BFA in Theatre Arts—Performance

The Performance programs prepare talented and committed students for careers in the professional world of theatre and the related media of film and television. 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.

The Theatre Arts–Performance major offers in-depth and integrated training for students seeking a broad and holistic approach to the art form, allowing them 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.

During each year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, courses in acting, movement, voice and speech, and dramatic literature follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and related public performance. The committed students who pursue an acting degree at Boston University discover who they are, what they do well, and what they are capable of doing. They learn to be believable actors and to work productively under the stress of the theatrical profession and, most importantly, they learn to integrate performance skills with personal sensibility. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, rehearsal and performance opportunities, and collaboration with professionals through our Professional Theatre Initiative. Students are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through studio class work; hands-on, in-process rehearsal and performance advising; and end-of-semester conferences.

Learning Outcomes

The Theatre Arts–Performance program aims to develop a complete theatre artist by fostering a passion for theatre, storytelling, design, and the collaborative process. Through their required coursework, Theatre Arts–Performance students will: 

  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of theatre as an art form and the essential role it plays in contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate spoken and written critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and communication skills in an arts-based discipline.
  • Demonstrate an ability to enrich creative storytelling and take artistic risks.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and ability to engage in the diverse community of theatre artists.
  • Demonstrate a high level of artistic, interpretive, and craft skills and techniques in theatre making as a foundation for entering into a career in theatre and the live performing arts.


    All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Theatre Arts–Performance will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and 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, cocurricular experiences.

    Program of Study (minimum of 132 credits)

    First Year+ 1st 2nd
    CFA FA 100 Doing, Making & Knowing: The CFA Experience^ 2
    CFA TH 136 Theatre Collaboration 1: Equitable & Inclusive Theatre Practice 2
    CFA TH 171 & 172 Language & Craft of Theatre 1 & 2 2 2
    CFA TH 101 Introduction to the Study of Theatre & Performance 3
    CFA TH 104 Dramatic Literature 1: Beginnings of Theatre to the Early 19th Century 4
    First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120) 4
    CFA TH 121 & 124 Acting 1: Personal Approach to Acting & Acting 2: Intro to Scene Study 3 3
    CFA TH 131 & 134 Movement 1: Expressive Human Instrument & Movement 2: Expressive Human Instrumentalist 2 2
    CFA TH 111 & 114 Voice and Speech 1: Experiencing Voice & Voice and Speech 2: Exploring Voice 2 2
    CFA TH 142 Somatic Practice 1 1
    CFA TH 146 Artists in Community 1 1
    Total credits 18 17
    Second Year
    CFA TH 249 Introduction to Theatre in Practice 2
    CFA TH 245 & 246 Artists in Community 2 & 3 1 1
    CFA TH 235 Theatre Collaboration 2: Theatre Arts Introduction 3
    Theatre elective(s) 3
    Approved elective(s) 4 4
    CFA TH 205 Drama Lit 2: 1850–1950 4
    CFA TH 206 Drama Lit 3: 1950–the Millennium 4
    BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major (e.g., CAS WR 151/152/153) 4 4
    Total credits 18 16
    Third Year
    CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice 2
    CFA TH 345 Artists in Community 4 1
    Theatre elective(s) 6
    Approved elective(s) 4
    BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
    Study Abroad or additional coursework 16
    Total credits 17 16
    Fourth Year
    CFA TH 549 Theatre in Practice 2
    CFA TH 445 & 446 Artists in Community 5 & 6 1 1
    CFA TH 435 Senior Capstone Project Development 2
    CFA TH 450 Senior Capstone Project 2
    Theatre elective(s) 2 2
    Approved elective(s) 4 4
    CFA TH 430 Professional Theatre Initiative Lab: Professional Preparation 2
    BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
    Total credits 15 15

    +Please see the Theatre Core section for complete distribution guidelines for the first year.

    ^CFA FA 100 is not required for transfer students.

    *Students select Theatre electives and approved electives in consultation with their faculty mentor and academic advisor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

    Theatre Electives (14 credits)

    Theatre Arts–Performance students will select a primary and secondary discipline that will serve to focus their journey as an interdisciplinary theatre maker and select courses offered within the School of Theatre (CFA TH) to fulfill their Theatre electives in support of those areas.

