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2023-2024: PhD Program Handbook



This handbook is a set of descriptions, checklists, and dates to remember, and is not intended to be a substitute for the program description, policies, and procedures on the School of Drama Website, nor for the Graduate School Policies and Procedures.

Students should review all these materials frequently as they progress through the PhD program.

Note for quarters affected by COVID-19: The exigencies of the pandemic may affect the policies and procedures outlined in this handbook. Updates to Graduate School policies and guidance can be found here: https://www.grad.washington.edu/about-the-graduate-school/graduate-school-covid-19-information/

In addition, students should familiarize themselves with the UW Graduate School Doctoral Degree Policies. This site provides information on doctoral degree requirements, appointment of doctoral supervisory committees, doctoral supervisory committee roles and responsibilities, general examination and admission to candidacy for doctoral degrees, candidate certificates, appointment and responsibilities of doctoral reading committees, final examination/dissertation defense, and doctoral dissertations.

A helpful list of dates and deadlines may be found here: http://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/dates-and-deadlines/

The PhD Program Handbook is updated on an annual basis. Policies and procedures may change from year to year. When in doubt, consult the most recent edition of the handbook online.

Please let us know of anything not covered in the handbook that you believe should be included. 

Anti-Racist Action Plan

The PhD program is committed to the School of Drama’s Anti-Racist Action Plan, including decentering whiteness in our teaching in theatre history and performance studies. “[W]e value the long tradition of theatrical storytelling from all cultures, and that we do not value the traditions of exclusion, marginalization, and colonialism.” Read the full Anti-Racist Action Plan for more information.


Executive Director: Geoff Korf, gkorf@uw.edu
Head of Theatre History and Performance Studies Area:  Scott Magelssen, magelss@uw.edu
Divisional Dean of the Arts: Gabriel Solis
Assistant to the Divisional Dean: Chantal Reynolds, chantalr@uw.edu
PhD Faculty: Odai Johnson, odai@uw.edu
PhD Faculty: Jasmine Mahmoud, jmahmo@uw.edu
PhD Faculty: Stefka Mihaylova, stefkam@uw.edu
Graduate Advisor: Megan Gurdine Thornberry, mgurdine@uw.edu
Administrator: Tina Swenson, tmrs@uw.edu
IT Administrator: Gretchen Shantz, gshantz@uw.edu
Constituent Relations Officer: Hillary Long, hklong@uw.edu

For a complete list of faculty and staff, consult the School of Drama website.

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Description of the PhD Program

The PhD program provides comprehensive training in theatre and performance scholarship, combining a wide definition of performance while maintaining rigorous training within a discipline core. The program partners seminars and tutorials by the doctoral theatre faculty with a wide menu of performance-studies-based seminars offered through the Center for Performance Studies. The four-year plan of study offers opportunities for a full range of Western and non-Western periods from the ancient to the contemporary, from the traditional to the avant garde.

Graduates of the program are prepared to enter careers as university professors, arts administrators, dramaturgs, and critics. Most applicants have theatre degrees and production experience, but on-going production work is not part of the doctoral program. The enrollment is small and individual attention given to scholarly projects—including private tutorials—shapes the student’s experience throughout their course of study. Whatever their particular interests, PhD students are expected to develop the broadest and deepest understanding of theatre and performance, theory and history. Our small program is distinguished by the individualized attention and support that each student receives, both from faculty and colleagues, during their time here.

Program of Study

The four-year program consists of eight quarters of coursework, followed by a reading quarter; qualifying and comprehensive exams; and, finally, the dissertation.

Students take a minimum of 12 seminars from their home department of the School of Drama. The seminars are designed to provide thorough preparation in the major issues, periods, contemporary, critical and theoretic approaches in the field. In addition, students must complete four courses outside of the required Drama seminars, in consultation with the doctoral program faculty. Students typically concentrate on Drama seminars in the first quarters of study.

In addition to the courses and exams below, all students (both those in coursework and ABDs (All But Dissertation) should fully participate as citizens in the life of the program, including regularly attending periodically scheduled events (professionalization workshops, information sessions), the Center for Performance Studies lectures, and program gatherings and receptions. Students should also be good citizens of the School of Drama, participating in School offerings and events including All School Meetings, productions, award ceremonies and social gatherings.

