 7810 Research and Publication (Tool)
    THFM 5740 Lighting Design (PSP)

    Spring 3: 9 credit hours of Dissertation Research

    Summer 1:
    THFM 6680 Performance Studies (PSP)

  3. Research Tool Requirement and Foreign Language Proficiency:
    All doctoral students are required to take the four courses in the Tool sequence. However, should a student wish to pursue dissertation research that requires proficiency in a foreign language, proficiency in the foreign language must be established through the student’s satisfactory performance on an examination administered by one of the language departments.  Students may take the exam on an individual basis after consultation with the appropriate examiner well in advance of the exam date, or may opt to take it at the conclusion of the courses FREN/GERM/LAT/SPAN 5000/6000. Taking this course would be in addition to the 90 credit hours required for the degree. The Educational Testing Service’s Graduate School Foreign Language Testing program may also be used to satisfy this requirement.

  4. CREDIT HOUR BREAKDOWN:
    30 hours – MA
    12 hours – Tool Sequence
    15 hours – History & Literature/Theory/Criticism
    15 hours – Performance Studies/Practice
    18 hours – Dissertation
    90 TOTAL HOURS

  1. Assembling a Committee:
    Near the end of the second semester of study, the student should submit the names of his or her proposed advisor and committee to the Graduate Coordinator and Departmental Chair for approval. The majority of the committee must consist of regular members of the Theatre and Film faculty who hold the Ph.D. The committee shall consist of a minimum of two persons in addition to the advisor. All committee members must have graduate faculty status in the Department of Theatre and Film.  The student is responsible for ascertaining each faculty member’s willingness to serve on the committee and having each person sign the required form. This advisor and committee will, at minimum, take student through the preliminary exam process and potentially through to the defense of the dissertation. The committee is verified in writing by submitting the Coordinator/Chair Committee Approval form.  (Note: this form also verifies the choice of the student’s permanent advisor.)  

    Although students are not encouraged to change advisors, they may reasonably do so at the completion of the Preliminary Exam process. Such a change would be considered appropriate if a student decides to change his/her area of primary scholarly interest or direction.  Usually such changes are mutually agreed upon by the student and the advisor.  Students wishing to change advisors should submit a written request to the Graduate Coordinator and are subject to the Coordinator’s and Chair’s approval.  Before taking this step, the student must communicate directly with the current and prospective advisors, and the chosen advisor must indicate willingness to serve.

  2. Preparing the Exam:
    In the fall of second year of study, the student prepares Exam Stage I: Qualifying Exam for submission to student’s committee by October1st. The exam is comprised of a Research Portfolio of two essays not to exceed 45 pages collectively, a two to three page rationale for proposed dissertation research, and a reading list comprised of sources in the student’s proposed area of dissertation research and proposed methodology. The essays are revisions of previously written papers prepared during doctoral course work at BGSU. The papers are to be reflective of History & Literature/Theory/Criticism and/or Performance Studies/Practice coursework and demonstrate proficiency and scholarly depth in research and writing. Each student is required to consult with his or her permanent advisor in the process of articulating the contents of the Research Portfolio. The selection of the essays for inclusion in the Research Portfolio is subject to the student’s advisor’s approval. Advisors read and respond to essays just one time. As such, the responsibility for shaping the essays for review rests primarily with the student. In light of this, the student should understand that the exam is structured to test his/her qualifications, skills, and knowledge.  Thus, outside of helping the student determine what essays should be included, and providing comments one time on one draft, the advisor will take an essentially hands-off approach.  Additionally, the Research Portfolio will be nurtured through revisions in THFM 6590. Finally, it is imperative that all the work within the Research Portfolio is the student’s work alone. Outside of the help in THFM 6590 and the student’s advisor, the student is strictly forbidden from enlisting the help of others for the purposes of editing the contents of the Research Portfolio. Failure to heed this restriction constitutes a breach of academic honesty and may result in termination from the program and/or expulsion from the university.

