Doctor of Philosophy in Dance


Our Ph.D. in Dance is a research-oriented program culminating in a written dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field of Dance Studies. Strong applicants to our program have a clear research agenda that is a good match for our program’s faculty and coursework, and a commitment to contributing to the dance field through written publications. Requirements include:

  • A master’s degree in dance or a related field of study from an accredited college or university.
  • An academic record reflecting the ability to pursue advanced study and research in the field of dance.
  • Proficiency in written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience in the field of dance, including teaching, performing, choreographing, and/or other related practice.

Low Residency Format

Established in 1958, our doctoral program is the longest-running and most well-established Ph.D. in Dance program in the nation. Building upon our long history of doctoral study, in summer 2006 we entered a new era of graduate programming with the inauguration of the Low-Residential Format for the Ph.D. in Dance. Responding to the needs of the field and full-time professionals seeking doctoral degrees, we redesigned the format of the Ph.D. program to meet the needs of accomplished working professionals. Learn more about our Low Residency Format. This was added.

When Can I Begin the Doctoral Program?

The low-residential Ph.D. in Dance is a cohort program in which students are only admitted every other year. Doctoral students begin their studies in the summer of even years.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Obtain an ability to analyze and problem-solve including framing information, breaking down information, sequencing it, and creating an organizational framework for it.
  2. Develop the skills for research and information management by information gathering, data collection, and synthesizing.
  3. Create a commentary/story selecting which findings to highlight and describe them in a coherent, concise way that tells a meaningful narrative in oral and written contexts.
  4. Develop an ability to organize and manage a cohesive project while working independently and self-directing with minimal supervision in a competitive environment, performing effectively under pressure.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

The academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

Work leading to the Ph.D. in Dance requires the completion of at least 90 graduate semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. It is possible to transfer limited hours from work leading to the master's degree or graduate courses taken at another accredited institution. Please note that any transfer hours not part of a completed master's degree are subject to the Graduate School's 8-year time limit. Hours that are part of a completed master's degree are not subject to the 8-year time limit and may be used toward the 90 hours required for the doctoral degree. In consultation with the Advisory Committee, a student may elect to take graduate courses at another institution and transfer those hours to TWU.

The course work listed below includes 27 semester credit hours of required course work, 12 semester credit hours of research tools, 12 semester credit hours of approved electives, and 12 semester credit hours of Dissertation for a total of 63 semester credit hours.  Hours from the master's level course work may be transferred in to reach the required 90 semester credit hours for doctoral study.


DNCE 6113Seminar (Introduction to Doctoral Studies and the Politics of Research)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Intro to Dance and Performance Studies)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Current Trends in Dance Education)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Practice (as) Research)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Scholarly Writing)3
DNCE 6213Current Issues in Historical Inquiry in Dance3
DNCE 6323Philosophical Inquiry in Dance3
DNCE 6413Integration of Theory and Research in Dance3
DNCE 6503Research Colloquium3
Research Tools
DNCE 6103Choreographies of Writing3
DNCE 6203Scholarly Inquiry for Dance3
DNCE 6303Research Methodologies for Dance3
DNCE 6403Research Data Collection and Analysis for Dance3
Independent Studies or Advisor Approved Electives12
Dissertation - Scheduled According to Student’s Individual Research Progress
DNCE 6983Dissertation (Prospectus and Research - must be taken twice)6
DNCE 6993Dissertation (Dissertation Writing and Defense - may be repeated, but counts for a maximum of 6 SCHs)6
Total SCHs63

Residence Requirement

The low-residential format requires three summer intensives and week-long residencies in the Fall and Spring semesters during the two-years of coursework. Low-residential students must be continually enrolled, follow the prescribed sequence of courses, and attend all on-campus residencies. Full-time, in-residence students meet the same residency requirements. Consult the PhD program website for the residency calendar. 

Qualifying Examination

A written and oral examination will be taken covering areas selected by the candidate in consultation with the Advisory Committee. The content, format, administration, and evaluation of the examination will be the responsibility of the Committee. Students are expected to take their qualifying examinations within one calendar year of completing the coursework. The Qualifying Examination may be repeated once. Following a second disapproval decision, a student will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program without completing the degree. 

Final Examination

An oral defense of the dissertation is required. The defense may be repeated once.

Special Requirements for the Doctoral Program

Students must successfully complete core required courses in sequence.

Program of Study

Summer 1
DNCE 6103Choreographies of Writing (Research Tool)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Introduction to Doctoral Studies and the Politics of Research)3
Fall 1
DNCE 6023Critical Analysis of Professional Literature (Or Approved Elective)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Intro to Dance and Performance Studies)3
DNCE 6323Philosophical Inquiry in Dance3
Spring 1
DNCE 6903Special Topics (or Approved Elective)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Current Trends in Dance Education and Research)3
DNCE 6203Scholarly Inquiry for Dance3
Summer 2
DNCE 6113Seminar (Scholarly Writing)3
DNCE 6113Seminar (Practice (as) Research)3
Fall 2
DNCE 6213Current Issues in Historical Inquiry in Dance3
DNCE 6903Special Topics (or Approved Elective)3
DNCE 6303Research Methodologies for Dance (Research Tool)3
Spring 2
DNCE 6403Research Data Collection and Analysis for Dance (Research Tool)3
DNCE 6023Critical Analysis of Professional Literature (or Approved Elective)3
DNCE 6413Integration of Theory and Research in Dance3
Summer 3
DNCE 6503Research Colloquium3
Total SCHs51