BFA in Theatre Arts—Performance

The Theatre Arts–Performance major offers in-depth and integrated training for students seeking a broad and holistic approach to the art form, allowing students to deeply explore a wider range of areas of interest, including but not limited to acting, directing, playwriting, dramaturgy, and producing. This program will best serve a student who demonstrates the maturity to create an interdisciplinary program that will allow for more flexibility and movement within the art form, as well as possible outside academic pursuits. The program curriculum stresses the development of a student as a full theatre artist, focusing on collaboration, imagination, intellect, communication skills, technical skills, and oral critique, as well as professional behavior and opportunities.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the Theatre Arts–Performance major will:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of theatre practice and its various components of directing, acting, playwriting, dramaturgy, design, and production.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to enrich creative storytelling through critical engagement with cultural, aesthetic, and dramatic texts for a wide variety of audiences.
  3. Demonstrate proficiency in the skills necessary to be a working theatre artist, including but not limited to performance styles, collaboration, play-making, arts leadership, and production.
  4. Successfully complete a collaborative thesis demonstrating proficiency and readiness to enter the professional sphere.


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Theatre Arts–Performance will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation, as well as some of the requirements in Communication; Diversity, Civic Engagement & Global Citizenship; and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

Program of Study (minimum of 128 credits)

First Year

All freshmen Performance students are admitted to the Theatre Performance core curriculum. The freshman core is designed to provide an appropriate context for faculty evaluations of each student’s strengths, interests, and potential for success in the upper years of training. At the end of the freshman year, each student declares a major. This decision is reviewed by all members of the School of Theatre faculty before a student is officially enrolled in his or her major.

The Performance core provides a foundation for all future study in either the Acting or Theatre Arts major. Through improvisation, scene study, ensemble work, and exercise, students begin the journey toward the free, integrated, and transformable expression of the voice, body, intellect, imagination, and emotion. Please see the Freshman Core section for complete distribution guidelines.

One semester of Theatre Ensemble (*) is required during the second and third years. More theatre elective credits may be required if Theatre Ensemble is not taken both semesters.

Second Year 1st 2nd
CFA TH 201 Dramatic Lit 1850–1950 3
CFA TH 202 Dramatic Lit 1950–1990 3
Management Elective 2
CFA TH 248 Rehearsal and Performance 1 2
Theatre Ensemble Elective 3
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Design Elective 2
Performance Elective 3 3
Total 15 14
Third Year
Theatre Ensemble Elective 3
CFA TH 347 Rehearsal and Performance 2 2
Dramatic Literature Elective 3
Theatre Elective 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
General Elective 4
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0
Study Abroad Program 16
Total 18 16
Fourth Year
CFA TH 427 Theatre Ensemble 4: Thesis Development 2
CFA TH 428 Senior Thesis 3
CFA TH 447 & 448 Rehearsal and Performance 3/4 2 1
CFA TH 541 Theatre Internship 3
Dramatic Literature Elective 3
Theatre Elective 3 3
General Elective 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0
Total 18 14

Theatre Ensemble and Dramatic Literature Elective Guidelines

BFA Theatre Arts majors are required to fulfill 12.0 credits of Dramatic Literature, and 6.0 credits of Theatre Ensemble.

The 6.0 Theatre Ensemble credits may be fulfilled from the following courses:

  • CFA TH 227 (Theatre Ensemble 2: Autobiography) – Fall, 3.0 credits
  • CFA TH 228 (Theatre Ensemble 2: Adaptation) – Spring, 3.0 credits
  • CFA TH 327 (Theatre Ensemble 3: Acting/Directing Lab) – Fall, 3.0 credits

NOTE: CFA TH 427 (Theatre Ensemble 4: Thesis Development) does not count toward the required 6.0 Theatre Ensemble credits, as it is a requirement for fulfilling the Senior Thesis.

Of the 12.0 Dramatic Lit credits, 6.0 are fulfilled through the required courses:

  • CFA TH 201 (Dramatic Literature: 1850–1950) – Fall of 2nd year, 3.0
  • CFA TH 202 (Dramatic Literature: 1950–1990) – Spring of 2nd year, 3.0

Visit the BU School of Theatre website for a complete list of the courses available through which to complete the remaining 6.0 credits of Dramatic Literature.

Concentration in Music Theatre

(open to BFA Acting and BFA Theatre Arts/Performance majors)

The Music Theatre concentration at the Boston University School of Theatre is a 4-course, 12-credit sequence available to any student in the BFA Acting or BFA Theatre Arts/Performance degree, and can be declared starting in the second year of the program. This concentration is designed to enhance a student’s preparedness in the genre of music theatre, to expand the student’s skill sets within the genre, as well as to encourage students to re-imagine and create new future possibilities for the music theatre genre and to prepare them to become leaders in the field. For those who wish to pursue acting or music theatre as a career, or who wish to apply to graduate programs in this field, this concentration will serve as verification of their skill level and commitment to the field of study.

Students in the Music Theatre concentration are encouraged to take private voice lessons through the School of Music and additional dance and movement classes through the Dance Department at the BU Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Department.

Required courses:

  • CFA TH 217 Music Theatre Performance Skills I: Letting the Speaking Voice Sing (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 218 Music Theatre Performance Skills II: Applying Stanislavski Principles (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 317 Music Theatre Performance Skills III: Scene Study (3 cr)
  • CFA TH 419 Music Theatre Performance Lab (3 cr)