UW Graduate School Requirements: PhD students must complete a minimum of 90 credits to earn the PhD degree, generally through 60+ credits of coursework, and a minimum of 27 dissertation credits. Dissertation credits must be taken over at least three quarters, and students may register for no more than 10 dissertation credits per quarter. The degree can be completed in a minimum of four years, generally through two and 2/3 years of coursework with the remaining time for dissertation topic development and approval (spring of third year), and research, writing, and defense (fourth year).

By University of Washington (UW) regulations, students must complete the PhD degree program within 10 calendar years of matriculating. This includes quarters spent on-leave or out-of-status. Our goal is for most students to complete the program in four-to-six years, depending on the project.

Drama Seminars

The sequence of drama seminars reflects the changing needs of the field and the developing research interests of the faculty. Seminar topics have included Performance Ethnography, Publics and Performance, Modernisms High and Low, Ruins: Classical Theatre and the Archaeology of Memory, The Fervent Yeares: The Making of Elizabethan Theatre, The Baroque, Reading the Long 18th Century, The Historical Avant-Garde, Documentary Theatre, Conversations with Antiquity, Performing Race, Foundations in Performance Studies, Memory, Theatre, and Performance, Emerging Discourses in Theatre and Performance Studies, Modern Theatre and Modern Technology, Performance and Embodiment in the Early Middle Ages, Nineteenth-century Theatre and Popular Entertainment, Founding Visions of the American Theatre, Continuity and Rupture in Contemporary British Theatre, Early African-American Performance,  The Body in Performance, Dark Tourism, Religion, Performance, and Antitheatricality, Transnational Theatre in the Atlantic World, Foundations in Performance Studies, and Historiography: History, Memory, Narrative, Performance in and from the Global South, and other Disorders.

Simpson Center Micro-seminars

The Simpson Center for the Humanities offers micro-seminars, usually 1 credit courses, which can count toward the total credit requirements.

From the seminars, students are encouraged to develop original research and to present their work at professional conferences, leading to publication in academic journals.

The Center for Performance Studies

The doctoral program in the School of Drama is a founding member of the Center for Performance Studies, hosted by the School of Drama. The Center for Performance Studies represents a consortium of programs, faculty, and graduate students engaged in the study of performance culture across the disciplines. Our collaborators are involved in scholarship that deals with any aspect of performance culture. The Center comprises a wide range of faculty and graduate students across the campus and across fields who have joined together to support the study of performance in a variety of forms and cultures. The Center is not a degree granting program, but rather a commons for the sharing and pooling of the diverse strengths and resources of the University of Washington community.  The Center also offers a series of its own seminars, independent of departmental offerings. These are team-taught, inter-disciplinary seminars themed around a common text, theory, or theme, taught by professors in disparate disciplines.

Go to http://depts.washington.edu/uwcps/ to access information about the faculty that comprise the Center, graduate courses that are focused on the study of performance, upcoming lectures, events and conferences, and opportunities for funding.

Foreign Language Component

The PhD Program in Theatre History and Performance Studies has a foreign language component that requires each student to have a working knowledge of a second language. A working knowledge is defined as skills enough to allow one to conduct research in that language. See School of Drama Policy Memo 7

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Program Milestones

Qualifying Exams

First year PhD students take their qualifying exams over Memorial Day weekend every year. For this exam students will be presented with five or six essay questions (generally speaking one question pertaining to each of the Drama PhD seminars they’ve taken during the three quarters of their first year in the program) and they will write on their choice of four. Students will pick up their questions from Hut 105B, the grad advisor’s office, at 9am on the Friday before the holiday. Answers are due back to the grad advisor on Tuesday, 9am. Oral exams will be scheduled for the following Friday.

Year-Two Check-In

In the spring of their second year, students will meet with the PhD faculty to discuss teaching and research, to go over the transcript of courses taken at the UW to determine progress toward completion of course of study, and to discuss with the faculty research plans and resource needs as students move into their third year and beyond.

The in-person year-two check in week 9 will include but is not limited to: an overview of courses taken and grades earned as well as a plan for courses to be taken in year three; teaching successes and challenges; progress toward language requirement; articles and reviews in progress or submitted for publication; funding and awards applied for and/or received; preliminary discussion of research specialization.

A written letter detailing the student’s progress at the end of year two, based on these conversations, will be given to the student and placed in their file.

