Overview of Graduate Program
OVERVIEW OF 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.
1. Requirements Overview
2. Core Colloquia
3. Core Seminars
5. Pedagogy Courses
6. Performance Practice
7. Foreign Language
In their first five semesters of study, students are required to enroll in at least 12 units each semester and to complete successfully a minimum of twelve courses and the Colloquia. In the sixth through tenth semesters, students will devote their time primarily to independent research for the dissertation. All courses must be taken for letter grades and any Incomplete grades must be made-up as soon as possible. All Incompletes must be removed prior to applying for the QE exam in the 6th semester.
The following is an overview of requirements to be fulfilled during the student’s first five semesters of study. Each section is described in greater detail below.
– 3 courses (2 units each)
a. 200A Introductory Colloquium – to be taken in 1st Fall
b. 200B Research Colloquium – to be taken in 1st Spring
c. 200B Research Colloquium – to be taken in 2nd Spring
– 3 courses (4 units each) – to be completed in the 1st year
a. 201 Performance Theory
b. 202 Methodologies in Performance Studies
c. 203 Performance Practicum: Bodies, Space, and Time
– 9 courses (2 to 6 units per course) – to be completed in the first 5 semesters. 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 a 300-level pedagogy course for Reading and Composition.
– participation in at least one production activity other than Theater 203 “Lab Run,” as approved by the Head Graduate Advisor.
– pass a language exam, usually in Fall of the first year, or take the needed language class(es).
Theater 200A – Introductory Colloquium on Interdisciplinary Research in Performance Studies: 2 units.
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the research resources of the University, to the methodologies and research interests of the faculty affiliated with the Ph.D. program, to the demands of a professional academic career, and to trends and developments in theater, dance, and performance studies. Offered Fall semester.
Theater 200B – Research Colloquium (for both first and second year students): 2 units.
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for graduate students to work with one another to advance their individual research projects and present their ongoing work. Offered Spring semester.
CORE GRADUATE SEMINARS
Theater 201 – Performance Theory: 4 units.
This core seminar for graduate students focuses on key issues in the theory of performance, with an emphasis on contemporary theoretical inquiry. Topics can include issues of representation and identity, presence, community, social efficacy, space, corporeality, audience and transnational flows.
Theater 202 – Methodologies in Performance Studies: 4 units.
The study of different approaches and contemporary methodologies for analyzing performances of various kinds within their cultural and historical context. Specific methodologies can include archival research, field methods, etc. The specific focus in any one course is contingent upon the focus of the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with a different professor/methodology and then used as an Elective.
Theater 203 – Performance Practicum: Lab Run: 4 units.
This course is constructed around the making of performance, culminating in Lab Run, an event created, directed, and/or performed by graduate students. Lab Run will receive public showings near the end of the semester. The course is also conceived as a forum for exploring the relationship between live performance and the critical discourses of Performance Studies, as well as the relationship between practice and research. This course may be repeated for credit and then count as the second Performance Practice requirement.
Students in their first, second, and third years will meet with the Head Graduate Advisor prior to the start of each semester to discuss academic progress and receive approval for appropriate electives. Electives are here defined as graduate seminars or upper-division undergraduate courses that are taught at UC Berkeley and are recommended and approved by the Head Graduate Adviser for the curriculum of the individual student. In order for upper-division undergrad courses (no more than 3) to be approved as electives, both the Professor and the Head Graduate Advisor must approve a plan to do additional work at the graduate level. Students may also take graduate Special or Independent Study courses (for example: Theater 299) as electives, and these courses may be geared toward the preparation of examination fields; however, all Special or Independent Study courses to be used as electives must include a formal seminar paper and must be pre-approved by the Head Graduate Advisor. Please use this form.
Performance Studies graduate students may also earn one or two elective credits for being the primary leader of a performance piece in the TDPS season, or other substantial production work. This elective credit may be earned by directing or co-directing a studio production or workshop. Elective credit may also be earned by being the lead choreographer of a dance in the Berkeley Dance Project (BDP). In all cases, the Head Graduate Adviser must review and approve in advance. For more information, please see the “Performance Practice” section.
Other forms of participation — serving as assistant director, dramaturge, contributing choreographer, designer, dancer, or actor — do not automatically receive elective credit, though they do count for the practice requirement. In these instances, graduate students may supplement participation with a critical or historical essay in conjunction with the piece, or develop another adjacent project that advances the graduate student’s research and artistic profile. Upon approval of this supplementary work by the Head Graduate Advisor, students may receive elective credit for serving in these roles.
To prepare for appointment as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), students are required to take a 300-level pedagogy course for Reading and Composition. Students normally fulfill this requirement by taking College Writing 375 in the fall semester of the 1st year (this course is not usually offered in the spring). Though taking CW375 during the first semester as a GSI is allowed by Grad Division, we have found it much more valuable and productive for students to complete the course prior to teaching for the first time and require our GSIs to do so. For those 1st-year students who have stipend support for their second year (and therefore won’t teach until the third year), the pedagogy course may be taken during the fall semester of the 2nd year. Students concerned about scheduling conflicts with CW375 should speak with Robin Davidson, GSSA, about possible alternatives. Also, GSIs for TDPS enroll each semester in Theater 300 (4 units, S/U) with their teaching supervisor. In addition, all students interested in dance pedagogy are encouraged to take Theater 340 as part of their own professional development. Graduate students don’t usually teach dance courses for TDPS except as a student-led Theater 98, but Theater 340 “Pedagogy: Movement Based Courses” is required in order to be considered should there be an opening in our curriculum. This class is only offered one semester every other year so please plan accordingly.
