Postgraduate Coursework at the Department of Performance Studies
The Department of Performance Studies is internationally renowned as a centre of research excellence, both for the interdisciplinary range of our work and for the innovative application of ethnographic research methods in the study of performance.
All of the academic staff are active researchers, publishing regularly in top-ranked journals. Many of our PhD students, upon graduation, have found work as lecturers at universities across Australia, as well as in the UK and Asia. We have a strong cohort of current postgraduates who regularly present papers at major national and international conferences and our peer-reviewed journal, About Performance, attracts submissions from leading scholars not only in Australia but also from the US and Europe. We have often hosted international scholars through such prestigious schemes as the Fulbright program or Endeavour Scholarships.
For postgraduate students, the department provides a highly supportive and collegial environment:
- readily available, expert supervision from an academic staff member;
- a weekly research seminar at which students can receive constructive feedback on work-in-progress from their peers;
- excellent library facilities;
- technical support and advice for research that involves fieldwork/documentation etc.; and
- opportunities to work as a tutor, guest lecturer or research assistant.
See below for details of our postgraduate research and coursework offerings, advice on how to apply and links to the University’s Scholarships Office and other support services.
You may also contact Dr Glen McGillivray, Postgraduate Coordinator, for further information.
Depending on your previous academic experience and the nature of your interests, the available options include:
Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
For these degrees, students undertake a substantial piece of original research, the results of which are presented in a written thesis (40,00060,000 words for the MPhil; 70,000100,000 for the PhD). Expert advice and support is provided by a member of the academic staff through regular supervision meetings, plus there is the feedback of peers through the departmental research seminar, conferences and the like. You can consult our staff profiles as well as a list of current thesis projects to see some of our areas of research expertise.
Link to How to Apply
Master of Arts (Research) and Doctor of Arts
While recognised as research degrees (hence, exempt from fees), the MA (Research) and the DArts allow for the student to combine some postgraduate coursework with a comparatively shorter thesis project. This can be an ideal model for students who have no previous experience of writing a dissertation, who want to ‘test the water’ before embarking on a research career or whose research interests are complementary to their professional experiences in performance and related fields. MA (Research) students can take up to two coursework units, together with a thesis of 26,00028,000 words; DArts students take five coursework units and prepare a thesis of 50,000 words. Follow the links for entry requirements, the application process, advice on how to prepare a thesis proposal, current projects and areas of staff research expertise.
Postgraduate coursework units in Performance Studies are also available, as stand-alone, cross-listed options, to students from many other programs and subject areas, including Development Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Media and Communications, Social Work and Education; Public Health and so on.
PRFM6900 Theatre and Community Development
Dr Paul Dwyer
Offers training in, and critical understanding of, theatre techniques tailored to the needs of teachers and community workers involved in peace-building, human rights campaigns, health promotion, youth work and other ‘community cultural development’ activities.
Taught in intensive mode: 4 x 2hr seminars in weeks 2 (Aug 7), 4 (Aug 21), 6 (Sept 4), 11 (Oct 16); with 4 day workshop intensive Mon 24 - Thurs 27 September.
Next Offered: 2012
PRFM6901 Acting: From Theory to Workshop
Dr Glen McGillivray
Explores different approaches to acting (including Stanislavski, Meyerhold, Brecht and Suzuki) with a theoretical focus on how each embodies a conception of what it is to be human and with a practical focus on how to workshop these ideas in a classroom.
Not offered in 2012
PRFM5900 Contemporary Performance
Dr Glen McGillivray
Examines the history, development and theoretical influences on contemporary performance genres, with a specific focus on what is happening in Sydney at venues such as Performance Space and Artspace.
Next Offered: Semester 1, 2012 (daytime 2-3 hr seminars, check with coordinator for timetable)
PRFM5901 Critical Theory and Performance
Dr Amanda Card
Performance studies has drawn widely from anthropology, semiotics, feminism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, phenomenology, hermeneutics and other frameworks. In this unit, we consider some key texts and their relevance to performance analysis.
Next Offered: Semester 1, 2012 (daytime 3 hr seminars, check with coordinator for timetable)
PRFM5902 Rehearsal Studies
Prepares students for the task of observing and analysing rehearsal practices (or training, creative development etc). Key theoretical and methodological issues of ethnographic research are covered, not only through readings but also through practical tasks. This unit and PRFM 5903 are co-requisites.
Next Offered: Semester 1, 2012 (daytime 3hr seminars, check with coordinator for timetable)
PRFM5903 Inside Rehearsal (following PRFM5902)
This unit is structured around a rehearsal process involving professional artists-in-residence . Students attend rehearsals, documenting the process and later providing analysis in the form of a small-scale ethnography.
Taught in intensive mode: 1-2 weeks rehearsal observation in July break; 5 x 2hr seminars during 2nd semester. Check with coordinator for timetable.
Next Offered: Mid-year Break/Semester 2, 2012