PhD in Performing arts



Research environment The School of Arts provides research opportunities across a broad range of interconnected subject areas, including dance, digital arts, film, music, theatre and sound recording. We cater for practice-based and academic study within a research environment distinguished by methodological innovation and intellectual pluralism. Facilities include studios, rehearsal rooms, a 200-seat theatre, a gallery, digital media labs, high-quality recording facilities and extensive archives.

Key research areas include:

  • Aesthetics and Analysis – dance, film, music
  • Dance and music on screen
  • Performance studies and techniques
  • Intermediality and improvisation
  • Laban movement analysis, African dance, dance ethnography
  • Choreographic and somatic practices
  • Film theory and criticism, European cinema
  • Documentary film and animation
  • Performing the archive, choreographic studies
  • Shakespearean drama
  • Phenomenological approaches to performance
  • Performance philosophy

Research programmes:

  • PhD in Dance
  • PhD in Digital Arts
  • PhD in Film
  • PhD in Performance
  • PhD in Theatre

Research degrees overview Our research degrees in performing arts prepare you for success at each stage of your PhD project development. The structure is designed to provide intensive graduate preparation for a future career and is suitable for either part-time or full-time candidates. Completion of the programme entails submission of a thesis, the submission of practice if undertaking a practice-based PhD, and an oral viva with external examiners.

Supervision in theatre and performance is offered by staff in both Theatre Studies and the Guildford School of Acting.

PhD students in all programmes in the School of Arts can expect three levels of research training:

1)  University-level training provided by the Postgraduate Skills Development Programme and the University Library, including a PhD induction, workshops on writing skills and preparation for the confirmation and viva. There is also an annual student-led University Postgraduate conference.

2)  School-level training is offered in the form of interdisciplinary seminars, reading groups, visiting speaker events and conferences.

3) Students will also receive subject-specific training that will vary depending on their programme. You may participate in research “intensives”, featuring formal presentations of work by students, keynote seminars, study groups on current themes in Arts research, and research skills training sessions. You may meet regularly for debate and discussion and participate in annual formal presentations of research.

Entry requirements For all our research degrees in performing arts, entry is on the basis of a good honours degree and usually an MA in a relevant arts subject or appropriate professional experience. Candidates submitting proposals that include practice-based research will be required to evidence appropriate experience and expertise in the relevant area of practice. Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status. Non-fluent speakers of English are required to have IELTS 6.5 or above. Auditions will be held for entry to some programmes. Please see online for further details.

Studentship opportunities Faculty studentships are available for top-quality students, covering tuition fees at the Home/EU rate and maintenance at current research-council rates for full-time or part-time study. University or Research Council studentships may be available. Please enquire with the Director of Postgraduate Research.

Further information  For full programme information and information on how to apply, please visit the ‘Apply’ button below

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