Each student is required to engage in at least one production activity beyond Theater 203 (Performance Practicum: Bodies, Space, and Time). The requirement may be fulfilled in several ways:
- Through coursework in acting, directing, design, technique, choreography, technical theater, stage management, or playwriting at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level
- Acting, directing, designing, dancing, choreographing or writing; working as dramaturg, stage manager or assistant director; working backstage in a production in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies; or other forms of performance practice as approved by the HGA. (This need not be done as a course–merely participating counts as filling the practice requirement.)
- Taking an independent study (299), with the approval of the Head Graduate Adviser, while acting, directing, designing, etc. a production off campus
- Theater 340, Pedagogy: Movement Based Courses, can fulfill this requirement.
For students interested in incorporating directing or choreographing in their graduate program:
Any student interested in pursuing production work in the form of directing or choreographing as part of our production curriculum must first secure the approval of the Head Graduate Advisor (and the dissertation advisor if the student is ABD) before submitting any proposals. Because such production work requires a very significant time commitment, it is supported by the program only when the student is exceeding expectations in terms of progress towards the Ph.D. degree and when the proposed project bears a direct relationship to the specific program of study. The advisor(s) will take into account the applicant’s whole performance in the program, including outcomes of annual reviews, QE reports, and other documented evidence of their academic performance in the program. Endorsement of the project by the advisor(s) is a crucial part of the assessment process, but not definitive. The process of evaluation should be consultative with the student and advisor(s), as well as potentially other faculty and staff. The process should be as transparent and constructive as possible, so that no matter what the outcome, the evaluation itself can be helpful for the student in terms of achieving his/her degree objectives.
All graduate students wishing to serve as director or choreographer must then solicit the participation of a TDPS faculty production advisor. We require that you discuss your project with your advisor to assist you in the development of the proposal prior to its submission and explain that the advisor is expected to be involved in the production process. Please note that the faculty advisor will act as the instructor of record for any undergraduates enrolled in the project.
Additionally, in preparation for a Berkeley Dance Project (BDP) proposal, completion of an undergraduate choreography (146A or 146B) course is required. For a Workshop, coursework is preferred but not required.
Projects may be undertaken in either the Fall or Spring semester; however, due to scheduling, project proposals must usually be submitted in early March of the prior academic year, much sooner for BDP proposals. Please see Robin Davidson for an application and information about deadlines.
Production and practice opportunities fall into two categories:
Workshops – Performance focused, minimal technical and staff support. Undergraduates may be cast. Three weeks of rehearsal on weekdays, 20 hours per week, one day of prep in the space, two performances, Wednesday and Thursday at 7PM. Performed content should run under one hour. There are 2 slots per semester, for which graduate students and undergraduates may apply the prior spring.
Berkeley Dance Project – Graduate students with significant training and experience in choreography may be eligible to seek participation in Berkeley Dance Project (BDP). Interested students should seek guidance from the HGA and the Chair of the Production Committee. Note that programming for BDP requires a minimum of 24 months advanced application.
THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT
Much of the research material, both primary and secondary, in the field of performance studies is available only in foreign languages; this is obviously the case for the drama traditions of foreign lands, but is true as well for materials pertaining to areas such as performance theory. Students, therefore, will be required to demonstrate, in any one foreign language, a level of reading proficiency sufficient for carrying out in-depth research.
The language requirement must be completed successfully before a student can take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations.
Students may take the Foreign Language Examination during their first three years of study, PRIOR to the QE exam, in conformance with an exam schedule to be established by the Head Graduate Adviser. Exams will be designed by the appropriate language department in consultation with the Head Graduate Adviser. A grade of “B” or better in an approved graduate or upper-division UC Berkeley foreign language course may substitute for the Foreign Language Examination.
Conduct of the examination:
- Language examinations are normally given at the beginning of each semester. Under certain circumstances of individual hardship, a language examination may be scheduled at another time during the academic year. A request for such a special examination should be made in writing to the Head Graduate Adviser.
- The examination will last three hours and will consist of two parts:
- Part One requires the translation of a passage from a critical essay on drama; approximately 400 words will be quoted, of which the student will be required to translate a designated section of approximately 200 words.
- Part Two requires translation of an excerpt from a playscript; approximately 150 words will be quoted, and the student will be required to translate the entire passage. The source of each passage will be given.
- Students may use a dictionary while taking the language examinations, but no other reference tools may be used.
An examination which contains three or more major errors is judged a failure. A “major error” is defined as one which totally distorts the sense or which reduces the passage to incoherence. Normally two attempts are permitted at any of the language examinations. Permission for a third attempt, and for further enrollment in the graduate program, may be granted by the Executive Committee of the Ph.D. program if the student submits satisfactory evidence of further study in the language.
Opportunities in Teaching and Research
OPPORTUNITIES IN TEACHING AND RESEARCH
Preparation for careers in university teaching and research will include:
1. Opportunities for Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) teaching, which will take place in each instance under the guidance of a faculty member who will provide the student with appropriate preparation, observation, and consultation as a 300-level course. GSIs complete a pedagogy course prior to teaching and then take a 300-level course each time they teach.
2. Opportunities for research assistantships, which will involve the student in a scholarly project on which a chosen Research Mentor is working. These assistantships will provide the student with “hands-on” training in the conduct of professional scholarship and offer unique opportunities to participate in research conducted at the highest scholarly level.