Reading Quarter

Spring quarter of third year is the dedicated reading quarter to enable students to prepare for the Preliminary and General Exams and to survey the proposed field of study. Students with ASEs (Academic Student Employment), register for 10 credits, which can be DRAMA 600.

Setting up your doctoral supervisory committee

Before your general exam in spring of your third year, and at least four months prior to the General Exam, you must establish your doctoral supervisory committee. The committee should be set up in consultation with the PhD faculty. The School of Drama’s Academic Policy Memo 6 on doctoral exams includes guidelines on who needs to be on the committee. See the Graduate School's page on Doctoral Supervisory Committee Roles and Responsibilities for more information.

Two of your regular committee members must be from School of Drama doctoral faculty, and one regular member must be from an outside program. This last member may be the same individual as your Graduate School Representative (GSR) or the GSR may be a fourth member. Before your final thesis defense you will also need to set up a reading committee.

See School of Drama Policy Memo 6, and Graduate School Policy Memo 13.

Preliminary Written and Oral Exam

Beginning of spring quarter of the third year. The Preliminary Exam is based on a series of questions composed by the PhD faculty in consultation with the student’s dissertation adviser; it consists of written essays of 2,500 to 3,000 words each, depending on the number of questions, and is designed to contextualize the dissertation topic. Questions are distributed on Monday of the first week of spring quarter. Students are allowed two weeks to complete the essays, which are due 9am on Monday of week 3. Oral examinations by the School of Drama PhD faculty will be scheduled on Friday of that week.

General Exam (Prospectus Defense)

End of the spring quarter of the third year. The General Exam is a detailed précis of the proposed dissertation written by the student, including a description of the project and its significance, a detailed review of literature, a tentative outline of chapters, and a plan for completion. The précis will also be part of an oral examination by the student’s supervisory committee. This oral exam is the official General Exam. A more detailed explanation of the précis is found in School of Drama Policy Memo 6.

Scheduling the General Exam

After consulting with the supervisory committee and reserving a room, students schedule the time of the General Exam on the web using MyGrad Program. The system will send a confirming email to the student and committee. Let the Graduate Advisor know so that they can approve the date and time. 

At the General Exam, the student and the committee discuss the student’s readiness to commence a dissertation project, and identify the resources and timeline necessary to successfully complete it.  After passing the General Exam, the committee will sign a warrant testifying that the student has passed, which goes to the grad advisor.  The student should provide the grad advisor with the working title of the dissertation project, which goes on file, is added to the School’s web site, and is submitted to the journal Theatre Journal for publication in its annual doctoral theses in progress section.

Setting up your Reading Committee

After the General Examination, the Graduate Advisor uses MyGrad Program to inform the Dean of The Graduate School of at least three members of the supervisory committee who will serve on the reading committee. At least one of the members of the reading committee must hold an endorsement to chair doctoral committees. The reading committee is appointed to read and approve the dissertation. It is the responsibility of a reading committee to (a) ensure that the dissertation is a significant contribution to knowledge and is an acceptable piece of scholarly writing; (b) determine the appropriateness of a candidate’s dissertation as a basis for issuing a warrant for a Final Examination and; (c) approve a candidate’s dissertation. When you have the names of the faculty who have agreed to be on your committee, please let the graduate advisor know and she will set it up.


The fourth year of the program is devoted to writing a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty adviser. The dissertation is a monograph on a specified subject, rigorous in research methodology, and composed with writing of publishable quality. It must be a significant contribution to scholarly conversation in theatre and performance. Recent doctoral dissertations have explored semiotics, feminism, medieval traditions, American theatre history, contemporary English and German drama, ethnicity and performance theory, Latin American/Latinx performance, historiography, Asian performance. Titles of recent dissertations can be found on the School of Drama website.

Work closely with your faculty adviser to establish a calendar for completion (adjustable as needed). This should include deadlines for research, completion of chapter drafts, revisions of chapters, and estimated date of defense. It is a good practice to get chapters to your adviser at least two weeks before your desired date for feedback.

After your adviser has determined it ready, each chapter should be submitted to the rest of the committee members as it is completed to keep them apprised of your progress toward completion. Candidates should not wait until the full manuscript is complete before submitting it to the committee.

