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.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2019
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2020
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.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
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. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Completion Rates & Times
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.
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)
Marshall, Hallie (Theatre, 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)
Rizzotti, Patrick (theatre design, production design, augmented reality, narrative visual experience , design for new works, devised work, site specific experiences)
Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Julia Suzanne Henderson
"Dr. Henderson's dissertation is a critical exploration of aging and old age in contemporary, professional Canadian theatre. It investigates recent English-language, Western-based plays, asking how they offer alternatives to stereotypical, negative ways of depicting aging and old age either through aspects of their dramaturgy and/or production." (November 2018)
- Dr. Lindsay Lachance
"Dr. Lachance's research makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Indigenous Theatre on Turtle Island. Her work provides excellent historical context and advances an original and deeply persuasive argument about the importance of dramaturgy in the conceptualization and embodied experience of Relational Indigenous theatrical methods." (May 2018)
- 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)