Every Theater and Dance major undertakes a senior project that extends and integrates components of their education.
Prior to beginning the senior project, majors must complete at least one Advanced Studio course, the Production Studio course (THDA-400H), and juniors meetings culminating in a senior project proposal. In addition, THDA-111, 112, 113 and 114 must be completed before enrolling in Senior Honors (THDA 498 or 499).
The Advanced Studio Course
At least one advanced studio course should be completed prior to enrolling in Senior Honors. Work in advanced studio courses is meant to help to prepare majors for work on Senior Projects.
The Production Studio Course
In this course, a junior or sophomore major undertakes the stage management of a significant departmental production. Department faculty and staff determine stage management assignments. Students attend rehearsals and production meetings as required, in addition to fulfilling all responsibilities.
Juniors Meetings and Senior Project Proposals
Majors develop senior project proposals in the junior year in a series of meetings with faculty and peers. Before approving proposals, faculty evaluate the goals and the practicability of projects as seen in the context of all of the department’s production commitments for the coming season.
Usually, each major creates and presents substantial creative work in one or more modes, such as writing, directing and/or choreographing, designing, or performing. We encourage majors to consider a variety of project models to best achieve individual learning goals. Possible models include not only full productions in traditional theater spaces, but also showings, workshops, site-specific work, and experiments in various media. Alternatively, students may choose to present design portfolio work, or to write a research-based, critical, historical, and/or theoretical thesis essay.
Majors must complete written proposals that describe the nature of the proposed senior project, and a plan for completing it. Department faculty are responsible for approving proposals, and work with majors to tailor or modify proposals as needed. In some cases, students are asked to undertake a scholarly or portfolio project.
The Senior Project & Written Thesis
Senior Departmental Honors Course(s)
Senior majors enroll in one or two Senior Departmental Honors courses (THDA-498/499) to work on the senior project and written thesis. Faculty must approve senior project course plans in advance of enrollment. During senior year, majors consult regularly with their thesis advisor.
The Written Thesis
Majors who do creative work must also complete a written thesis in which they document and evaluate their influences and creative process. In all cases, majors submit their theses to the department faculty and to the Registrar. The department may then recommend praiseworthy majors to the College for Latin Honors.
A committee of three departmental faculty evaluate each completed project and thesis, and discuss them in a comprehensive oral examination with each major. Successful completion of the Production Studio course, the Senior Honors course(s), and the final oral examination satisfies the department's comprehensive evaluation requirement.