The Academic Review Process
THE ACADEMIC REVIEW PROCESS
Reporting on one’s research progress is a routine aspect of academic life for all professors. The Graduate Program in Performance Studies seeks to cultivate this skill early in the training process. Not only can such reports enhance the research process by prompting a scholar to articulate and refine an emerging vision, but these reports also provide faculty supervisors a focused opportunity to assess student development and to provide feedback and advice. The Ph.D. in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley attributes its highly successful completion and placement rate in part to a long-standing tradition of having students submit annual reports. In the first and second years of study, students submit in the spring semester a narrative report about developing research interests and progress to date. Colloquium (Theater 200B) in the spring semester is dedicated in part to the composition of these reports. Students who have advanced to candidacy also submit an annual report, as described below.
1ST & 2ND YEAR REVIEWS
First Year Students: (Due by noon on the Thursday prior to Spring Break) During the spring semester of the first year of study, each student will present the Head Graduate Advisor with a paper written in a graduate seminar at Berkeley and a brief statement of academic progress. This statement (no more than 5 pages, single spaced) should: a) describe how the student has fared in the course of the current year, b) begin to define an area of research, and c) articulate plans to develop that research into a dissertation specialization during the second year, identifying potential fields of specialization.
Second Year Students: (Due by noon on the Thursday prior to Spring Break) During the spring semester, each second year student will provide the Head Graduate Advisor with a somewhat longer statement (6-8 pages, single spaced ) that identifies his/her progress toward the dissertation. The student should identify: a) the principal field of research, and perhaps major books/studies in the field; b) the specific project the student is thinking about and what research methods are likely be required; c) possible areas of specialization for the qualifying examination; d) a possible dissertation director and committee members, to the extent possible at this time; and e) discuss specific plans for the following year. This is not intended to be a dissertation prospectus. However, second year reports are intended to help ensure the student will be ready to craft a dissertation prospectus the following year. Sketching out a possible trajectory for the dissertation project is an important threshold and a crucial preliminary step towards formulating the 3rd year exams. Articulating a project for the first time can feel somewhat artificial, even daunting. That’s natural. A bit like the experience of an actor going ‘off book’ for the first time. Consider this report a rehearsal, and as with any production, there will be many, many, more rehearsals to follow.
These reports are due by noon on the Thursday before Spring Break. Please save in Drive and share with Robin Davidson, making sure to send the email notification. The Executive Committee will then use these reports and any supporting material in the student’s file to conduct a review. The committee will make specific recommendations to the Head Graduate Advisor who will convey this information to the student in writing as well as in a meeting.
DOCTORAL CANDIDACY REVIEW
In the fall semester of each year, all students who have advanced to candidacy will complete a brief report on the status of their research, including a summary of the dissertation research and writing completed to date, a plan and schedule for completion, and a list of recent professional accomplishments such as conference presentations, publications, and awards or grants received. The report is quite different from first and second year reports, in as much as it is more akin to a curriculum vitae of the past year’s accomplishments rather than a narrative of evolving research. Please use the Doctoral Candidacy Review (former Academic Progress Report) provided by the Graduate Division, currently on GLOW gradlink.berkeley.edu.
In order to make this process as meaningful as possible, the student should prepare a first draft of the report by the end of the fall semester and then consult with the Dissertation Director and at least one other committee member, editing the document as necessary and submitting it through the on-line process to the Dissertation Director by Feb 1. Please note that after answering the questions in the Doctoral Candidacy Review (former Academic Progress Report), the student must click Submit and then notify the Dissertation Director that the report is ready for comment. The Dissertation Director will then consult with other committee members, note the name of the member(s) with whom the student has met, add his/her response to the on-line document, and click Submit to send the form to the Graduate Division by the end of February. The student will prepare a response to the faculty comments and save both the full report and follow-up response in Drive, sharing the file with Robin Davidson and clicking yes to send the email notification. This is due by noon on the Thursday prior to Spring Break. The Executive Committee will meet to discuss progress and the HGA will prepare written feedback for each student. While the Executive Committee will defer to the Dissertation Chair to monitor and comment upon the content of the dissertation, the Executive Committee will comment on: a) timely progress towards completion, and b) ensuring that candidates are developing the right profile for successful job placement. Are the timelines for completion feasible and has there been appropriate progress since the last report was filed? If a report were to be deemed unsatisfactory, the Head Graduate Advisor would immediately consult with the student’s Dissertation Chair and/or Committee, making sure lines of communication are open. Faculty are committed to working collaboratively to help each student achieve his/her goals.
Although reviews are intended to monitor and support each student’s progress, it is the responsibility of the faculty to recognize when students are not making adequate progress toward the degree and to act accordingly, either by recommending an alternate agenda, or by initiating the procedure to place the student on probation as described in the Guide to Graduate Policy.
The Qualifying Examination Process & Calendar
THE QUALIFYING EXAMINATION PROCESS & CALENDAR
The Graduate Group views the comprehensive Qualifying Examination not as a one-time hurdle, but as the penultimate step of an extended process of deliberation and consultation, the ultimate purpose of which is the student’s successful completion of her/his dissertation.
