Department of Comparative Studies

The Program in Fine and Performing Arts

The mission of the Ph.D. program in Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) is to provide a breadth of training and experience across the traditional divisions of the Arts for those who already have developed professional skills in one or more areas, such as dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts. The program offers a balance between a series of core courses and an individually prescribed curriculum.  All Arts applied study includes a significant research component.

The goal of the program is to enable students to be conversant in the Arts as a whole. To this end, all students are required to take traditional seminars in areas outside their chosen discipline. The analytical and creative aspects of the program will allow students to develop a base of knowledge and a degree of flexibility useful both in the traditional and in the increasingly interdisciplinary academic world of the Arts today.

The curriculum for the Ph.D. program in Fine and Performing Arts is organized as follows: (a) five required core courses; (b) 24-27 credits of courses that address the primary, secondary, and comparative areas of concentration; and (c) 12-15 credits of dissertation.

Focusing both on academic and creative approaches, the FPA program offers a balance between a series of core courses and an individually prescribed curriculum. Analytical studies cover fundamental research resources and techniques, as well as current theoretical trends in each discipline. Creative studies offer the opportunity to explore the ways in which each discipline expresses specific themes, as well as the potential for creative communication through the integration of two or more of the Arts. A course in the fundamental concepts and history of aesthetic theory is also a requirement for all students.

Over half the courses required for completion of the degree are to be chosen by the student from among the offerings in Comparative Studies and other departmental listings with the guidance of an advisor and the approval of the Ph.D. Committee in Fine and Performing Arts. Comprehensive examinations are required for candidacy.

Degree Requirements
Minimum Standards: Ph.D. students will take a minimum of 54 credits in courses in three areas: required core courses in comparative arts and aesthetics; seminars offered in Music, Theatre, and the Visual Arts; and electives related to their area of concentration. At least 21 credits must be taken at the 7000 level. No grade lower than B may apply to the degree. To continue in the program, students must maintain a B (3.0) grade point average on all work attempted toward the degree.

Grading: Students enrolled and faculty teaching in the program will be notified that procedures for grading are as follows: A, A-: expected progress; B+: improvement needed; B: lowest passing grade.

Distribution requirements:

6 credits

CST 7205: Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts
CST 7206: Analytical and Creative Studies in the Arts

9 credits

CST 7207: Music Core: Concepts, Cultures, and Creations
CST 7208: Art Core: A Thematic Study
CST 7209: Theatre Core: Performance Theory and Practice

24-27 credits

Studies in comparative, major, or secondary areas (including at least six credits from the arts component of the Public Intellectuals program or the program in Literatures, Literacies, and Linguistics).

12-15 credits



QUALIFYING EXAMS: The Qualifying Exam consists of a written and oral component. The first component is a written exam given upon completion of the required coursework and is administered and evaluated by an exam committee.
In consultation with the student, the committee will compile a reading list from which the exams will be constructed.  This list will not be based solely on the student’s coursework, but will include as well readings that the exam committee deems foundational for the student’s program of study.  The successful completion of this written component will be followed by an oral exam within two weeks.  The oral exam examines, beyond the limits of the written exam, the extent of the student’s mastery of the material. 

Students who fail an exam may retake it one time only. Failure to pass the exam a second time results in expulsion from the program.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT: The student must demonstrate working knowledge of a language other than English by successfully completing (with a grade of B or better) four credits, at the intermediate level, or its equivalent, of one foreign language at the university level.

SATISFACTORY COMPLETION OF A DISSERTATION: After approval by the dissertation committee, the student will present the prospectus to faculty and students. The dissertation, an original scholarly research project which may include a creative component and that contributes to the scholarship of the student’s chosen field, will be defended before the student’s committee and others. Only the committee will vote on approval.

 Last Modified 4/10/14