Ph.D. in Culture and Performance Admissions

Admissions for Fall 2022 are now closed for our Culture and Performance Ph.D program. We are no longer accepting applications. If interested, please consider submitting an application next year by the deadline of November 15, 2022.

For the Ph.D. program in Culture and Performance, all applicants are required to follow the University's graduate admissions criteria and requirements. This includes that applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a recognized college or university. Applicants to the Ph.D. program also are normally expected to hold a master's degree or its equivalent from a recognized college or university. Applicants for the Ph.D. without an M.A. degree in a related field will fulfill our department’s M.A. requirements while working toward their Ph.D. The program requires full-time attendance.

In addition to the Application for Graduate Admission, the Department has its own requirements: statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, official transcript from each college or university at which work has been completed, and a writing sample (see FAQ for more information). The General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required. Please do not send your GRE scores because they will not be reviewed. Samples of creative work relevant to proposed graduate research are welcome but not required.

The Department does not offer a terminal M.A. in Culture and Performance. A master's degree is not required to apply or to enter our program.


November 15th of the year prior to entry is the official deadline for filing an application for fall quarter enrollment. This applies to all Ph.D. applicants to the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Applicants are required to apply online using the application on the Graduate Division website. Some departmental application materials, which include the Statement of Purpose, writing sample and three letters of recommendation, are uploaded via the website. Other additional materials, which include official transcripts, and any optional creative materials that cannot be uploaded to the website, are to be sent directly to the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Review of applications that are not complete by the November 15th deadline cannot be guaranteed. Admission to the program is for fall quarter only. Students who are admitted but do not enroll may reapply, but are not guaranteed admission at a later date.

International Applicants

Students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. Applications are not considered complete without the test scores. Because processing, sending, and receiving TOEFL and IELTS test scores often takes several weeks, international students must schedule their examination no later than September in order to meet the Departmental deadlines. TOEFL and/or IELTS scores should be sent directly to the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance Admissions Office and to Graduate Division. For further information about TOEFL requirements, please see UCLA Graduate Division English Requirements.

Funding Opportunities

Entering students apply for fellowships in conjunction with their admission application. Nominations for campus-wide awards as well as Departmental support are made by faculty and forwarded to the necessary faculty committees for decision. Factors considered include academic strength, creative work, and in some cases, financial need. We are unable to speak about funding specifics until after determining admitted cohorts. Applicants are generally advised to apply for their desired graduate programs first and consider the financial costs of their options after admissions decisions are made.

UCLA Graduate Division provides a comprehensive Graduate Student Financial Support handbook to acquaint you with the range of opportunities to support graduate study at UCLA. The Graduate Division also provides a search database for additional opportunities. UCLA GRAPES allows you to search for awards from among 625 scholarships, grants, fellowships, and postdoctoral awards.

For federal financial aid, please visit the UCLA Financial Aid and Scholarships Office for eligibility requirements, application, and additional information.

Contact Us

Have a look at the FAQs below. If you have further questions, you can contact us at

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the following questions and answers. For an overview of the graduate school application process, you may find it beneficial to read The Gentle Guide for Applying to Graduate Schools, written by our own Dr. David Shorter.

The deadline to submit application materials for the Ph.D. in Culture and Performance is November 15th. The deadline to submit application materials for the M.F.A. in Choreographic Inquiry is December 1st. Review of application materials sent after the deadline cannot be guaranteed.

We understand that applying for graduate school can be a commitment of your time, money, and energy. Before contacting us, be sure that you have taken the first steps in determining a department's fit with your goals. Be sure to read our faculty members' profiles. Because "arts," "culture," and "dance" have come to mean so many different things, you should find overlap between your graduate research project and our faculty's areas of expertise, though this could also mean theories and/or methods. Also, be sure to look at our degree requirements and our required "core" coursework. A good sign of "fit" between applicants and a program is when the required coursework directly supports the applicant's scholarly interests. And if after these primary steps, if you still have questions, please reach out to Anurima Banerji, Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs.

Applicants apply online using the Application for Graduate Admission.

If extended an offer of admission, official transcripts are sent directly from your institution’s registrar’s office to our department, either via mail or electronically or are sent by the applicant via mail but have never been opened by the applicant.

UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
120 Westwood Plaza
150 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, California 90095-1608

Unofficial Transcripts: As part of your application, you will be required to upload a copy of an unofficial transcript. Review materials to be uploaded.

During the coronavirus pandemic, campus is for all intents and purposes closed until further notice. Once the campus opens again, visiting before official acceptance is not recommended since doing so unfairly favors local applicants or those with resources for travel. Applicants can familiarize themselves with the department’s graduate degree programs and faculty by reviewing the Graduate and Faculty pages of our website. Please read the information provided on this website closely. Then, for any further questions, contact us at If your question is research specific, you may also email the Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs. You may also contact specific faculty members in your area of research to determine their current research interests or possible sabbatical plans in the near future. Faculty, staff and student contact information is listed on this site under People.

