Major Requirements

Major Requirements

The Theater major at Dartmouth College seeks to facilitate and integrate the creative, critical, and historical study of theater as a performing art. To that end, the major includes a range of interdisciplinary courses in theater studies (the history, criticism, and theory of theater and performance) as well as theater practice (acting, directing, design, dance, stage management, technical production, and playwriting). Majors may concentrate their studies in one area, such as acting, or pursue a multifaceted course of study in consultation with their major advisor. In addition to coursework, majors are expected to be involved in department productions as described below under "production requirements."

Students intending to pursue a Theater major must also meet with the Chair to discuss their planned course of study previous to submitting a plan in DartWorks .


Ten major courses, as enumerated within the following categories:

1. Five courses in Theater Studies:

a. The following three courses in theater history are required:

      THEA 15: Theater and Society I: Classical and Medieval Performance

      THEA 16: Theater and Society II: Early Modern Performance

      THEA 17: Theater and Society III: 19th and 20th Century Performance


b. Any two of the following Theater Studies courses:

      THEA 1: Introduction to Theater*

      THEA 10: Special Topics courses, with approval of the Chair

      THEA 12/CLST 2: The Tragedy and Comedy of Greece and Rome

      THEA 18/RUSS 18: Russian Theater

      THEA 19/COLT 34: Human Rights and Performance

      THEA 21/WGSS 59: Race, Gender, and Performance

      THEA 22/AAAS 31: Black Theater, U.S.A.

      THEA 23/AAAS 54: Postcolonial African Drama

      THEA 24/ASCL 70.07: Asian Performance Traditions

      THEA 25: Solo Performance**

      THEA 62: Plays in Performance: Perception and Analysis (FSP)

      THEA 80: Independent Study, with approval of the Chair

*THEA 1 satisfies the Theater Studies course fulfillment only if it is completed before THEA 15, 16, and 17.

**Solo Performance may be used to fulfill either a theater studies or theater practice requirement, but not both.

With prior approval of the Chair, up to one course in Theater Studies from another department may be used to fulfill this category, such as:

      ENGL 15: Shakespeare I

      ENGL 34: American Drama

      ENGL 39: Modern British Drama


2. Four courses in Theater Practice:

a. The following course is required:

       THEA 40: Technical Production


b. Any one of the following courses in performance:

       THEA 10: Special Topics courses, with approval of the Chair

       THEA 25: Solo Performance**

       THEA 26: Movement Fundamentals I

       THEA 27: Movement Fundamentals II

       THEA 28: Dance Composition

       THEA 29: Dance Theater Performance

       THEA 30: Acting I

       THEA 31: Acting II

       THEA 35: Acting for Musical Theater

       THEA 36: The Speaking Voice for the Stage

       THEA 50: Playwriting I

       THEA 51: Playwriting II

       THEA 54: Directing 

       THEA 60: Classical Performance I (FSP)

       THEA 61: Classical Performance II (FSP)

       THEA 65: Summer Theater Lab

       THEA 80: Independent Study, with approval of the Chair

**Solo Performance may be used to fulfill either a theater studies or theater practice requirement, but not both.


c. Any one of the following courses in theater design and management:

        THEA 10: Special Topics courses, with approval of the Chair

        THEA 41: Stage Management

        THEA 42: Scene Design I

        THEA 44: Lighting Design

        THEA 48: Costume Design

        THEA 80: Independent Study, with approval of the Chair


d. One additional Theater Practice course, either in Performance or Design/Management.


3. The Culminating Experience:

In their final year, all majors must complete the following course to satisfy their Culminating Experience in Theater:

        THEA 90: Contemporary Practices in U.S. Theater


4. Production Requirements:

Every Theater major is expected to complete five production credits to demonstrate an active and sustained participation in theater production. Production credits require faculty supervision and may be completed on either Department of Theater productions or productions sponsored by the Department. Production credits must reflect a variety of theater activity and each credit must represent a meaningful practical experience. No more than two production credits may be in a single area of production. 

Please note that some productions are not considered enough hours to constitute a production credit. This includes StudioLab and YourSpace productions, as well as staged readings. When in doubt, consult with the Production Manager.

  • One production credit must be fulfilled by THEA 40: Technical Production.

  • One production credit must be fulfilled by serving as a stage manager or assistant stage manager for a mainstage production. Alternatively, the student may complete THEA 41: Stage Management to fulfill this requirement. With prior approval of the stage management mentor, stage management on a student production may fulfill this requirement. 

  • One production credit must be fulfilled by serving on a production crew. This credit cannot be fulfilled through Stage Management or Design as it is intended to constitute a backstage experience. Categories that count as a crew credit include:

    • backstage crew

    • fly rail/crew

    • light board operator

    • sound board operator

    • audio engineer

    • projection operator 

    • assistant stage manager (if already completed stage management requirement) 

    • wardrobe/dresser

    • hair and/or make-up 

    • wardrobe supervisor 

    • follow spot operator 

    • audio assistant (A2)

  • Two production credits may be fulfilled with any category of theater production. This includes, but not limited to:

    • THEA 65: Summer Theater Lab

    • Acting, directing, designing, or playwriting

    • Stage management or backstage crew (additional to the above requirements)

    • E-term production work at Northern Stage (internships or production work at other theaters will require approval from the Departmental Advisor and Production Manager beforehand and a written review from the Supervisor of that theater afterwards)