Ph.D. in Culture and Performance

We foreground interdisciplinary research that builds on and contributes to theories of corporeality, performance, visuality, and culture.

While pursuing a Ph.D. in Culture and Performance, the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance offers opportunities to develop specialized knowledge and skills in a diverse range of interdisciplinary fields such as activism, critical theory, curatorial studies, dance studies, film studies, performance studies, and visual studies. Students will designate a major field of study in consultation with their faculty adviser. Examples of methodologies include archival research, choreographic analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, museum studies, oral history, or phenomenology. Students should also identify an area of geographical, cultural, and/or temporal focus. The student is expected to consult with their academic faculty adviser on a regular basis regarding area(s) of interest to determine associated coursework and research focus, and to plan the instructional schedule appropriately. See the full Culture and Performance program details on the Graduate Division's website.

Students in our program have received prestigious awards including those, among others, from the ACLS-Mellon, American Association of University Women, Fulbright, Ford, and Wenner-Gren foundations, along with winning prizes for their innovative research from professional organizations. At UCLA they have been selected for competitive honors, such as the Collegium of University Teaching Fellows, Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award, Moss Scholars Program, and the Dissertation Year Fellowship. These achievements serve as a testament to the students' research and teaching excellence. They also demonstrate the strong mentoring available in our department.  

Our interdisciplinary doctoral program has an impressive record of job placements and speaks to the high quality of education we are able to offer our students. Alumni have found success in a range of diverse sectors -- artistic, academic, curatorial -- and made notable impacts in myriad fields. Our accomplished students have been recipients of  postdoctoral fellowships from Northwestern University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Williams College, the Smithsonian Institution, and University of California Office of the President, among others.  Graduates of the Culture and Performance PhD are working as faculty at reputable institutions in the United States and internationally, like Duke University, Center for Contemporary Dance in Cologne, Rutgers University, University of Michigan, and University of Texas, and many others. We celebrate their success and and hope that their relationship with our Department will have positive effects on our professional development and the networks available to our students into the well future. 

Culture & Performance Handbook 2023-2024 (466.92 kB)

Details about individual courses can be found on the UCLA Registrar's website.

M.A. in Culture and Performance

The M.A. in Culture and Performance is not a terminal degree and is only available to students admitted to the Ph.D. program who have not already earned a master's degree prior to admission at UCLA.


Handbook: Please refer to the Handbook for your Admit year for your curriculum.


Read about our admissions policies and procedures.