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Theatre Studies - B.A. and B.F.A. PDFDownload to print

College of the Arts

School of Theatre and Dance

Dance Division
D-101 Kent State University's Center for the Performing Arts
Tel: 330-672-2069
Fax: 330-672-2889

Theatre Division
B141 Kent State University's Center for the Performing Arts
Tel: 330-672-2082
Fax: 330-6725-2889



The Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies gives students an opportunity for study in all aspects of theatre and its relationship to other liberal arts studies. This program serves students who seek a wider range of possibilities to fulfill individual creative goals, whether as theatre artists, scholars, educators, and/or contributors in related fields. Students receive thorough grounding in theatre history and theory and learn imaginative and critical thinking, the process of making theatre, and leadership skills. Each student may choose a concentration of elective choices in one of four areas: Performance, Production, Theatre Management or Theatre and Society. The program prepares students to apply their knowledge and learned skills to career choices in the 21st century and in the process enrich their own lives in their chosen communities.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts is designed for students who wish to specialize in a specific area of theatre or dance (design and technology, musical theatre, dance performance or dance education) and requires successful completion of an audition for the musical Theatre and Dance degrees. The students must demonstrate evidence of continued growth and competency in the chosen specialty via yearly evaluations.

Design/technology fosters the artistic development of theatre designers, technicians and artisans so they can successfully enter the profession and /or its related fields. Students study both traditional theatre practices and new methods, materials and technologies in order to become flexible, dynamic and creative collaborators in theatre art. Students must demonstrate continued progress through annual portfolio reviews, course work and production responsibilities. B.F.A. design /technology students are expected to complete a significant production assignment each semester. The B.F.A. candidate is expected to develop theatre skills equal to entry-level positions in the profession or as required for admissions into Masters of Fine Arts programs.

Musical Theatre offers students interdisciplinary academic and creative experiences that prepare them to be working artists in the field of musical theatre. Students develop practical skills in music, dance and acting in conjunction with concentrated work in theory, history and liberal arts. Students must demonstrate continuing progress and are thus evaluated annually through auditions, coursework and production responsibilities.  The B.F.A. candidate is expected to develop theatre, vocal and/or dance skills equal to entry-level positions in the profession or as expected for admission into Master of Fine Arts programs.

Career Opportunities

Employment in the theater, and in other performing arts companies, is cyclical—higher in the fall and spring seasons—and concentrated in New York and other major cities with large commercial houses for musicals and touring productions. Also, many cities support established professional regional theaters that operate on a seasonal or year-round basis.

Many smaller, nonprofit professional companies, such as repertory companies, dinner theaters, and theaters affiliated with drama schools, acting conservatories, and universities, provide employment opportunities for local amateur talent and professional entertainers. Auditions typically are held in New York for many productions across the country and for shows that go on the road.

Design special exhibits and film, television, and theatre sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

Dancers and choreographers worked in a variety of industries, such as public and private educational services, which includes dance studios and schools, as well as colleges and universities; performing arts companies, which include dance, theater, and opera companies; and amusement and recreation venues, such as casinos and theme parks.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Admission Requirements

General Admission for Freshman Students: Admission Requirements at the Kent Campus: The freshman admission policy at the Kent Campus is selective. Admission decisions are based upon the following: cumulative grade point average, ACT and/or SAT scores, strength of high school college preparatory curriculum and grade trends. The university affirmatively strives to provide educational opportunities and access to students with varied backgrounds, those with special talents and adult students who graduated from high school three or more years ago. For more information on admissions, visit the Admissions website for new freshmen.

Transfer Students: In addition to meeting the general transfer admission requirement (2.0 cumulative GPA), students wishing to enter the Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theatre concentration in Theatre Studies must successfully complete an audition for the B.F.A. in Musical Theatre. Students electing admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies are not required to present an audition. Inquiries can be directed to the Undergraduate Coordinator, School of Theatre Dance, 1325 Theatre Drive, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240-0001 (or call 330-672-2082).

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Studies: Applicants in Musical Theatre must pass an audition to enter a B.F.A. degree concentration in the School of Theatre and Dance. Inquiries can be directed to the Undergraduate Coordinator, School of Theatre Dance, 1325 Theatre Drive, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240-0001 (or call 330-672-2082).

Entrance to the B.F.A. program is based on a rigorous audition. Students who pass the audition will be invited to enroll in the B.F.A. program upon beginning classes at Kent State. All B.F.A. students are required to be evaluated on a yearly basis. Musical Theatre and Dance auditions are held every fall and spring for entrance the following fall. There are also Dance program auditions in August just prior to the start of the fall semester. Students applying for the B.F.A. in Design/Technology may enter the program directly.

