The Theater and Dance Major

No prior experience is required to major in Theater and Dance.  The Theater and Dance major provides an interdisciplinary foundation in the arts and context of performance, while allowing for flexible study in individual interests at the intermediate and advanced levels.
The Theater and Dance major requires successful completion of a minimum of nine and one-half courses: two courses in the history, theory or literature of performance; six courses in the arts of theater and dance; a half-course in stage managment; and one course associated with the senior project.
We encourage new students to take one or more 100-level courses in their first year, and to meet as soon as possible with a faculty member to help us to get to know you!  New students typically begin with one of the three required Core Courses in movement, visual thinking, and dramatic text (THDA 111, 112 or 113).  You may also begin with THDA 114, which focuses on placing contemporary performance in historical context. 
Every major undertakes a senior project to focus more closely on a specific area, such as choreography, playwriting, directing, design, acting, solo performance, scholarly research, or that integrates one or more aspects of artistic practice and scholarship.

For a checklist of requirements and guidelines for course sequencing, see the Majors Checklist.

Major Requirements

Courses in the History, Literature and Theory of Performance (2)

  • THDA 114: Contemporary Performance: Case Studies (required); and
  • at least one elective course in the history, literature or theory of performance

THDA 114 should be taken by the end of the junior year.  For the elective, students may take an appropriate course offered by another departments or during study abroad, with permission.  

Courses in the Arts of Theater and Dance (6)

The Three Core Courses

  • THDA 111: The Language of Movement
  • THDA 112: Materials of Theater
  • THDA 113: Action and Character

All three Core Courses should be completed by end of the first semester of junior year.  
The Core Courses may be taken in any order.
Ideally, two Core Courses should be completed before taking a first 200-level intermediate course.

Intermediate Courses

  • at least two 200-level intermediate-level courses in the Arts of Theater and Dance

Two half-courses in a particular techniques (such as dance or speaking) may be combined to count as one full course toward this requirement. Intermediate-level courses need not be in the same subject area as one another. 

Advanced Studio Course

  • at least one 300-level advanced studio course in the Arts of Theater and Dance

Not all advanced studio courses are offered every semester, so majors should plan ahead.  
An advanced studio course must be completed before undertaking the senior project.

The Majors Series (1.5)

The "majors series" includes the courses listed below, as well as additional rehearsals, performances and meetings.

  • THDA 400H: Production Studio
  • THDA 498 and/or 499, or 498D, or 499D: Senior Honors

THDA 400H is the course taken to receive credit for a required stage management assignment, completed during the sophomore or junior year.  Majors enroll in Senior Honors for work on the senior project and written thesis.

See also, The Senior Project.

Rehearsals, Performances, and Meetings 


All majors attend:

  • production meetings, rehearsals and performances as required;
  • an individual interview with faculty each semester; and
  • meetings during the junior year to develop senior project proposals.

In addition to course work, we encourage majors to participate in as many departmental productions as possible.

See also, Required Meetings.