Theatre, B.A.

Program Code: THRBA_BA

Program Description

The BA in Theatre asks students to consider the theatrical past, to reflect on their reasons for doing theatre now, and to imagine what theatre can be in the future. Students take a broad range of courses in theatre theory and practice. They gain experience as dramaturgs and assistant directors for the School of Theatre Penn State Centre Stage. Many direct, design, and perform in B.A. projects and productions, and through Penn State's many student theatre and dance groups. We are particularly interested in drawing students to our program who are curious about theatre itself, and who wish to explore it through devising their own performances, writing plays, and directing and producing their own shows. The B.A. is also Penn State's home for dance studies, offering technique classes as well as a range of dance history and theory courses.

Students who pursue the B.A. in Theatre learn to research, analyze and synthesize information. Majors develop strong oral and written skills and many go on to postgraduate study not only in theatre but also in areas such as law, business and education.

What is Theatre?

Theatre is a collaborative art form; an art form where different disciplines converge to create a sensorial experience much greater than the sum of its parts. Theatre is history, culture, entertainment and social responsibility. Theatre engages and transforms. Theatre is storytelling, told with equal parts artistry, skill, and technology. A theatre artist is a resourceful problem solver, effective communicator, and a great collaborator. These life skills empower theatre professionals to pursue their individual paths and rise up to their potential, well beyond the theatre walls and into their everyday life.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are a playwright, director, or dramaturg--or want to learn more about these practices.
  • You enjoy devising, seeing, and writing about performance.
  • You want to practice your theatre studies crafts in a department with a pre-professional season of plays and musicals.
  • You plan to pursue an MFA in Dramaturgy or a PhD in Theatre or Performance Studies after graduation.
  • You are transferring from another Commonwealth campus, and you would like to deepen your study of theatre.

Entrance to Major

Applicants wishing to be directly admitted into Penn State as a Theatre Studies major can apply through the College of Arts & Architecture admissions website, which details the admissions process. Continuing students, including those wishing to add the major, can apply by contacting the academic adviser for the School of Theatre to arrange for an informational interview. If the major seems feasible to the student, the adviser will refer them to the program director, who might request additional application materials (a play script, video, and/or an interview) to determine whether the student will thrive in the program.

The B.A. in Theatre degree program includes a Theatre Studies Option and three additional options, Theatre Performance, Dance Performance and Multicultural Performance. Entrance criteria to this major will include an interview with members of the Theatre faculty. Entrance to the three performance options will also include an audition or portfolio review.

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 application to the major. Within the Theatre, BA degree students are limited to applying for the theatre studies option. Currently, all applications for other options are on hold. Application instructions for theatre studies can be found at: https://arts.psu.edu/how-to-apply/#specific. Applicants who are accepted will be directly admitted to the Theatre, BA major.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of Major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above to be eligible for the Theatre, BA major. Within the Theatre, BA degree students are limited to applying for the theatre studies option. Currently, all applications for other options are on hold. Application instructions for theatre studies can be found at: https://arts.psu.edu/how-to-apply/#specific. Applicants who are accepted will be directly admitted to the Theatre, BA major.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Within the Theatre, BA degree students are limited to applying for the theatre studies option. Currently, all applications for other options are on hold. Application instructions for theatre studies can be found at: https://arts.psu.edu/how-to-apply/#specific. Applicants who are accepted will be directly admitted to the Theatre, BA major.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 12-13.5
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 40.5-42

3 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 3 credits GHW courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

