Skip to content

Coronavirus Updates: See latest COVID-19 news from Harvard Extension School.

Dramatic Arts Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Dramatic Arts degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits).

To get started in the program:

  1. Review the details below to learn more about the curriculum and course selection.
  2. Determine your initial admission eligibility.
  3. Complete the 3 courses for admission.

Required Courses

The degree is highly customizable. Within the program curriculum, you choose the dramatic arts and elective courses that meet your learning goals. 

  • Proseminar
  • Five dramatic arts courses
  • One dramatic arts seminar
  • Two dramatic arts general electives
    • EXPO 42a is an elective option
  • Thesis proposal tutorial
  • Master’s thesis (8 credits)

Eight of the above courses (32 credits) need to be taught by instructors with the Harvard instructor designation. The thesis course is taught by a Harvard instructor.

Admissions

This overview of the basics can get you started and tells you where to find more details and additional information.

Initial Eligibility

  • Prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated for equivalency.
  • You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in dramatic arts or a related field. Check your eligibility.
  • The Admissions Office makes all final determinations about program eligibility.

After establishing your initial eligibility, your admission is based largely on your academic performance in the Harvard Extension degree program courses required for admission.

Earning Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following three, 4-credit, graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • HUMA 100 Proseminar: Graduate Research Methods and Scholarly Writing in the Humanities
    • Before registering, you’ll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or earn a B or higher in EXPO 42a Writing in the Humanities.
    • You have two attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in the proseminar (a withdrawal grade counts as an attempt). The proseminar cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.
  • One dramatic arts course
  • One dramatic arts course or elective (e.g., EXPO 42a)

While the three courses don’t need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, we highly recommend that you start with the proseminar. All three courses must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of the third degree course, submit an official application to the program. 

Don’t delay! It is critical to prioritize the three degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll avoid the delayed application fee or the loss of credit for expired course work, while gaining access to exclusive benefits (see below).

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 9 more courses after admission to earn the degree.

For details about full eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Degree Program Admissions.

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

You are required to come to Cambridge for at least three courses (12 credits). However, given the in-person workshop teaching method of our dramatic arts courses, the majority of the courses are available only on campus.

To Complete Your Degree

Required GPA, Withdrawal Grades, and Repeat Courses

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in each of the three degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses. In addition, your cumulative GPA cannot dip below 3.0.

Withdrawal Grades. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Repeat Courses. We advise you to review the ALM program’s strict policies about repeating courses. Generally speaking, you may not repeat a course to improve your GPA or to fulfill a degree requirement (if the minimum grade was not initially achieved). Nor can you repeat a course for graduate credit that you’ve previously completed at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School at the undergraduate level.

Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any three degree applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program. Moreover, courses over 5 years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied.

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Dramatic Arts. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Candidate Exclusive Benefits

When you become an officially admitted degree candidate, you have access to a rich variety of exclusive benefits to support your academic journey. To learn more, visit degree candidate academic opportunities and privileges.