Jun 16, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Theater Major

The major consists of a minimum of 12 courses: 10 full courses (or the equivalent) and THEA 199 twice for 0 credit.

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.

arrow View the catalog page for the theater department.  

The theater major intends to prepare students for a career and/or advanced studies in theater and to appreciate theater and performance as a source of joy no matter one’s professional aspirations. The department’s curriculum allows the flexibility of pursuing general theater studies while focusing on a particular emphasis within theater practice, such as acting, Black performance, design, directing, history, performance studies, playwriting, stage and arts management, or technical production.

Students who intend to major in theater should identify a faculty advisor within the department, or talk with the chair. An advisor is, ideally, someone in the student’s area of intended emphasis, and with whom they’ve already completed one or more courses. The student should schedule an appointment with their advisor and work closely with them to design a plan of study. Each area of emphasis within the department has a recommended arc of study, but there is also great flexibility in how requirements may be met.

Note(s) on Requirements

  • Private Readings usually will not substitute for any major requirements.
  • At least two theater major elective courses must be at the 300-level or higher.

Declaring the Major

Prospective majors must have completed at least one assignment of THEA 199  in order to declare the theater major.

Transfer of Credit Toward the Major

A maximum of four full courses, or the equivalent, of off-campus study may be applied to the major in theater.

In order to earn transfer credit for off-campus study, students must have obtained tentative approval from the department chair before enrolling. After the study is completed, the student must supply evidence of satisfactory participation.

Senior Capstone Projects

Seniors majoring in theater are provided the opportunity to pursue a faculty/staff-mentored senior capstone project for academic credit that will serve as the culmination of their undergraduate studies. The senior capstone should evolve directly from the student’s emphasis within the major and past production experience (e.g., directing, designing, management, dramaturgy, critical inquiry, playwriting, or acting).

Examples of past capstone projects:

  • Directing: a department-supported production as part of the Lab Series
  • Designing: a design assignment in the Lab Series or a supervised design role for part of the Mainstage Series
  • Management: a management assignment for a Mainstage Series production, creating an arts management project in support of the department, or working independently on a supervised individual project
  • Dramaturgy: a dramaturge assignment for a Mainstage Series production
  • Critical Inquiry: a scholarly paper under the supervision of a faculty mentor
  • Playwriting: a workshop of a script they’re working on, or partnering with a director to propose a Lab Series production of a script
  • Acting: a particular role in a Mainstage or Lab series production or enrolling in THEA 410  

Declared majors will meet with department faculty early in the fall semester of their third year to discuss options, and students will be asked to provide a brief proposal for their intended work by the end of that semester. Students are highly encouraged to team with one or more of their cohort to create projects. For example, an actor and a director might propose a Lab Series production that features a particular role for that actor. All candidates applying for a directing project will be required to provide a script of their proposed play and will be required to fill out an application for Lab Series consideration.

Honors Program in Theater

The Honors Program in Theater is designed to offer a few exceptional theater majors the opportunity to have their senior capstone project considered for an award of departmental honors at graduation. These students will be invited by the faculty from the pool of senior capstone project applicants.

In order to qualify for Honors status, applicants must:

  • Possess a proven ability to successfully complete a significant scholarly or research project, as evidenced through course work and/or submission of a significant sample of scholarly writing; and
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.65 both overall and within the department.

Students selected to participate in the honors program will enroll in THEA 420F  (or two iterations of THEA 420H ), instead of THEA 425.

In addition to completing the senior capstone project, which serves as the basis for Honors evaluation, candidates will be required to write a thesis of approximately thirty pages in length (sixty pages for honors projects in the fields of dramaturgy or critical inquiry) and to defend their thesis before a committee of three or more faculty members. The faculty committee will be composed of at least two departmental faculty and one faculty from outside the department. Upon successful completion of the Honors process, candidates will be awarded a standing of Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors; notification of the award will be published in the official Commencement Program.

Detailed Major Requirements

Theater Major Course Lists

Design and Technical Production Courses

Return to the summary of requirements.

Production Crew Requirement

Return to the summary of requirements.

Theater majors must fulfill two THEA 199  assignments; at least one assignment must be completed prior to declaring the major.

  • This is a non-credit bearing requirement.
  • THEA 199  is defined as working on one designated production from tech rehearsals through strike.
  • Procedure:
    • The staff supervisor will determine the number and kinds of positions for each show at the beginning of each season, allowing any interested students to sign up well in advance.
    • At the beginning of each semester, the staff supervisor will announce a mandatory meeting at which THEA 199  assignments will be distributed. Students must attend this meeting in order to receive a THEA 199  assignment for a given semester.
  • These production crew assignments include all theater department productions (Mainstage and Lab series) and major dance department productions (limited to ODC, Fall Forward, and Spring Back). They do not include operas or extra-curricular productions.
  • 100% attendance, punctuality, and commitment are required for all THEA 199  assignments (and are neither negotiable nor optional);
  • Any student failing to satisfactorily complete a THEA 199  assignment will not receive major credit.
  • In order to broaden our students’ backstage experience, the two assignments should ideally be for two different kinds of crew positions (e.g., both assignments should not be for operating the light board).
  • Because these assignments often conflict with departmental casting, it is recommended that students fulfill both assignments before the end of their third year.
  • For stage management or assistant stage management of a theater department production, students may either:
    • receive credit through taking THEA 312F  / THEA 312H ; or
    • count it as one no-credit assignment of THEA 199  (provided they meet the requirement of working all tech rehearsals through strike).