  3. Evaluation of the Exam:
    By October 1st, the student submits the revised contents of the Research Portfolio to the two other members of the student’s committee for evaluation. Each essay will receive an evaluation of “Pass” or “No Pass.”  In the event of a tie, the advisor will read and evaluate. If the student’s work is evaluated as unsatisfactory (i.e., “No Pass”) by one of the two readers on one of the research papers, the advisor will read and evaluate.  If after the advisor reads the paper, at least two of the three readers deem the paper to be a “No Pass,” the student will need to revise the paper and resubmit it for evaluation no later than the first day of the spring semester.  If the student’s work is evaluated as unsatisfactory (i.e., “No Pass”) by two of the three readers on both of the research papers, she or he will be required to retake the examination during the subsequent semester of study (i.e., spring of the second year). Additionally, the student may be required to complete additional course work in preparation for the re-examination. After the student’s work has been evaluation, the student’s committee will provide some written feedback. The Graduate Coordinator will compile the results and notify the student. There will not be an oral defense for the Qualifying Exam. Successful completion of Exam Stage I results in the making of the Application for Preliminary Examination (top half of Preliminary Exam Report) and the request to the Graduate College to appoint a faculty member from another department to serve as the Graduate College Representative.

  4. Failure to Pass the Exam:
    As a general rule, students who have not completed and passed the Qualifying Examination by the end of the fall semester will not have enough time to adequately prepare to pass the preliminary exams (Specialized Portfolio) in time to qualify for a renewal of assistantship (i.e., third year funding).  The student may rewrite the failed exam only one time.  Failing satisfactory completion of the Qualifying Exam will result in dismissal from the graduate program.

Once the student has passed the in-house Qualifying Examination, she or he must next complete and pass the Specialized Portfolio.  The Graduate College requires that all doctoral students take a “preliminary examination” that is both written and oral.  The Department of Theatre and Film meets the requirement through the Specialized Portfolio (sometimes referred to as Stage II).  The purpose of the Specialized Portfolio is not only to meet the Graduate College preliminary examination requirement but also to allow the student an opportunity to explore his/her area of specialization and to demonstrate a mastery of those issues to be explored in more depth in the dissertation.  It is the responsibility of the student and his/her advisor to schedule and plan the Specialized Portfolio.

  1. The Exam Process:
    In the spring of the second year, student prepares the Specialized Portfolio (Exams Stage II). The student may not engage in Exam Stage II until the student has passed the Qualifying exam (Exam Stage I). The contents of the Specialized Portfolio are nurtured through peer and instructor review in THFM 7810.  The contents of the Specialized Portfolio are then submitted to the entire committee including the appointed graduate representative for review and evaluation. The student will then schedule a meeting with the full committee in order to conduct an oral defense of the Specialized Portfolio. The Specialized Portfolio (Exam Stage II) constitutes the formal process of the Preliminary Examination. When the full committee determines that the student has satisfied the preliminary exam requirement, all members certify approval by signing the bottom portion of the Preliminary Examination Application/Report form.  The student must pass both the written and oral preliminary examinations (Exams Stage II) by April 1st of this second year to be considered for third year funding. While students who receive funding through other sources may elect to follow a different timetable, at most, it is expected that all students will successfully defend the Specialized Portfolio within one academic year following the completion of required coursework. Any student who fails to comply with these guidelines will automatically be judged as having failed to make adequate progress towards degree and will be dropped from the program.

