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Theatre, B.A.

B.A. in Theatre

A Liberal Arts Degree In Theory and Practice

The B.A. in Theatre asks students to consider the theatrical past; to reflect on their own reasons for doing theatre now; and to imagine what theatre can be in the future.

Earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at Penn State


Students take a broad range of courses in theatre theory and practice, beginning with Theatre History, Performance Theory, and Play Analysis. Students gain experience in the Penn State Centre Stage and OffStage seasons as assistant directors, as dramaturgs, and on production crews. Many direct, design, and perform through Penn State’s numerous student theatre groups. Some of our program’s most exciting work results from residencies with internationally renowned guest artists.


The BA offers breadth of experience and depth of inquiry:

The Theatre Studies BA is a small, competitive program for students focused in the creation of new works: playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and devisers. We prepare students to write, devise, direct, and produce their own performance works. Our recent graduates have gone on to graduate programs in theatre history, producing, or acting. Others work in casting, marketing, arts administration, dramaturgy, teaching, and applied theatre.

The School of Theatre offers a BA in Theatre Studies and a BFA in Theatre. The BA in theatre studies is a liberal arts program, pairing well with a double major and/or a variety of minors. Students interested in a pre-professional training program in acting, or musical theatre, or design & technology should apply for the appropriate program within the Penn State BFA degree.

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Next Steps

Is the B.A. in Theatre right for you?

The Theatre BA introduces students to a range of theatre and performance practices, making some ready to apply for MFA programs in acting, directing, dramaturgy, and design. Other students develop artistic and administrative careers in theatre over their four years at Penn State. Our degree is a strong choice for students interested in arts administration, casting, producing, teaching theatre, and other paths that combine business, humanities, and social sciences skills with the skills acquired in the theatre major.

Our students are interested in making theatre—being on stage and behind the scenes—but they’re also interested in theatre itself: what it can accomplish, how it builds community, how theatre can effect change in the world. The power and future of theatre excites us here at Penn State. If it excites you, too, then the Theatre BA might be right for you.

Theatre students performing a scene from Violet.

Considering the B.A. in Theatre? Consider this.

You’ll get a broad liberal education that prepares you for a range of careers in theatre and beyond.

  • Opportunities for study abroad.
  • This is an ideal theatre degree if you want a double major.
  • Small class sizes mean individualized attention.

Alumni Spotlight

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alumni spotlight

Andrew Giffin

Inter-College Bachelor of Philosophy 2005

“Penn State embraced my vision for a cross-disciplinary education that combined electrical engineering with theatre and stage lighting.”

Andrew Giffin – a Schreyer Scholar who earned a inter-college Bachelor of Philosophy incorporating studies in Theatre Design and Technology plus Electrical Engineering – is the associate lighting designer for the rock band, Phish, and is widely considered as the top lighting programmer in the industry. Andrew has designed and programmed light shows for musicians such as Pearl Jam, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber in addition to his work on music award shows, theatre productions and sporting events.