The B.F.A. in musical theatre is an interdisciplinary program offered in the School of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music. Application to the B.F.A. in musical theatre requires an audition in each of the three performance areas: dance, music and theatre. The students must display talent and training potential in all areas to be admitted to the program. Students who pass the musical theatre audition will be admitted directly into the B.F.A. program at the beginning of their freshman year. Students who pass the Dance Division auditions are also admitted directly into the B.F.A. program at the beginning of their freshman year.

Graduation Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies requires a minimum 120 total credit hours  and  39 upper-division hours for graduation. As well as a minimum 2.000 GPA overall and 2.500 GPA in major required for graduation.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Studies requires 120 total credit hours for the Design and Technology concentration and 123 for the Musical Theatre concentration. Both concentrations require a minimum 39 upper-division hours for graduation, as well as a minimum 2.000 GPA overall and 2.500 GPA in major required for graduation.

Students will be dropped from the B.F.A. program for failure of audition or portfolio review. Students on academic probation may not participate in any School of Theatre and Dance productions. Students in all the Bachelor's of Fine Arts program areas may be dropped from the program for failure to maintain a 2.500 GPA (B.F.A. students should strive to maintain a 3.000 overall GPA).

The students in the musical theatre concentration must pass yearly auditions and are expected to audition for all mainstage theatre productions and accept roles if cast.

The students in the design/technology concentration must pass yearly portfolio reviews and are expected to participate in at least one mainstage production per semester (this may be in addition to any production design assignment).

Program Learning Outcomes


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of procedures and approaches for realizing a variety of theatrical styles and techniques.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of playwriting and production processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the way these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces
  3. Develop intermediate to advanced competence in one or more theatre specializations in creation, performance or scholarship.
  4. Become acquainted with a diverse selection of theatre repertory including the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources.
  5. Demonstrate (through both verbal and written articulation of ideas and vocabulary as well as in actual practice) an understanding of the basic process involved in mounting a theatre production.
  6. Demonstrate ability to form and defend value judgments about theatre.
  7. Demonstrate knowledge of common theatrical elements and the interaction of those elements through both written and practicum work.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to think conceptually and critically about text, performance, and production.


Design and Technology concentration:

  1. Demonstrate ability to conceptualize and realize a design aesthetic consistent with the overall artistic concepts of a production.
  2. Demonstrate ability to understand and articulate basic elements and principles of design theory.
  3. Demonstrate ability to understand and articulate basic elements and principles of composition related to line, shape, color, texture and sound.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the aesthetic use of color.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of aesthetic use of sound.
  6. Demonstrate ability to communicate design ideas and realities to other personnel involved in the production, including directors, other designers, stage managers and actors.
  7. Demonstrate ability to produce and communicate design ideas with freehand drawings.
  8. Demonstrate ability to provide formalized, accurate production models and drawings by hand and/or through the use of current industry stand software programs.
  9. Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of the total design process, including the progression raw materials through multiple design "shops" and the roles that various craftspeople play in the creation of a finished product.
  10. Acquire knowledge of federal, state and local health and safety codes, best practices, and industry standards as they relate to theatrical venues and production elements.
  11. Prepare and present a professional resume and a portfolio of design- and technology-related work that demonstrate one's abilities, strengths, processes, and experiences.
  12. Acquire experiences in the design/technology aspects of theatre in a variety of formal and informal settings.

Musical Theatre concentration:

  1. Demonstration of the highest possible level of performance as a singer-actor or singer/actor/dancer as evidenced in auditions and juries conducted by faculty and guest professionals.
  2. Demonstration (in both verbal and written articulation as well as in actual practice) of expertise in music performance and basic theory, basic dance technique and performance, as well as a variety of acting styles.
  3. Demonstration of how acting works serves as a foundation (or “through line”) in all three interrelated disciplines of performance.
  4. Demonstration of correct, safe and aesthetically pleasing technique in the execution of movement and dance skills.
  5. Demonstration of correct, safe and aesthetically pleasing technique in the execution of vocal performance, sight-singing, musicianship, and music theory.
  6. Opportunities for performance in workshops and full productions of musical theatre in a variety of formal and informal settings.  Performance of a significant role in at least one full production during advanced study.
  7. Develop repertory and techniques for auditions.
Study Abroad/Away Opportunities

There are many study abroad/away opportunities, for more information contact the Office of Global Education.


National Association of Schools of Theatre

Student Organizations

Black Theater Association; Musical Theatre Student Organization; Portage County Players; Theater Roundtable, Alpha Psi Omega, Transform Theatre, Students Striving for the Enhancement of Technical Theatre.

Advanced Degree Programs

Theatre Studies: Acting, Design (M.F.A.)