THE FOUR-STEP EXAMINATION PROCESS
1. By the end of her/his second year, the student will have identified three areas of concentration that she/he should master for the Qualifying Examination, usually in consultation with several members of the faculty. These areas will be identified to the Executive Committee as part of the second-year review process. The student will be encouraged to include one area (e.g. anthropology, history, music, and so on) that falls outside traditional theater studies. The student is encouraged to have identified a potential dissertation director and at least one other potential Dissertation Committee member at the time of the second year review, with the understanding that the fields may undergo significant revision or change in the course of the third year.
The Qualifying Examination committee which administers the written and oral exams is comprised of four members; at least two must be Core members of the Graduate Group in Performance Studies (one of whom will be the QE Chair, at least one of these two must be from TDPS) and at least 1 member, the Academic Senate Representative (formerly “outside member”), must be from outside the Graduate Group (but still a member of the UCB Academic Senate) or be an Affiliated Graduate Group member. Customarily, one of the Core members of the exam committee will later serve as the Dissertation Director and this person may not also serve as the QE Chair. (The membership of the Dissertation Committee is not restricted to the members of the Qualifying Examination committee. A student may wish to form a Dissertation Committee that includes a member or members who were not part of the Qualifying Examination committee, but the Dissertation Committee must always have a “majority” of members (2/3, 2/4 or 3/5) from TDPS or the Core group.) *Please note that Prof. Juana Maria Rodriguez can no longer be an “outside” member.
2. In consultation with the potential Dissertation Director and QE committee members, the student will develop reading lists in three concentrations; typically, three committee members oversee the student’s development of the three reading lists and evaluate his/her performance on that part of the examination; in some cases, field exams may be co-chaired. Faculty members may, as part of the student’s preparation, invite the student to write a brief statement outlining the field, or a “review of the literature” statement, or in other ways (regular meetings, reading journal, etc.) assist the student in developing a self-conscious mastery of the field of concentration. The potential dissertation chair may, of course, be the examiner in one of these fields. The finalized reading lists should be the result of a longer process of reading and writing throughout the year (rather than the start of a process of reading and writing). By enforcing clarity and rigor up to this point, everyone will have a more satisfying and less stressful exam experience. The field preparation should be conducted as a credit-worthy course of study, meeting, note-taking, annotated bibliography and/or other writing with the examiner. (For committee members outside the Grad Group, please show them this document so that they are aware of the requirements and calendar.) For each field, this can be done as Theater 602 Doctoral Study (taken S/U), as 299 Special Study, or as part of a course taken with the professor. Note: If the 299 course is ALSO to count as an elective, then the graduate student needs to take the class for a letter grade and produce a research paper worthy of a four-unit graduate seminar. This essay can fulfill the requirements of the elective; however, the central question of the final seminar essay should be different from the central questions that the field examiner asks in the written portion of the qualifying exam. Use of a 299 as an elective seminar must be pre-approved by the HGA. See the GSSA for the application from. NOTE: The writing of the prospectus cannot count as an elective.
3. By the end of the third year, the student must take the Qualifying Examination demonstrating her/his knowledge in three selected areas that contextualize the dissertation. Please note that all Incomplete grades must be satisfactorily completed and removed from the transcript prior to applying for the QE. The application for the Qualifying Examination must be submitted to Robin Davidson, GSSA, 6 weeks before the oral exam; at the same time, the student should distribute a working draft of his/her prospectus to each member of the QE committee along with reading lists for each field. The written portion of the qualifying exam takes place about three weeks prior to the scheduled oral exam, usually over a long weekend in late March or early April from 10am Friday to 6pm the following Monday. Each field examiner sends 2 to 3 possible questions for a 10 to 12 page double-spaced essay to the QE chair and the GSSA 48 hours in advance of the start time of the exam. The chair then composes the exam which the GSSA will send to the student at 10am, usually on a Friday. The student writes three “open book” essays over the course of three and a half days, returning the completed exam, the original essay questions, and the reading lists by email to the entire QE committee and the GSSA by 6pm the following Monday. Students should make sure that every committee member understands the process for sending essay questions and has the contact information for the QE Committee and for Robin Davidson, the Graduate Student Services Assistant.
The written exam must be passed prior to taking the oral exam. If the student fails to pass the written exam, a second and final attempt may be scheduled after consultation with the Head Graduate Advisor and the QE Committee. The second attempt must take place before the end of the following semester and continuation in the program will depend on passing the exam.
4. An oral exam follows the written exam, usually in late April or early May. All committee members receive copies of all three written essays from the student, along with the exam questions and the reading lists for each field. Each committee member will send a confidential response to the QE chair who will confirm the student’s readiness to take the oral exam and alert the student to any concerns expressed by his/her examiners. Confidential exchange between committee members and the orals chair should be copied to the graduate assistant. Three hours should be allowed for the oral exam (to which students may not bring notes). Each field normally receives 20 minutes of questioning, with the fourth member invited to ask a question at the end. The student adjourns while the committee decides whether or not s/he has passed the exam. The Examining Committee will evaluate the student’s preparation in the three fields of concentration, and consider the potential success of the proposed dissertation work. According to University policy, the Qualifying Examination is not to be a dissertation examination, but must focus on the student’s preparation in the three examination fields. Assuming that the student passes the examination, the committee is then encouraged to use the remaining time for an open discussion of the student’s plans for the dissertation.Upon passing the Qualifying Examination, the student can be Advanced to Candidacy. The Application for Candidacy should be signed and submitted to Robin Davidson, GSSA, as soon as possible and at least 3 days before the end of the semester. Failure to do so will affect funding in the 4th year.
