Classes Begin Winter Semester

Application Code: 02118


Graduate Certificate in World Performance Studies

This is a curricular opportunity for graduate students interested in World Performance Studies.

The GCWPS requires 9 credit hours of coursework over the span of twelve months. Of these, 6 credits will be earned in two required courses: TheatreMus 647.001 Introduction to Performance Studies in the Winter Semester (3 credits), and a Proseminar in the Fall (RACKHAM 570.005) which serves as the final capstone project for 3 credits. The remaining 3 credits will be courses taken by students in their home unit and double-counted, in consultation with unit chair or advisor, towards the certificate program.


Winter Semester

1st required course (3 credits): Introduction to Performance Studies (TheatreMus 647.001)

Based on interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches, this gateway seminar will examine issues pertaining to the definitions of performance as an artistic and scholarly field of inquiry, critically examine the ranges and sites of performance as well as its various manifestations (aesthetic, historical, socio-cultural, political etc), and the experiences of cultural practices associated with performance. Additionally, this class will analyze issues of cultural identity and the display of subjectivity through performance and probe its research presuppositions, methodologies, and forms of scholarly representations.

Professor of Theatre Studies, Mbala Nkanga, will be the main professor for this class. 

Summer Internship/Research/Practicum

In the summer, students will be required to do an internship, research, or a practicum for four to six weeks. The summer research can be designed as preliminary research for a dissertation project or a final performance project in the student’s home department. Participating students will be required to write a two-page proposal describing the rationale of the project, its location and budget. Funding for the summer component will be provided by CWPS and will be available between May and August only. Funds cannot be postponed and the student must show evidence that they will return to the program in the fall for completion. The director of CWPS will head a selection committee to review all proposals and will consider innovative projects by students on a case-by-case basis.

Fall Semester

2nd required course (3 credits): Proseminar and Presentation of Capstone Project (RACKHAM 570.005)

The goal of the Proseminar is for students to report and discuss summer projects and to prepare students for public presentations of capstone papers/performances towards the end of the fall semester. The director of CWPS will be responsible for the proseminar and one or more steering committee members will assist as needed by leading the discussions and assisting students with public presentations. The capstone project can be based on a chapter from a dissertation that is most closely related to issues in performance studies, or a substantially rewritten paper from one of the courses in the home unit that has a bearing on performance studies, or it can be a performance. Despite the above directives, there will be room for innovative projects beyond this list of choices. Faculty who receive funding from CWPS as part of the Artist Residency Program, visiting scholars, and artists on either short or long-term visiting appointments, shall give guest presentations in the fall Proseminar.


Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on November 2, 2015. The CWPS Steering Committee and the director will review applications and notify successful applicants by November 9, 2015.

Any student who is currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Michigan is eligible to apply for the Graduate Certificate in World Performance Studies. Students who began graduate studies in September (including the Dance MFA program) are eligible to apply. To be considered, applicants must be in good standing in their graduate degree programs with a grade average of a B and higher in their completed graduate work.

Applicants should submit the following:

  1. Application packet cover sheet.
  2. Statement of purpose explaining your interest in the Certificate Program (1-3 pages).
  3. Letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your home department (in a sealed envelope).
  4. Official U-M transcript (or permission for CWPS to electronically access your University of Michigan transcripts) if applicable.


For admissions information, contact CWPS Program Administrator, Dani Koel, at


Graduate Certificate students are encouraged to meet with the CWPS advisor at least once per semester to evaluate progress toward the certificate. It is also important that the student's home department or school is aware of his/her intent to pursue a certificate in CWPS. The student will be personally responsible for letting the departmental advisor know of such intent, and the application will need to be signed by the current program advisor. Students interested in the CWPS Graduate Certificate should schedule an advising appointment with the CWPS Advisor and Director, Kwasi Ampene at