  2. The Nature and Scope of the Specialized Portfolio:
    It is expected that the contents of the Specialized Portfolio will demonstrate the student’s level of preparation to conduct original research that will contribute to scholarship in his or her area of specialization. Each element of critical and scholarly work in the Specialized Portfolio should be suitable for publication. The vita should be suitable for inclusion in a job application packet. This means that the Portfolio documents must reflect original research, and that they must be written in a professional, error-free manner.  Consequently, students should anticipate that they may be asked to complete multiple revisions of the various elements of the Portfolio, and should allocate sufficient time to complete these revisions.  The Portfolio as a whole will be assessed in relation to the following factors:

    • -Thoroughness and relevance of research in the main research essay and context for review and analysis
    • -Rationale and theoretical grounding of the research essay
    • -Potential for publication and significance of original contribution to scholarship in the area of specialization
    • -Appropriateness of analysis and criticism, both in the research paper and the review essays
    • -Writing style (including attention to clarity and organization as well as mechanics of grammar and subtleties of prose style)

As a general practice, students generate initial drafts of materials for inclusion in the Specialized Portfolio in the course of completing requirements for 6000 and 7000 level seminar courses and focus primarily on revising and expanding these materials during the fall and spring semester of the second year of study.  Because a significant portion of this revision often takes place during the student’s enrollment in THFM 6590 Research Methods (fall semester, second year) and THFM 7810, Research and Publication in Theatre and Performance Studies (spring semester, second year), students should plan to have written at least initial drafts of all materials intended for inclusion in the Specialized Portfolio prior to the beginning of the spring semester of their second year of coursework. In so doing, students will be able to take advantage of the opportunities for feedback presented in that course. It is expected that students will seek the opinion of their respective advisors as to the suitability of the materials they propose to revise for inclusion in the Specialized Portfolio (at the very least, major components such as the research essay) prior to commencing the spring semester of the second year of study, and that they will remain in dialogue with their advisor throughout the process of revising and developing these materials.  It should be decided between the student and the advisor whether other committee members should be asked to offer feedback on Portfolio materials while the student is in the process of revision, or whether other committee members should be involved in the process only after the advisor has approved a complete version of the Portfolio for distribution to committee members.  Once again, it is imperative that all the work within the Specialized Portfolio is the student’s work alone. With the exception of the feedback that the student’s work receives from his/her advisor, committee members, and the instructor and students of THFM 7810, the student is strictly forbidden from enlisting the help of others for the purposes of editing the contents of the Specialized Portfolio. Failure to heed this restriction constitutes a breach of academic honesty and may result in termination from the program and/or expulsion from the university.

  1. Contents of the Specialized Portfolio:

    1. Detailed professional curriculum vitae

    2. One book review (suitable for publication in an academic journal) focusing on a recent academic text in the area of theatre and performance (broadly defined). Length: 1000-1500 words.

    3. One critical performance review, approximately 1000-1500 words in length, (suitable for publication in an academic journal or other trade publication) of a professional performance event.

    4. The centerpiece of the Specialized Portfolio is an article-length work of original research suitable for publication. This should be approximately 25-35 pages in length, should address a well-defined topic in depth, and should make an original contribution to scholarship in the designated research area rather than merely reiterating or synthesizing the work of others. This essay may be an essay refined and developed from the submissions in Exam Stage I. However, any revised paper must be developed beyond the parameters of the earlier draft. Thus, the student must demonstrate his or her endeavors to incorporate feedback provided on the earlier draft, and/or offer new readings or observations other than those made in the earlier draft, and/or include in the study new findings.

    5. An expanded and refined revision of the reading list of the areas in the student’s proposed subject/s and methodology/ies for dissertation research.

    6. A more developed iteration of the rationale for the proposed dissertation.

  2. Successful Completion of the Exam:
    To complete the defense of the Specialized Portfolio, the student must:

    • Pass Stage 1, the Qualifying Examination
    • Have an accumulated grade point average of 3.2 in approved graduate courses
    • Pass both the written and oral portion of the exam.
    • Pass the exam by April 1st to be considered for third year funding.

The dissertation must be an appropriate culmination of the candidate’s program of study and must represent scholarly research appropriate in method and subject to the degree program.