If the student fails the oral exam, the QE Committee may recommend a second and final attempt. At least three months must pass between the two attempts, and the student’s eligibility to take the QE lasts for only 18 months from the time of the original approval of the QE application according to Graduate Division policy. Continuation in the program is dependent on passing this exam.
QUALIFYING EXAMINATION CALENDAR (FOR THE THIRD YEAR)
We realize that each student enters the third-year with slightly different logistical constraints. Some of you may have finished your coursework while others will need to fulfill an elective or two in Fall of the 3rd year. All of you will still be responsible for three special fields (i.e. selecting field examiners, developing reading lists, and agreeing on a course of study together) and for the drafting of a preliminary prospectus. Please refer to the QE Process section above for important details. What follows is an ideal calendar for exam preparation. If you are taking an oral exam in the fall, adjust the timetable accordingly.
- Dissertation Director chosen, examiners chosen, preliminary reading lists drafted; students and evaluators have made agreements on how to prepare.
- Examiner meetings and/or writing to prepare special fields and to refine reading lists. Preliminary draft of the prospectus generated with Dissertation Director. (More information about prospectus format can be found in the “Dissertation Process” tab.)
- The reading lists for all fields should be finalized and another prospectus draft composed. Invite critique of the prospectus from committee members.
- QE Application due to Robin Davidson, Graduate Student Services Advisor, 6 weeks before the oral exam. At the same time, the student should distribute a working draft of his/her prospectus to each member of the QE committee along with reading lists for each field. Dates for the written portion of the exam and the oral exam should be confirmed in late March and a room for a three hour oral exam should be reserved.
APRIL: QUALIFYING EXAMS
- Written Exam — in early April, three weeks before Oral Exam, Friday 10am – Monday 6pm.
- Oral Exam — in late April or very early May (no notes allowed in exam). The QE Report should be taken to the exam for signatures. The Application for Candidacy should be presented to the QE Committee at this time as well and is due to Robin, GSSA, at least 3 days before the end of the semester. Failure to do so will affect funding in the 4th year.
The Dissertation Process
THE DISSERTATION PROCESS
After passing the Qualifying Examination, the student will obtain formal agreement from a member of the Graduate Group faculty to serve as Dissertation Director and the Application for Candidacy listing all committee members must be submitted before the end of the QE semester. If this deadline is missed, the student will be not be eligible for funding in the 4th year. The Dissertation Director for any given dissertation project must have an interest and expertise in the subject of the proposed dissertation. The choice of Dissertation Director is especially crucial to the student since her/his contact with the Dissertation Director will extend over the duration of dissertation research and writing, and will have a great bearing on the success of the student’s dissertation.
SELECTION OF THE DISSERTATION COMMITTEE
In consultation with the Dissertation Director, the student will then nominate for the Head Graduate Advisor’s approval a Dissertation Committee that will consist of the Dissertation Director/Chair and two other faculty members. At least 2 must be Core members of the Graduate Group in Performance Studies (one of whom will be the Dissertation Chair, at least one of these two must be from TDPS) and at least 1 member, the Academic Senate Representative (formerly “outside member”), must be from outside the Graduate Group (but still a member of the UCB Academic Senate) or be an Affiliated Graduate Group member. The composition of the Committee is subject to the approval of the Graduate Dean, acting on behalf of the administrative committee of the Graduate Council. The Director and the outside member must belong to the UCB Academic Senate. One member of the Committee may be non-Senate, with the approval of the Graduate Dean. If it is appropriate for the Dissertation Committee to include 4 or 5 members, instead of 3, a “majority” (2/4 or 3/5) must still be from the Core Grad Group faculty.
The student will then develop the final draft of the prospectus.
The format of the dissertation prospectus should be no more than 10 pages, single-spaced with an accompanying select bibliography of not more than 10 pages. (We have tried to set the length and format of the document to conform to standard fellowship and postdoctoral applications with the idea that the prospectus then has a greater potential for being transformed into a vehicle for seeking outside funding.) The prospectus should have the following elements:
b. names of the committee members;
c. short description of the project;
d. articulation of the “problem” or core research question(s);
e. a brief literature review;
f. a statement about the significance of research and the contribution it is expected to make;
g. a description of key primary sources including the scope, nature, and availability of evidence;
h. a description of the methodology(s) to be used;
i. a timeline for the dissertation research and writing from inception through completion, including travel to archives; and
j. a chapter outline.
Students should follow the steps detailed in the “Qualifying Examination Calendar” tab and develop a preliminary draft of the prospectus in the Fall of the 3rd year of coursework, in collaboration with the Dissertation Director. A revised preliminary draft should be circulated to the whole exam committee at least three weeks before the written QE. The prospectus will be discussed and reviewed with the Dissertation Director and Committee over the summer following the QE.
A final version of the prospectus must be approved by all Dissertation Committee members and placed on file with the GSSA in the semester following the QE – by December 1 for Spring QEs or May 1 for Fall QEs.
5TH YEAR PRESENTATIONS
During the Fall of the 5th year of study, doctoral candidates will make a public presentation based upon a chapter from their dissertations – to present work that is not only “prospective,” but actually in the process of revision and refinement. This is not an exam; it is not a job talk. It is, however, a chance to share work in progress, to solicit feedback, and to generate critical reflection. ABD researchers will circulate their prospectuses ahead of time to fellow students and faculty; the researcher is thus not obligated to repeat the larger parameters of the project in great detail, knowing that his/her audience has been acquainted in advance. This scenario allows the researcher to be strategic about what portion of his/her work s/he decides to share and to decide how to make best use of the time. ABD researchers are invited to reflect with their dissertation advisors about what work to share and what research sites and research questions they want to explore with the group. Researchers may choose to focus on a previously drafted chapter that feels secure and finalized; however, we also hope that researchers will make use of this time to advance new writing, to reflect together on methodological, organizational, or conceptual issues that might still be vexing them. Researchers are encouraged to ask themselves: what would be most useful to me? where can I use some help from a wider intellectual community who is focused (how lovely is this) for an hour or so on me and my work?