In addition, the following links may help you learn more about campus:
- UCLA Campus Tours
- UCLA Arts Prospective Students: Campus Tours, Undergraduate & Graduate Information Request (email list), and UCLA Arts Recruitment Calendar
- UCLA Maps, Directions, and Parking

We do not offer a terminal M.A. in our Department. Students can earn their M.A. while completing the requirements for a Ph.D. All graduate students entering the Culture and Performance program at UCLA are expected to complete the Ph.D.

Please see the Program Profile Report for information regarding the admission and acceptance rates.

Please see the Program Profile Report for information regarding the admission and acceptance rates.

All applicants to our Ph.D. program must supply one writing sample. Typical writing samples include research papers, term papers, or Master's theses. The applicant should ultimately choose their best example that demonstrates their writing and critical thinking abilities. Often applicants submit a research paper from a previous class or an excerpt from their M.A. thesis, if they are applying to our Ph.D. program. Writing samples should not exceed approximately 20-25 pages.

The writing sample is a very important part of your application materials. It should demonstrate the clarity of your analytical thinking and its expression. It is taken as a strong indicator of a prospective student's ability to engage with scholarly materials. In general faculty reviewers can comfortably read up to about 20-25 pages. Longer documents such as master's theses might be excerpted or sent in full with specified sections to read. We are looking for quality in whatever genre is submitted. We would be particularly interested in writing that demonstrates the kind of research, analysis, and synthesis that is essential in the scholarly aspects of our doctoral program. But, if you feel your best writing falls into other genre categories, you might consider a portfolio approach to provide a good sense of the character and range of your writing skills.

Applicants should submit one Statement of Purpose, which outlines how their personal and professional goals align with graduate training in our department. Applicants should feel free to describe previous experience and research as it applies to their academic goals, but the focus should be on the work that they hope to do as a graduate student in our department, as well as their future career goals. Chiefly, applicants should aim for specificity in their statements as well as use this opportunity to accentuate their clear writing skills. Keep in mind that this is a unique instance within the greater application to showcase originality in thought and action, and to illustrate not only aptitude as a student and professional, but as a passionate person at work in the world.

This section of the application is your chance to tell us what you want to do here in the Culture and Performance program. Describe your research interests in particular. What questions do you want to investigate in relation to what materials? What new knowledge and skills that apply to this interest area are you expecting to develop through graduate study in our program? Do you see evidence that the necessary resources are available at UCLA? Of course you should also address the topics given in the application materials: your purpose in applying, your area of specialization, your plans for future occupation or profession, and any additional information that may aid us in evaluating your preparation and your aptitude for graduate study at UCLA.

This is in addition to the Statement of Purpose required by UCLA Graduate Admissions, and will be uploaded in the supplemental document section toward the end of the application. For the WACD M.F.A. Statement of Purpose:
- Describe your choreographic interests.
- What questions do you want to investigate, and in relation to what sources?
- What new knowledge and skills that apply to these interest areas are you expecting to develop through graduate study?
- What do you see as evidence that the necessary resources are available at UCLA?

Please review the application for word count and page length maximum and minimum.

Possibly. The department would prefer to see at least one if not most of the letters of recommendation come from academic sources, such as previous professors. If you have colleagues, supervisors, non-academic instructors (such as dance instructors), etc that you believe can write you a strong letter of recommendation, it is your choice to have them submit a letter of recommendation which will be included in your application materials for review.

A writing sample is optional for M.F.A. applicants. However it is useful as a demonstration of the applicant's area of research interest(s) for the purpose of assessing the applicant's aptitude for graduate study at UCLA.

Please keep in mind that sending in creative work is optional. Including samples of creative work with your online application is appropriate for applicants who are working in mediums outside of solely answer-based analysis and representation. We are not asking for creative work unrelated to the proposed research project. Some examples include applicants' photographs from their fieldwork or if they are using film in their work. There is a section within the online application for uploading supporting documents. You will be able to upload PDFs here, for example, you may upload a page listing links to your online materials.

No. The GRE is not required for M.F.A. in Choreographic Inquiry or the Ph.D. in Culture and Performance. If you submit your GRE scores, they will not be included in your application for review.

Our process for reviewing Ph.D applications begins on November 15th. While it obviously takes time to fully review the applications, we cannot hold certain applications to be reviewed later. So in the case of late materials, while your file may still be reviewed without a Letter of Recommendation, there is always the possibility that such an absence will result in a negative evaluation since we have less materials to make a fair, comparative assessment. All applications are weighed by the same standard, including the announced deadlines.