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.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade 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
DANCE 270Introduction to Bartenieff Fundamentals Keystone/General Education Course3
THEA 1SFirst-Year Seminar: Theatre Production Practices1
THEA 132Survey of Theatre Production Practice3
THEA 201WScript Analysis3
THEA 289Theatre Production Practicum2
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits of Acting:3
Fundamentals of Acting Keystone/General Education Course
Acting I
Acting II
Select 3 credits of Theatre Foundations:3
Dance Appreciation Keystone/General Education Course
The Art of the Theatre Keystone/General Education Course
Performance and Society Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Theatre Keystone/General Education Course
Theatre Foundations
Select 5-6 credits of Theatre and Performance Praxis:5-6
Dance Composition I
Dramaturgy
Introduction to Directing
Principles of Playwriting
Select 9 credits of History and Theory:9
Modern Continental Drama
Dance History
From Africa to Hip Hop- The Evolution of African American Dance History Keystone/General Education Course
Theatre History I: Ancient to 1700
Theatre History II: From 1700 to Present
Theatre History: American Theatre
Women and Theatre
History of American Musical Theatre
African American Theatre
Select 8.5-9 credits of Dance Theory and Technique:8.5-9
Dance Conditioning Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to African Dance and Culture
Introduction to Hip Hop Keystone/General Education Course
Ballet Keystone/General Education Course
Jazz Dance Keystone/General Education Course
Tap Dance Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Modern Dance Keystone/General Education Course
Anatomy and Physiology for Performers Keystone/General Education Course
Anatomy for Performers Keystone/General Education Course
Anatomy and Physiology for Performers Keystone/General Education Course

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand theatre as a cultural art form in relationship to society, politics, pop culture, and other art forms.
  • Comprehend and analyze the historical context of theatre, drama, and performance, including plays, major figures, costumes, scenic innovations, and theoretical approaches, and how these relate to contemporary society and culture.
  • Demonstrate an ability to compare and contrast different cultures, points of view, and social systems through the analysis of historical and contemporary approaches to theatre and performance.

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

Margaret Higgins (First Year Adviser)
Academic Adviser
104 Borland
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-9523
mah68@psu.edu

Jeanmarie Higgins
Associate Professor of Theatre
116 Theatre Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-7586
jmh864@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 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).

Theatre Studies Option: Theatre, B.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
ENGL 15 or 30H3DANCE 170 (GHW)*1.5
THEA 1S1THEA 289*1
THEA 100 or 105*3THEA 150*3
THEA 102 or 120*3THEA 200 or 107*2-3
Foreign Language or Elective4Foreign Language or Elective4
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 15.5 14.5-15.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
THEA 401*3THEA 130 or 131*3
BA Knowledge Domain Course3BA Knowledge Domain Course3
Foreign Language or Elective4General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100, 100A, 100B, or 100C*3Semester Abroad
Additional Course for Option (see list)*13THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
BA Knowledge Domain Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
General Education Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
General Education Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
 Elective2
 15 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3THEA 402*3
Additional Course for Option (see list)*13THEA 434*3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Elective3
Other Cultures Course3Elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 120-121

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.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Multicultural Performance Option: Theatre, B.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
ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3CMLIT 10, 12, or 101 (GH)† 13
THEA 1S*1DANCE 170*1.5
THEA 100 or 105*3THEA 289*1
THEA 102 or 120*3Foreign Language or Elective4
Foreign Language or Elective4General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 15.5 15.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
THEA 200 or 107*2-3THEA 130 or 131*3
THEA 401*3THEA 412 or AFAM 412*3
Foreign Language or Elective4Additional Course for Option (see list)13
General Education Course3BA Knowledge Domain Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
 15-16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C*3Semester Abroad
BA Knowledge Domain Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
General Education Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
General Education Course3THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
Supporting Course for Option23THEA 499 or DANCE 499*3
 Elective2
 15 14
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3DANCE 411*3
Additional Course for Option (see list)13THEA 495*3
BA Knowledge Domain Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
Other Cultures Course3General Education Course3
 15 15
Total Credits 120-121

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.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

Penn State's Theatre Studies major develops a foundation that serves as a strong base for careers ranging from educator to scholar to entrepreneur. With our required semester in London, you are prepared to be a global player in your chosen area of focus. The program provides a broad base that gives you the opportunity to bring together multiple interests.This degree prepares you with integral skills such as creative and theoretical thinking, collaboration, and synthesizing new information quickly.

Careers

In many ways theatre is the ultimate liberal arts major – and can help to prepare you for almost any career from medicine to law to writing for television. Additionally, many students choose to continue their education by pursuing a master of fine arts (M.F.A.) or doctorate (Ph.D.) in theatre.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduates with a Theatre Studies degree may opt to pursue a variety of postbaccalaureate or graduate studies programs in specialized topics or focus areas, such as dramaturgy, history, literature and criticism, and performance and cultural studies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Accreditation

The Bachelor of Arts in 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