Researchers will present roughly 30-minutes of research and reflection, followed by Q & A. Given that this ABD Lecture is also part of a larger and varied intellectual colloquium in the graduate program, fellow students and faculty are strongly urged to read the prospectuses ahead of time and to engage rigorously, generously, and imaginatively with the work of ABD researchers.
COMPLETION OF DISSERTATION
Upon the completion of the dissertation and its acceptance by the Dissertation Committee, the student will be recommended for the Ph.D.; there will be no dissertation defense.
Progress and Funding
PROGRESS AND FUNDING
3. External Fellowships
Summer Language Study Funding
Students in the Ph.D. in Performance Studies are required to make clear and timely progress toward the degree. Retention in the program and reappointment to funded positions (teaching, research, fellowship) will depend in part on the demonstration of timely progress. The program defines timely progress as follows:
- Completion of all required coursework: end of 5th semester
- Qualifying examination (written and oral components) passed: end of 6th semester
- Submission of final dissertation prospectus, approved by entire dissertation committee: Dec 1, 7th semester
- Public presentation of doctoral research: by end of 9th semester
- Completion of dissertation: by end of 12th semester
In order to enhance students’ progress towards completion, the Graduate Program in Performance Studies offers the following completion-promoting activities:
- We require that a prospectus that has met the approval of the full Dissertation Committee be filed with the program administrator in Fall of the 4th year. The format of this prospectus follows closely standard formats for extramural fellowship applications.
- Students are required to give a formal presentation of their doctoral research during their 5th year of study.
- Graduate Colloquium, a required part of our curriculum taken over three semesters, addresses professional development issues including orientation to leading professional organizations and journals, information about publishing, guidance through the revision of an article with the goal of submissions for publication, and guidance in how to write research proposals and grants
Students in the program are normally nominated for University funding and are typically awarded a package of support: fellowship, teaching, and research support derived from University and departmental sources. Students are typically offered five years of support, which depends on continued demonstrable progress; although students may be nominated to the University for dissertation support in the sixth year, students are not automatically funded by the department for a sixth year.
The 5-year funding package offered to all students at the time of admission has typically included at least the following. Please note that this package is made up of a combination of stipend and teaching salary. (Students usually teach in 2 or 3 of the 5 years.) Stipend payments are usually received in late August, late January, and early June, while teaching salary is received monthly starting in early September, and the different types of funding may be taxed differently.)
- All Fall and Spring fees and tuition – 5 years
- $21,100 academic year stipend and/or salary – 5 years
- $3500 summer stipend – 4 summers
Our ability to fund all students depends on each student’s commitment to the department and to our program. By accepting the offer of funding and responding to our request for teaching preferences, you become an important part of how we educate our undergraduate students. We will provide you with training, support, and supervision to fulfill this important role and prepare for future careers. At the same time, you are expected to participate fully in this reciprocal agreement, communicate proactively about your circumstances, and fulfill your teaching commitments.
Funding in the 4th year: If a student advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. in a timely manner (by the end of the 3rd year), has a satisfactory Doctoral Candidacy Review, is on track to file the dissertation in a timely manner, and has previously applied for any extramural funding, then the student will receive an academic year of Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF) support from the Graduate Division. If a student does not qualify for the Doctoral Completion Fellowship, we may offer teaching support in the 4th year and consider you for teaching support in the 5th year. Consult the Graduate Division website for DCF details.
International students please note: Please read the employment rules on your I-20 or DS-2019 immigration document. You will likely be limited to a maximum of 50% employment on campus during Fall and Spring and no off-campus employment. International students are not eligible for as wide a range of loans, grants, and other awards as domestic students. You will also be charged NRST (Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition) each semester. This will be paid by the department and/or university during your first three years in good standing in the program. At that point, you should pass your Qualifying Exams and Advance to Candidacy. Your NRST will then be waived for 3 years, through the 6th year only. Please consult with Robin as you plan.
Many of our graduate students have been successful in garnering external support from sources such as Fulbright, the Social Science Research Council, the Jacob Javitz Fellowship and other funds. Students applying for major year-long external fellowships should be aware that these often do not cover fees and tuition. Through the resources of our program’s generous Hickman Endowment, we make every effort to cover a year of In Absentia fees for students who will take the fellowship abroad or out-of-state. The Graduate Division offers top-off funding for External Fellowships and you are encouraged to see if your fellowship meets the criteria. Please see http://grad.berkeley.edu/policies/guides/g1-9-allowance-top-offs/
It is important that the student alert Robin Davidson, Graduate Student Services Advisor, at the time of application for these fellowships so that the program is able to manage budgetary commitments.
Hickman Book Award
All students receive a $500 stipend during their 3rd year/ QE year to help with book expenses related to preparation for the Qualifying Exam.
