Information for Prospective Undergraduate Students

You don't have to major in theatre arts to audition for our productions or participate in the life of the department. But if you do opt to pursue an undergraduate major in the Department of Theatre Arts, you'll have the opportunity to work closely with our award-winning faculty members, all of whom have earned professional credits in local, national, and international theater productions as directors, set designers, lighting designers, playwrights, and actors. In addition to bringing the benefits of their extensive hands-on experience into the classroom, faculty mentors lead research opportunities for undergraduate students such A summer field studies in New York and London, and undergraduate research assistants for scholarship and course development.

Within and beyond the classroom:

  • Undergraduate TAs assist in a variety of courses including Musical Theatre Performance, Introduction to Performance, Acting 1, Lighting Design 1, Stage Management, Scene Painting
  • Several students have been awarded the Chancellor's Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship
  • Opportunities for Audition coaching with professional actors/faculty where students are given informal one-on-one responses to their audition material in a safe and productive environment
  • Independent studies with faculty not associated with productions that included advanced work in: welding, producing high school productions, vocal lessons, Animatronics in Costumes
  • Close working relationships with regional theatres
  • Study Abroad- the London and Ireland programs allow students to take courses in theatre and internships at international companies producing theatre

Studio practice:

  • Teaching Artist/Faculty-cast mentorships- The Teaching Artists/Faculty model professional behavior and provide specific acting coaching/techniques in real-time in rehearsal and performances
  • Assistant artists/dramaturgs on productions
  • Upper-level capstone experiences- Students may design, direct, dramaturg, choreograph, or perform in Main Stage productions. Faculty provide close mentorship of these positions

Original research opportunities have included:

  • NYC Field Studies- students have most recently used this opportunity to research topics including the National Black Theatre of Harlem, Theatre and Social Engagement, and Robert Wilson
  • London Field Studies where students have gone on to research scenic design techniques
  • Archival Scholars Research Awards where a student recently researched Pittsburgh theatre
  • NYC Scholars in Residence Program with students doing primary research at the NYPL Billy Rose collection on Elizabeth Swadows and the NY Shakespeare Festival and the Social Impact of the Works of Ntozake Shange, Set Designers from Underrepresented Populations, and The New Federal Theatre Project
  • ACC Academic Consortium Fellows Program in Creativity and Innovation for Study of Site-Specific Performance in Wales

Read Alex Knapp's Paths to Research: Melding Cognitive Science and Theatre Arts »

Meet Award-Winning Faculty Member Gianni Downs

Meet Theatre Arts Alumnus Johnmichael Bohach 

For more information about our department, or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact the Dietrich School's recruitment coordinator, Madeleine Fahlbusch at