General information Teaching Examinations Structure of degree Study blocks Study units

Theatre Research

Theatre research studies the performing arts and drama, different forms of performance and theatre as a part of society. Studies deal with the various components of theatre, such as acting, directing and drama, their characteristics and history, as well as the theory and research methodology applied in the field. At the University of Helsinki the focus is on performance, particularly theatrical, but optional specialist courses also provide students with insight into dance and other performing arts.

A major in theatre research provides professional qualifications for a research career only. The employment of graduates often depends on the minor subject and the graduates’ personal characteristics and experience, together with the nature of elective studies completed in theatre research. Minor subjects suited to students interested in working as critics and dramaturges include the Finnish language, communication as well as literary subjects, while social and administrative sciences are useful for those aiming at theatre administration. Other subjects related to theatre research include aesthetics, art history, musicology as well as film and television studies. History, philosophy, languages and psychology also make suitable minor subjects.

Basic and intermediate studies in theatre research focus on the key theories and methodologies, drama and performance analysis as well as the history of drama and theatre. Students mark the plays they have studied on a separate list available on the Theatre research website. The latter phase of intermediate studies emphasises the students’ own ability to produce and evaluate academic text. Students later expand their proseminar paper written for intermediate studies into a Bachelor’s thesis.

Advanced studies deal more extensively with questions related to drama and theatre, offering students the opportunity to focus on elective specialist fields and research methodologies. The courses support independent research where students apply their theoretical knowledge of theatre research using a critical approach. Students majoring in theatre research write a Master’s thesis in the field. In addition to advanced studies, students are expected to complete 20 credits of their choice   which ideally support the Master’s thesis writing process.

No specific language requirements have been defined for theatre research. In practice, students need good skills in English in addition to the two national languages of Finland (Finnish and Swedish) in order to follow the course instruction. Other recommended languages include German and French.


Progress/order of completion of studies, and grading principles

Students first complete their basic studies and then proceed to intermediate studies. Since special courses are not arranged every year, exceptions may be made in their order of completion. Each course is evaluated independently, and the overall grade equals the average of all completed courses. Courses are graded on a scale of 0 to 5.

It is recommended that students complete 35 credits of major subject studies in their first year. This corresponds to the basic studies and one module in intermediate studies. Basic and intermediate courses are offered freely to all University of Helsinki students. Students are also encouraged to include language studies (15 credits) and other studies (10 credits) in their first-year studies.

Students must complete the basic studies and intermediate courses listed in the course catalogue before signing up for the proseminar. Furthermore, the course dealing with methods in art research and the interpretation of art must be completed prior to the proseminar (TTT101/406363).

It is recommended that students complete 25–35 credits of major subject studies in their second year. In each teaching period during the second year of studies, students shall complete at least 5 credits in theatre research. Contact teaching in the first three periods depends on the course offering. In the second year, students are encouraged to work on basic studies in their minor subject and complete any missing language studies (25–35 credits). As a rule, studies abroad should be completed in the spring of the second year or the autumn of the third year.

In their third year, students should choose elective major subject studies in their field of specialisation (10 credits), unless completed earlier, and focus on the proseminar and Bachelor’s thesis (10 credits, periods I–IV). The remaining minor subject studies are to be completed in the third year (40–50 credits).

It is recommended that students complete 30 credits of Master’s-level studies in periods I–II of their first year of Master’s studies (advanced courses, elective studies and other studies), 30–35 credits in periods III–IV of the first year (general art theory, elective studies, one advanced course, research planning and seminar), 30–35 credits in periods I–II of the second year (seminar, Master’s thesis, elective studies and other studies) and 25 credits in periods III–IV (Master’s thesis and other studies).


Methods of completion and courses

With the exception of separately identified courses that require compulsory attendance as well as the proseminar and seminar, studies in theatre research can be completed as lecture courses, book examinations or essays. From intermediate studies onward, many courses offer a range of literature to select from. The literature for book examinations and essays is agreed on with the university lecturer (basic and intermediate studies) or the professor (advanced studies). Examinations are arranged on general examination dates (for further information, see Faculty examinations in the course catalogue).

The courses, including the required reading, have a scope of 5 credits each.

More detailed information about instruction is published in WebOodi. Instructions concerning theatre research studies are available on the discipline’s website.

The Faculty’s website provides general information related to studies.