Musical Theatre, B.F.A.

Program Code: THRMT_BFA

Entrance to Major

Acceptance into the major is based on an evaluative audition.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Undergraduate applications for admission to Penn State must be complete and submitted before uploading the required documentation for pre-screening. Applicants who, after a successful pre-screen, are invited to audition will have opportunities for an on-campus audition or an off-campus unified audition in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

Detailed information on pre-screen and audition information can be found at: https://theatre.psu.edu/programs/musical-theatre/musical-theatre-bfa-requirements. Applicants who are accepted to the Musical Theatre B.F.A program will be directly admitted to the major for the fall semester.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of Major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 to be eligible for the Musical Theatre, BFA degree. Musical Theatre applicants will follow the same application procedures as a first-year applicant beginning with a required pre-screen. Applicants who, after a successful pre-screen, are invited to audition will have opportunities for an on-campus audition or an off-campus unified audition in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

Detailed information on pre-screen and audition information can be found at: https://theatre.psu.edu/programs/musical-theatre/musical-theatre-bfa-requirements. Applicants who are accepted to the Musical Theatre B.F.A program will be directly admitted to the major for fall semester. Regardless of semester standing, this degree requires a minimum of four years to complete after acceptance.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Undergraduate applications for admission to Penn State must be complete and submitted before uploading the required documentation for pre-screening. Applicants who, after a successful pre-screen, are invited to audition will have opportunities for an on-campus audition or an off-campus unified audition in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

Detailed information on pre-screen and audition information can be found at: https://theatre.psu.edu/programs/musical-theatre/musical-theatre-bfa-requirements. Applicants who are accepted to the Musical Theatre B.F.A program will be directly admitted to the major for fall semester. Regardless of semester standing, this degree requires a minimum of four years to complete after acceptance.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre, a minimum of 125 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 86

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GA courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Theatre Courses:
THEA 1SFirst-Year Seminar: Theatre Production Practices1
THEA 100The Art of the Theatre Keystone/General Education Course3
THEA 115B.F.A. Acting Foundations2
THEA 132Survey of Theatre Production Practice3
THEA 150Fundamentals of Design for the Theatre3
THEA 225AB.F.A. Acting Studio I2
THEA 225BB.F.A. Movement Studio I2
THEA 225CB.F.A. Voice/Speech Studio I2
THEA 289Theatre Production Practicum1
THEA 401Theatre History I: Ancient to 17003
THEA 425AB.F.A. Acting Studio II2
THEA 425CB.F.A. Voice/Speech Studio II2
THEA 427AB.F.A. Acting Studio III2
THEA 427CB.F.A. Voice/Speech Studio III2
Music Courses:
THEA 113Musical Theatre Theory I3
THEA 116Musical Theatre Theory II2
THEA 212Musical Theatre Theory III3
THEA 214Musical Theatre Theory IV3
VOICE 110Voice: Secondary Keystone/General Education Course8
VOICE 412Musical Theatre Voice V2
VOICE 462Musical Theatre Voice VI2
Dance Courses:
DANCE 231Beginning Ballet I1.5
DANCE 232Beginning Ballet II1.5
DANCE 241Beginning Jazz I1.5
DANCE 242Beginning Jazz II1.5
DANCE 251Beginning Tap I1.5
DANCE 252Beginning Tap II1.5
DANCE 382Music Theatre Dance--Style I1.5
DANCE 384Music Theatre Dance--Style II1.5
Musical Theatre Courses:
MUSIC 113Music Theatre--Class Voice I1
MUSIC 114Music Theatre--Class Voice II1
THEA 114Music Theatre: Form and Analysis3
THEA 223Musicical Theatre Performance I2
THEA 224Musical Theatre Performance II2
THEA 408WHistory of American Musical Theatre3
THEA 423Musical Theatre Performance III2
THEA 424Musical Theatre Performance IV2
Additional Courses
Select 2 credits of the following:2
University Choir Keystone/General Education Course
Glee Club Keystone/General Education Course
Oriana Singers Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Music for Voices Keystone/General Education Course
Essence of Joy Keystone/General Education Course
Women's Chorale Keystone/General Education Course
Concert Choir Keystone/General Education Course
Chamber Singers Keystone/General Education Course
Opera Workshop
Music Theatre Performance Workshop (1 per semester, maximum of 3)
Musical Theatre Performance Studio V
Select one of the following:1.5
Advanced Ballet I
Advanced Jazz I
Advanced Tap I
Select one of the following:1.5
Advanced Ballet II
Advanced Jazz II
Advanced Tap II
Students may apply 6 credits of ROTC0-6

Learning Outcomes

  • Train students in singing/ dancing/ acting by working through a set curriculum in each component area – and an integrated set of studio courses.
  • Use casting and performance success to augment classroom training in order to better prepare students in the application of their skills.
  • Promote a “total human” way of approaching musical theatre work through academic activities that encourage creative and diverse thinking.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

John Simpkins
Head of Musical Theatre
116 Theatre Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7305
jas7427@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Musical Theatre, B.F.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
DANCE 231*1.5DANCE 232*1.5
ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3MUSIC 114*1
MUSIC 113*1THEA 114*3
THEA 1S*1THEA 116*2
THEA 100 (GA, US;IL)*† 3THEA 150*3
THEA 113*3THEA 225A*2
THEA 115*2THEA 225B*2
 THEA 225C*2
 14.5 16.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3DANCE 242*1.5
DANCE 241*1.5THEA 132*3
THEA 212*3THEA 214*3
THEA 223*2THEA 224*2
THEA 425A*2THEA 427A*2
THEA 425C*2THEA 427C*2
THEA 289*1VOICE 110*2
VOICE 110 (GA)*† 2General Education Course3
 16.5 18.5
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
DANCE 251*1.5DANCE 252*1.5
DANCE 382*1.5DANCE 384*1.5
THEA 401*3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
VOICE 110 (GA)*†2THEA 408W*3
Additional Course for Major - Advanced Dance (see list)11.5VOICE 110*2
Additional Course for Major - Chorale Ensemble (see list)12Additional Course for Major - Advanced Dance (see list)11.5
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3 
 17.5 15.5
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
THEA 423*2THEA 424*2
VOICE 412*2VOICE 462*2
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 13 13
Total Credits 125

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Career Paths

This degree prepares you for a performance career in the professional musical theatre. Many of our students go on to perform on Broadway, tours, and on cruise ships. Recent alums are performing nationally and internationally in critically acclaimed shows. The program culminates in a showcase in New York City attended by agents, professionals, and program alums.

Careers

Graduates of the B.F.A. in musical theatre program are prepared for careers in all aspects of performance including stage, television, and film. The degree also prepares graduates for jobs in casting, directing, choreography, music direction, and teaching.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Due to the well-rounded education students receive in the B.F.A. in musical theatre program, graduates leave with a foundation needed to pursue graduate study in theatre, in specialized areas such as acting, directing, and choreography for musical theatre.

Professional Resources

Accreditation

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).

Founded in 1965, the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities with approximately 188 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for theatre and theatre-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other theatre-related endeavors.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF THEATRE

Contact

University Park

SCHOOL OF THEATRE
116 Theatre Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7586
theatre@psu.edu

http://theatre.psu.edu