Applicant FAQs

What general advice can you offer me for applying to your program?

Please read the FAQs below. We have tailored them especially for you after years of receiving similiar questions. For an overview of the graduate school application process, you might find it beneficial to read The Gentle Guide for Applying to Graduate School, written by our own Dr. David Shorter.  

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline to submit application materials for the M.F.A. in Dance is November 1st. The deadline to submit application materials for the Ph.D. in Culture and Performance is November 1st. Review of application materials sent after the deadline cannot be guaranteed.

How do I know if I am a good fit for your department?

We understand that applying for graduate school can be a commitment of your time, money, and energy.  Before contacting us, be sure that you have taken the first steps in determining a department's fit with your goals.  Be sure to read our faculty members' profiles. Feel free to e-mail the faculty member whose interests most overlap with your own. Because "arts," "culture," and "dance" have come to mean so many different things,you should find overlap between your graduate research project and our faculty's areas of expertise, though this could also mean theories and/or methods.  Feel free to ask if our facility are accepting new students in your areas of research, or if they are expecting to take sabbaticals in the coming years.  Please do not send any attachments of your work.  We do not review materials before our actual official review of applications.  Also, be sure to look at our degree requirements and our required "core" coursework. A good sign of "fit" between applicants and a program is when the required coursework directly supports the applicant's scholarly interests.  And if after these primary steps, if you still have questions, please reach out to our Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs.

How can I apply?

Applicants enroll online using the application found on the Graduate Division Web Site at

Where do I mail my official transcripts?

Mail official transcripts directly to the department. The address is available on most of the links within the department website. For convenience, please address to:

UCLA Department of World Arts Cultures/Dance

Box 951608, 150 Kaufman Hall

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1608

Should I arrange a campus visit before applying?

Applicants understandably would like to visit the department before deciding to apply. Visiting before official acceptance is not recommended since doing so unfairly favors local applicants or those with resources for travel. Applicants can familiarize themselves with the Department’s degree programs and faculty by reviewing the Graduate Curricula and Faculty sections of the website. Please read the information provided on this website closely. Then, for any further questions, contact our Student Affairs Officer. If your question is research specific, you may also email the Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs. You may also contact specific faculty members in your area of research to determine their current research interests or possible sabbatical plans in the near future. Faculty, staff and student contact information is listed on this site under People.

In addition, we have compiled the following URLs that may help you learn more about our campus:

UCLA Campus Tours

UCLA Arts Campus Tours, Undergraduate & Graduate Information Request (Emailing list) and UCLA Arts Recruitment Calendar

UCLA Maps, Directions, and Parking


DO YOU OFFER AN M.A. IN Culture and Performance AT UCLA?

We do not offer a terminal M.A. in our Department. Students can earn their M.A. while completing the requirements for a Ph.D. All graduate students entering the Culture and Performance program at UCLA are expected to complete the Ph.D.


What is the acceptance rate for the Ph.D. in Culture and Performance program?

Please see the Program Profile Report for information regarding the admission and acceptance rates.

What is the acceptance rate for the M.F.A. in Dance program?

Please see the Program Profile Report for information regarding the admission and acceptance rates.

What should I include as my Writing Sample for the Ph.D. application?

All applicants to our Ph.D. program must supply one writing sample. Typical writing samples include research papers, term papers, or Master's theses. These are often handy (in that they are already written) demonstrations of an applicant's writing and critical thinking abilities. The applicant should ultimately choose their best example of both analytical thinking and clear writing. Often applicants submit a research paper from a previous class or an excerpt from their MA thesis, if they are applying to our Ph.D. program. For Ph.D. applicants, writing samples should not exceed approximately 20-25 pages.


Could you provide me with more information about the required writing sample for the Ph.D. application?

The writing sample is a very important part of your application materials. It should demonstrate the clarity of your analytical thinking and its expression. It is taken as a strong indicator of a prospective student's ability to engage with scholarly materials. In general faculty reviewers can comfortably read up to about 20 pages. Longer documents such as master's theses might be excerpted or sent in full with specified sections to read. We are looking for quality in whatever genre is submitted. We would be particularly interested in writing that demonstrates the kind of research, analysis, and synthesis that is essential in the scholarly aspects of our doctoral program. But, if you feel your best writing falls into other genre categories, you might consider a portfolio approach to provide a good sense of the character and range of your writing skills.


What are you looking for in the Statement of Purpose for the Ph.D. application?

