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Pratt Institute

Program in Performance and Performance Studies

Brooklyn, NY


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MFA in Performance and Performance Studies at Pratt Institute

The innovative Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Performance and Performance Studies at Pratt Institute is an intensive, interdisciplinary program that integrates performance studies and art practice. It emphasizes community-based practice, history and theory, performance practice, and writing and scholarship. Internships, presentations, symposia, and workshops that allow students to interact with prominent makers and thinkers enhance student learning. This comprehensive education ensures that all students graduate with in-depth knowledge in the field, stronger performance practice skills, and improved writing skills as well as a solid professional network.

The program provides a terminal degree equivalent to a doctoral degree with performance practice elements. It is designed for students, scholars, and practitioners including the following:

  • Professionals in the field who want to earn terminal professional credentials
  • Working artists and performers who want to obtain critical/theoretical backgrounds and gain new performance skills
  • Scholars with artistic training who want to receive training in performance technique
  • Students from other disciplines who want to focus on the performative aspects of their fields Students graduate confident in their abilities as artists and thinkers. They also have the skill set to become artists in academia, performers in new fields and media, practicing artists, or scholars.

MFA in Performance and Performance Studies curriculum

The two-year, 60-credit MFA in Performance and Performance Studies consists of 33 credits of core courses, 24 credits of open elective courses, and three credits for an internship or another elective. The first year of the program focuses on core courses to cultivate students' familiarity with performance practices and studies, which includes intra-cultural art forms and community-based practice.

These courses include the following:

  • "Introduction to Performance Theory"
  • "Introduction to Performance Practice"
  • "Workshop with Artist in Residence" (3 courses)
  • "Performance across the Culture"
  • "Approaches to Community-Based Practices"
  • "Critical Writing"
  • "Internship"
  • "Thesis/Project Workshop I"
  • "Thesis/Project Workshop II" The second year, which emphasizes community work, includes an internship (optional), critical writing assignments, thesis research, and final presentations.

Performance practice goals

Students will accomplish the following objectives for performance practice:

  • Learn to approach their practice with playfulness, open mindedness, and reverent discipline
  • Explore several performance practices including acting, choreography, commedia dell'arte, dance, melodrama, and writing for performance
  • Develop the flexibility to use their abilities across areas of study, disciplines, and formats
  • Develop a daily practice to ensure that they're physically prepared and available for performance
  • Learn to provide performances in non-traditional theater settings
  • Learn to work with artists from many disciplines as well as community members, mentors, and thinkers

Community-based practice goals

Students will accomplish the following objectives for community-based practice:

  • Develop the skills to build relationships with artistic, activist, literary, and local communities
  • Learn to create work with an understanding of their social responsibility as artists
  • Develop methods for creating and sustaining successful art practice that contributes to communities

Learning Objectives for Writing and Scholarship

Students will meet the following objectives in writing and scholarship:

  • Learn how to use writing in their creative and critical processes
  • Learn how to create and apply research methods to their work and to understand others' creative and scholastic work
  • Develop confidence in presenting their ideas and original research to various audiences

History and theory goals

Students will meet the following objectives for history and theory:

  • Understand and have the ability to participate in debates regarding the history, practice, and theory of performance and performance studies
  • Understand the history and contemporary background of socially engaged art practice
  • Have familiarity with histories of contemporary performance forms, popular performance styles, and the theatrical avant-garde

Accomplished faculty members

MFA students learn from and work with talented and distinguished faculty members like Jennifer Miller. Jennifer Miller is the founder and director of Circus Amok as well as a dancer, playwright, and performer. She has worked with alternative circus forms, dance, and theater for more than 20 years. As a dancer, Ms. Miller has performed with Johanna Boyce, Doug Elkins, Jenny Monson, Cathy Weis, and others. She is also the author of "Cracked Ice or The Jewels of the Forbidden Skates" and "The Golden Racket."

Financial aid at Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute offers graduate students the following financial aid resources:

  • Assistantships (primarily in the second year)
  • Loans
  • Scholarships
  • Student employment
  • Tuition management programs

Pratt Institute

Established in 1887, Pratt Institute prepares over 4,800 students for rewarding careers in architecture, art, design, information and library science, and liberal arts and sciences. The school has campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York City, New York, which is located in the northeastern region of the United States. These locations give students the opportunity to learn in "living labs of craft and creativity." It also has a campus in Utica, New York. Pratt Institute offers students excellence in higher education. Its programs consistently rank among the finest in the country. Its faculty includes highly regarded  artists, designers, and scholars. Its interdisciplinary curricula promote collaboration and creativity in design thinking.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 13

Earning Your Degree

Distance learning programs available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
Application Fee - International
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 5th January 5th No
Spring deadline October 1st October 1st No

Entrance Requirements

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Application deadlines for financial awards February 1
Types of financial support available Health Care Benefits
Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 12.5%
Black or African American 12.5%
White or Caucasian 62%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian Not Reported
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races 12.5%
Unknown Not Reported


Male (25%)
Female (75%)

Location & Contact

Address 200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn, NY  11205-3899
United States
Contact Jennifer Miller
Phone: 718-636-3421

Pratt Institute