Lengths of dissertations vary depending on subject and methodology, but in general should be at least 200 double-spaced manuscript pages in length. Use MLA or Chicago Manual of Style for formatting and citations. Consult with your adviser on whether to use parenthetical or footnote citations. Follow the guidelines for dissertation formatting here: https://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/thesisdissertation/etd-formatting-guidelines/. This page also has helpful resources and templates for formatting your manuscript (title pages and front matter, table of contents, headings, and so forth).

Determining whether your dissertation requires HSD approval

If your dissertation project involves human subjects, you may need to determine whether you need approval from the Human Subjects Division (HSD). Generally, if human subject involvement is limited to personal interviews, and the data obtained is not intended to obtain “generalizable knowledge” under HSD definition, the project probably does not need HSD approval. It is the responsibility of the student, however, to make this determination. Go to http://www.washington.edu/research/hsd/ for details.

Graduate On-Leave Status

If a student has finished all required coursework, but is not ready to defend their dissertation, they may choose to go on-leave in lieu of registering for dissertation credit. Please note, graduate students must be registered full-time (ten credits) to hold an ASE appointment. There is an on-leave fee of $25. If students do not go on leave and do not register for dissertation credit, the student will become inactive and will need to pay a $250 reinstatement fee to be reinstated to active student status. More information about Graduate On-Leave Status is available on the Graduate School website, also under Graduate School Memo 9 and Drama Academic Policy Memo 8.

Delivering the Dissertation Manuscript to the Committee

Contact your Reading Committee members to determine whether they prefer a hard copy or electronic copy of your dissertation (and their preferred file format, e.g., .doc or .pdf). Also ask the rest of the committee if they would like a copy. You should allow a minimum of one month for the committee members to read the dissertation, and give each committee member several weeks advance notice of when the manuscript should be expected.

Final Quarter Registration

Registration as a graduate student is required in the quarter that a Final Examination is taken AND the quarter the dissertation is submitted. A minimum of two credits is required by the Graduate School. However, please check with Student Financial Aid if you are receiving financial aid and plan to be registered less than full-time for any given quarter.

Final Exam (Dissertation Defense)

View the Graduate School's policy on Final Examination: Dissertation Defense. The final exam may be scheduled after the reading committee has read a draft of the entire dissertation and have agreed the project is defensible.

After consulting with the supervisory committee and reserving a room, students schedule the final exam on line by going to MyGrad Program. Let the Graduate Advisor know when you have done this so that she can approve the exam time and location.

The final exam is a rigorous conversation with your supervisory committee about your dissertation. Generally speaking, final exams in the School of Drama PhD program do not include a formal public presentation of research. Final exams by state law are open to the public, but the usual practice is to conduct these in a small room with the student and their committee. If the student wishes to invite guests, these guests may not ask questions during the exam (only the committee members can ask questions), and will be asked to leave prior to committee deliberation.

The three possible results of the examination are “The candidate has passed,” “The candidate must be reexamined after a further period of study,” and “the candidate is not recommended for further work toward the graduate degree.” Even if the candidate has passed the final exam without reservations, it is normal for the committee to ask for minor revisions to the dissertation manuscript before it is ready to submit to the Graduate School. Therefore, the exam should be scheduled to allow for additional time for revisions before final submission. See details, below, under “Submitting the Electronic Dissertation to the Graduate School”

Once you have delivered the final manuscript, electronic signatures will be collected from each committee member. Each committee member will be asked to sign into the Graduate School's MyGrad Committee View to approve the dissertation.

Food/Refreshments at Final Examination and other Exams

Please do not plan to serve food or drink during your final examination or other graduate exams. Successful completion of milestones in your degree program is indeed a happy occasion and reason to celebrate. The practice of students catering their exam sessions, however, can create an unfair and burdensome implicit expectation on the student. In the Graduate School’s words, in consultation with the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and endorsed by the faculty Senate, “the differential in power between the student and their faculty mentors means that this “voluntary” practice is actually far from voluntary…. Allowing students to make the decision about catering these required meetings themselves is a false choice for them: many are concerned that they will be punished or judged harshly if they do not bring food/drink.”

Submitting the Electronic Dissertation to the Graduate School

After passing the final exam, the candidate should submit their electronic dissertation to the UW ETD Administrator Site by the end of the quarter. See Electronic Theses and Dissertation (ETDs) Guide for more information about submission requirements. Go to http://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/thesisdissertation/preparing-to-graduate/ for instructions on submitting the dissertation to the graduate school.

Graduate Registration Waiver Fee

If you do not have time to submit the Electronic Dissertation by the end of the Term, the Graduate School’s Graduate Registration Waiver Fee—an optional fee ($250) paid in lieu of registration—is available to qualifying students for a 2 week period directly following the quarter in which all Graduate School and graduate program degree requirements are met. Qualifying students who pay this fee will graduate in the quarter following the fee payment period.

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UW Commencement Ceremony

Information on the UW Commencement Ceremony is at: http://www.washington.edu/graduation/

School of Drama Graduation Celebration and Hooding Ceremony

Each June the School of Drama has its own graduation ceremony, with speakers from the faculty and the Seattle theatre community, and followed by a reception. Graduating students from each of the School of Drama’s programs are recognized. Students earning the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the highest degree conferred by the University of Washington, may elect to be hooded by their advisor in a special ritual at this ceremony. While hooding is not required, earning your degree is a significant moment and is worthy of recognition. It is also a significant honor for your advisor. Students may choose to be hooded at the School of Drama graduation if they have successfully defended the dissertation and passed the final exam.

Expectations and Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students maintaining satisfactory progress are perceived to be doing well in coursework, teaching, and research, maintaining a 3.0 or above, and regularly engaging in aspects of scholarly life in the program as well as in the larger profession.

For first year students, quarterly reviews will occur at the close of the quarter or the start of the next, and will be conducted by the PhD faculty. These are informal sessions to assess and document progress.


The grading system for UW graduate students is outlined in Graduate School Memo 19.

Satisfactory Progress

  • Successful completion of language and coursework requirements by the end of winter quarter in student’s third year
  • Satisfactory and timely completion of all program exams
  • Production of tangible research which meets the approval of program faculty
  • Preparation and participation in course discussions, and the completion of course assignments on time
  • Development of ability to engage in critical thought in both written and oral form
  • Development of ability to frame and pursue a research project using primary and secondary sources and other evidence.
  • Participation in Program orientation and meetings.
  • Successful completion of dissertation in a timely manner.

In the event a student is not meeting these general expectations, a written “warning” will be issued by the PhD Faculty, who will meet with the student to determine a plan for remediating the unsatisfactory progress. If by the following quarter the unsatisfactory progress is not remedied, the student will be recommended for probation for one quarter. If by the following quarter the student is still making unsatisfactory progress, she or he will be recommended for final probation. Final probation is used to warn students that they will be dropped at the beginning of the next quarter unless they improve their performance. Students may be dropped after three terms of unsatisfactory progress.

According to UW procedures, students must receive written notification from the program faculty of unsatisfactory performance (probation, final probation) prior to being dropped from the PhD Program. The notification must include the steps required in order for the student to return to satisfactory performance.

Students may appeal a drop. Appeals should follow the process outlined in Graduate School Memorandum No. 33, Academic Grievance Procedure.

For School of Drama Guidelines for Maintaining Satisfactory Progress, see School of Drama Academic Policy Memo 6.

For Graduate School policy on Satisfactory Progress see Graduate School Memo 16.

Important Meetings

PhD students are expected to attend and participate in regularly scheduled meetings of the PhD program throughout the year. These meetings are often scheduled on Friday afternoons. Meetings include but are not limited to:

  • The beginning-of-the year Summit in which the year ahead, policies and procedures, funding, and program announcements are discussed.
  • The Spring Summit (sometime in May) in which TA appointments for the following year are announced, and other items of business are conducted.
  • Friday Professionalization workshops. Past workshops have included: preparing the CV, publishing book reviews, mock interviews and job talks, mock conference presentations, leading effective discussions in the classroom, and so forth.


Students are expected to establish competence in teaching during their time in the program. This is generally established by teaching in the array of courses in the undergraduate program that are overseen by the PhD program: DRAMA 101 Introduction to the Theatre (Lecturer); DRAMA 101 (TA); DRAMA 103 Theatre Appreciation (online); DRAMA 201 Plays and Styles.

On an as-needed basis, a PhD student may serve as a research assistant or teach other courses in the undergraduate curriculum (e.g., Drama 171 The Broadway Musical; the history sequence DRAMA 371, 372 and 373; DRAMA 302 Critical Analysis of Theatre; DRAMA 494 Special Studies in Theatre and Drama) depending on their competence and expertise. These last teaching appointments are rare, however, and should not be counted on.  In addition, there may be opportunities to teach in departments outside the School of Drama (e.g., Dance, CHID). In all cases, students should consult with the Head of Theater History and Performance Studies before pursuing or accepting such an appointment, as it would have an impact on whether we can cover our own in-house undergraduate courses. If you accept an appointment from an outside program, you relinquish that quarter of Drama support.

