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
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. A complete list of graduate academic 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 can be found on the Graduate Division website.
The minimum graduate admission requirements are:
A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
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:
- 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||Performance Theory: Key Topics||4|
|THEATER 201B||Performance Theory: Enduring Debates||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. See below for details.|
|THEATER 375||Teaching Reading and Composition in Performance Studies||2|
|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.
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.
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).
Graduate Group in Performance Studies
15A Dwinelle Hall