The Pearl Hickman Graduate Student Essay Prize:
Early each Spring we will send out a call for submissions to be submitted by April 1 for consideration for an essay prize to be awarded at Commencement. This $500 award goes to the most outstanding Performance Studies graduate student essay. Students must be ABD at the time of submission. Essays should be 20-30 pages in length, and should be taken from research related to the dissertation, but able to stand alone (i.e. the piece should be self-contained, without a lengthy explanation of the dissertation, as a publishable essay would need to be). Essays published in other venues are acceptable, as are submissions intended for future publication or under consideration. Full dissertation chapters will not be considered. Please save the essay in Drive and share with Robin Davidson, making sure to send the email notification. Due by April 1.
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI)
Every year, TDPS names its outstanding GSI for the year, an award that is granted by every department on campus annually. Please note that while some graduate students do teaching work for departments outside of TDPS, only courses taught within the department are eligible for consideration by our department. While the nomination process for the award is department specific, within the Performance Studies PhD that process occurs in the following way: In the early spring, the HGA submits to supervising faculty a list of all ABD students who have taught within the department in the previous calendar year, then from that group, a “short list” of finalists is derived based on number of courses taught, student evaluations, and supervisor observations, usually by February 1. The short listed candidates are then asked to submit the following materials to support their candidacy by March 1:
- 1-2 page statement of pedagogical philosophy as it pertains to teaching done in TDPS
- Exercises or Prompts
GRADUATE DIVISION SUMMER GRANT
Each year the Graduate Division awards a given number of summer grants to students in each department. The final selection and allocation of funds are determined by Grad Div, but the application process is handled by the department. We are usually able to nominate 1 or 2 students and priority is given to students in good standing who do not have other summer funding. The award usually includes a stipend ($3500 for Summer 2016) and fees for 3 summer session units. The Graduate Division asks that preference be given to students who plan to engage in activities over the summer that advance progress to degree (e.g., language study, preparation for QE, research, or dissertation writing) and students who have not received more than two Summer Grants in the past.
Interested students prepare a brief proposal outlining planned use of the funds and including a budget and a summary of achievements in the previous academic year. Save the proposal in Drive and Share with Robin Davidson, making sure to send the email notification. Due by April 1.
Thanks to our Hickman Endowment, we are able to offer registered students some funding for conference and research travel. The deadline for proposals is November 1. Please save your application(s) on Drive and share with Robin Davidson, making sure to send the email notification. The GSSA and Head Graduate Advisor will review conference and research applications for the academic year in November and you will be informed of your award(s) before Thanksgiving. Actual awards will be in the form of a stipend and will be made after the Graduate Student Services Advisor receives appropriate documentation/receipts from the trip. Please note that it is possible to apply for both conference and research travel awards.
The Graduate Division offers funding for 2 conferences during your academic career at Berkeley. You can find more information about these Conference Travel Grants at http://grad.berkeley.edu/financial/fellowships/. After using these campus funds, you will be able to apply to our program for additional support. In general, we assist with a total of 3 conferences, or 2 if both are outside of North America, and offer the following standardized maximum amounts based on geographical location of the conference. These amounts are a guide only and are contingent on our overall fiscal capacity in relationship to the total amount that students request in any given year. In making allocations, we may also take into account the previous travel funding the applicant has received in the program.
- California & Western N. America: $600.00
- Other US, Mexico and Canada: $1,000.00
- Europe: $1,500.00
- Central or South America: $1,600.00
- Asia, Africa, Middle East, South Pacific: $1,900.00
Applications for financial assistance to travel to give a paper at a conference or professional meeting should include the following:
- Your name
- Your year in the program (1st year, 2nd year, etc.)
- Title of paper
- Title of conference
- Date and location of the conference
- A statement about why this particular conference is important to your professional development
- A brief abstract of the paper and its relevance to your research
- A brief summary of the travel funding you have received from the graduate program in performance studies over the last two years
- An explanation of any funding previously received and not yet used
- List any other sources of funding to which you have applied for this conference (or for which you intend to apply)
You may apply for the funding even if your paper has yet to be accepted. An award will be made when we receive appropriate documentation/receipts for your trip. In exceptional circumstances, funding may be allocated for a student to attend but not present at a conference. In such cases, the applicant needs to make a clear and compelling case for such attendance. Such awards will also be contingent upon fiscal capacity, with non-presenting attendance being a low funding priority.
A Note on Conferences:
We urge students to be strategic about conference and research travel. For instance, you may wish to prioritize research (over conference) travel if your topic requires research in a particular country or city, or at particular archives. Having something to say (by doing field and archival research) is more important than attending a lot of conferences when you have not yet conducted much research! Also be resourceful about attending local and US-based conferences when these can serve just as well as international ones to further your intellectual and professional development. Taking advantage of international and national conferences that meet locally is a great way to maximize limited resources. Finally, be resourceful about pursuing other travel fellowships available for graduate students, including grants from elsewhere at Berkeley and also from professional associations themselves. The Graduate Division also accepts applications for Conference Travel Grants: http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/financial/deadlines.shtml#graddiv
 Gregory Colon Semenza says, “When considering how many conferences to attend prior to graduation, you should remember that $1.25 and ten conference credits on your CV will get you a steaming cup of coffee. Conference presentations are not substitutes for publications, and they are worth very little in and of themselves. In other words, no Ph.D. has ever been hired because he happened to present papers at ten conferences. As a demonstration of scholarly activity supplementing a solid publication record, however, a strong list of conference presentations will no doubt strengthen your CV.” From Graduate Study for the 21st Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities, (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 183
Thanks to our Hickman Endowment, we are able to offer registered students some funding for conference and research travel. The deadline for proposals is November 1. Please save your application(s) in Drive and share with Robin Davidson, GSSA, making sure to send the email notification. The GSSA and Head Graduate Advisor will review conference and research applications for the academic year in November and you will be informed of your award(s) before Thanksgiving. Actual awards will be in the form of a stipend and will be made after the Graduate Student Services Advisor receives appropriate documentation/receipts from the trip. Please note that it is possible to apply for both conference and research travel awards.
