Ph.D. in Performance Studies

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Dwinelle Hall, home of the Ph.D. program in Performance Studies

Welcome from the Head Graduate Advisor

Dear Prospective Student,

We are delighted by your interest in the Ph.D. Program in Performance Studies and hope you will find the website materials helpful. Our program is an unusually flexible one, designed to prepare students for advanced research in the field of performance studies. The program draws its strengths from a Graduate Group of faculty in disciplines ranging across a host of fields and departments. We encourage students to take the initiative in developing a program of coursework that will lead both to a solid command of a given field and to the kind of interdisciplinary research characteristic of the strongest work in performance studies today.

Although it’s certain that your interests and plans will evolve, it’s important to us to have as clear a sense as possible of who you are, of your intellectual and artistic interests and accomplishments, and of the critical orientation of your research. Your entire application—transcripts, letters of recommendation, both personal statements, and the critical writing sample—will be read by the admissions committee and some portions of the application receive particularly close scrutiny. We would like to encourage you to use the Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose in the application to outline where you’ve been and your orientation to future research. In our effort to assess whether a program like ours is a good “fit” for you, it’s very helpful to have a strong sense of the kind of work you are thinking about, your intellectual and critical style, and overall preparation for Ph.D. study.

We are committed to developing a diverse and energetic research community in the program and are eager to recruit students with a range of intellectual, social, and cultural backgrounds, and the diversity of our faculty is an important asset in this regard. Strong applications, then, usually address potential areas of research in the field of performance studies today. Given the depth and range of our faculty, we are interested in students working on both past and present performance traditions, on literary and non-literary forms of performance, and on a range of theoretical and methodological issues ranging across the spectrum of contemporary ethnic, cultural, and performance studies.

There is a great deal of excitement about the program, and about the students who have joined us thus far. Please take the time to carefully read over the graduate program website. If you have any questions, please email to contact Avy Valladares, Graduate Student Services Advisor. We look forward to hearing from you.


Professor Roshanak Kheshti
Head Graduate Advisor

Preparation & Admissions

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 degree in theater, literature, performance studies, dance, or any appropriate humanities-related field are eligible to apply for admissions. Candidates with a degree in another field, but with an M.A. or M.F.A. in any of the performing arts, are also eligible. The Graduate Group is particularly interested in applicants who have already formulated a specific focus of interest, including professional theater practitioners who demonstrate a capacity for and training in advanced scholarly study.

It is vital that you thoroughly read all the graduate program information provided on this website (including the Admissions FAQ) as well as the information that accompanies the online graduate application.

The application requires the following items:

  • Personal Statement: Usually 2–3 pages, double spaced.
  • Statement of Purpose: Usually 2–3 pages, double spaced.
  • Critical Writing Sample: Follow the “Performance Studies Program” link in the application menu to upload this document. 15–20 pages, double spaced.
  • Resume/CV: Follow the “Supporting Materials” link in the application menu to upload your CV. Publications, presentations, and honors/awards may be included in your CV or uploaded separately. A sampling of written work and a website link, also listed in this section of the application, are not required by our program.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • All College Transcripts: Unofficial copies to be uploaded to the application.
  • Grades
  • TOEFL Score (If Applicable): Less than 2 years old. Use Berkeley code 4833.
  • Application Fee
  • GRE Scores Are Not Required

Important Notes on Application Materials:

All items listed above are required by our program and your application will not be considered without them. However, not every graduate program at UC Berkeley asks for all of this information, so some of these items may not be listed as “Required” in the “Review” section of the general application. Missing items will not limit your ability to select “Submit.” Therefore, it is crucial that you ensure that your application include all of the Performance Studies requirements listed above before submitting it.

The Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships for UC Berkeley is available online in early September and is due December 1st (or the following Monday when the 1st is a Saturday or Sunday) at 8:59 pm (PST), California time, for consideration for the following academic year. Applicants will hear about the status of their application by late March.

Dr. Avy Valladares, Graduate Student Services Advisor

Graduate Student Services Advisor

Avy Valladares


Phone: (510) 664-7613

Office: 15 Dwinelle Hall (Level C)