Performance Studies


In Performance Studies we look at a broad range of aesthetic, social and everyday performances: from theatre, dance or ‘live art’, to the performative dimensions of politics, sport and fashion. As a Performance Studies major you will explore different approaches to performance making, devise short works, and engage with professional artists-in-residence. While this is not vocational training, it does provide a window onto professional practice. As well as developing skills in workshops, you will attend a wide variety of performances, learn how to document them, how to describe the way spaces are used, how bodies are moving, and how to build these observations into a detailed critical analysis.

Performance, as a conceptual lens, also provides a powerful way of interpreting many non-theatrical events, using theoretical approaches from a diversity of disciplines, including theatre and movement studies, anthropology, history, philosophy and sociology. A Performance Studies major provides a strong basis for students who later train as performers, directors, teachers, arts administrators, or who work in related areas of cultural practice.

Major outline

The Department of Performance Studies does not offer any junior units of study. Instead, students wishing to enrol in senior Performance Studies units need to complete at least 18 junior credit points in no more than two subject areas, including 12 junior credit points from Table A. In most cases, this simply means prospective students will have done two semesters' worth of study in at least one subject area located in the Arts Faculty.

Pathways through the major
A major in Performance Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points, including 12 credit points from compulsory 2000 level units of study and 6 credit points at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the unit of study table for Performance Studies. The table shows units of study which are on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)
You complete 18 junior credit points, which may include PRFM1601. Junior units introduce you to foundational knowledge and to current debates across the discipline.

Senior-intermediate units of study (2000 level)
You complete 12 senior credit points of compulsory 2000 level units of study: PRFM2601 and PRFM2602. These compulsory units of study are designed to offer an overview of an area, genre or disciplinary problem, giving you an opportunity to survey and consolidate knowledge and skills in a particular area, contributing to your chosen major.

Senior-advanced units of study (3000 level)
You complete at least 6 senior credit points at 3000 level. Senior advanced units allow you to deepen your knowledge in the major.

The remainder of senior units to make up the requirement of the major can be taken from senior elective units of study either at 2000 or 3000 level.

Graduate opportunities

Sydney Arts and Social Sciences graduates work in government departments at all levels, and major private sector consultancies and corporations, locally and overseas. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a range of subject areas that prepare graduates for careers in administration, education, business research, marketing, media, management consultancy, public relations, gallery and museum curatorship, hospitality and tourism, community and welfare. Our graduates are proficient in research and inquiry, and demonstrate personal and intellectual autonomy, and ethical, social and professional understanding, qualities sought after by leading employers all over the world.

Further study for major

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Arts, or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, the gallery and museum sector, and leading media organisations, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

Related subject areas

Anthropology, History, Music

Our courses that offer this major

Not available in 2014