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Theater BA

College of Liberal Arts / Fine Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About The Program

The Theater Program is designed to provide students with an understanding of and critical appreciation for the basic elements of theater, including acting, directing and playwriting. This program does not emphasize specific tracks in theater, and among the hallmarks of the theater degree is an emphasis on students creating original work, allowing valuable insight into the creative process and its practical applications. Additionally, a study of the great traditions of theater and the development of skills can empower students toward their own clear and original voice--a valuable asset in any profession. For this reason, the program encourages the integration of theater skills and theory within other disciplines and individual studies. Students are welcome to contact a theater program advisor to better focus this integration.

This program also values prior learning. Students at Metropolitan State may continue to build upon previous learning experience in theater, in keeping with our tradition of alternate learning strategies.

A number of past and current students have worked professionally and semi-professionally in the theater for years, and are now committed to an academic qualification.

Student outcomes

Students graduating from the Metropolitan State Theater program are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate a knowledge of or proficiency in, the skillful use of voice, body, sensory perception, imagination and craft.
  • comprehend the foundations and value of theater as history, through its role in culture and society as it evolves and integrated contemporary forms.
  • explore and mount original and existing work, and to critically analyze its form, structure and significance to real-world problems, committed citizens and artistic vision.

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Theater BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Theater BA

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Theater BA that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Courses and Requirements


It is strongly suggested that students meet with the program advisor in advance of the year they plan to begin the theater major so they can be aware of future production opportunities and other options.   

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the Course Requirements section below. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.  Recognizing that there may be transfer students from other two-year institutions, students should work with theater faculty advisors to make sure that equivalent classes can count toward the major.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College or equivalent lower-division transfers. (Minimum of 12 lower-division credits)

  • THTR 1131 Introduction to Theater
  • THTR 1104 Introduction to Acting or
    THTR 1160 Acting in Multicultural Theater or
    THTR 2105 Introduction to Acting II
  • THTR 1145 Stagecraft: Scene Design and Lighting
  • THTR 1161-69 Theater Topics or
    any elective THEA course available at Metropolitan State University
  • THTR 2150 Script Analysis

Course requirements

Requirements (120 credits)

Metropolitan State University courses (minimum 22 upper-division credits)

THEA 441 Career Portfolio (1 credit) is being offered Fall 2018 as a one time deans approval.

THEA 321 Directed Readings in Theater

4 credits

This course uses full length play scripts, videos of plays and film adaptations to tour the rich traditions of the theater. Students are required to demonstrate reading knowledge of all plays on their individual reading/viewing list, through on line discussions, and the focused analysis of six short questions for each play read or seen. This class can be done at home or on site at the teaching center, and may be taken for a maximum of eight credits.

Full course description for Directed Readings in Theater

Choose one of the two courses below

THEA 345 Acting III

4 credits

Actor training can be life enhancing. In this class, advanced students are guided to discover, explore and develop their emotional, physical and psychological resources using varied acting exercises and techniques. Prerequisite: Acting II (MCTC) or equivalent (Screenwriting students exempt from prerequisites).

Full course description for Acting III

THEA 445 Advanced Acting

4 credits

Art is in the becoming." In this class students move beyond a basic understanding of acting and toward a more complete connection between the role and the actor. A continuation of THEA 345 Acting III, students work further to develop the ability to sustain focus of attention, to concentrate energy and to deepen their understanding of character motivation and subtext. Students may have the opportunity to audition for directing class projects which rehearse outside of class time. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Full course description for Advanced Acting

THEA 351 Production and Performance Laboratory

2-4 credits

Two credits of off stage production support are required for the major and minor. Students enrolled in advanced acting/directing classes or working on season productions or special performance projects under faculty guidance may receive credit for rehearsal time spent out of the regular class period. Students cast in directing class scenes may also receive credit. Note: Students may take up to eight credits over time. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission if not enrolled in directing or advanced acting class.

Full course description for Production and Performance Laboratory

THEA 390 The Evolution of Western Theater

4 credits

This course examines the ideas, individuals, institutions, and innovations that have contributed to the development of theater, from its precursors in the ancient world to the present day. Through the reading and viewing of seminal works, the essential elements of live theater - acting, directing, dramatic texts, design elements, performance space, and the audience - are explored with a focus on staging practices, aesthetics, and theatrical convention.

Full course description for The Evolution of Western Theater

THEA 400 Playwriting I

4 credits

Writing for the spoken word and for acting demands different skills than writing for the page. Develop your ear, your signature of voice, your sense of subtext. Through a variety of approaches, from improvisation to creative autobiography, students explore character, conflict and drama as metaphor. Writers with material they would like to explore or adapt for the stage are welcome. Expect to complete at least one short play.

Full course description for Playwriting I

THEA 441 Career and Portfolio Seminar

1 credits

This course is designed for theater majors exploring and preparing for their post-graduation careers. It will examine specific work environments; the value of attending graduate school or conservatory programs; and the role that internships, undergraduate research, and networking play in career development. In addition, this course will assess how to organize and manage an internship and job search, as well as how to construct strong resumes, cover letters, audition materials, and professional portfolios.

Full course description for Career and Portfolio Seminar

THEA 540 Directing and Creating Theater

4 credits

Learn to analyze script, work with actors, construct a prompt book, and use the director's tools to elevate the written script to dramatic action. Students initially explore the possibilities of realistic drama with the option in the second half, to move on to original creations, collaborations or other styles of theater. All work is under the guidance of a director, toward the evolution of the specific theater piece. This class may be taken twice for credit.

Full course description for Directing and Creating Theater