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PhD Performance Studies

This is the first PhD in Performance Studies program in the Philippines.

Our PhD in Performance Studies is designed for students to familiarize themselves with the epistemic and methodological traditions of Euro-American, Asian, and Philippine theatre, oral studies, rhetoric and performance scholarship, as well as to identify specific trajectories of individual research projects. We are also envisioning to produce interdisciplinary research projects across the wide spectrum of speech, theatre and performance studies.

The program situates the term “performance” in a broad spectrum of definitions. First, performance may refer to highly aestheticized, stylized, and amplified modes of communicative practice that a society takes in, harnesses, realizes, and ultimately passes on across time and space. Second, performance is any embodied and multi-sensual social practice involving a repertoire of gestures and behaviors that people reiterate, reinvent, recombine, and reconfigure in specific contexts. Third, performance pertains to reiterated modes of exertion, enactment, and intervention in the world that serve purposes such as the transmission of social knowledge, the construction and reconstruction of self-identity, the commemoration or intensification of memory, and the edification and reformation of the world at large, among others. 


Be a PhD in Performance Studies Major at DSCTA

As a PhD in Performance Studies student, you are expected to contribute to the existing knowledge in the arts and humanities and even in the social sciences through independent research works on performance, particularly Philippine performance practices. You are expected to critically examine theories by questioning their totalizing and generalizing tendencies and to provide alternative ways of perceiving the ontology of culture through the examination of it as performance. Most importantly, you are envisioned to push for the location of the Philippines in the wide arena of performance research. 

The goals of the program are the following:

  • Examine the complexity of performance as an important theoretical and methodological lens in various disciplines of the humanities (art studies, theatre studies, literature), social sciences (history, anthropology, sociology) and the fine arts (music, dance, visual arts);

  • Conceive performance as a way of explaining different realities in the world;

  • Reflect the usefulness of performance in articulating alternative models for the understanding of sociocultural concepts such as nation, gender, identity, to name a few; and

  • Engage in conversations about performance using the location of the Philippines in the wide arena of performance discourse.

What we do in the program: 

  1. Illustrate how performance may be used as an important theoretical lens in various disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, and the fine arts;

  2. Engage in multimodal and interdisciplinary research using performance as a methodological lens;

  3. Construct alternative theoretical and methodological lenses in thinking about performance;

  4. Formulate new theories about performance based on engagement in various performance activities

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Program Structure

Courses for the PhD in Performance Studies rest on the strengths and expertise of the department’s current crop of faculty whose academic and intellectual trainings are in Theatre Arts/Studies, Performance Studies, Dance Studies, Heritage Studies, Communication Studies, Comparative Literature, Public Administration, Anthropology, and Philippine Studies.

Students enrolled in the program must complete a total of 42 units consisting of 12 units of Core Courses, 12 units of Perf. Stud. Elective Courses, 6 units of Cognates, Comprehensive Examination, and 12 units of Dissertation

The Core Courses refer to the subset of major courses common to all students of a particular program. In the program, the 12 units of Core Courses are foundational courses on perspectives, key concepts, theories and methods in performance studies.  The core courses – namely, Perf. Stud. 301 Perspectives in Performance StudiesPerf. Stud. 302 Performance in Contexts, Perf. Stud. 303 Methods in Performance Studies – intend to introduce potential students in the theoretical, historical, and methodological fundamentals of performance studies. This triad is crucial in providing a common knowledge and vocabulary that will hopefully assist students in crafting their own projects in Perf. Stud. 399 Research

Perf. Stud. Elective Courses refer to courses a student can choose from the list of Perf. Stud. courses identified as electives. In the program, students will have the option to choose four (4) of the available elective courses in consultation of the program adviser. The elective courses are envisioned to substantiate the literature of the chosen research area or focus of the students. The suggested elective courses, meanwhile, seek to relate performance to a range of concerns: from history and society, to gender and sexuality, to culture and politics, to the self and everyday life, to narratives and rhetorical performances, to technological developments and infrastructures. These courses are designed to be conceptual or thematic in approach, so that they may flexibly incorporate and address issues, problems, and concerns that serve the purpose of the courses, the needs of students, and the specialization of the faculty teaching a subject. 

Cognates are courses outside of but related to the discipline or field, with minimum number of required units. These courses aim to complement or enrich the core and elective courses. Students may take Cognate Courses (any 300-level course or equivalent) from the following programs: anthropology, art studies, Asian studies, comparative literature, education, Filipino, film, history, media studies, panitikan ng Pilipinas, philosophy, sociology, women’s studies, among others.

Each student must also satisfactorily complete the Comprehensive Examination. The purpose of the Comprehensive Examination is to ensure that the student has a sufficient background of knowledge needed to proceed towards the PhD degree. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination marks a student’s transition to the independent research phase of his/her postgraduate education including dissertation proposal defense and Perf. Stud. 400. 

PhD in Performance Studies Program Checklist 

Click here for the PhD in Performance Studies program checklist.

PhD in Performance Studies List of Courses

Click here for the list of PhD in Performance Studies courses.

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Career Opportunities

The PhD program in Performance Studies is envisioned to develop versatile, flexible post-graduate students with unique creative and critical aptitudes. Graduates of the program are well-qualified and competitive candidates for academic positions at a variety of institutions, post-doctoral research opportunities, and non-academic employment sectors.

However, graduates of the program may also engage in other career opportunities such as being a cultural diplomat in different embassies of the Philippines all over the world. The program prepares its potential graduates to value cultural diversity through world performance cultures, including the everyday rituals of different communities. The program prepares its potential graduates to recognize without reconciling cultural differences. It also prepares the students to critically and performatively engage globally without sacrificing the local.  

Employment in cultural agencies is another career opportunity that awaits our potential graduates. As cultural agents, they are envisioned to perform the various tasks of an artistic director, festival dramaturg, cultural program development staff leader and even as a senior tourism officer, which will be honed during their stay as postgraduate students of the program. 


Holders of any master’s degree may be admitted to the PhD in Performance Studies. Applicants must satisfy the requirements set by the University for admission. A two-page project proposal and sample published, or unpublished research paper/s are also required for admission to the program. Applicants are encouraged to go on a full-time program.

In the case of an international student whose native language or whose medium of instruction in the secondary school is not English, a score of at least 500 in the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or at least 173 in the computerized form, or at least sixty-one (61) in Internet- Based Test [IBT] or a score of 6.0 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


The student should maintain a minimum CWAG of 1.75 at the end of each academic year and must not have a failing mark in any of the required courses to be able to continue the program.

Dissertation Writing (Enrollment in Perf. Stud. 400)

The student must pass all coursework and must pass the Comprehensive Examination before dissertation proposal defense and enrolment in Perf. Stud. 400.


The following are the requirements for graduation: (1) Completion of coursework; (2) Satisfactorily completion of the Comprehensive Examination; (3) One journal paper acceptance or publication as lead author (must be related to the dissertation topic); (4) Successful dissertation oral defense and approved dissertation.

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