Performance Studies

University of California, Berkeley

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.

Visit Graduate Group Website


Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

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:

  1. All college transcripts
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  4. Resume/CV

  5. Personal Statement

  6. Statement of Purpose

  7. 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

Core Colloquia
THEATER 200AIntroductory Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Research in Performance2
THEATER 200BResearch Colloquium2
THEATER 200BResearch Colloquium2
Core Seminars
THEATER 201APerformance Theory: Key Topics4
THEATER 201BPerformance Theory: Enduring Debates4
THEATER 202Methodologies in Performance Studies4
THEATER 203Performance Practicum: Bodies, Space, and Time4
Complete eight additional 4-unit graduate seminars, including at least two different Theater 266 seminars. See below for details.
Pedagogy Courses
THEATER 375Teaching Reading and Composition in Performance Studies2
See below for details.
Performance Studies Electives

Two different THEATER 266 seminars (4 units each) must be taken in the first five semesters in the program.

Complete at least two graduate seminars offered by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. Only THEATER 266, not Theater 299, may fulfill this requirement and all electives must be discussed with the Head Graduate Advisor and approved before the start of each semester.

Additional Electives

Six additional graduate seminars (4 units each) offered by any department must be taken in the first five semesters in the program.

Complete at least 6 additional graduate seminars (200 level) offered by any department at UC Berkeley, may include additional THEATER 266 seminars. All electives must be discussed with the Head Graduate Advisor and approved before the start of each semester.

Pedagogy Courses

To prepare for appointment as a graduate student instructor (GSI), students are required to take THEATER 375 in the fall semester of the first year (this course is not offered in the spring). 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).


Performance Studies

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Performance Studies

15A Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-7613

Visit Graduate Group Website

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Avy Valladares, PhD

15A Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-7613

Head Graduate Advisor

Roshanak Kheshti, PhD

15L Dwinelle Hall

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