  1. Advisor:
    Normally, the major professor who supervises a student’s course of study is also the dissertation advisor.  All faculty directly involved in this process should be informed of the student’s intention as early in the process as possible.  The advisor must be a member of the theatre graduate faculty who holds a Ph.D., and moreover, must qualify as a member of the Regular Graduate Faculty.  Before selecting a dissertation advisor, the student must consult the Graduate Coordinator to determine the potential advisor’s eligibility to advise dissertations.

  2. Eligibility:
    A student must have passed Exams Stage II: Specialized Portfolio before a dissertation topic can be approved.  However, the prospectus for the dissertation is developed concurrently with the Specialized Portfolio in the spring semester of the second year of study and nurtured through peer and instructor review during THFM 7810 Research and Publication.  The prospectus is also given additional development in consultation with the student’s advisor. In order to ensure adequate progress toward degree, the prospectus must be defended by the beginning of the fall semester of the third year of study. Furthermore, it must be noted that the prospectus must be defended no less than six months prior to oral defense of the dissertation.

  3. Selection of Topic:
    The student and his/her advisor explore potential dissertation topics.  This process may begin as early in the student’s residency as s/he chooses.  The topic area should be well defined by the fall term of the second year of study, and the method of research identified sufficiently early so that the student may have time to accomplish any necessary additional reading and research. The dissertation is expected to be a scholarly document, making an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrating the student’s potential as a scholar.  Potential topics should be carefully researched in advance, before proposal, in order to be certain that someone else has not investigated them.

  4. Dissertation Committee:
    Normally the dissertation committee should include those faculty members who served as assessors for the defense of the Specialized Portfolio/Preliminary Exam (verified by filing Committee Approval Form), along with the Graduate College Representative assigned by the Graduate College (assigned upon submitting Preliminary Exam Report).  Once the committee is officially constituted and approved by the Graduate College, any changes require special approval, which should be sought by means of petition to the Graduate College and must also be endorsed by the Graduate Coordinator and Chair in the Department of Theatre and Film (to do so, complete Change of Advisor Form).

  5. Prospectus Hearing:

    1. Once the student has the approval of his/her advisor to take the prospectus to committee, s/he will schedule a hearing.  

    2. At least two weeks before the scheduled meeting the student will provide his/her committee the dissertation prospectus.

    3. The prospectus should not only clearly outline the proposed topic of study, but should also demonstrate the student’s ability to complete the proposed research.  In order to satisfy this requirement, the student must demonstrate that s/he is thoroughly familiar with existing scholarship in the chosen area of specialization, and that the work s/he proposes to do will contribute substantially to the scholarly conversation in this area. Students should anticipate that the advisor may ask for substantial revision of the prospectus before allowing the student to distribute the document to the committee as a whole, and should budget their time accordingly. The dissertation prospectus should include the following components:

      • Title
      • Relevant background information to introduce and contextualize the proposed area of research
      • Concise statement of the central research questions that the study will address (sometimes described as statement or description of research problem)
      • Discussion of objectives of the study and justification of its significance
      • Review of extant scholarship in the field and consideration of how this study will contribute original insights (Note: A list of titles of other scholarship is not sufficient to satisfy this requirement. Rather, the student must demonstrate that s/he is familiar with other work in the research area and that s/he is prepared to enter into scholarly conversation with others who have made contributions in this field.)
      • A discussion of the research methods the student will employ in completing the study
      • Principle sources of data
      • Limitations of the study (Note: Limitations in this context does not mean an “apologia” for the shortcomings of either the researcher or the proposed study. Rather, it is an opportunity to delineate and justify the boundaries of the study—chronological, geographical, types of data to be considered, etc.)
      • Tentative organization of the study into chapters (Note: Proposed chapter titles are not sufficient, and should be supplemented by abstracts or tentative summaries of what will be covered in each section)
    4. At the hearing, the student will first orally defend and elaborate on the prospectus and receive feedback from the advisor and the committee on the proposed research project.  When the committee members are satisfied that the student is ready to proceed with work on the dissertation, they indicate their formal approval by signing the Thesis/Dissertation Topic Approval form.  This form must be filed with the Graduate College at least six months before the student expects to receive the degree. Thus, for example, if the student plans to graduate in the summer (typically the first week of August), the topic approval must be secured by the first week in February.  If human subjects are involved in the research (surveys, interviews, questionnaires, etc) prior approval of the dissertation topic by the BGSU Human Subjects Review Board must be secured.

