BA in Theatre and Performance Studies

The major in Theatre and Performance Studies provides a balanced mix of study and practice, understanding and process, thinking and doing. Students will enjoy the opportunity to take on a variety of roles in the production process, and to expand their knowledge of theatre history and dramatic literature.

Our program also provides useful skills for those planning to pursue graduate school or professional training or to work in a theatre arts specialization. TPS majors often complete double majors in combination with many other departments and programs.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • For the BA in Theatre and Performance Studies, a total of 35 Credits are required. 
  • No major course may be taken Pass/Fail (except crews: TPS 80 and TPS 81). 
  • We expect each Theatre and Performance Studies major to gain experience in the creative aspects of drama and/or dance through involvement in the department's production program. Graduation magna cum laude or summa cum laude with a drama major is contingent not only on scholastic achievement, but also on significant participation in productions.
  • We strongly recommend that students considering a TPS major complete their foundational course and an introductory-level course in either studio dance/acting or design/technology by the end of the sophomore year. This will allow greater flexibility in scheduling coursework and more opportunities for advanced-level production projects.
  • We also encourage students who plan to pursue professional training or graduate study to take more than the minimum number of course credits, especially in their area of specialization.

Course Requirements

The TPS major consists of eleven courses and related requirements, as follows:

  1. Foundational Course (ideally taken 1st or 2nd year) — 1 course (3 Credits) from the following:
    • TPS 01: Intro to Theatre
    • TPS 02: Foundations in Theatre: Process, Performance, and Production
    • TPS 10: Ancient and Medieval Theatre, TPS 11: Early Modern Theatre, or TPS 12: Modern and Postmodern Theatre (class of 2021-2023 only)
    • TPS Special Topics: From Page to Stage (class of 22-24 only)
  2. Theory, Culture, and History — 3 courses (9 Credits) chosen from list Major Section 2 
    • 3 Credits must be an Inquiry in Power, Identity, and Culture
    • 3 Credits may cover exclusively Film/TV/other media
  3. Practical Performance: 6 Credits of classroom experience (usually 2 courses) from list Major Section 3
  4. Theatre Technology and Production: 3 Credits from list Major Section 4
  5. Visual Design: 1 course (3 Credits) from the following: 
    • TPS 70: Scene Design
    • TPS 71: Costume Design
    • TPS 72: Lighting Design
  6. Stage Production Experience: Both of the following courses (1 Credit each—2 Credits total)
    • TPS 80: Preparation Crew
    • TPS 81: Run Crew 
  7. Electives/Specialization: 9 Credits
    • Must include an upper-level course (numbers over 100)
    • May include up to 3 Credits of practicums
    • May include capstone or thesis project credits


Learning Objectives

By the time students complete a major in Theatre and Performance Studies they should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of world theatre history, literature, and performance practices
  2. Understand the individual and collective roles of the artistic and production team
  3. Engage in artistic processes and basic techniques utilized by theatre artists and technicians
  4. Formulate and communicate ideas through visual presentation, interpersonal communication and clear writing
  5. Collaborate on creative projects effectively
  6. Implement organizational and problem solving skills to both classroom and production experiences
  7. Analyze how scripts and performances construct gender, race, class, and environment in varied eras and cultures
  8. Articulate the connection between theatre and civic engagement in different eras, cultures and societies
  9. Conduct independent research and apply this research to practical projects and/or scholarly papers
  10. Identify connections between theatre and other disciplines, community, and personal and career goals