PhD Theatre and Performance

The Theatre and Performance department offers a PhD in the field of Theatre and Performance. The PhD is the highest qualification which a student can earn by conducting independent research under supervision. The duration of a doctoral degree is normally 3 years full-time and 4-5 years part- time.


Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD), Theatre and Performance Programme Code: ADA02

The PhD degree in Theatre and Performance department can be by research only or it can be a PhD by Creative Work, which encompasses a creative project or component as essential to the research itself. As such ‘research’ is broadly defined in the latter in terms of both a central creative component derived from ongoing discursive and field research and critical thinking in conjunction with a written, discursive exploration of the topic.

Entry Requirements

The WSOA application requirements for a Ph.D. (whether traditional or creative) requires submission of the following:

1. Letter of Motivation.
2. 3-page Expression of Interest:

a. A concept note identifying the proposed area of research enquiry and specific research questions.
b. This concept note should also demonstrate the applicant’s familiarity with the literature, creative works, and debates in the field of proposed enquiry.

3. CV
4. Academic transcript of all prior degrees.
5. In the case of a Ph.D. by Creative Research:

a. the proposal must be accompanied by a portfolio of work/performance/scripts, etc. OR links to an online portfolio, performances etc.

You may apply online or download an application form from the link below:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Wits University and the Wits School of Arts recognises prior learning and experience of applicants and assesses these towards the admission of applicants into undergraduate or postgraduate study or towards the granting of exemption, full or partial credit of one or more courses. Prior learning is recognised as having been acquired through formal, non-formal or informal routes. No applicant under the age of 26 may apply for RPL. RPL will be considered for the BATAP Honours and Masters in Theatre and Performance postgraduate programmes only. If you are interested in finding out more about applying for RPL in the Department of Theatre and Performance, please contact Neka Da Costa or the WSOA PG Administrator.

In addition to the application documents required by Faculty, the following supporting documents must be provided for consideration in the PhD in the field of Theatre and Performance (whether traditional or creative):

  1. All former academic transcripts of all prior degrees

  2. All prior qualification certificates

  3. A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages) detailing all professional experience and including all qualifications and/or training certificates. CV should also detail examples of achievement or recognition in the professional theatre and performance industry and/or formal or informal involvement in academic or research activities (including teaching, conferences and publications). Your CV should also include the names and contact details of two referees.

  4. A letter of motivation for studies in the Theatre and Performance Department at Wits (maximum 1 page)

  5. A copy of your MA report/dissertation

  6. A 3-page concept document / preliminary proposal identifying the proposed area of research enquiry and specific research questions. This preliminary proposal should illustrate the applicant’s familiarity with the literature and current debates in the field of Theatre and Performance. It should also demonstrate how the research will endeavour to create / contribute new knowledge to the field. In the case of a Ph.D. by Creative Work, the concept document (which must indicate how the research emanates from the locus of the creative component’s ideas) must be accompanied by:

  7. A portfolio of work/performance/scripts, etc.

All PhD applications are reviewed by a central admissions committee within the Wits School of Arts (you can indicate who you would like to be supervised by if you have had already approached a supervisor at WSOA).

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.