  6. Defense of the Dissertation:
    The student works principally with the advisor in researching the topic and writing preliminary drafts.  At least two weeks prior to the date when oral defense of the completed dissertation is expected, the student must furnish each member of the committee with a readable draft in good form, including documentation and bibliography.  Committee members may require revision prior to the oral defense.  The student meets with the committee and a public audience for oral defense of the dissertation.  If the dissertation is successfully defended and the manuscript is acceptable in both content and form, the committee indicates its approval by signing the ETD Submission/Approval Form.  It should be noted that the approval form is divided into two sections, “Final Examination Report” and “Manuscript Approval.”  Thus it is possible, even though the final oral examination has been passed, for the committee to request substantive changes or additions before approving the manuscript.  In planning to meet Graduate College deadlines, the student should take this possibility under consideration. Only one negative vote is permissible.

  7. Abstracts:
    Abstracts of dissertations must be provided along with the final draft.  (See “Thesis and Dissertation Handbook” for details.)

  8. Copyrights and Permissions:
    The use of photographs, images, and extended quoted material (i.e., entire published poems, or lengthy quoted material) in the dissertation require the consent of the authors/creators.  It is the student’s responsibility to secure those permissions in writing prior to defense of the dissertation. Consult with the Graduate College for the exact limitations on the use of others’ material.

  9. Timeline for Degree:
    It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of all deadlines pertaining to completion of the degree. Be sure to check the “Dates to Remember” link on the Graduate College Web Page and the Graduate Catalog for specific dates and procedures. Also consult with the Graduate Coordinator and/or your advisor for any departmental deadlines you are required to meet. While the plan for the degree outlined in this Handbook suggest that the program takes three years to complete, students may find the program takes longer or shorter depending on when they complete the requirements.  Furthermore, students need to be aware that every time they turn in documents (i.e., all drafts of the contents of the Research Portfolio, the Specialize Portfolio, the Dissertation Prospectus and the Dissertation) to their advisor and/or committee, a two-week “read” time is given to the advisor and/or committee.  Moreover, certain weeks during the year are not counted in the two-week “read” time: i.e., winter break between fall and spring semester, fall break, Thanksgiving break, spring break, the week after spring semester and prior to the first summer session. Furthermore, students must be aware that many members of the faculty are not available for consultation and advisement during summer term.  To this end, students should make every effort to complete the dissertation during the regular academic year (i.e., fall and spring terms). Consequently, each of these times may elongate the turn around time for the return of these documents to the student for revision or in preparation to take the work to committee. Also, as per university regulations, be aware that you must be registered for at least one credit hour during the semester in which you want to graduate.

  10. Process for Completing Forms:
    Students are advised that they are responsible for collecting all appropriate signatures.  Once all signatures have been collected, the student must then take the form to the Administrative Secretary in the Main Office of the Department of Theatre and Film and the appropriate copies will be made and given to the appropriate parties.  Copies must be made before the forms are turned into the Graduate College.

  11. Graduate Community Participation
    As a student admitted to the graduate program in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University, you are a member of a professional community. As such you are expected to participate in the graduate and professional community life of the department. While there are many ways you can do so, what follows are the minimum expectations for your participation. First, you are expected to support your colleagues and peers by attending the productions on the BGSU Department of Theatre and Film stages. You are also encouraged to take on production responsibilities insofar as your course work and, if you are funded, your duties for your assistantship will permit. Additionally, you are expected to keep the hour of eleven o’clock to noon on Thursdays free for our Graduate Professional Seminar and to attend the seminar when it is convened.  During the seminar time, in addition to information that will be made available to you to help you pursue your degree, we will also provide information that may help you in your career beyond BGSU. The post-performance production discussions will also be conducted during the Graduate Seminar time.  You or your peers are invited to use the time to present your research to the community in preparation for presentation at national conferences. Additionally, professional guests will be invited to present their research from time to time.

