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Performing Arts

BA in Performing Arts: Theatre

Admission to the Program

Formal admission to the major requires demonstrated talent through an audition portfolio review arranged with the department, preferably prior to beginning university studies. However, a student may enter as an intended major and have an audition or portfolio review during the first year. Students will be accepted based on programmatic approval and written declaration of major. 

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours 
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination 

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of
    the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and
    Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same


Performance, Design/Production, Arts Management, or Theatre Arts 

Major Requirements

  • 51 credit hours with grades of C or better 
  • Students who wish to study abroad must receive prior approval from their advisor in order to ensure that appropriate courses will transfer and that scholarships and financial aid will apply. 
  • Participation in a minimum of four department productions in either a performance or technical capacity. One of these must be done as stage manager or assistant stage manager. 

Course Requirements

Core (24 credit hours)

  • PERF-115 Theatre: Principles, Plays, and Performance (3)
  • PERF-251 Fundamentals of Acting I (3) 
  • PERF-260 Stagecraft (3) 
  • PERF-261 Introduction to Design (3)
  • PERF-262 Stage Management (1)
  • PERF-265 Theatre Practicum (1) (taken twice for a total of 2 credit hours) 
  • PERF-365 Theatre History I: From the Greeks to the
    Eighteenth Century (3) 
  • PERF-366 Theatre History II: from Nineteenth Century to the Present (3) 
  • PERF-440 Stage Management  (1) 
  • PERF-445 Senior Capstone: Theatre (3) 
  • One of the following tracks: 

Performance (27 credit hours)

Placement audition required 

  • PERF-252 Fundamentals of Acting II (3) 
  • PERF-350 Fundamentals of Acting III (3) 
  • PERF-355 Speech and Voice (3) 
  • PERF-450 Rotating Topics in Theatre (3) (taken two times for a total of 6 credit hours) or PERF-490 Independent Study Project  (3) (may be substituted for one PERF-450 topic) 
  • PERF-452 Directing Techniques (3) 
  • PERF-456 Acting IV: Audition Techniques (3) 
  • PERF-457 Playwrighting (3)
  • PERF-308 The Moving Body (3) 

Design/Production (27 credit hours)

  • ARTH-105 Art: The Historical Experience (3) 
  • ARTS-100 Art: The Studio Experience (3) 
  • PERF-362 Lighting Design (3) 
  • PERF-364 Basics of Scene and Costume Design (3) 
  • PERF-450 Rotating Topics in Theatre (3) 
  • PERF-490 Independent Study Project (3) or PERF-491 Performing Arts: Internship (3) 
  • PERF-452 Directing Techniques (3) 
  • PERF-457 Playwriting (3) 
  • additional area of specialty course approved by advisor (3) 

Arts Management (27 credit hours)

  • ACCT-240 Principles of Financial Accounting (3) 
  • ECON-100 Macroeconomics (3) 
  • PERF-362 Lighting Design (3) or PERF-364 Basics of Scene and Costume Design (3) 
  • PERF-450 Rotating Topics in Theatre (3) or other area of specialty course approved by advisor 
  • PERF-452 Directing Techniques (3) 
  • PERF-457 Playwrighting (3) 
  • PERF-490 Independent Study Project (3) or PERF-491 Performing Arts: Internship (3) 
  • PERF-570 Survey of Arts Management (3) 


Theatre Arts (27 credit hours)

  • PERF-252 Fundamentals of Acting II (3) 
  • PERF-355 Speech and Voice (3) or PERF-308 The Moving Body (3) 
  • PERF-362 Lighting Design (3) or PERF-364 Basics of Scene and Costume Design (3) 
  • PERF-450 Rotating Topics in Theatre (3)
  • PERF-452 Directing Techniques (3) 
  • PERF-457 Playwriting (3) 
  • 9 credit hours in additional area of specialty courses approved by advisor  

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. 

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.