About the Program
The Graduate Group in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley provides an interdisciplinary and individually crafted curriculum directed at advanced studies in the literatures, performances, cultural contexts, and theories of performance throughout the world. Based in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, the PhD program in Performance Studies takes advantage of Berkeley’s distinguished history in the field of drama and theater studies and opens out to a wider interrogation of the disciplines and methodologies of performance studies. The program is administered by the Graduate Group in Performance Studies, comprised of faculty from a wide range of related departments. Students in the Performance Studies PhD program conduct research in a diverse array of interdisciplinary methodologies, on projects spanning the fields of theater, dance, and performance studies.
Admission to the University
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Admission to the Program
The graduate group admissions committee seeks applicants with qualities that will enable them to succeed in an intensive interdisciplinary program: creativity and analytical skills, practical experience, individual initiative, and intellectual rigor. Priority will be given to applicants whose research interests dovetail well with current faculty resources. Candidates holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree in theater, literature, performance studies, dance, or any appropriate humanities-related field are eligible to apply for admissions. The graduate group is particularly interested in applicants who have already formulated a specific focus of interest, including professional theater or dance practitioners who demonstrate a capacity for and training in advanced scholarly study. Please see the graduate group webpage for additional admission information.
As part of the application, you will be asked to submit the following:
- All college transcripts
- Three letters of recommendation
- TOEFL scores (if applicable)
- Personal Statement
- Statement of Purpose
- Critical Writing Sample (15-20 pages)
Doctoral Degree Requirements
Normative Time Requirements
Normative Time to Advancement
Normative time to advancement is three years.
Normative Time in Candidacy
Normative time in candidacy is three years.
Total Normative Time
Total normative time is six years.
Time to Advancement
The following is a breakdown of requirements to be fulfilled during the student’s first five semesters of study. All courses must be taken for letter grades. For additional information, please see the graduate group Program of Study
|THEATER 200A||Introductory Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Research in Performance||2|
|THEATER 200B||Research Colloquium||2|
|THEATER 200B||Research Colloquium||2|
|THEATER 201A||Foundations in Performance Theory||4|
|THEATER 201B||Current Topics in Performance Study||4|
|THEATER 202||Methodologies in Performance Studies||4|
|THEATER 203||Performance Practicum: Bodies, Space, and Time||4|
|Complete eight additional 4-unit graduate seminars, including at least two different Theater 266 seminars. All electives must be pre-approved by the HGA.|
|See below for details|
To prepare for appointment as a graduate student instructor (GSI), students are required to take THEATER 375, usually in the fall semester of the first year (this course is not offered in the spring). For those students who have stipend support for their second year and who will not apply for a summer GSI position, the pedagogy course may be taken during the fall semester of the second year. Also, GSIs for TDPS enroll each semester in THEATER 300 with their teaching supervisor.
Students sit their qualifying exams in their sixth semester before proceeding to the dissertation.
Time in Candidacy
For additional information, please see the graduate group Program of Study
During the dissertation phase, students are expected to submit a copy of their dissertation prospectus (by the end of the seventh semester).
Fifth Year Presentation
Students give a public presentation of their research in the ninth semester.
Students are expected to complete their dissertations within the normative time frame (i.e., 12 semesters from the start of the program).
Faculty and Instructors
Brandi N. Catanese, Associate Professor. African-American Drama and Theater.
Abigail T. De Kosnik, Associate Professor. Technology and Performance, Artistic Appropriation and Remix, Ethnicity, Gender, and Digital Culture, Cultural Studies, Subcultures and Fan Cultures, Marxism and Post-Structuralism .
Julia Fawcett, Associate Professor. Restoration and 18th Century Theater and Performance, Performance Historiography, Intersections Between Literature and Performance, Autobiographical Performance, Urban Space, Celebrity, Gender, and Disability Studies .
Peter Glazer, Associate Professor. Directing, Adaptation, Performance Theory, 20th century American Theater, Commemorative Performance .
+ Mark Griffith, Professor. Classical drama and performance, Greek and Latin literature.
Shannon Jackson, Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Arts + Design. Performance Studies, Contemporary theater, American cultural history and Performance Historiography, Adaptation.
