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Master of Arts in Performance Studies

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Performance Studies program is built around a multifaceted understanding of performance. This program bridges scholarship and practice, ranging from applying qualitative research methods to transmitting knowledge through performance.

Besides learning and discussing ideas from a close reading of texts, we will encourage you to explore other modes of knowledge transmission. You’ll use our state-of-the-art facilities to put together performances, concerts, exhibitions, and installations.


Choose Your Track

You will choose between three tracks: Thesis, Performance & Portfolio, and Comprehensive Examination. In all three tracks, students develop their research projects with the guidance of an advisor.

Thesis Track

The thesis track requires the submission of a 40–60-page monograph and is recommended for students who want to focus on their writing skills. 

Thesis Track Guidelines

Performance & Portfolio Track

The Performance & Portfolio track entails putting together a performance (from an online platform to a theater play). 

Performance & Portfolio Track Guidelines

Comprehensive Examination Track

The Comprehensive Examination track allows the student to examine the field of performance studies more broadly. 

Comprehensive Examination Track Guidelines

Faculty Expertise

Our faculty have conducted research in the U.S., Ghana, Brazil, Japan, Trinidad, and Spain. Our faculty have expertise in the study of: 

  • Religion & spirituality
  • Theater
  • Media & technology
  • Popular music
  • State affairs
  • Law
  • Diplomacy
  • Martial arts
  • Urbanism
  • Dance
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexuality

Meet Our Faculty

Our Students

Our students come from all parts of the world (the U.S., Mexico, Nicaragua, Ukraine, Ghana, and South Korea, to name a few) and have diverse academic backgrounds (from theater and music to architecture and marketing). This plurality of ideas and viewpoints around performance energizes the program and provides each student with a well-rounded liberal arts experience.

Thrive in Small Classes

We keep our graduate classes small to give each student the support they need to pursue their research projects, participate in class discussions, and interact with the Bryan-College Station community. 


Our M.A. program prepares students to pursue a broad range of career paths, particularly in 

Our recent graduates have found jobs as project coordinators at organizations such as Texas Folklife, Safe Space, EMERGE Fellowship, PBK, Hands on Nashville, and the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center. Former students such as Yunina Barbour-Payne ’14  have used the skills learned in the program to embark on an artist-scholar career.

Students interested in continuing their academic training have been admitted to highly competitive Ph.D. programs around the country (Indiana University, Northwestern University, University of California, Davis, among others).


How does the admission process work?

Submit your application at Texas A&M GradCas along with a non-refundable application fee. The fee may be waived only in exceptional cases for low-income applicants and McNair Scholars.

Your application should include the following:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation (academic references preferred)
  • Statement of purpose essay
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • One writing sample

Read more about the M.A. in Performance Studies application requirements

What kinds of financial support does the program offer?

We usually offer our students a GAT (graduate assistant teaching) position, which includes a stipend of roughly $11,500/academic year. GATs assist our faculty with grading and class planning. GATs pay in-state tuition of about $7,810/academic year (fees included).

Our students have been successful in receiving grants and fellowships from OGAPS, the College of Liberal Arts and the Glassock Center for Humanities Research,  the Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts. Texas A&M University offers many financial aid options to help you pay the costs associated with continuing your education at a higher level.

The Performance Studies program provides research funding to first-year graduate students after they have successfully defended their prospectus.

Who can I go to for questions?

For more information about our graduate program, please contact Dr. David Donkor at

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