Graduate Program

In the past decades, graduate study in the field of performance studies has undergone an energetic renovation, and “performance” itself has become critical to scholarship and research across the humanities. At the same time, this disciplinary ferment has demanded a much higher degree of specialization and of scholarly rigor from Ph.D. candidates seeking academic careers at the college and university level. The Graduate Group Ph.D. in Performance Studies at Berkeley is at the cutting edge of this epistemic shift. Centered in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, it is composed of an unrivaled faculty drawn from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Doctoral students have the opportunity to engage in performance activities that complement dissertation research, which itself ranges across the contemporary horizon of performance studies, as shown by the breadth of dissertation topics and placement information on this web site.

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 Ph.D. program in Performance Studies at once 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 an interdisciplinary graduate group, the Graduate Group in Performance Studies, comprised of faculty from a wide range of related departments. Students in the Ph.D. program in Performance Studies conduct research in a diverse array of interdisciplinary methodologies, on projects spanning the fields of theater, dance, and performance studies.

The Ph.D. program is designed as a five-year program (10 semesters). It offers core courses, but no predetermined areas of emphasis. Each student determines an individual research agenda within the broader field of performance studies, using faculty resources to develop both a clear field specialization and a sense of interdisciplinary innovation.