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Fall 2021 Theater/Performance Studies PhD


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Hi everyone!

Very new here, but just started my exploratory process and thought I'd send this message out into the quarantine void. I know that it is hard to imagine what life will be like a year from now, given how crazy 2020 has been so far, but I'm hoping to begin the journey to my next degree.

For background, I have a Bachelors degree in MT and an MFA in playwriting from a top-tier school. While I was in grad school, I began to realize that I wanted to supplement my education in craft, with a more academic approach to research and analysis, with the hope of the latter helping to provide a more solid foundation for my art.

I previously looked into the PS MA at NYU Tisch, the TAPS PhD at Brown, and the Dramaturgy DFA at Yale.

I've started having conversations over the past few weeks with various colleagues and former professors. I'm just starting to methodically evaluate each program in the US (looking at curriculums, faculty backgrounds, recent dissertations).

I wanted to start this thread to try to find an accountability/solidarity buddy while I wade through this unfamiliar process.

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I’ve been holding off on posting my news in case all results hadn’t gone out for the program, but I think I should be good now. I got into Northwestern Performance Studies! I really can’t believe it.

Just checking in to say that I got an interview at University of Maryland for the PhD Program in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies! I am on a "short list" of applicants they are st

Hi guys, thought I’d pop in and play the waiting game with you all. I applied to UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Northwestern, all (Theatre and) Performance Studies PhD programs. I have a Zoom interv

Hi there

I will also (probably) be applying to PhD programs! I have too many degrees to name, but will be moving to Chicago to start a company dedicated to making new work with/for/by/about BIPOC, Trans and Queer folks of all abilities. Thus, I'm probably only looking at Northwestern and University of Chicago. Does anyone have any specific comparisons of the two programs? I find it so hard to get a feel for a program from their websites. 

@DoctorMusical how did you decide who to contact in each program and what to say? I get the feeling that many of them are too busy to just answer questions about their programs lol 

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Hi All!

Also Looking to apply for Fall 2021.  I've applied in past years and was not accepted so I took some time off to work on my writing, and to continue , well just working.  

In the past I applied to a wide range of programs, but am only applying to UCSD and UC Irvine this year.  It's great to have some friends to sweat and worry with!!  @Boseph16- I did my MFA in Chicago and loved every minute of it!!!  (secretly wished I still lived there).  

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@Boseph16 - I've only contacted one program so far, last year. I just reached out to the Department Administrator to ask more about logistics. Some programs explicitly put on their website not to contact specific faculty.

@theatremeg12 Personally I currently feel more aligned with the departments that list themselves as Performance Studies, but I'm also looking at other Theatre programs as well.

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@DoctorMusical I wish I did.  

I can tell you that the things I worked on from my previous application were Letters of rec from people closer to my area of interest, writing and re-writing...and re-writing my writing samples, and (I think most importantly) reframing my proposed research topic and how it fits with departmental faculty interests.  This time around, my proposed topic is more specific, and I have identified faculty in the department that would be excellent advisors, as well as the reasons for this.  

The numbers of students programs accept each year are pretty well known, but I would love to know how large the average applicant pool is for particular departments.  Anyone have an idea- I'd love to know!

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My program isn't accepting any applicants this year, so I hope that my presence isn't considered an intrusion. 

When I hosted a convening of PhD program directors in Theatre and Performance Studies at 2018, I created a survey asking several questions, including about applicant pool. Across the field, our programs average about 25 applications. Now this varies widely and some of the most applied to schools (Brown, NYU, Stanford) will see somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 applications, while some schools with less robust funding (not guaranteed or guaranteed for three years) may only receive ten or so. Tufts has received a tick over 40 applications a year in the five years that I've been Director of Graduate Studies.

Hope this helps

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@Noe Montez Thank you for your insight! If you are still available to give advice, is there a significant uptick in applicants to solely Performance Studies programs? I am more interested in theatre history and theory than enacting those theories in practice. I feel as if I am at a disadvantage as the field, based on what I've seen, tends to skew more towards Performance Studies these days.

 

@DirectorsCoffee Do you name those potential advisors in your SOP? I haven't yet, but I've been speaking with potential advisors over email. I wasn't sure if I needed to do both.

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@Noe Montez Thank you so much for that!  I really appreciate peeking behind the application process a bit.  

 

@theatremeg12 I did.  In my mind it was a way to show that I had researched the school, that this school specifically was a fit for me, and to tie my interests into what the department was doing.  I tried to identify the potential advisors as faculty whose research would be valuable because... so that it shows a fit, but also a flexibility.  

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3 hours ago, theatremeg12 said:

@Noe Montez Thank you for your insight! If you are still available to give advice, is there a significant uptick in applicants to solely Performance Studies programs? I am more interested in theatre history and theory than enacting those theories in practice. I feel as if I am at a disadvantage as the field, based on what I've seen, tends to skew more towards Performance Studies these days.

 

Hi Meg,

I would say that the programs that tend to draw the largest number of applicants have substantive performance studies components. Those programs tend to draw (and place) students from programs outside of theatre since PS has so many entryways in. I think there are great  programs (CUNY, Maryland, Washington, so many more) that focus on archival theatre history 

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Things tend to be pretty quiet in the threads around this time. It's usually closer to deadlines where things pick up and folks start checking in.

I'd also like to recommend the University of Maryland, College Park for their Master's and PhD program in Performance Studies. I was only there for undergrad, but I know it's well funded and have heard very positive experience from those who've attended.

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On 9/3/2020 at 9:50 AM, Noe Montez said:

My program isn't accepting any applicants this year, so I hope that my presence isn't considered an intrusion. 

When I hosted a convening of PhD program directors in Theatre and Performance Studies at 2018, I created a survey asking several questions, including about applicant pool. Across the field, our programs average about 25 applications. Now this varies widely and some of the most applied to schools (Brown, NYU, Stanford) will see somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90 applications, while some schools with less robust funding (not guaranteed or guaranteed for three years) may only receive ten or so. Tufts has received a tick over 40 applications a year in the five years that I've been Director of Graduate Studies.

Hope this helps

Hi Noe,

I know you all are not accepting applications this year, but I was wondering if you had a sense of how application numbers were for schools this year.  Did Covid cause an uptick in applications, a downturn, no change?  just trying to get a sense of the field.  

 

thanks for all your help!

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Finished my applications a couple weeks ago. Applied to Stanford, Northwestern (ps), and Cornell. I was bummed that Tufts and Brown weren't accepting this year, but I'm happy with my materials. Good luck to everyone. Hope we all hear back before too long. 

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On 12/18/2020 at 8:30 PM, DirectorsCoffee said:

Hi Noe,

I know you all are not accepting applications this year, but I was wondering if you had a sense of how application numbers were for schools this year.  Did Covid cause an uptick in applications, a downturn, no change?  just trying to get a sense of the field.  

 

thanks for all your help!

 

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Just sent off my application to Northwestern (in the nick of time) 

Might also be applying to Temple's PhD in Dance or NYU's Performance Studies... both are due Jan 15th. We shall see... 

Wish you all good luck on your applications and a happy new year! 

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I applied to Northwestern and UC Berkeley Performance Studies as well as American/Ethnic Studies PhD programs at USC, U Michigan, GW, UC San Diego, and NYU. The waiting game is killing me. I’m in a grad prep program and watching my cohort mates getting interviews and acceptances is painful. 

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