SanSan Kwan, Associate Professor. Critical Dance Studies, Transnational Asian American Studies, Cultural Geography, Theories of Space and Kinesthesia, Interculturalism, Modern Dance, Ballet, and Yoga.
Angela Marino, Associate Professor. Politics and performance in the Americas, Latin/o American performance and dramatic literature, popular fiesta and carnival theory.
Laura E. Perez, Professor. Post-1965 U S Latina/o Visual, Performance, and Literary Arts, U S women of color feminist, queer thought, cultural studies, decolonial aesthetics and decolonial spiritualities .
Juana Maria Rodriguez, Professor. Queer Theory and Cultural Activism, Latin@ Popular Cultures, Performance Studies, Critical Race Theory, Sex and Sexuality Studies, Technology and Media Arts .
Miryam Sas, Professor. 20th century poetry, Japanese Experimental Theater and Dance, Memory and Trauma, Mass Media and Cultural Studies, Film.
Mary Ann Smart, Professor. Opera, music and gender, music and politics, historical acting and staging, live performance and technology in contemporary opera.
Shannon Steen, Associate Professor. Performance and critical race studies (especially the intersection of African and Asian American histories), American Studies, globalization and American urban development, and post/modernisms.
Minh-Ha Trinh, Professor. Feminist Theory, Film Theory and production, Comparative Literary and Art Theory, Cultural Politics, Third World Arts and Politics.
Sophie Volpp, Associate Professor. Classical Chinese performance, Chinese literature of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, history of performance, gender theory, the history of sexuality, and the representation of material culture .
Alexei Yurchak, Associate Professor. Theories of discourse, power and performance, the politics of aesthetics, irony and ideology, contemporary media, Russian informal art, Soviet state socialism and postsocialism, cities and urban space.
Paola Bacchetta, Professor. Transnational feminist and queer theories, inseparabilities of gender, sexuality, 'race'-racism, postcoloniality, Hindu nationalism, global political conflict, feminist and queer of color, and right wing movement discourses and practices in the U S , India and France, transnational feminist and queer alliances.
Charles L. Briggs, Professor. Performing the diseased body and its therapeutic intervention, biomedical and vernacular, theorizing relations between narrative and violence, mediatization and its reified objects, creating modern subjects by creating their 'traditional' Others.
Julia Q. Bryan-Wilson, Professor. Theories of artistic labor, feminist and queer theory, performance, production/fabrication, craft histories, photography, video, visual culture of the nuclear age, and collaborative practices.
Judith Butler, Professor. Performance and identity, gender and sexual politics, human rights, anti-war politics, messianic gestures in Kafka and Benjamin, philosophical fictions in Freudâ€™s work, gender in translation.
+ Nadia Ellis, Associate Professor. African diasporic, Caribbean, and postcolonial literatures and cultures.
Joe Goode, Professor. Choreography and interdisciplinary performance.
Jocelyne Guilbault, Professor. Ethnomusicology, Caribbean Musics (popular and traditional), Creolization, Power, Cultural Politics, Nationalism, Diaspora.
Andrew Jones, Professor. Childrenâ€™s Literature, Chinese Popular Music, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Literary Translation, Media Technology, Modern Chinese Fiction, Sonic Culture.
Anton Kaes, Professor. Modern German theater (Expressionism, Brecht, and the theater of the 1920s), postmodernist theater and film, the relationship between theater and film, theory of film, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies.
John Lie, Professor. Social theory, political economy, Korean diaspora.
Dan O'Neill, Associate Professor. Meiji print culture and literature, TaishÃ´ aesthetics, postwar intellectual history and popular culture, the novel in comparative perspective, global modernisms, and critical theory (particularly in relation to affect and aesthetics).
Beth Piatote, Associate Professor. Native American literature, history, law and culture, Native American/Aboriginal literature and federal Indian law in the United States and Canada, American literature and cultural studies, Ni:mi:pu: (Nez Perce) language and literature.
+ Susan Schweik, Professor. Disability Studies, Poetry, 20th-Century American Literature, 19th-Century American literature, Cultural Studies, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Race and Ethnicity.
Darieck Scott, Associate Professor. 20th and 21st century African American literature, creative writing, queer theory, and LGBTQ studies, race, gender and sexuality in fantasy, science fiction, and comic books.
Graduate Group in Performance Studies
15A Dwinelle Hall