Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre (PhD)


The Ph.D. program offers students the opportunity to pursue theatre studies through coursework, comprehensive examination preparations and a doctoral dissertation project.  Students are expected to give primary attention to an area of expertise of their choice while training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field.  As a small program, the faculty are particularly interested to work with students whose academic interests relate to their own fields of expertise and/or the broader research strengths and resources of the Department of Theatre and Film at UBC.  All Ph.D. students will be given the opportunity to develop their academic teaching skills as teaching assistants in UBC's undergraduate theatre studies classes.

Faculty research specialties include classical theatre and its modern adaptations, modern drama, the receptions of alternative theatre and cinema, theatre and health, disability theatre, dramaturgy, intercultural theatre and performance, Asian theatre, twentieth-century Chinese and Japanese theatre, as well as Canadian, American and modern British theatre. Our students also engage with professors and students in our renowed directing, design and film graduate programs.






What makes the program unique?

Students in this program enjoy strong mentoring relationships with core faculty members and develop research expertise in an area of their choice while also training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field. They also engage with professors and students in our renowed directing, design and film graduate programs. UBC offers a world-class research library, a dynamic, multicultural theatre environment and a strong research-oriented university community.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Program Components
Faculty of Arts


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Career Outcomes

Career Options

Graduates of the Ph.D. program have been successful in a range of pursuits following the completion of their degrees. Some have taken up faculty positions at UBC and prestigious institutions elsewhere. Others have had found the program invaluable for enhancing their credentials and finding work as professional dramaturgs, actors, directors, college instructors, secondary school teachers and art administrators.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations22223
Total enrolment131313129
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots.

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Burnett, Cathy (Movement and dance)
  • Firkins, Jacqueline (costume design)
  • Gardiner, Robert (Sceneography , stage design, lightning )
  • Heatley, Stephen (Theatre, acting, directing, new play development, comedy, commedia dell’arte, solo performance, play producing, Canadian theatre, Canadian plays, Literature, gender/sexuality)
  • Johnston, Kirsty (Dramatic literature and theatre history with particular interest in disability arts and intersections between health, disability and performance )
  • Liu, Siyuan (twentieth century Chinese theatre and Asian Canadian theatre)
  • Malloy, Stephen (Theatre, directing, acting, playwriting, contemporary classics, David Mamet, Samuel Beckett, Canadian theatre, Irish drama, ancient Greek theatre, Sam Shepard)
  • Marshall, Hallie (Performance and Theatrical Productions, Religion, Culture and Space, Arts and Cultural Traditions, Poetry, Cultural Industries, Literary or Artistic Work Dissemination or Reception ContextsTheatre, Ancient Greek Theatre, Classics, Reception Studies, History of the Book, Tony Harrison, Contemporary British Theatre, Poetry)
  • Mathijs, Ernest (film, alternative cinema, independent cinema, European cinema, horror film, David Cronenberg, film audiences, film festivals, censorship, fantasy film, Lord of the Rings, Film studies)
  • Murphy, Gayle (Voice for the Actor, Voice and speech)
  • Powers, Bradley (Production Technology)
  • Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Alexander Ferguson
    "Dr. Ferguson studied principles of cognitive neuroscience to better understand how we use our bodies and minds to make sense of our surroundings during a theatre performance. He examined how artists create spatial compositions in which audience members use their physical memories and neural patterns to create meaning and new experiences." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Trish Everett-Kabut
    "Dr. Everett-Kabut's research explores the use of theatrical performance as a tool for propaganda, education and community building in the early years of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in 1930's Vancouver. This work suggests that workers' theatre in Canada was far more widespread than previously believed and suggests that theatre was and remains a vital tool for political and social change." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Parie Pui Yee Leung
    "Dr. Leung studied how East Asian artists in Canada and Britain started theatre companies to create opportunities for Asian Canadian and British East Asian cultural expression. Comparing Toronto's fu-GEN theatre and London's Yellow Earth, she juxtaposes two ethno-national sites not often paired together, revealing remarkable, shared vocabularies." (November 2015)
  • Dr. Selena Marie Couture
    "Grounded at the Coast Salish village of Xway' Xw@y' in Stanley Park, Dr. Couture's research demonstrates how theatrical, cultural and tourist performances are used for cultural continuation and historiography. Ways of thinking embedded in the h@n'q'@m'in@m language and place names gave access to Indigenous histories obscured by the colonial archive." (November 2015)
  • Dr. Nicholas John Harrison
    "Dr. Harrison explored the origins and development of stage fighting in Canada. He examined how the British and American influences in the art of stage combat affected Canadian theatrical violence, and how fight directors have developed as professional artists since the inception of Canada's Stratford Shakespeare Festival." (November 2012)

Further Program Information


September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
25 September 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2019
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2019

Program Information

Application Enquiries

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