Applicants should submit one Statement of Purpose, which outlines how their personal and professional goals align with graduate training in our department. Applicants should feel free to describe previous experience and research as it applies to their academic goals, but the focus should be on the work that they hope to do as a graduate student in our department, as well as their future career goals. Chiefly, applicants should aim for specificity in their statements as well as use this opportunity to accentuate their clear writing skills. Keep in mind that this is a unique instance within the greater application to showcase originality in thought and action, and to illustrate not only aptitude as a student and professional, but as a passionate person at work in the world.

This section of the application is your chance to tell us what you want to do here in the Culture and Performance program. Describe your research interests in particular. What questions do you want to investigate in relation to what materials? What new knowledge and skills that apply to this interest area are you expecting to develop through graduate study in our program? Do you see evidence that the necessary resources are available at UCLA? Of course you should also address the topics given in the application materials: your purpose in applying, your area of specialization, your plans for future occupation or profession, and any additional information that may aid us in evaluating your preparation and your aptitude for graduate study at UCLA.

What are you looking for in the Statement of Purpose for the M.F.A. application?

This section of the application is your chance to tell us what you want to do here in the M.F.A. program. Describe your choreographic research interests in particular. What questions do you want to investigate in relation to what materials? What new knowledge and skills that apply to this interest area are you expecting to develop through graduate study in our program? What do you see as evidence that the necessary resources are available at UCLA? Of course you should also address the topics given in the application materials: your purpose in applying, your area of specialization, your plans for future occupation or profession, and any additional information that may aid us in evaluating your preparation for graduate study at UCLA.

Does the Statement of Purpose have any maximum or minimum word count or page lengths?

We do not have a maximum word count for the requested Statement of Purpose. However, we expect the Statements not to exceed three pages.

Can I have non-academic people write letters of recommendation?

Possibly. The department would prefer to see at least one if not most of the letters of recommendation come from academic sources, such as previous professors. If you have colleagues, supervisors, non-academic instructors (such as dance instructors), etc that you believe can write you a strong letter of recommendation, it is your choice to have them submit a letter of recommendation which will be included in your application materials for review.

For the M.F.A. applicant, is a research paper sample required?

A writing sample is optional for M.F.A. applicants. However it is useful as a demonstration of the applicant's area of research interest(s) for the purpose of assessing the applicant's aptitude for graduate study at UCLA.

What types of creative work should I send if I am applying to the Culture and Performance (CAP) Program?

Please keep in mind that sending in creative work is optional. Sending in samples of creative work is appropriate for applicants who are working in mediums outside of solely text-based analysis and representation. We are not asking for creative work unrelated to the proposed CAP research project. Some examples include applicants' photographs from their fieldwork or if they are using film in their work they can send us a link to their uploaded video clips. For students working with digital projects, they might want to send us a DVD with samples of their work or proofs of concept. If you have particular questions on this matter, feel free to contact the Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs.

Is the GRE required? 

No. The GRE is not required for M.F.A. in Dance or the Ph.D. in Culture and Performance.

Do you have a minimum GRE score requirement?

The GRE scores are optional for the Culture and Performance applications. If submitted, they will be reviewed only as part of a student’s holistic record of academic achievement.

I will be submitting my application materials by the deadline, but my GRE scores or Letters of Recommendation may come later. Will that be okay?

Our process for reviewing applications begins on November 1st. While it obviously takes time to fully review the applications, we cannot hold certain applications to be reviewed later. So in the case of late materials, while your file may still be reviewed without a Letter of Recommendation, there is always the possibility that such an absence will result in a negative evaluation since we have less materials to make a fair, comparative assessment. All applications are weighed by the same standard, including the announced deadlines.


Does the Foreign Language requirement have to be completed before entering the Ph.D. program?

No. Ph.D. students must complete the requirement no later than the end of the fifth quarter of residence in the major. Please see Ph.D. degree requirements.


What kind of funding is available for entering graduate students?

Entering students apply for fellowships in conjunction with their admission application. Nominations for campus-wide awards as well as Departmental support are made by faculty and forwarded to the necessary faculty committees for decision. Factors considered include academic strength, creative work, and in some cases, financial need. We are unable to speak about funding specifics until after determining admitted cohorts. Applicants are generally advised to apply for their desired graduate programs first and consider the financial costs of their options after admissions decisions are made.

Please visit the Graduate Division Website which provides extensive financial information for the prospective student.


When will I be notified if I am accepted or not?

The Graduate Division notifies students of their decision status online. Paper letters of admission or denial will not be mailed.

Applicants can check their decision status through Graduate Division

Admission can often take a few months for a variety of reasons as the process is lengthy and involved. Generally, applicants are informed sometime in March or April.