  1. Procedures:

    1. Registration for the first term of study will be completed by the Departmental Administrative Secretary following consultation with the Graduate Coordinator. Registration for subsequent semesters must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator and/or the student’s advisor and will also be completed by the Departmental Administrative Secretary.

    2. Registration for internships, practicums, independent studies, directed readings, and directed research requires an additional registration approval form, which is obtained from the Administrative Secretary in the main office of the Department of Theatre and Film.  Students must complete this form, which must include a brief statement of the independent work or internship, and signatures of approval by the advisor, the person directing the research or internship, and the Chair of the Department.  The Administrative Secretary will register students for these courses after proper registration papers are completed.  This must be done the first week of classes.

    3. Students wishing to register for courses in other departments are often required to obtain approval in advance from the Graduate Coordinator in that department.  Additionally, students must secure approval from the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Theatre and Film, as well as his/her advisor.  When taking courses outside the Department of Theatre and Film, students are advised to meet with the instructor of record during his or her office hours before the first class meeting.

    4. Changes in registration after the semester begins will result in fees being assessed according to the Registration and Records Refund Schedule. If fees are assessed for changes in registration, the student will bear the financial burden of those fees.

  2. Limits on Hours of Registration:

    1. Students not on assistantship or fellowship have no minimum registration hours except as noted below.

    2. No student may register for more than 18 hours of credit without permission from the Dean of the Graduate College.  Permission will not be granted to students on probation.  An excess credit fee is charged beyond 18 hours.

    3. Students holding assistantships are required to register for no more than 9 hours of graduate credit each spring and fall semester.

    4. Students may not enroll for dissertation hours until they have successfully defended the Specialized Portfolio and dissertation prospectus.

  3. Registration When Not in Residence:
    Graduate College requirements mandate continuous registration for one hour each semester, if a student leaves the campus, with all requirements for the degree completed except the dissertation, or the preliminary examinations.  This is not done automatically.  The Graduate College does not require this registration during the summer term unless the student is graduating at the August graduation.

  4. Time Limits:

    1. Graduate College requirements mandate that the degree be completed within eight years from the time the student first registered for doctoral work at BGSU.  Course work older than eight years becomes invalidated, and the student must revalidate his/her work, take additional work, or be dropped from the program.  

    2. Graduate College regulations provide that no student may receive more than five academic years of assistantship/fellowship support at the doctoral rate.  Three years is typical for the doctoral degree in the Department of Theatre and Film.  Only in exceptional circumstances will a student be funded for an additional fourth or fifth year.

    3. The usual pattern of degree work for students in continuous residence is:
      *Years 1 and 2
      : completion or near completion of course work and tool requirements. Successfully passing Exam Stage I and Exam Stage II by April 1 of the second year.
      *Year 3: successfully defending the dissertation prospectus by the beginning of the fall semester of the third year.  Completion of the dissertation by end of spring semester of the third year.
      *A student in continuous residence who has not passed the review of the Research Portfolio (Exams Stage I) and the Specialized Portfolio (Exam Stage II) by the end of the second semester of his/her second year of study (April 1), is not making satisfactory progress toward the degree and may be deemed ineligible for further departmental funding (i.e., either third or fourth year funding).
      *While students who receive funding through other sources may occasionally elect to follow a different timetable, it is expected that all students will successfully defend the Specialized Portfolio within one academic year following the completion of required coursework.  Any student who fails to comply with these guidelines will automatically be judged as having failed to make adequate progress towards degree and will be dropped from the program.