Information on specific courses and corresponding TA duties can be found under General Job Descriptions for ASEs .

In order to be reappointed each term for teaching appointments, students must maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree, and be enrolled full-time (10 credits).

Appointments in the School of Drama are assigned by the faculty based on curriculum needs. Appointments are not hierarchical in nature (that is, you don’t work your way up to the “choice” appointments). Over the course of your program, you can expect to have an appointment at some point in each of these courses in order to establish a wide competency over several areas and classroom styles. This being said, each course does require a different skill set, which can determine the order in which students are assigned courses.

Students are expected to demonstrate progress as a teacher throughout their quarters of appointment. Students determined not to be succeeding in the classroom (e.g. receiving consistently low student ratings or faculty reviews) may face corrective action in accordance with the union contract - https://hr.uw.edu/labor/unions/uaw

The Center for Teaching and Learning holds orientations for new TAs in the fall. In-house orientation to each of these classes will be held during orientations prior to the beginning of the fall term. Attendance and participation in each of these orientations is required for all students with TA appointments. When teaching a new course for the first time, the TA should schedule a meeting during finals week of the preceding term with the TA from the prior term for briefing, best practices, and advice.

TAs should consult with their supervisor on a regular basis, and submit a draft copy of their syllabus to the supervisor a minimum of one week in advance of the beginning of the term. TAs should expect to be observed teaching by faculty supervisors, and the faculty will review student evaluations at the end of the term.

There is usually a predetermined assigned textbook and template curriculum for each course. That being said, generally speaking, the TAs have some degree of latitude in determining style and individual assignments. Ideas for major changes to course content or emphasis, however, must be cleared with the faculty supervisor well in advance of the beginning of the term.

Instructors should not cancel class sessions if they have conflicts with the meeting time. They should instead arrange with a sub to cover the class in question.

If a problem or dispute arises in the course you are teaching, bring it to the attention of your faculty supervisor sooner rather than later, so they can advise and point to university resources and due process for dispute resolution.

Information on Payroll and Insurance can be found under Graduate Student Payroll and Insurance Information.


Establishing a profile as a researcher in the field is an essential component of being the professional scholar you are training to become. Students are expected to regularly attend and present research at conferences in the profession, typically by the second year of their program. Students generally develop conference papers by revising seminar papers written during course work, and eventually begin presenting original research having to do with their research specialization.

Professional organizations in our field include the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), and Performance Studies International (PSi). In addition, there are many professional organizations and societies dedicated to subfields, periods, or area studies at which you might share your work.  Students are encouraged to pursue publication of essays as well as book and performance reviews during their program of study, in consultation with the PhD faculty and their faculty adviser.

Go to the Center for Performance Studies website for up-to-date lists of conference and publication opportunities.  A list of journals in the profession can be found on the ATHE website.


The PhD program can generally provide four calendar years of funding from the time of matriculation. Funding for students in the PhD program comes primarily through Academic Student Employee (ASE) appointments. In the PhD Program, these can be Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. Descriptions of Teaching Assistantships can be found above under “Teaching.” 

Funding for Research and Travel

PhD Students have certain funding resources they can draw upon for research and travel over the course of their program of study. Students entering the program prior to 2021 get these funds via funding requests to the Graduate School or reimbursement requests from the School of Drama (Travel funding requests should be submitted at least six weeks prior to travel. For reimbursement requests go here: https://drama.washington.edu/grad-travel-request). Starting in Autumn 2020, funding for research for incoming PhD students has been made available by the Provost’s Office distributed at the beginning of the first three years as a lump sum in students’ accounts.  Questions about accessing funding or the amount of funding available to you should be directed to the School of Drama Administrator.

The process for applying for outside funding is the same as that for in-house funding. Generally speaking, however, external funding sources dwindle throughout the year, so students who use their in-house funding early in the year may not find there is money left in external sources for travel in the later part of the year—whereas if students can secure external funding early in the year, they can count on in-house funds for, say, traveling to present at a second conference. Students should apply for travel funding at least 6 weeks prior to travel.