How many units of coursework taken outside of the University be applied towards the graduate program?

This is something that is considered individually through faculty advisement. In general, the Graduate Division accepts up to two courses (a maximum of 8 quarter units or five semester units) of coursework completed outside the UC to be applied toward a student's graduate degree.


Is there a way of enrolling in classes without already being admitted to the program?

Opportunities to enroll are based upon space availability and instructor consent through the "concurrent enrollment" program offered through UCLA Extension.

As a general rule, students may not audit courses in the Department of World Arts and Cultural/Dance.


What if I have technical difficulties submitting my documents?

You are advised to create a Technical Support ticket (there's a link in the application) if you encounter a technical issue. That will ensure the university vendor is aware of the problem and can work with you to resolve.

I recently received notification that I was denied admission. Is it possible to learn any factors that influenced the decision or specific ways to improve my application for future admissions cycles?

We regularly admit a very small percentage of those applying and it remains difficult to address the varied reasons why an application fares better in our review process. More often than not, the contours of an applicant's research do not align with the short term availability or research interests of our faculty. Perhaps an applicant proposed working with a faculty member who is shifting their research focus or planning to be away from the campus in the upcoming years. Often, an application is rated lower if the proposed project could be developed in a more standard academic department since we necessarily want to favor those applications that particularly need our department's curriculum or the influences provided by our campus and community. Before writing us regarding your admission denial, please recognize that we will not reverse any acceptance decisions for this academic year. Additionally, many factors cannot be discussed such as contents of letters of recommendation. Lastly, do feel free to apply again in the future.

I was a graduate student in the Department and I left either by filing the “Withdrawal” form or have not registered for more than a quarter. How can I continue my graduate studies?

University requirements state that unless granted a formal leave of absence, continuing graduate students who fail to register are considered to have withdrawn from the University and must compete for readmission with all other applicants. Thus, applicants who were previously registered at any time as graduate students at UCLA, whether having completed a graduate program or not, must submit an online application with the application fee. A formal application for readmission is not required for students who are returning from an official leave of absence.

1) Notify the department’s Student Affairs Officer that an application is forthcoming;
2) Submit an online application to the University; application fee is required; and requests for the letters of recommendation, or transcripts are not required for readmission;
3) In the place of a Statement of Purpose, submit a short letter* outlining your detailed plans for a timely completion of degree;
4) In the Plans for Graduate Study section of the application, select application type "Readmit w Dept Rec."

The department may take up to 60 days to review the application. If a readmission applicant communicates with the Student Affairs Officer and submits their application in a timely manner, it may be possible to receive a response to their application within fourteen business days.

Where do I find information about Degree Requirements, Regulations and Policies such as Leave of Absence (LOA), Filing Fee, In-Absentia, etc?

As a current or returning graduate student, your best companion is Graduate Division’s Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA. This document is under the purview of Graduate Division and is updated whenever policies and/or procedures change for graduate students at UCLA.

Who can take dance classes at UCLA?

All current students are welcome to take dance and movement classes here at WACD! Some popular classes may fill early, so be sure to register as soon as you are able. All students can register for beginning level classes, which are intended for students who are new to dance, or to a particular style of dance (ex: an experienced ballet dancer may wish to take a beginning West African dance class). Intermediate and advanced levels require attendance at the placement class that happens at the first class meeting at the beginning of each quarter. The placement process allows the instructors to ensure that students are enrolled in the class that most suits their needs at the time, and is not a personal judgment or a statement about potential.

If you’re not sure what styles of dance or what levels are right for you, please email the instructor. In the case of a beginning level class you may simply show up to class on the first day of class. Bear in mind, however, that there is no guarantee you will be allowed to enroll in a class if it is full.

WACD undergraduate and graduate students have first priority once classes are full.

What kind of dance performance opportunities exist for current UCLA students?

Current students periodically need dancers for showings related to their degree progress. Sometimes auditions are posted, while other times fellow dance class attendees are approached. Check the WACD bulletin boards posted throughout the department for audition information.

There is also an annual faculty-choreographed showcase during spring quarter every year. Audition information will be posted in the department.

Who can take the choreography classes at UCLA?

Everyone is welcome to take choreography classes. Be sure to check which level is appropriate for you.

Both the undergraduate series and graduate series are designed to be taken in sequence. Please contact the instructor for assistance in selecting a course if you have significant prior choreographic experience that may warrant bypassing some classes.

Should you have any questions after reviewing the website, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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UCLA Department of World Arts Cultures/Dance
Box 951608, 150 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1608
Tel 310.825.3951