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Bachelor of Science in Theatre at GVSU

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Theatre

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Why Theatre?

There is no weakness in having a theatre background. There is only strength. Here are just a few skills that a theatre degree gives in business (author unknown):

  • Advanced critical thinking and problem solving skills: taking a script and translating it into a finished production is a colossal exercise in critical thinking. You have to make tremendous inferences and intellectual leaps, and you have to have a keen eye for subtle clues.
  • You’re calm in a crisis: You’ve been on stage when someone dropped a line and you have to improvise to keep the show moving with a smile on your face, in front an audience. Your mic died in the middle of a big solo musical number. You just sang louder and didn’t skip a beat.
  • You understand deadlines: Opening night is non-negotiable.
  • You have an eye on audience perception: You know what will sell tickets and what will not. This is a very transferrable skill, and lots of theatre people underestimate this, because they think of theatre as an ART, and not as business. Theatre is frequently one of the few academic departments on campus that teaches selling to the public.
  • You’re courageous: If you can sing “Oklahoma” in front for 1,200, you can do anything!
  • You’re resourceful: Producing any show on a budget teaches how to get a lot of value from minimal resources and to stay on budget.
  • You’re a team player: there are truly no small roles, only small actors. The show will fail without everyone giving their best, and even a brilliant performance by a star can be undermined by a poor supporting cast. Working together teaches you how to leave your ego at the door and how to collaborate.
  • You’ve versatile: You can probably sing, act, and dance. But you can also run a sewing machine, a table saw, rewired lighting fixtures, did a sound check, use a paint brush and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty for the benefit of the show.
  • You’re flexible: You’ve worked with some directors who inspired you. Others left you flat, but you did the work anyway. Same goes with your fellow actors, designers and stagehands. Some were amazing and supportive, some were horrible and demoralizing. You’ve worked with them all and learned something from every one of them.

The major in theatre prepares students for careers that require skills in communications, creativity, and problem-solving, or for careers in the entertainment industry. It provides professional orientation and background within a broad liberal arts framework. Students may use the major as a preparation for graduate or professional work; the required courses provide basic training in essential theatre areas, and students planning to pursue more advanced work should take well-chosen electives in areas designed to increase specific skills.

All majors are required to participate in productions sponsored by the School of Communications; academic credit is given for all such involvement. Also, students may pursue internships with professional theatres, locally, regionally or nationally, as managers, publicists, technicians, and production assistants.

Versatility in a number of areas is the single most important factor in obtaining work. Grand Valley theatre students have successfully completed programs in graduate schools and professional conservatories. They have found work in schools and recreation departments, repertory theatre companies, modern dance companies, and arts organizations as performers, technicians, teachers, designers, directors, and administrators. The combination of critical and problem-solving communications skills with the self-confidence and responsibility coming from performance experience provides excellent training for many non-entertainment fields. A complete list of placement and careers of recent theatre graduates is available upon request.

Requirements for a Major in Theatre

Requirements for a Theatre minor

Please click here to view the suggested Theatre minor's courses.

School of Communications Core Credits: 9

All students majoring in the School of Communications must complete the following core courses, for a total of nine credits:

Select one of two:

Capstone Requirement:

All students majoring in the School of Communications must take COM 495 (three credits) during their senior year. This Capstone course offers a synthesis of ideas and theories about one or more current critical issues in communication.

B.A. and B.S. Cognates

All undergraduate programs in the School of Communications offer both the B.A. degree and the B.S. degree. All students selecting majors in the School of Communications must choose either the B.A. cognate or the B.S. cognate that is intended for a particular undergraduate program.

B.A. Cognate

The B.A. degree requires a third-semester proficiency in a foreign language of the students choice.

The B.S. cognate for the Theatre Program is:

Theatre Core Credits: 33

Two of the following

Electives Credits: 9-11

Capstone Credits: 3

Suggested Order of Coursework for a Major in Theatre

A general theatre curriculum (check specific major requirements with your advisor) working toward a B.S. or B.A. degree.

Freshman Year

General Education Foundations* - ENG 212 and Historical Perspectives

*CTH 161 fulfills the general education Foundations Arts category and is required for the theatre major.

Sophomore Year

General Education Foundations* - Mathematical Sciences and Physical Sciences. Begin foreign language sequence or B.S. Cognate.

*CTH 161 fulfills the general education Foundations Arts category and is required for the theatre major.

Junior and Senior Year

General Education Foundations* - Life Sciences and Social Sciences, general education World Perspectives and U.S. Diversity, general education Themes.

*CTH 161 fulfills the general education Foundations Arts category and is required for the theatre major.

Theatre majors should register for either COM 498 Senior Project or CTH 490 Internship during their senior year.