    Students will enroll in CFA TH 235 Theatre Collaboration 2: Theatre Arts Introduction during the fall of their sophomore year. Upon completion of this course, students will then select a primary and secondary discipline in:

    1. Acting—suggested courses:

    • CFA TH 210 Music Theatre Performance Skills 1
    • CFA TH 211 Voice & Speech 3: Experiencing Speech
    • CFA TH 213 Voice & Speech 4: Accents, Dialects, and Sociolects
    • CFA TH 221 Acting 3: Advanced Scene Study
    • CFA TH 225 Acting 4: Acting Methods
    • CFA TH 231 Movement 3: The Transformative Instrument
    • CFA TH 234 Movement 4: The Transformative Instrumentalist
    • CFA TH 237 Somatic Practice 2
    • CFA TH 242 Somatic Practice 3
    • CFA TH 310 Music Theatre Performance Skills 2
    • CFA TH 311 Voice & Speech 5: Heightened Text
    • CFA TH 325 Acting 5: Questioning Shakespeare
    • CFA TH 331 Movement 5: 360 Physical Storytelling
    • CFA TH 337 Somatic Practice 4
    • CFA TH 410 Music Theatre Performance Lab
    • CFA TH 415 Embodied Skills Lab 1
    • CFA TH 416 Embodied Skills Lab 2
    • CFA TH 421 Acting 6: On Camera
    • CFA TH 424 Acting 7: Professional Audition Skills
    • CFA TH 433 Senior Showcase 1
    • CFA TH 434 Senior Showcase 2
    • CFA TH 507 Extreme Acting: Stage Combat
    • CFA TH 509 Choreography and Design: Experiments in Light and Movement

    2. Dramaturgy—suggested courses:

    • CAS CL 224 Greek Literature in Translation
    • CAS EN 355 Drama & Performance, 1840–1945
    • CAS EN 356 Drama & Performance, 1945–Present
    • CFA TH 405 Classical Theatre through a Contemporary Lens
    • CFA TH 406 Contemporary Theatre

    3. Playwriting—suggested courses:

    • CFA TH 227 Dramatic Writing 1: Autobiography
    • CFA TH 228 Dramatic Writing 2: Adaptation
    • CFA TH 303 Dramatic Writing 3: Essentials of Structure
    • CFA TH 403 Dramatic Writing 4: Advanced Playwriting
    • CFA TH 404 Dramatic Writing 5: Playwriting Colloquium
    • CFA TH 405 Classical Theatre through a Contemporary Lens
    • CFA TH 406 Contemporary Theatre

    4. Directing—suggested courses:

    • CFA TH 240 Directing 1
    • CFA TH 327 Directing 2: Directing and Acting Lab
    • CFA TH 341 Directing Colloquium: Directors’ Project
    • CFA TH 441 Directing Colloquium: Senior Capstone Project Development
    • CFA TH 442 Directing Colloquium: Senior Capstone Project

    Approved Electives (20 credits)

      • CAS CL 224 Greek Literature in Translation
      • CAS EN 355 Drama & Performance, 1840–1945
      • CAS EN 356 Drama & Performance, 1945–Present
      • CAS EN 357 Modern British Drama: A Critic’s Perspective
      • CAS EN 363 Shakespeare 1
      • CAS EN 364 Shakespeare 2
      • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories & Plays (in English Translation)
      • CAS LR 440 Russian Drama
      • Any course offered by the School of Theatre (CFA TH)
      • Any course offered by the College of Fine Arts (CFA FA)
      • Students, in consultation with the academic advisor, may utilize approved electives to fulfill Hub units as advised.

      Students electing to take courses to fulfill their Theatre electives and approved electives that are not listed above require the approval of the School of Theatre academic advisor and completion of a course substitution form.

      †In this semester, students will complete up to 16 credits of additional coursework toward their degree, including major requirements, minor requirements, and/or the BU Hub. These credits may be fulfilled through a Study Abroad experience or elective coursework inside or outside the major.