Entry requirements

For all our research degrees in performing arts, entry is on the basis of a good honours degree and usually an MA in a relevant arts subject or appropriate professional experience.

Candidates submitting proposals that include practice-based research will be required to evidence appropriate experience and expertise in the relevant area of practice. Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Months of entry

January, October, July, April

Course content

The research activity in GSA at Surrey is supported through our new Institute of Performance. The institute acts as the conservatoire’s research hub providing the base for all our postgraduate research and training. This includes regular research seminars with visiting speakers as well as bespoke training sessions on academic skills. The institute also hosts our Centre for Performance Philosophy that fosters innovative and creative research.

PhD researchers on all programmes in GSA can expect three levels of research training and support:

University-level training provided by the Researcher Development Programme and the University Library, including a PhD induction, workshops on writing skills and preparation for the confirmation and viva. There is also an annual student-led University Postgraduate conference.

School-level training is offered in the form of interdisciplinary seminars, reading groups, visiting speaker events and conferences. This includes our annual Practice Research Festival as well as the events aligned with the Centre for Performance Philosophy.

PhD researchers will also receive subject-specific training through regular reading groups or research seminars. We also host PhD researcher presentations that allow you to share and develop ideas in a supportive environment.

As a research conservatoire, we are fully equipped to offer dedicated time and support to practice research experiments and practical modes of knowledge enquiry. We welcome proposals that will result in an c.80,000 word thesis or a practice research curated portfolio.

Selected areas of current staff research are outlined below, but supervision of other subjects may be accommodated – please enquire with the Director of Postgraduate Research:

African, Afro-Cuban and Latin/o dance

Contemporary dance and dance theatre

Costume and costuming

Dance ethnography

Dance on screen and new media

Dance scenography


Kinaesthesia, proprioception and kinaesthetic empathy

Performance Philosophy, especially Deleuzian and phenomenological approaches

Postcolonial theory

Trauma, crisis and performance

Theories of space, place and performance

Our conservatoire facilities include a 200-seat theatre, 15 rehearsal-studios, 6 performance-studios, an art gallery, design studio, digital media labs, and high-quality recording facilities. The university library also hosts the longstanding and internationally renowned National Resource Centre for Dance.

Information for international students

Non-native speakers of English are required to have IELTS 6.5 or above. Auditions will be held for entry to some programmes.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


full time
30-48 months
part time
60-96 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions
01483 686 509