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Performance and Performance Studies, MFA


*Not accepting applications for Fall 2022

Through the simultaneous development of practice and study, students earning an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies at Pratt are grounded in creative practices with a strong emphasis on theory that they can apply directly to their creative work. The program, offered on the Brooklyn campus, is guided by a set of principles about the integral nature and impor­tance of performance, community, art practice, theory, and politics. Students explore the ways in which effective per­form­ance is artistically engaging and is a catalyst for scholarship and social change.

This degree was developed with a wide range of practitioners, scholars, and students in mind, includ­ing recent undergraduates; pro­fessionals in the field who are seeking terminal career credentials; working performers and artists who seek to gain a more critical/theoretical depth and background (as well as new performance skills) for their work; scholars with some artistic training who seek to complement their work with training in performance technique; and students from other disciplines who understand the opportunities they can gain by focusing
on the performative dimensions of their fields.

With an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies from Pratt, artist-scholars will be able to:

  1. work as artists and performance practitioners;
  2. work as teachers in colleges/universities and other institutions in a variety of fields—such as theater, performance studies, art criticism, movement, perform­ance art, interdisciplinary art forms, and creative writing—and in community settings, arts education and youth programs, as well as other venues;
  3. work as curators, arts administrators, art critics, or production staff, and in media; and
  4. pursue a PhD in a range of fields, including performance studies, cultural studies, theater, race and gender studies, queer studies, and others.


The goal of the MFA in Performance and Performance Studies is to develop students as artists and thinkers. Students will move from a basic command of the field of performance practice as well as theory to become active artists/scholars who contribute to the field’s evolution.

Students in the program will take four semesters, or 60 credits, of courses. Of these, 33 credit hours will be in required courses, and 27 in electives selected based on students’ needs and interests. Throughout, students will combine study in perform­ance practice with theo­retical inquiry in performance studies. After taking a series of foundation courses in the first year, students will develop their own body of work in the second year. In their last semester, the students will focus on rounding out the competencies they are building and on refining their con­cluding academic and performance art presentations.

We also offer opportunities for students to work with community-based and larger institutional arts organizations in which performance and constructs of performativity are central. The students will work intimately to serve these communities in conceptual and practical contribu­tions to art practice and community empowerment for underserved populations.

The Performance and Performance Studies program is anchored by a series of core, required classes:

  1. Introduction to Performance Theory (PPS-650A Introduction to Performance Studiesa), where students focus on conceptual underpinnings of the field; 
  2. Introduction to Performance Practice (PPS-651A Introduction to Performance Practicea), providing core competencies in crucial aspects of perform­ance and presentation;
  3. workshops with an artist-in-residence (PPS-549A Workshop W/Visiting Artist-In-Residence -Residencea), on cross-cultural per­formance (PPS-550A Performance Across Culturesa), and on community-based practice (PPS-550B Approaches to Community-Based Performanceb);
  4. a Critical Writing course (PPS-652A Critical Writing for Performance and Performance Studiesa) to support scholarly writing skills, increasingly vital as a component both of creative/collaborative processes and professional practice; and
  5. Thesis/Project Workshops (PPS-659A Thesis/Project Workshop Ia and 659b) to support students in developing viable and fully realized visions and incarn­ations of their own work.

Students will also take Open Electives (totaling 27 credits), which will be theory and practice seminars offered by full- and part-time faculty and covering a wide range of topics and areas.

As part of the program’s com­mu­­ni­ty focus, students may do an internship to fulfill one of their electives. The required second-semes­ter workshop on community-based practice will provide import­ant preparation and, in some cases, specific venues and contacts to accommodate a broad range of interests.

In addition to providing support through the structure of courses of the program, the Performance and Performance Studies MFA strongly encourages connections for our students and graduates that will prepare them for successful careers in the field. The support system includes opportunities for internships, mentorships, networking, visiting artists, scholars-in-residence, and presentations attended by influencers in performance and performance studies.

Program Coordinator
Jennifer Miller


Faculty Bios

Plan of Study