The PhD program in Theater and Performance Studies is designed as a joint degree program. Students cannot receive a stand-alone PhD in TAPS. Prospective students enter through a partnering department and pursue their degree jointly with that other discipline.

Students presently enrolled in a non-partnering PhD program at the University of Chicago who are interested in applying to the joint PhD program in TAPS should contact the Assistant Dean of Students, Admissions, for information about application procedures and deadlines. Students presently enrolled in a partnering department should also consult the Assistant Dean of Students, Admissions, then complete the Application to Affiliate with TAPS form and reach out to the TAPS DGS.

Students wishing to begin graduate studies in Autumn 2024 or after should apply to a partnering department and indicate their interest in the TAPS joint program. The Office of the Dean of Students administers the applications and admissions process for TAPS as well as all other departments in the Humanities Division. All application materials are to be submitted electronically through the online application system. Please note that we will not accept additional materials sent separately. 

Applicants should submit a single application to the partnering department, and must indicate on the electronic application that they are interested in being considered for the Joint Program in TAPS. This is done by selecting "Yes" in response to the following question on the Application Information page: "Do you want to be considered for the Joint Ph.D. Program in Theater and Performance Studies?" After this selection has been made, the application will generate two new tabs, TAPS Supplement and Portfolio, which can be used to submit the required supplemental materials.  

All applicants are asked to submit the following materials:

  • A 300-600 word statement that specifically addresses the student’s interest in the joint PhD program. This statement should be submitted on the TAPS Supplement page of the online application, and is separate from the Candidate Statement for the partner department. The TAPS admissions committee will have access to both statements.
  • At least one (and ideally two) letters of recommendation that speak directly to the student’s experience with theater and/or performance studies. These letters may be among the required letters submitted to the partner department, if those letters are relevant, or you may submit up to two additional letters to satisfy this goal. In either case, the TAPS Supplement page of the online application will ask for the names of two of your recommenders whose letters are most relevant to the TAPS committee. (The TAPS admissions committee will have access to your entire dossier of letters.) Use the Recommendations page of the online application to submit all letters.
  • A TAPS-related critical writing sample (up to 15 pages) and/or a sample of creative work. If the writing sample submitted to the partnering department meets this requirement, the applicant can choose to submit the same sample in both the Writing Sample page and the TAPS Supplement page. Use the Portfolio tab to upload media files, if any. 

For general information about the application, including test requirements and answers to common questions, please visit the Division's resources for prospective students

To apply to the joint PhD, please go to the online application.

If have additional questions related to admissions, please contact Humanities Admissions Staff, or Vicki Walden, Academic Administrator for TAPS.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application deadline?

Application materials are due in December but the exact date varies year to year. Prospective students should check the deadlines on the Humanities Division admissions website. The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) accepts applications twice a year. The deadlines are generally in early January and late April/May. Again, refer to the Humanities Division site for specific dates.

What is the admissions process for TAPS?

TAPS applications are subject to two rounds of review by two different admissions committees. Admission is contingent on being accepted by both the partnering (or entry) department and the TAPS program.

How many recommenders should I list?

At least two TAPS-related recommenders are required.

Once I've submitted my application, how can I check that my materials were received? 

You may log in to the submission site to track the receipt of your application. Your application checklist will be updated as the admissions office receives your materials.

When are admissions decisions announced?

Decisions are announced in early February and are made available to individual applicants through the online application system. You will be notified by email from the Office of the Dean of Students when a decision is available. To protect applicants' privacy, no official admissions decisions will be provided directly in an email or by telephone; all applicants must log in to the application site to view their decision.

Does TAPS offer a master's degree?

No. We recommend that students interested in master's-level work consider applying to the TAPS option in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH).