Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE

Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Dance.

About the Program

The Dance Department offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. All students are expected to develop a command of the discipline of dance, as a performing art and as both subject and medium of inquiry. The department's mission places high value on the role of dance in a pluralistic, multicultural society.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main. All department courses are offered on Main Campus, but students may take out-of-department credits on other campuses.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework, research and interactions among faculty and students with interests in Africology and African American Studies, Anthropology, Education, History, Jewish Studies, Media Arts, Music, Philosophy, Sociology, Theater Arts, Women's Studies, and the like.

Accreditation: The PhD in Dance is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).

Areas of Specialization: Individual doctoral faculty members conduct research studies on African and African American aesthetics; dance as a phenomenon in its own right; dance reconstruction; dance teaching and learning across the life span; feminism and dance; performance theory and practice; philosophical, historical and cultural perspectives of the body and dance, including issues of gender, race and class; and more. Research expertise of doctoral faculty is in aesthetic, artistic, educational, ethnographic, historical, phenomenological and sociological modes of inquiry in dance.

Job Prospects: Graduates perform and choreograph with companies throughout the world, teach at all levels of education, serve as arts administrators and policymakers for the arts, and publish extensively.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are able to take technique classes and some core coursework with the permission of the instructor and the department chair. If accepted into the program, those courses (up to a maximum of 9 credits) may be applied toward the degree program.

Financing Opportunities: Teaching Assistantships (TAs), Research Assistantships (RAs), and Academic Internships (AIs) are available. Teaching responsibilities usually include teaching university general education courses. On occasion, TAs are assigned to teach BFA Dance repertory, technique or theory courses for which they are qualified. This award includes a monthly stipend, book allowance and tuition remission. Assistantships are generally awarded for a maximum of two years. The TA/RA/AI application is part of the supplemental dance application for admission. Continuing students who have not held an assistantship also submit a written application in the term prior to commencement of the award.

All PhD applicants are considered for departmental nomination for a University fellowship. This university-wide scheme is highly competitive, and recipients are selected by the Graduate School.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 11

All department and university application materials must be received by the Dance Department. After acceptance at the department level, final review of all application materials is made by the Boyer College of Music and Dance.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from qualified representatives of academic or professional communities in dance.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a graduate GPA of 3.4 or above, and transcripts that show a foundational knowledge of dance.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree in any discipline, in combination with substantial professional or recreational experience in dance, is required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree is required, although it need not be in Dance.

Statement of Goals: Address your unique profile as a developing professional in the field of dance, as well as your ability to do original research. Reflect on why the Dance Department, i.e., the research foci of its doctoral faculty, its mission and its resources, is well matched to your career and educational goals.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE/MAT: Not required. If submitted, scores are expected to be at the 50th percentile or above.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 68

Any students admitted with a TOEFL score below the minimum must pass an English skills course during their first term at Temple University.

Graduate Interview Day: All applicants are expected to attend the Dance Department’s graduate interview day or to make other arrangements to complete interview day requirements. Subject to approval of the Graduate Coordinator, international applicants may be considered for admission by completing all graduate interview day requirements via video and Skype. The day includes a studio warm-up taught by a member of the faculty, presentation of research or applied practice, development of an on-site writing sample, and an interview with doctoral faculty.

On-Site Writing Activity: All applicants take part in an on-site writing activity. Results are considered in the admissions process. Remedial coursework may be required.

Resume: A resume that details experience in dance, art, education, scholarship and/or public leadership is required.

Writing Sample: A recent scholarly or academic research paper must be submitted as a writing sample.

Advanced Standing: Students who enter the PhD program in Dance may be considered for advanced standing, based on relevant coursework. The Dance Doctoral Faculty Committee, with approval of the Associate Dean, awards credits toward advanced standing on a case-by-case basis in the first year of full-time study. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 33.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 46

Required Courses:

Core Courses
DANC 8867Educational Inquiry in Dance3
DANC 9801Research Methods in Dance3
DANC 98735
DANC 9991Directed Research-Dance1
Select courses totaling 28 credits from the following:28
Special Topics in Dance
Moving Across Genres
Experience, Engagement and Multi-Sensory Inquiry
Black Performance
Dancing the Popular
Bodies, Texts, History
Dance Field Experience
Any Dance course numbered 8000-9991
Any Temple graduate course outside the Department of Dance 1
Research Courses
DANC 9994Preliminary Examination Preparation1
DANC 9998Pre-Dissertation Research1
DANC 9999Doctoral Dissertation4
Total Credit Hours46

Advisor approval required.

Culminating Events:
Qualifying Examination:
Students take a Qualifying Examination at the end of Fall term in Year 2. The examination covers three areas crucial to doctoral research. Questions are devised in consultation with specialist advisors. Details of the Qualifying Examination are published in the Graduate Handbook.

Preliminary Exam Projects:
Upon completion of all required coursework for the degree, students complete two Preliminary Exam Projects, which are submitted for review early in Fall term of Year 3. These include:

  1. A position paper presented in view of the dissertation, which was drafted in DANC 9873 in Spring term of Year 2.
  2. A course proposal for higher education, which the student began work on in DANC 8867 Educational Inquiry in Dance in Spring term of Year 2.

Through DANC 9994 Preliminary Examination Preparation, the student demonstrates significant achievement of scholarly and professional competencies. The Preliminary Exam Projects must be reviewed and approved by a committee composed of at least three Dance doctoral faculty.

Dissertation Proposal:
Through DANC 9998 Pre-Dissertation Research, the student prepares a dissertation proposal that evidences a strong body of work thus far and preparedness to complete the Dance PhD program. A primary advisor and Doctoral Advisory Committee are established upon the student’s successful completion of the Preliminary Exam Projects. In consultation with the primary advisor, the student prepares a proposal, including an abstract that is reviewed and approved by Dance doctoral faculty. Once approved for defense, the student makes a formal oral presentation of the proposal to the Doctoral Advisory Committee. Upon approval of the dissertation proposal, the student is elevated to candidacy in the PhD program. The dissertation proposal is normally defended in Spring term of Year 3. Written guidelines for the dissertation proposal are published in the Graduate Handbook.

The dissertation is a substantial piece of original and independent research making a significant contribution to new knowledge in dance and possibly related fields. Typically, students complete the dissertation and DANC 9999 Doctoral Dissertation in Year 4 or 5, although candidates may submit beyond Year 5 in consultation with their primary advisor. The original Doctoral Advisory Committee may be expanded with additional doctoral faculty from Temple University or other universities, or with doctoral-level experts who work outside a university setting. For purposes of the dissertation defense, the committee must include at least one additional doctoral faculty member who is not from the student's program; so constituted, it becomes the Dissertation Examining Committee. At least one member of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be an "outside examiner," defined as one who has not read the dissertation in progress.

The primary advisor and student confer with the Dissertation Examining Committee to establish a date for oral defense of the dissertation. A majority of the members of the Dissertation Examining Committee must approve the written dissertation and oral defense; once passed, the student has 30 days to complete final revisions. Detailed guidelines for the dissertation process and examination are published in the Graduate Handbook.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Dance

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance

1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 309

Philadelphia, PA 19122-0843


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Norma Porter


Coordinator of Graduate Studies:

Dr. Sherril Dodds



Dr. Karen Bond