Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies
The Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies (formerly the Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory) at UC Riverside provides an advanced interdisciplinary base for innovative research in the field of cultural, political, and historical studies of dance. Inaugurated in 1993, the program has achieved world-class status as the preeminent site for intellectual inquiry into dance, corporeality, movement, choreography, and performance. The specificity of the program's focus on dance studies distinguishes it in the fields of performance, art, and cultural studies. The program is committed to an interdisciplinary model of dance scholarship and pursues a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches. The Ph.D. program is equally distinct for the close relationship it maintains with the department's M.F.A. in Experimental Choreography, inaugurated in 2002. Cooperation between these two programs, both conceptually and through intersecting curricula, contributes to the department's embrace of both dance making and written scholarship – dancing and writing about dancing – as complementary, intertwined modes of theorizing corporeality. This provocative environment for conducting original research on dance attracts the strongest graduate students from around the nation and the globe. The education offered at UC Riverside prepares students to become the next generation of dance scholars.
UC Riverside's Dance Department is unique for its outstanding faculty of nationally and internationally recognized scholars and artists who draw from a variety of academic and creative backgrounds. These include history, ethnography, critical race theory, feminist studies/masculinities & queer studies, Marxism/post-Marxism, postcolonial and diaspora studies, choreography, performance studies, media and digital cultures, globalization and cultural translation, as well as specific area studies such as African Diaspora studies, American studies, South Asian, Asian Diaspora and Asian American studies, Indigenous studies, Latina/Latin American studies, and Global South studies. The sheer number of research faculty sets UC Riverside's Dance Department apart from all other dance departments in the U.S. Among the particular strengths of the faculty are their interrogations of global capital and transnationalism, their embrace of intercultural approaches, their integration of historical and ethnographic methodologies, their revisionist approaches to dance history, and their employment of technology as a theoretical and research tool. UC Riverside faculty represent a cutting-edge of dance studies.
Our Ph.D. students pursue an extraordinary diversity of research agendas. Recent projects include: "Bollywood and the Feminine Body on Screen," "Club Dance, Technology, Culture," "Expanding Nations, Moving Bodies: Bharata Natyam Dance Practice in Sri Lanka," "Passing for Almost Straight: Black Gay Men and the Queer Male Dancing Body," and "iBody: Apple Computer and the Digitized Body." The program also has an impressive placement record. Graduates have gone on to secure full-time academic positions nationally and internationally at such schools as UCLA, University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, Rutgers University, University of Washington, California State University, Long Beach, University of Kansas, York University, Middlesex University, University of Surrey, and Taipei National University of the Arts.
During the first two years of doctoral work, students will take a total of ten required and elective courses. Required courses introduce students to rhetorical, cultural, historical, and political approaches to dance studies. The curriculum will also require students to conceptualize dance as a cultural endeavor and to confront issues involved in writing about movement performance. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue several of their graduate courses outside of the Department of Dance; these will be selected under the guidance of a faculty advisor and should help students create an interdisciplinary approach to their research.
In the third year, students prepare for and take the Written Comprehensive Exams. These are followed by preparation for a Qualifying Essay, and then completion of an Oral Qualifying Exam, by the winter quarter of their fourth year. In the following years, students will complete the research and writing of the doctoral dissertation.
List of Completed Dissertations (PDF format)
Students must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate Division. Students should apply at www.graduate.ucr.edu.
Applicants may submit a statement of background about experience in dance history and theory, a previously prepared research paper, or the equivalent, demonstrating analytical and interpretive skills.
- A working knowledge of movement;
- An acquaintance with some system of movement observation and analysis; and
- Preparation in general historical and cultural studies.
For students needing additional work in dance analysis, or in historical or cultural studies, classes in these subjects are available at UC Riverside that may be taken during the course of graduate study.
GRE scores are required and must be submitted by January as part of the application process.
Applicants are required to file an "official" application electronically to the Graduate Division at http://graduate.ucr.edu/grad_admissions.html.
The core curriculum, normally to be completed in the first two years of residency, includes the following:
Dance 254: Political Approaches to Dance Studies
Dance 255: Historical Approaches to Dance Studies
Dance 257: Rhetorical Approaches to Dance Studies
Dance 258: Cultural Approaches to Dance Studies
Six additional graduate-level courses are required. Two from other disciplines related to the student's research interest, and four from Dance. A maximum of one Dance M.F.A. core course may be included as one of the four additional graduate-level dance courses required.
All students must show competence in at least one language other than English. Further requirements in specific forms of dance or music notation or ancient or contemporary languages may be determined for each student in consultation with relevant faculty and the graduate advisor of the program.
Written Qualifying Examination
Students must prepare one field for examination with each of four members of the committee in whose courses the student has completed degree requirements. The committee is composed of two Dance faculty members, one of whom is chair, and two other members who may be Dance faculty or "outside members" (not a UCR Dance faculty member or cooperating faculty member). The written qualifying examination may be completed as a "take-home" format (seven-day, open-book) or a "sit-in" format (two-hour exam periods for each field, conducted on site in the department, and completed in one five-day work week).
One quarter after successfully completing the written examination, students complete a rough draft of the qualifying essay, under the direction of the same group of faculty members who monitored the written examination. Students finalize the qualifying essay and sit for the oral examination before the end of the following quarter. The qualifying essay is generally 25 pages in length and demonstrates the student's ability to articulate a viable dissertation research project. It must consist of written work but may include other forms of video or film productions with the approval of the relevant committee and the graduate advisor.
Oral Qualifying Examination
Students must prepare qualifying essay and be examined by a five-person oral qualifying examination committee. The committee, nominated by the department and appointed by the dean of the Graduate Division, consists of all four written examination committee members, plus a fifth member chosen so that the five-person committee would be comprised of no more than two "outside faculty members," and no fewer than one "outside faculty member." All members of the committee must be physically present for the exam. The committee examines the adequacy of the student's preparation to conduct the research proposed in the qualifying essay. Advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree depends on completing required course work, fulfilling language requirements, and passing the written examination, qualifying essay, and the oral examination.
The Dance department expects students to complete the entire examination process by the end of their tenth quarter in the program (end of the first quarter of their fourth year) to make satisfactory progress toward completing the degree.
Dissertation and Final Oral Examination
A dissertation committee is composed of three members: a chair from Dance, a Dance faculty member, and either a Dance faculty member, or an outside faculty member. The committee directs and approves the research and writing of the dissertation. The dissertation must consist of written work but may include other forms of video or film productions with the approval of the relevant committee and the graduate advisor. It must present original scholarly work and be approved by the dissertation committee before the student takes the final oral examination. Students must have satisfactory performance on a final oral examination, conducted by the dissertation committee and open to all members of the faculty. The examination emphasizes the dissertation and related topics.
Normative Time to DegreeNormative time toward the completion of the Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies is degree is 18 quarters.
University of California, Riverside offers support in the form of Fellowships and Teaching Assistantships for the most highly qualified applicants. Financial aid for graduate study at UC Riverside is competitive, and is based on needs as well as merit. Students are encouraged to find alternative sources of financial support from grants and fellowships from foundations and in their respective countries. To be competitive for fellowships, application before January 5 for entrance for the following Fall Quarter, including scores on the GRE and the TOEFL (if applicable), is expected. Applications received after January 5 will be considered up to February 15.
For more information, contact:
Department of Dance
University of California, Riverside
Riverside , CA 92521-0328
Tel: (951) 827-3944
Fax: (951) 827-4651