We are especially keen to support primary research that is of paramount importance to a student’s anticipated dissertation project, publications, and entry into the academic profession. We will make awards for 2 research trips, usually for the summers after the 2nd and 4th or 5th years, and award amounts will be primarily based on location of research and cost of any specialized equipment central to conducting primary research. Ineligible expenses: tuition; labor and services such as copyediting.
Awards (made as stipends after we receive appropriate documentation/receipts) are usually between $300 and $2,000, with the larger amount awarded only in cases of significant international travel. Awards for research in the US/Canada/Mexico do not exceed $1,000. These amounts are a guide only and are contingent on our overall fiscal capacity in relationship to the total amount that students request in any given year. In making allocations, we may also take into account the previous research funding the applicant has received in the program.
The proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria: significance and potential impact of the proposed research on the student’s trajectory through the graduate program and on professional standing; persuasiveness of the statement of purpose; appropriateness of budgetary items; and industry in attempting to identify alternate funding sources.
Applications for financial assistance for research expenses should be 1-2 pages single-spaced and include the following information:
- Statement of purpose: nature of the research you will conduct and its relevance to your dissertation; a rationale for the expenses for which you are requesting support. Identify at least one Core faculty member who is advising you on this project
- Overall Budget: For travel costs, list dates of travel, destination, and airfare price. For other expenses, be specific and detailed
- Amount Requested from our program. Allocations can range from $100-$2000, but more typically fall in the $700-$1000 range
- A brief summary of previous support (for research or conferences) that you have received from our program in the past two years
- An explanation of any funding previously received and not yet used
- List any other sources of funding to which you have applied for this research (or for which you intend to apply)
LANGUAGE STUDY FUNDING
Thanks to our Hickman Endowment, we are able to offer registered students some funding for language study. The deadline for proposals is April 1. Please save your application(s) in Drive and share with Robin Davidson, GSSA, making sure to send the email notification.
The Head Graduate Advisor will review applications in April and you will be informed of your award by mid-month. Actual awards will in the form of a stipend, for a maximum of $1,000, and will be made when the Graduate Student Services Advisor receives appropriate documentation/receipts for the language class/program. Please note that this award can be used for a private tutor and/or class fees and tuition and does not have to be used for a UC Berkeley language class; we encourage you to find the best class or program for your situation and research needs. You may be required to submit appropriate transcripts/certificates after completion of the course. Students are eligible for only 1 language award during their time in our program, but study doesn’t have to take place all at once. Classes can be taken in 2 summers, for example.
If you are interested in doing intensive language study, please provide the information outlined below. Allocations will be contingent on the cumulative amount of all student requests.
- Information on the language class: where it’s being offered, and assurance of the program’s quality
- Rationale for why this class is important for your work
- Whether or not you have applied for and received any other funding assistance to study this language
- Total cost
Master of Arts Degree
MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE
Students may elect to earn a Master of Arts degree as they progress through the Ph.D. program by completing M.A. requirements. In the event that a student leaves the Ph.D. program before completion of Ph.D. requirements, she/he may earn a Master of Arts degree by completing the M.A. requirements. A student who enters the Ph.D. program with a Master of Arts degree may not earn another M.A. in this program, except by petition to the Head Graduate Advisor (i.e., students who enter with a M.A. in a related field–English, History, etc.–who wish to earn the M.A. in Performance Studies may do so, through petition to the Head Graduate Advisor). The University does not award duplicate degrees. See the Graduate Division website (grad.berkeley.edu) and speak with the GSSA for additional information and deadlines.
1. Completion of five courses (equaling at least 20 semester units) in performance studies, not counting the Core Colloquia, and participation in second performance practice activity (beyond Theater 203 Lab Run), as for the Ph.D. These five courses must include the three Core Seminars and two electives approved by the Head Graduate Advisor.
2. Completion of a master’s thesis. The master’s thesis will consist of a paper written for a seminar and expanded to article-length; the thesis will be read and approved by at least three readers: although all three readers may be Graduate Group faculty, it is preferable (though not required) to have one reader drawn from outside the Group faculty.
The Head Graduate Adviser (HGA) will be responsible for advising all incoming students in their first three years, or until they have successfully passed the Qualifying Examination and have been admitted to candidacy. Students are encouraged to seek additional guidance for the period before the Qualifying Examination from a potential dissertation director. In addition, Graduate Student Services Advisor (GSSA) Robin Davidson is the primary point of contact regarding policies, procedures, funding, enrollment, etc.
Students with disabilities are welcome in this program. Students who need accommodations for a disability (temporary or permanent, visible or invisible) are responsible for registering with the Disabled Students Program (DSP) and then confirming that our graduate program and/or relevant professor(s) has received an official notification of accommodation needs. For more information see the website http://dsp.berkeley.edu
Please be advised that university policies stipulate that academic programs can only provide disability accommodations to students who are registered with the Disabled Students Program, and only the particular accommodations stipulated in the DSP “letter of accommodation” can be provided.