  5. Transfer Credits:
    The Graduate College limits the number of graduate hours that may be transferred from another accredited institution to 39 semester hours: 30 master-level hours, plus nine hours of Ph.D. work.  Approval of transfer credit may be requested by memorandum at an early date.  Approval is accomplished by the same route as the TDP.  Students may petition for credit once they have completed eight hours of graduate work at Bowling Green State University.

  1. Grades for Theatre 7990:
    Grades for Theatre 7990 are reported as “Incompletes” until the completed dissertation is approved.

  2. Incompletes:
    An INC (incomplete) is given only when, for some approved reason, a student fails to take the final examination or to fulfill a definite requirement in a course. An INC can be removed and a grade substituted if the student completes course requirements to the satisfaction of the instructor prior to the deadline established by the Graduate College.  The outside deadlines for removal of incomplete grades for the respective academic semesters are:  

    Fall semester:  June 1
    Spring semester:  September 1
    Summer semester:  January 1

    However, an individual instructor may come to an agreement with his or her student for an earlier deadline for removal of an incomplete grade.  For courses taken S/U, any mark of INC not removed by these deadlines will change to U.  For courses taken for a letter grade, any mark of INC not removed by these deadlines will change to F.  The graduate dean designate has the authority to extend the deadline for an incomplete.  The student must petition the graduate dean designate for such consideration in writing and prior to the expiration of the deadline.  The instructor’s support is required for approval of the request.

  3. Probation:
    Students failing to meet the following minimal standards may be dropped from the program or placed on probation at the discretion of the Department of Theatre and Film Graduate Faculty, or the Graduate Dean.

    1. Minimal Standards:

      1. Students must maintain a graduate grade point average of 3.2 or better.
      2. Students must make satisfactory progress toward a degree by completing all courses attempted each semester, and passing all exams within periods set forth in this handbook.
    2. Students on probation will be subject to the following regulations:

      1. Permission will not be granted to enroll for more than 9 hours of credit.
      2. Assistantships may be removed.
    3. Generally, students remaining on probationary status for more than one semester will be dropped from the program.

If the Department of Theatre and Film recommends that a student be dropped from a degree program, the student is no longer considered as a degree student, although the student may continue course work.  If a student is dropped from a degree program, all assistantship support is terminated.  If dropped, the student must petition the department for reinstatement as a degree student.  In certain cases, the department may elect to discontinue funding for a student making marginal progress without dropping that person from the program, in which instance the student will be eligible to seek support elsewhere or to cover their educational expenses by other means.  In certain instances, given just cause, a student may be dropped from the program even if s/he does not receive assistantship support through the Department of Theatre and Film.

Credit for course work older than eight years will not apply toward degree requirements unless revalidated by retaking the course(s) or by a formal examination.  Time spent in the armed forces is exempted in applying this time limitation.  The appropriate application form is available from the Graduate College must be submitted through the following channels:

  1. Chair of Department of Theatre and Film
  2. Theatre and Film Graduate Faculty
  3. Graduate Coordinator in Theatre and Film
  4. Graduate Dean
  1. Directed Readings, Independent Studies and Directed Research:
    THFM 7840, 7850, and 7860 may be taken by doctoral students and included in the TDP under the following conditions:

    1. Subject matter not covered by an existing formal course or seminar is highly appropriate to a student’s program of study, or

    2. A required course cannot be offered within a reasonable time span for degree completion, or

    3. A student is engaged in supervised research not leading directly to the dissertation.   

    4. A maximum of two THFM 7840, 7850, and 7860 courses (or a total of six hours) may be included in the minimum required Ph.D. program and counted on the Tentative Degree Program.

