The Senior Honors Thesis

The Senior Honors Thesis Project

The honors thesis project in Theatre Arts offers a special opportunity for outstanding students to synthesize and build on undergraduate study of every aspect of theatre-making: practical, analytical, historical, and theoretical. At the end of the junior year, Theatre Arts majors who have excelled in both academic and production work are invited to undertake a substantial senior research project. Upon successful completion of the thesis, students are awarded honors in the major.

Thesis projects follow two basic models: the first is based on creative work, usually using rehearsal and performance as primary research; the second is based on research of some area of theatre but is not directly related to a student’s work on a production.

The production-related thesis projects include: acting; design; dramaturgy; and directing. For the first three, students are selected to undertake one of these roles in a faculty-directed production. Their work culminates in the written thesis, an essay that analyzes and assesses the creative process. Students who are selected to do an honors thesis in directing are granted the resources to mount a production for the Theatre Arts Program.

Some students choose to do a playwriting thesis project. This involves the writing of an original piece, under the direction of a playwriting instructor, and sometimes results in a staged or workshop reading of the play. Like other students engaged in the creative process, playwriting honors students write a substantial essay in addition to the script.

Theatre Arts also offers students the opportunity to do write a thesis on a subject of their own choosing, conducting independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.


The Cabanne C. Smith Undergraduate Research Award

The  Cabanne C. Smith Undergraduate Research Award is administered through the College of Arts and Sciences and provides a $1,000 prize to the annual winner. Theatre Arts offers the opportunity for honors thesis projects in both academic and practice-based topics. Recent honors thesis projects include topics in acting, directing, design and dramaturgy.