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Home > Programs > Theater > Graduate Degrees > Theater and Performance Studies Ph.D.

Theater and Performance Studies Ph.D.


The degree program of Doctor of Philosophy in Theater and Performance Studies is an innovative, interdisciplinary program that offers an international, cross-cultural exploration of theater, performance and the performative. The goal of the program is to produce world-class scholars whose research expands the understanding of theater, performance and performative actions with regard to their historical and cultural significance.

The program is small and highly selective; students enjoy intense personal mentoring in their pursuit of scholarship and professional proficiency. Many applicants to the program receive financial support through the granting of teaching assistantships and fellowships. Faculty publications and professional participation cover a broad array of research areas that enable the mentoring of a diverse range of dissertation projects. Dissertation projects combine original interpretive methodologies derived from critical theories and applied to the study of performance and performative actions. Recent dissertation subjects include digital performance, the costuming of Brazilian popular performances, Chinese and Taiwanese nationalist theater, African American performance and music, contemporary Japanese theater, Korean cinema and performance, Mexicana and Chicana performance, and historical studies of lesbian/feminist and queer performative strategies.

Students are encouraged to study with scholars in other departments in the field of their research interests and to take advantage of the enormous academic and cultural resources available at UCLA that include, among many others: the interdisciplinary Centers for African American Studies, Chicano and Chicana Studies, Asian American Studies and the Study of Women; the Fowler Museum of Cultural History; the Department of World Arts and Cultures; and the UCLA Center for Performance Studies, comprised of faculty across disciplines working in the field of performance. Los Angeles is a multicultural, multi-lingual, international city that offers a wide range of Western and Non-Western artistic activity; and special cultural resources such as the J. Paul Getty Museum and Institutes, the Huntington Library, and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.

Course Requirements
During the first six quarters (two academic years), students must complete a minimum of 12 graduate courses (200- or 500- level) and Theater 220. Theater 216A, 216B, 216C are required. The remaining nine courses are elective graduate courses, seminars, or tutorials. Students are regularly enrolled in one seminar within the department and one beyond the department and no more than two electives may be tutorials. These electives must augment the required courses so as to constitute a definable area of study associated with the dissertation topic. The dissertation is a historical, critical, analytical, or experimental study of a theater or performance studies topic.

Foreign Language Requirement
Mastery of one foreign language approved by the Ph.D. committee is required and must be demonstrated by one of the following methods: (1) completion of a level 5 course or the equivalent (five quarters or three semesters) with a minimum grade of C, in any foreign language, (2) passing a UCLA language examination given by a faculty member in any foreign language department, or (3) passing a departmental language examination given by a member of the department's Graduate Foreign Language Committee. The foreign language requirement may be completed after admission to the Ph.D. program; however, students are encouraged to complete their language requirement prior to admission. Language courses taken toward fulfillment of the language requirement are not counted toward the degree.

Visit the UCLA Graduate Division website for a complete overview of the Theater & Performance Studies doctoral program requirements, and click on the “Program Requirements” tab.

All Theater, Film and Television degree programs are full-time, daytime programs. The Theater graduate programs have daytime classes and evening production activities. The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television only accepts applicants for admittance for the Fall. The admissions information below is for Fall 2018.

Application Deadline: December 10, 2017

Please complete the following steps:

Step 1: UCLA Graduate Application

  • Complete the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • Indicate PhD as the degree, and THEATER AND PERFORMANCE STUDIES as the major.
    • Submit the Application and Pay the Application Fee by December 10.
  • Upload UNOFFICIAL copies of all TRANSCRIPTS to the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • Include all Undergraduate and Graduate institutions attended.
    • NOTE: Community College transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript.

Step 2: Supplemental Application

  • Complete the Graduate Theater Supplemental Application.
    • MUST be completed ONLINE by December 10, 2017.
    • Please note that the UCLA Graduate Application ID number is needed to complete the supplemental application.
    • Create an account with Acceptd.
      • Note: This is not the same as the UCLA Login.
    • Complete all required Application Information.
    • Compose a 1-3 page document giving the faculty a sense of who you are. Please address the following: Why are you interested in the program? What life experiences have contributed to you applying to TFT? What do you hope to achieve by participating in the program? What are your professional goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
  • Upload a RESUME of training and experience in Theater or other related work.
    • At least 20 pages which demonstrates your thought process and skills in research and analysis of theater history, literature, or live performance.
    • Welcomed, but not required, are published articles, non-text-based materials, or reviews of creative work.
  • Upload UNOFFICIAL copies of all TRANSCRIPTS to the Graduate Theater Supplemental Application.
    • Enter the Names and Emails of all recommenders into the Graduate Theater Supplemental Application.

Step 3: Mail

  • Complete the UCLA Graduate Theater Departmental Online Application.
    • PRINT and MAIL the generated PDF from this application along with any mailed supplemental materials.
  • Mail an OFFICIAL copy of TRANSCRIPTS from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.
    • NOTE: Community College transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript.
    • Please have transcripts sent to the address below or include them in sealed envelopes with the supplemental application packet.
  • Request that all TEST SCORES be sent directly to UCLA.
    • The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Theater Code is 2403.
    • Only test scores taken by December 31, 2017 will be accepted.


Please SEND all applicable materials to:
Graduate Theater Admissions: PhD
UCLA Department of Theater
103 East Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622

Application Deadline: December 10, 2017


English Proficiency: Any international applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Theater Code is 2403. Only test scores taken by December 31, 2017 will be accepted. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/english-requirements/

Academic Records: Although the UCLA Graduate Division Application enables applicants to upload an unofficial copy of their academic records, all applicants are required to submit official records from each academic institution attended. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/required-academic-records/.

Proof of Funding for Visa: U.S. immigration law requires that international applicants, if admitted, show documented evidence that sufficient funds to cover all tuition, fees, transportation, and living expenses are available for the first year of their studies at UCLA. This must be proved before a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS2019) for a visa can be issued. For more information about this requirement, visit https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/visa-procedures/

FAFSA: For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid in the 2018-2019 year, note that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2, 2018. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and scholarships that UCLA offers. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu

DREAM Act: For non-US Citizens or non-Permanent Residents who are approved to pay in-state tuition because they graduated from a high school in California; they will need to complete the California DREAM application by the March 2, 2018 deadline. The DREAM application can be accessed at https://dream.csac.ca.gov. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities. www.financialaid.ucla.edu

Please visit the FAQ page for additional questions, call 310-206-8441, or e-mail theatergrad@tft.ucla.edu. Please do not contact the department to check on your application, as we cannot update you on your application status or materials.

For Prospective Students:

For Current Students:

Theater Counselors: Barrett Korerat and Catherine Hernandez-Shibata

Theater Staff

Theater Faculty