Stanford TAPS Ph.D. Program

The mission of the graduate program in Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) is to produce students who work in the leading edge of both scholarly and performance practice. The Ph.D. program in TAPS emphasizes the combination of theory and practice. Graduate students complete a program with a rigorous study of critical theory, textual history, elements of production (directing, acting, choreography, writing, and design) and embodied research. We have a superb record of placement and the U.S. National Research Council ranked Stanford's Ph.D. program in Theater & Performances Studies second in the nation.

Our generous funding package includes tuition, health insurance, travel award and a living stipend. This is a five-year fully-funded fellowship package which allows students to devote the first two years to full-time graduate study, the third year to graduate study and research, and years four and five to teaching and writing the dissertation. Following formal admission to candidacy (usually after the second year), the dissertation can be completed and approved within five years. For the 2015–2016 academic year, graduate applications are due Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 5pm.


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To view a full list of this year's courses, visit Stanford's Explore Courses.


1. Compose Your Application

Consult the Office of Graduate Admissions online. For the 2015–2016 academic year, graduate applications are due Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 5pm.

2. Submit the written portion of your application

Stanford TAPS requires that you prepare certain written application materials to accompany your application. In addition to the statement of purpose, TAPS applicants must submit a statement detailing their practical theater experience, a sample of their written critical work, and an artistic statement. These materials are described here. These documents are required.

The application also requires letters of recommendation. When applying online, you will be asked to submit the names, titles, addresses, institution or business names, and email addresses of your three recommenders, and they will be notified of how to upload their letters electronically. If you are applying on paper, there is a recommendation form available on the admissions website.

3. Interview

An invitation to interview may be extended by the end of January. For more information about graduate study at Stanford, visit the Registrar's Graduate Admissions page.


Units and Course Requirements—

1. A minimum of 135 units of graduate courses and seminars in support of the degree. These units are in addition to units for the doctoral dissertation.

2. Core seminars: 300A, 300B, 301, 302 or 303, and 304

3. Three additional graduate seminars within the Department of TAPS to be worked out with the adviser.

4. Four workshops in directing: TAPS 371, 372, 373, 374A, 374B. In the first two years, students take: 371, Performance Making: Process; 372, Actor and Director Dialogue ; 374A, Performance Making: Production; students take 374 to stage a more fully developed production chosen in consultation with the faculty. 374B Projects in Directing is advance creative work approved by the GSC and supervised by a faculty member.

The following department requirements are in addition to the University's basic requirements for the doctorate.

a. Language Requirement

b. Three Examinations

(1) Comprehensive

(2) Qualifying

(3) Department Oral

c. Dissertation Prospectus

d. Defense of Dissertation

e. Assistantships: Research (RA) and Teaching (TA)

a. Language Requirement—The candidate must demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language in which there is a major body of dramatic literature. The language requirement must be met before the student can be advanced to candidacy. The language requirement may be fulfilled in any of the following ways:

(1) achievement of a sufficiently high score (70th percentile) on the foreign language examination prepared by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Latin and Greek are not tested by ETS.

(2) a reading examination given each quarter by the various language departments, except for Latin and Greek.

(3) pass with a grade of 'B' or higher courses in Literature/History numbered 100 or higher in a foreign language department at Stanford.

b. Examinations—Candidates must complete three examinations (comprehensive, qualifying, department oral) by the end of the first three years of study at Stanford.

(1) First Year Comprehensive. The comprehensive examination is taken by the end of the second quarter. The exam is based on texts given to the student by the department before the start of the first year. Students study these texts independently and collaboratively. For the exam, they should be able to identify and compare texts and analyze critical issues.

(2) Second Year Qualifying. The qualifying examination, which must be completed before advancement to candidacy at the end of the second year, consists of two 25-35-page essays. Each of these essays should demonstrate a broad knowledge of two different historical periods (pre-20th century), with emphasis on particular dramatic texts and /or performance practices. Essay topics should be designed in consultation with a faculty advisor. Reading list for each period should be approved by the end of the 1st quarter. These essays should not duplicate any written work from seminars. After approval by the adviser, the graduate studies committee reads and evaluates these essays. For the first qualifying examination, candidates must choose from the following historical periods:

a. Classical
b. Medieval and Renaissance
c. 17th, 18th, or early 19th century

3. Third Year Department Oral. The department oral examination requires three faculty members, at least two from the Department of TAPS who are then eligible to form the dissertation reading committee. This exam is based on a short proposal of the project and a 40-page literature review. This exam should be taken at the end of Spring quarter in the third year.

