Theater and Dance

The Senior Project

Every Theater and Dance major undertakes a senior project that extends and integrates the student's education in theater and dance.  Completion of senior project and/or written thesis, along with a subsequent orals meeting with faculty, represents the comprehensive examination for majors.


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 by the end of the junior year.


All majors must successfully complete an advanced studio course in the Arts of Theater and Dance.  The advanced studio course should be in the area of the major's comtemplated senior project.  In most cases, the advanced studio course should be completed in the junior year.  Please note that most advanced studio course require a pre-requsite course that must be taken first, and that not all related courses are offered every semester, or in the same year, so students must plan accordingly.


The Production Studio course is a crucial component of the Majors Series.  In this course, a junior or sophomore major undertakes the stage management of another student's senior project.  Stage management assignments are determined by the department faculty, and students attend rehearsals and production meetings as required, in addition to fulfilling all management responsibilities.


Majors develop senior project proposals in the junior year in a series of collaborative conversations and written explorations with faculty and peers.  Departmental resources are limited; therefore approval of a production projector a specific production ideais not automatic.  Before approving proposals, faculty evaluate the learning goals of each major, and the practicability of each project as seen in the context of all of the department’s production commitments.

Majors must complete written senior project proposals by March 1 of the junior year.  Proposals should describe and outline the nature of—and a plan for completing—the proposed senior project.  Department faculty exercise sole discretion for approving and scheduling senior projects.  Students whose proposals are not approved must undertake a writing-only or portfolio project instead.

The Project


As part of the Majors Series, senior majors enroll in one or two Senior Departmental Honors courses (THDA-498/499) in order to complete the senior project and written thesis.  The number and timing of these courses during the senior year is determined through the proposal and advising process.  The faculty must approve senior project course plans in advance of enrollment.  During senior year, majors consult regularly with their thesis advisor(s). 

Usually, each major creates and presents substantial creative work in one or more areas, 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; in such cases, there will be no public performance requirement.


Majors who do creative work must also complete a written thesis in which they document and evaluate their influences and creative process.  Majors submit their theses to the department faculty and to the Registrar.

See also, Comps & Honors

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