Theatre Arts, BA

The Theatre Arts program focuses on all intellectual and creative aspects of theatre and performance studies. Our courses link academic approaches to the theatre such as the study of dramatic literature, theory, history, and criticism, to practical aspects of performance such as acting, directing, designing, devising, and playwriting. Special features of our program include faculty-directed productions, which are taught as courses for credit, and extracurricular programs such as workshops and talks with visiting artists, staged readings, and theatre outings. One special highlight of our program is the Edinburgh Project. On alternating years, majors are selected to enroll in a course that develops a performance piece that travels to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. The honors thesis is another special opportunity in which majors who are accomplished in both academic and production work are invited to work on honors thesis projects, which may be based on practice such as acting, directing, and design or on scholarly research.

Penn Theatre Arts graduates proceed to a wide array of successful careers, both in and out of the theatre. Our majors are well-prepared to enter professional MFA programs in acting, directing, or design, as well as doctoral programs. We also count among our alumni not only those who are successful in theatre and film as artists, producers, and business people, but also those who flourish in unrelated fields, such as medicine and law.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 33. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Requirements
THAR 0101Theatre, History, Culture I: From Classical to the Middle Classes1
THAR 0102Theatre, History, Culture II: Romantics, Realists and Revolutionaries1
THAR 0120Introduction to Acting1
THAR 0121Introduction to Directing1
THAR 0103The Play: Structure, Style, Meaning1
THAR 0130Introduction to Light, Set, and Costume Design1
Select 1 Advanced Topic course with ATAT attribute1
Select 6 course units of Electives 26
Practicum Requirement
Complete the Practicum Requirement
Total Course Units33

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Courses may be taken in other departments, in consultation with the Undergraduate Chair.


Honors Credit


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.