c. Dissertation Prospectus—The dissertation prospectus must be approved by the candidate's adviser and by the departmental graduate studies committee two quarters after taking the department oral. This should be done in the Fall of the 4th year. Within 30 days of approval, a student should schedule a prospectus colloquium with the proposed reading committee which consists of the dissertation director and two other faculty members. The prospectus must be prepared in close consultation with the dissertation adviser during the months preceding the colloquium. It should be approximately 15-20 pages and minimally covers three things:

1. The research question and context
2. The methodology for research
3. chapter outline

d. University Oral Examination—The University oral examination is a defense of the dissertation based on a full draft submitted at least 75 days before the proposed degree conferral. The examining committee consists of four faculty members, at least two of whom must be from the Department of TAPS, as well as one faculty chair from outside the department who does not share an appointment with the department of any of the examiners.

e. Assistantships—

(1) Research Assistantship. Three quarters of research assistantship with faculty members are required. Generally, this requirement is fulfilled in the third year.

(2) Teaching Requirement. Four quarters of supervised teaching at half time are a required part of the Ph.D. program. The requirement is normally met by teaching three courses during the fourth year and one course during the fifth year. During non-teaching quarters in years four and five, students serve as research assistants.

5. Application for Candidacy. By the end of the second year of residence, the following requirements or appropriate equivalents must be completed:

(1) the core seminars: 300A, 300B, 301, 302 or 303, and 304
(2) the directing workshop series (TAPS 371-374A), including the successful production of at least one work in public performance
(3) a foreign language
(4) successful completion of the comprehensive and qualifying exams.

Based on its evaluation of the student's progress, the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) certifies the student's qualifications for candidacy. Upon favorable action, the student files a formal application for candidacy, as prescribed by the University, by the end of Summer Quarter of the second year. By University policy candidacy is valid for five years unless terminated by the department.

6. Dissertation. Ideally the Ph.D. program in TAPS is completed in five years. The first two years should be devoted to full-time graduate study, and the third, fourth, and fifth years to research, teaching, and writing the dissertation. A candidate taking more than five years is required to reinstate candidacy by repassing the written examinations on dramatic literature.

7. Satisfactory Progress, Annual Review. The program and progress of each student must be evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) at the end of each academic year. At the end of the first year, the departmental graduate studies committee evaluates the work of each student in classes, seminars, examinations, and performance. Production planning in the Spring of each year for the following season is contingent upon students making satisfactory progress. Continuation in the program depends upon the recommendation of this faculty group. At the end of the second year, the committee reviews the student's work in consideration of advancement to candidacy. At the end of the third year, students are expected to have developed an approved dissertation prospectus. Funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress. Failure to make satisfactory progress may result in dismissal from the program. University policy states that all requirements including dissertation must be completed before candidacy expires.



Sebastián Calderón Bentin
Assistant Professor, New York University

Lindsey Mantoan
Lecturer, Stanford University

Matthew Moore
Lecturer, Muhlenberg College

Jessica Nakamura
Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno


Derek Miller
Assistant Professor, Harvard University

Ciara Murphy
ACLS Public Fellow, The Public Theater, New York

VK Preston
Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University

Michael St. Clair
Lecturer, Stanford University


Ileana Drinovan
Founder/Artistic Director, The Santozeum

Florentina Mocanu-Schendel
Visiting Lecturer, University of San Francisco

Nia Witherspoon
Assistant Professor, Florida State University


Douglas Jones
5-Year Postdoc, Princeton University

Rachel Anderson-Rabern
Project with Ethics of Durational Performance with David Calder, Northwestern University


Micaela Sanchez-Diaz
Postdoc, Northwestern

Dan Sack
Postdoc, Amherst

Matthew Daube
Teaching Fellowship, Stanford (I-HUM)


Rachel Joseph
Assistant Professor, Trinity


Barry Kendall
CEO Commonweal Institute

Michael Hunter
Teaching Fellowship, Stanford (I-HUM)


Kris Salata
Assistant Professor, Florida State

Kyle Gillette
Assistant Professor, Trinity University (Texas)

Shawn Kairschner
Assistant Professor, Villanova

James Lyons


Alma Martinez
Associate Professor, Pomona


Irma Mayorga
Assistant Professor, Dartmouth College

Faedra Chatard
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland


Brandi Catanese
Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Jisha Menon
Assistant Professor, Stanford


Telory Davies
Assistant Professor, Missouri State


Venus Reese
Associate Professor, University of Texas at Dallas


Margaret Booker
Freelance Directing

Jacalyn Royce
Assistant Professor, University of Puget

Shannon Steen
Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

Evan Winet
Law School


Phaedra Bell
UCSF Medical School

Thomas Freedland
Assistant Professor, Stanford (CTL)