  2. Evidence of Artistic Ability (Acting, Directing, Design, Playwriting, etc.):
    All students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in theatre practice by participating in the production program on campus, or in the community where their work may be observed by the faculty.  This activity may be done on a voluntary basis, for credit under individual registration, or occasionally in discharge of work responsibilities for those on assistantship.  Production activity normally is planned in the spring for the following academic year, and those students with production obligations are urged to plan ahead so that the appropriate applications and petitions may be supplied to the faculty in advance.  Students with unusual programs may be asked to include participation experiences other than those specified above, as part of their graduate experience.  All students, in consultation with his/her advisor, must select an appropriate creative assignment for evaluation and assessment.  Once the assignment has been completed, the student will publicly discuss the project in an approved venue, such as the weekly scheduled graduate seminar

  3. Performance Studies Certificate:
    This graduate certificate program is available through the Department of Theatre and  Film which may be acquired during ongoing doctoral studies. It is available to all students of the university. Through the program students will explore the histories, theories, and practices of Performance Studies. The focus is on the relationship between text and practice; performance as a reflection of society, a witnessing to an experience, or a challenge to social structures or ways of knowing; emerging ideas of audience reception theory; interdisciplinary connections with cultural studies, communication studies; and U.S./global performance practices. May be used as a research methodology or area of specialization within a degree program or other course of study, as a gateway into an advanced degree program in Performance Studies/related field, or as a foundation for work in community-based performance or theatre of social action/change.

    CURRICULUM:
    Core Sequence (9 credits):
    THFM 6630 Introduction to Performance Studies (3)
    THFM 6680 Performance Studies (3)
    THFM 6660 Directed Research in Portfolio Development for the Certificate to serve as a capstone experience.

    Supplementary Elective Courses (9 credits):
    Electives for the Graduate Certificate Program in Performance Studies may be filled by courses in Theatre and Film, and/or other departments and programs. Will be selected by student and approved by the Graduate Coordinator.

    Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Performance Studies is made through application for admission on the Graduate College web page. Two letters of recommendation are required for consideration. Letters on file from the student’s concurrent graduate program may be forwarded to complete the application.  After acceptance into the program, the student must complete a Certificate Plan of Study.  For more information contact Dr. Jonathan Chambers, the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Theatre and Film.

The Tentative Degree Program (TDP) is a form, submitted through the Department of Theatre and Film to the Dean of the Graduate College, specifying all course work and the nature of the degree program.  This proposed course of study established by student and advisor is submitted to the Graduate Coordinator for endorsement.  The Graduate College specifies that the TDP must be submitted before the first year of doctoral work is completed. On the departmental level, we require students to begin the TDP process in the middle of the second semester of study. All courses of study must include:

  1. At least 90 semester credit hours, including the M.A. Degree (30 credit hours) and hours of Dissertation (18 credit hours)

  2. The required courses in various areas, as stipulated under “General Degree Requirements” (pages 5-6 of this handbook).

  3. Audits and undergraduate and M.A. repair courses may not be included in the total even though they may be expected or required.

  4. Students must meet with the Graduate Coordinator and their faculty advisors before completing the TDP.  After a TDP has been submitted, any changes in the TDP must be accomplished in writing, approved by the student’s advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, and the Graduate College on the Addendum to the Tentative Degree Program.

  5. As is the case with all documentation for the degree, students are responsible for collecting all appropriate signatures. Once all signatures have been collected, the student must then take the form to the Administrative Secretary in the Main Office of the Department of Theatre and Film and the appropriate copies will be made and given to the appropriate parties.  Copies must be made before the forms are turned into the Graduate College.

  6. Final TDP Check Prior to Graduation:
    In the semester prior to their graduation, students are responsible for applying for graduation by the deadline set by the Graduate College (Check the “Dates to Remember” link found through the Graduate College Web Page).  Before applying for graduation, each student must meet with his/her advisor to check to see if the courses s/he actually took accord with the plan of study set forth on the originally filed TDP. If there were changes, then an Addendum to the Tentative Degree Program needs to be filed with the department and the Graduate College. After this procedure of checking with the advisor is completed, the student must also have the Graduate Coordinator’s approval that the student’s course of study matches the requirements of the program.  Once the Graduate Coordinator approved the student for graduation, then the student should apply for graduation.