Note that per UW policy, it is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure that travel expenses submitted for reimbursement are directly related, necessary, and critical to the project, allowable within UW rules, and obtained at the most economical price. More information on travel policy accountability can be found here: https://finance.uw.edu/travel/PolicyAccountability. A complete list of UW travel guidelines and policies is available on the UW Travel Office webpage: https://finance.uw.edu/travel/.

NOTE: All international travel must be registered through UW Global Travel Security.


The PhD program offers two awards based on merit and research needs. Support from the Barry B. Witham Fund is awarded for travel and research funding toward the dissertation on a case-by-case basis, and usually for a student who has finished coursework and passed the General Exam (ABD). The Michael Quinn Award is given annually to a student in the School of Drama in recognition of excellence in writing. The Quinn Award is presented at the Spring School of Drama Picnic and Awards Ceremony.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply for outside funding. The University of Washington Graduate School and other units on campus offer a wide range of fellowship support for students in different stages of graduate study. The University Library provides free assistance to graduate students via its Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS). The Graduate School also provides assistance in locating and applying for fellowships, particularly national competitive awards, found at https://grad.uw.edu/graduate-student-funding/funding-information-for-students/fellowships/

Possible funding sources include but are not limited to:

FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) funding for graduate students includes 1) summer stipends for language programs and 2) foreign residencies. The funding cycle opens on October 15 and closes February 15.

  • The Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship offers one quarter of tuition support. The deadline for this fellowship is in early April.
  • The Simpson Center Society of Scholars Graduate Fellowships (three per year), due mid-November.
  • Fritz-MacFarlane-Lederman. These are three Humanities Scholarships: The Chester Fritz (two per year) for $4,000 each, applications due mid-March; the Elizabeth MacFarlane (three per year) for $4,000 each, due mid-March, the Herman and Dorothy Lederman (two per year) for $5,000 each, due mid-March.
  • The Alvord Fellowship in the Humanities awards 1 student $16,000. Due mid-March.
  • The Antoinette Wills Endowed Scholarship (two, one in the arts, one in the humanities), $750 each, due mid-March.
  • The Andrew Mellon Dissertation Grant, due mid-late October.
  • The Huckabay Teaching Fellowship (currently on hiatus) offers one quarter of support to develop a course.

A complete list of fellowships, grants, and funding opportunities from the Jackson School can be found at https://jsis.washington.edu/advise/funding/.

A list of fellowships from the Graduate School can be found at: https://grad.uw.edu/graduate-student-funding/funding-information-for-stu...

Students applying for these funds should let the Head of Theater History and Performance Studies know (so that the student and faculty can avoid working at cross purposes). When requesting letters of support from faculty members, it is a professional courtesy to give them a minimum of two-weeks’ notice prior to the deadline for submission materials.

Awards earned by School of Drama PhD students in the past few years include: Presidential Dissertation Fellowship, the Antoinette Wills scholarship, and the Fritz.

Sponsoring events

On occasion, PhD students may wish to host or co-sponsor event (e.g., a discussion, a symposium, a graduate conference). If you would like to attach the name of the PhD Program or the School of Drama to an event, please first consult with the Head of Theater History and Performance Studies and the Director of Engagement for approval and for assistance with promotion.

Staying in Touch

After your time at UW is complete, provide the School of Drama with a permanent address and a non-institutional email. This will allow us to keep in contact regarding job opportunities, mentoring, and networking, and allow us to stay current on alumni’s professional accomplishments. Keep us apprised of your career moves and successes (publications, projects, awards). A significant cohort of UW School of Drama students, faculty, and alums can generally be found at major conferences in the profession. When you plan to attend these conferences, keep an eye out for your colleagues, mentors, and friends, past and present.

Your profile on the School of Drama web site

Upon entering the program, students are given a profile page on the School of Drama’s web site. Students may maintain their own pages thereafter, or they may submit content to the graduate advisor for posting on the page. Students should maintain an up to date bio on their page, as well as courses, research interests, publications, and so forth.

In addition to the website page, make a habit of letting External Relations know about significant events in your graduate career (awards, projects, publications, research trips). These may make for excellent material for articles in newsletters and posts on the School of Drama blog, and so forth. Material appearing on the School of Drama web site as well as in Arts and Sciences and University-wide publications will be linked to your profile.