The Theatre Arts major is designed to provide students with a broad-based education in theatre. The major consists of thirteen courses—seven required classes and six electives—and one production practicum.

Declaring the Major

Students wishing to declare a major in Theatre Arts should complete the following steps to indicate interest and set up a meeting with the Program Director. Please note that submitting the Study Request Form is not enough to declare your major. You must also complete the other steps below before your major request can be made official.

1. Fill out the “Declare/Update Field of Study Request Form” found on the Registrar’s website.

2. Contact the director of the Theatre Arts Program, Dr. Rosemary Malague ( to schedule an appointment. 

In addition to becoming officially “declared,” the Program Director helps students plan their course of study, providing information about when courses are offered and in what sequence they should be taken to best fulfill the major requirements.

3. Make an appointment with Cat Johnson (, Theatre Technical and Production Coordinator to discuss the practicum requirement and to learn about production opportunities.

Required Courses*

  1. Theatre Arts 0101 [THAR101] Theatre, History, Culture I (Classical Greece to European Enlightenment).
  2. Theatre Arts 0102 [THAR102]. Theatre, History, Culture II (Romantics, Realists and Revolutionaries).
  3. Theatre Arts 0103 [THAR125]. The Play: Structure, Style, Meaning.
  4. Theatre Arts 0120 [THAR120]. Introduction to Acting.
  5. Theatre Arts 0121 [THAR121]. Introduction to Directing.
  6. Theatre Arts 0130 [THAR130]. Introduction to Sets, Lights, and Costumes.
  7. Theatre Arts “Advanced Topics.” Many courses will be in the 2700-2799 range. Eligible courses will all have the ATAT attribute and can be searched in Path @ Penn by selecting "THAR Advanced Topics (ATAT)" in the Course Attribute drop-down in Advanced Search.

*3-digit course numbers provided in brackets. Courses taken in Spring 2022 and earlier with 3-digit course numbers will satisfy the equivalent 4-digit course number requirement.


Students may fulfill the remaining six course requirements with any Theatre Arts elective. These may be classes offered directly by the Theatre Arts Program; they might also be classes offered by other departments or programs, such as English, Cinema Studies, Classical Studies, Gender and Society, etc., if explicitly cross-listed with the designation “THAR” (for Theatre Arts). Courses offered by other departments will be marked with the attribute ATEL in Path @ Penn if they can be applied to the Theatre Arts elective requirement.

Theatre Arts 3500, Rehearsal and Performance, is a special class that consists of participation in a faculty-directed production. Students may enroll as actors, directors, designers, or dramaturgs (enrollment is by audition or permission). Theatre Arts 3500 may be taken more than once to fulfill elective credits. If a student is invited to undertake a Senior Honors Thesis, the thesis may be registered as Theatre Arts 4279, an independent study elective.

Practicum Requirement

Each major will be required to work on one Theatre Arts production to complete the Theatre Arts major. This requirement does not bear a credit and is in addition to the thirteen classes; the practicum is also separate from any production work that might be required for other classes, including Theatre Arts 3500. (Working on a production for THAR 3500 does not fulfill the practicum requirement for the major.) Students may register for the practicum by contacting the Theatre Arts Technical Director. See the Practicum Requirement section for more information.

Special Note: Students should be aware that although a few classes are offered nearly every semester (Introduction to Acting and Introduction to Directing are examples), many classes are offered only once a year; others are offered once every two years. Those intending to major should consult with the director of the Theatre Arts Program to plan the best sequence for fulfilling requirements.