Quick info & apply now

Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course


Professional Doctorate in Performing Arts is intended for practitioners across a range of performance-based disciplines who wish to make their practice the basis for doctoral study; indicatively theatre directing, acting, dance, music or technical practice such as sound and lighting.

Unlike a traditional PhD, performance replaces the thesis as the main evidence of research, supported by a written report.

It is designed for creative practitioners from the UK and abroad and can be undertaken 3 years full time study and 5 years part time.

It differs from practice-based PhD in that students arrive with a creative practice to be analysed and developed rather than a research 'project' to be carried out and are supported by specialist supervisory teams and a series of work in progress seminars which are the backbone of the programme.

The programme is practice based and industry facing and gives students the support and environment to develop their creative and professional practice and theoretical research to a doctoral professional standard.

What makes this course different



A PhD for professional practitioners.

Industry knowledge

Industry knowledge

Supervision by academics with industry experience, practice and knowledge.

Professional standard

Professional standard

Professional Standard Studio Spaces.


The Professional Doctorate in Performing Arts (DPA) is practice-based and industry-facing, attracting mid-career performance practitioners whether that be directing, acting, dance, choreography, sound or lighting design or performance-academics.  The DFA aligns with the institutional vision to bridge the divide between industry and academia.  Practice is put at the centre of doctoral study, fed by research into contemporary performance and theory, and professional performance. 

The DPA also serves as Professional Development for academics teaching in drama training or conservatoire as well as qualified UEL staff who wish to develop their performance practice and critical analysis, and to enrich their teaching. 
The DPA is all credits at D-level (8) which is essential both to accurately reflect the level of study being undertaken, and to ensure that students are eligible for new government postgraduate loans.   

The DPA leads the way in UEL in Creative Practice doctorates and will inform and share resources and teaching with other doctorates undergoing validation - FIne Art, Film, Fashion, Creative Writing  and Art and Architecture.



  • Core Modules

    Prof Doc Performing Arts Independent Study

    The Professional Doctorate in Performing Arts is led by the individual arts practice of the student who are supported by specialist supervisory teams who understand creative practice.

    Students will develop their work through independent study, practice-based seminars and have access to the professional level technical resources.


The Professional Doctorate in Performing Arts is led by the individual performance practice of the student who are supported by specialist supervisory teams who understand creative practice. Students will develop their work through independent study, practice based seminars and have access to the professional level technical resources. Our doctoral course has three strands: creative practice, which is developing your performance practice;  professional practice, which involves performance, research and development showings, teaching and workshops; and theoretical research.

You will spend your first six months developing your proposal, with the aim of locating your work in relation to performance practices in the field and developing critical habits.

You will make explicit the strategies already in use and open up new ones that will allow theory to inform, but not prescribe, your creative work.

The course is designed to accommodate the organic, foraging, unpredictable nature of performance practice. So, for doctoral students, the proposal is not a project outline to be carried out but a starting point from which your work can move in unforeseen directions.

Your annual written reviews will serve as an ongoing record of your doctoral work. A showcase performance takes place each year to profile your work.

Your doctoral thesis is your final performance work, supported by a written report of 15,000 to 25,000 words.


Your supervisors monitor your progress throughout the course.

We'll assess you through a combination of essays, written reports, oral presentations, portfolios and your final performance.

This is a practice-based doctorate accompanied by a final critical report of 15,000 to 25,000 words.


University Square Stratford

University Square Stratford, University Square Stratford


The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Dr Dominic Hingorani

Dr Hingorani is an academic, playwright, director and producer. He is a Reader in Theatre and Performance and Postgraduate Research Leader at UEL.

Read more

Dr Sarahleigh Castelyn

Dr Sarahleigh Castelyn is an educator, researcher, performer, and choreographer; a dance nerd.

Read more

What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

Aerial view of Docklands Campus

Why study at UEL?

Setting out on your journey to higher education can be a confusing and daunting experience. At the University of East London, we pride ourselves in the level of support we offer new students to help you make the right choices.

Read more
Smiling female student at Docklands campus

Scholarships and Bursaries

View all the undergraduate scholarships and bursaries available to you and read the individual descriptions to see if you are eligible to apply.

Read more
Three female students working on laptops

Information Advice Guidance

Pre-entry Information, Advice And Guidance (IAG) And Mature Student Advice

Read more
Inside view of a student bedroom


We are one of the very few universities in London to offer on-campus accommodation. Our stunning waterfront Halls of Residence is convenient, secure and comfortable - and living on campus is a great way to make friends.

Find out more


This Professional Doctorate is for performers and creatives who wish to develop their practice and gain a PhD which opens pathways into academia, research and the wider creative and performance industries.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.