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Applicants to the graduate program in Performance Studies are expected to submit the following materials:

  • a graduate school application
  • a statement of purpose addressing research interests
  • a sample of scholarly writing
  • two (2) letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL scores (international students only)
  • transcripts
  • application fee


Applications for the MA, MA/PhD and PhD programs must be received by December 31st.

Financial Aid

Students admitted to the MA/PhD or PhD program typically receive four or five years of funding, covering the full cost of tuition and providing a stipend. Ongoing funding is contingent upon the student’s satisfactory progress towards the degree.

Minority MA/PhD and PhD students may be eligible for funding through the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois program, a state-funded, need-based program awarding fellowships that provide a stipend, with tuition scholarships provided by the Graduate School. To be eligible, minority students must be Illinois residents and intend to seek faculty positions in Illinois upon degree completion.

Students admitted to the MA program are not eligible for fellowships or assistantships. Information about student loans is available from Student Financial Services.

General Information

General information on graduate study at Northwestern University is available from The Graduate School.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I apply to the MA, the MA/PhD, or the PhD program?

Apply for the MA if this one-year, intensive program is what you seek, and if you do not currently intend to continue toward the Ph.D.

If you currently hold a Bachelor’s degree and do intend to continue toward the PhD, then you should apply for the MA/PhD. Please note: because the on-line application offers no “MA/PhD” designation, you should select “PhD” and then indicate in your statement of purpose that you are applying for the MA/PhD.

If you have a Master’s degree in Performance Studies or a related field (Anthropology, Cultural Studies, English, Theatre, Speech Communication, and others), then apply for the PhD.

Do you require any GRE test other than the general test?


Is there a separate application for funding?


What kind of writing sample should I send?

We are looking for a sample of scholarly writing, on any subject, of sufficient length to demonstrate your ability to develop an idea thoroughly (typically 5-20 pages).

Whom should I contact with additional questions?