No. Ph.D. students must complete the requirement no later than the end of the fifth quarter of residence in the major. Please see Ph.D. degree requirements.

Entering graduate students will receive departmental funding (through either direct financial support, or through employment as Teaching Assistants or Graduate Student Researchers). Students will receive a quarterly stipend as well during those years. Entering students apply for fellowships in conjunction with their admission application. Nominations for campus-wide awards as well as Departmental support are made by faculty and forwarded to the necessary faculty committees for decision. Factors considered include academic strength, creative work, and in some cases, financial need. We are unable to speak about funding specifics until after determining admitted cohorts. Applicants are generally advised to apply for their desired graduate programs first and consider the financial costs of their options after admissions decisions are made. Please visit the Graduate Division website which provides extensive financial information for the prospective student.

Once a decision has been made, an email will be sent from the Graduate Division to the email address you provided in the application. The email does not contain the decision; instead, you will be advised how to access your decision letter. Admission can often take a few months for a variety of reasons as the process is lengthy and involved. Generally, applicants are informed sometime in March or April.

In general, a maximum of two courses completed with a minimum grade of ‘B’ in graduate status (at institutions outside the University of California) may apply to UCLA master’s programs. Two courses would be the equivalent of eight quarter units or five semester units. For the Ph.D., transferring units is considered individually through faculty advisement. Please contact the department directly.

Opportunities to enroll are based upon space availability and instructor consent through the "concurrent enrollment" program offered through UCLA Extension. As a general rule, students may not audit courses in the Department of World Arts and Cultural/Dance.

You are advised to create a Technical Support ticket (using the link provided in the application) if you encounter a technical issue. That will ensure the university vendor is aware of the problem and can work with you to resolve.

We regularly admit a very small percentage of those applying and it remains difficult to address the varied reasons why an application fares better in our review process. More often than not, the contours of an applicant's research do not align with the short-term availability or research interests of our faculty. Perhaps an applicant proposed working with a faculty member who is shifting their research focus or planning to be away from the campus in the upcoming years. Often, an application is rated lower if the proposed project could be developed in a more standard academic department since we necessarily want to favor those applications that particularly need our department's curriculum or the influences provided by our campus and community. Before writing us regarding your admission denial, please recognize that we will not reverse any acceptance decisions for this academic year. Additionally, many factors cannot be discussed such as contents of letters of recommendation. Lastly, do feel free to apply again in the future.

University requirements state that unless granted a formal leave of absence, continuing graduate students who fail to register are considered to have withdrawn from the University and must compete for readmission with all other applicants. Thus, applicants who were previously registered at any time as graduate students at UCLA, whether having completed a graduate program or not, must submit an online application with the application fee. A formal application for readmission is not required for students who are returning from an official leave of absence. 
1. Notify the department’s Student Affairs Officer at that an application is forthcoming;
2. Submit an online application to the University; application fee is required; and requests for the letters of recommendation, or transcripts are not required for readmission; 
3. In the place of a Statement of Purpose, submit a short letter outlining your detailed plans for a timely completion of degree; 
4. In the Plans for Graduate Study section of the application, select application type "Readmit w Dept Rec."

As a current or returning graduate student, your best companion is Graduate Division’s Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA. This document is under the purview of Graduate Division and is updated whenever policies and/or procedures change for graduate students at UCLA.

All current students are welcome to take dance and choreography classes here at WACD. Some popular classes may fill early, so be sure to register as soon as you are able. All students can register for beginning level classes, which are intended for students who are new to dance, or to a particular style of dance. For example, an experienced ballet dancer may wish to take a beginning West African dance class. Intermediate and advanced levels require attendance at the placement class that happens at the first class meeting at the beginning of each quarter. The placement process allows the instructors to ensure that students are enrolled in the class that most suits their needs at the time, and is not a personal judgment or a statement about potential. If you’re not sure what styles of dance or what levels are right for you, please email the instructor. In the case of a beginning level class you may simply show up to class on the first day of class. Bear in mind, however, that there is no guarantee you will be allowed to enroll in a class if it is full. WACD undergraduate and graduate students have first priority once classes are full.

Current students periodically need dancers for showings related to their degree progress. Sometimes auditions are posted, while other times fellow dance class attendees are approached. Check the WACD bulletin boards posted throughout the department for audition information. There is also an annual faculty-choreographed showcase during spring quarter every year. Audition information will be posted in the department.

Please do not send your application materials to us in advance or request feedback on them. To keep the process fair, faculty or staff cannot assess your materials or advise you on how to prepare them. We read and evaluate your materials solely during our formal application review cycle.

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