The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre provides intensive specialized coursework for students seeking professional training in one of two separate tracks:

  • Performance
    • The Performance BFA has two 130-credit tracks in either Acting or Musical Theatre.
  • Production
    • The Production BFA is a singular 120-credit track embracing all the areas of production including design, costume, prop, scenery, lighting, sound, and stage management.

The BFA focuses on uncovering the potential of the individual student in the development of personal performance and/or production practices. The BFA curriculum supports student exploration of theatrical processes including new works as well as the established canon of dramatic literature. The program approaches the work in fresh and innovative ways, giving students a wide range of tools to speak to the contemporary moment both as actors on stage and as artists in production studios, rehearsal halls, and backstage.

The specialized tracks in the BFA build on the objectives of the department’s core curriculum to nurture within each student a deepened, strengthened, and developing professional level of competency. Each track of specialization follows an integrated curriculum based on an intensive, specialized array of courses. These focused arcs of training endow students with a sense of their own identity as artists. Students must continue to show artistic growth and progress and meet academic grade requirements (see Requirements tab) to continue in the program. Admission to each BFA track is selective and progress reviews are conducted each semester allowing for direct feedback to the student and a chance to explore changing interests or career paths.

  • BFA Acting: The program builds on the objectives of the department’s core curriculum to develop within the student a deepened, strengthened, and professional level of competency in acting and a sense of identity as a performing artist. It prepares students for advanced graduate study in performance or entry into the profession of theatre practice. To help students develop as complete artists, our program emphasizes an understanding of essential acting theories, principles of voice production, flexible speech techniques, physical communication, physical structures of character, principles of Dramatic Action and Storytelling, and personal artistic practice. Research specific to an actor’s work, objective and subjective/affective, is demonstrated as a core principle to artistic development. Students are guided through the process of self critique to gain the ability to prescribe solutions and/or new directions for artistic development, and gain an understanding of professional modes of behavior, preparation, and competency
  • BFA Musical Theatre: Combining three major performing disciplines, Music, Dance, and Theatre, this program trains students to succeed as versatile performing artists. Our students annually perform in carefully chosen musical productions essential to pre-professional training, and hone a range of practical and creative skills consistent with their professional and personal goals. Students will be trained thoroughly in the performance skills necessary to compete in the professional world of musical theatre. Included in this track are a solid developmental and pedagogical foundation in music (voice, theory and musicianship, piano, large and small music ensembles), dance (history of the musical theatre art form, ballet, tap, jazz, and theatre dance), and theatre (acting, play analysis, and theatre production).
  • BFA Production: Our multi-faceted Theatre Production program trains students to be competitive in a variety of fields, including technical production, stage management and design, costume production, and more. Offering professional training experiences as early as Freshman year, our students go on to work in a variety of related industry careers. The Production BFA utilizes the foundation of theatre to explore the uniquely collaborative artistic and artisanal processes that create and support compelling storytelling in live performance. The program allows for specialization in the areas of costumes, lighting, properties, scenery, sound/video and stage management but is flexible enough for cross disciplinary studies tailored to the student’s specific interests.

Requirements

University Core

General Education Requirements 1
Competencies 1
Oral and Written Communication – Part A and Part B 2,3
Quantitative Literacy (QL) – Part A and Part B 2,3
Foreign Language 2,3
Distribution Requirements 1
Humanities6
Natural Sciences (Must include one lab)6
Social Sciences6
Cultural Diversity 2
Electives
Additional Electives12
Credits in Peck School of the Arts 412
University Credits3
Total Credits45

The minimum number of credits required to complete the Bachelor of Fine Arts is 130. Students who need background preparation courses in math, English, foreign language, and chemistry may need additional credits.

Acting Track

Theatre Department Core 

THEATRE 110Fundamentals of the Actor's Process3
THEATRE 213Play Analysis3
THEATRE 230Acting 2: Text and Performance3
THEATRE 236Theatre Production and Design3
THEATRE 321The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism3
Select one of the following:2-4
Stagecraft (with lab)
Costume Construction (with lab)
Total Credits17-19

Acting Track Requirements and Electives

Required
THEATRE 430Stage Voice and Speech 13
THEATRE 431Stage Voice and Speech 23
THEATRE 440Physical Performance 13
THEATRE 441Physical Performance 23
THEATRE 463Master Class in Professional Theatre Study1
THEATRE 470Acting Technique 33
THEATRE 471Acting Technique 43
THEATRE 475Rehearsal and Performance: (2-3 cr as assigned; repeatable)6
THEATRE 530Stage Voice and Speech 33
THEATRE 531Stage Voice and Speech 43
THEATRE 540Physical Performance 33
THEATRE 541Physical Performance 43
THEATRE 570Acting 53
THEATRE 571Acting 6 (Capstone)3
Electives
Select electives as discussed with advisor10
Total Credits53

Musical Theatre Track

Theatre Department Core

THEATRE 110Fundamentals of the Actor's Process3
THEATRE 213Play Analysis3
THEATRE 230Acting 2: Text and Performance3
THEATRE 236Theatre Production and Design3
THEATRE 321The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism3
Select one of the following:2-4
Stagecraft (with lab)
Costume Construction (with lab)
Total Credits17-19

Musical Theatre Track Requirements and Electives 

Peck School of the Arts Credits for Musical Theatre BFA Track 1
Basic Diction in Singing
History of the American Musical Theater
Choral Ensemble
Select 1 credit/semester; 2 semesters
Art or Film Course
Elective in any area in PSOA
General Elective
Required
MUSIC 101Fundamentals of Music3
Select one of the following for 2 semesters:2
Fundamentals of Piano:
Lessons in Piano
MUSIC 123Aural Theory I1
MUSIC 142Class Voice for Musical Theater Level I2
MUSIC 143Class Voice for Music Theatre Level II2
MUSPERF 111Lessons in Voice (enroll in and complete 2 semesters)1
MUSPERF 311Lessons in Voice (enroll in and complete 4 semesters)2
Select 2 credits/semester for 3 semesters from the following:6
Ballet I
Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition II
Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition III
Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition IV
Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition V
Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition VI
Select 2 credits/semester for 3 semesters from the following:6
Jazz Dance I
Jazz Dance II
Jazz III
DANCE 117Tap I2
DANCE 327Dance for the Musical Theatre I2
DANCE 427Dance for the Musical Theatre II2
THEATRE 231Voice and Speech for Effective Communication3
THEATRE 408Acting in Musical Theatre3
THEATRE 470Acting Technique 33
THEATRE 471Acting Technique 43
THEATRE 472Performance Capstone in Musical Theatre3
Select 6 credits from the following (Variable credit as assigned/cast):6
Opera Theatre (repeatable)
Rehearsal and Performance: (repeatable)
Repertoire and Ensemble (repeatable)
Electives
Select electives in music, theatre, or dance as discussed with advisor7
Total Credits65

Acting: Example of Required Courses in 4-Year Plan

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
FallCredits
University CoreGeneral Education Requirements 6
THEATRE 110 Fundamentals of the Actor's Process 3
THEATRE 225 Costume Construction 2
THEATRE 305 The Theatrical Experience: 3
 Credits14
Spring
University CoreGeneral Education Requirements 6
THEATRE 214 Stagecraft 4
THEATRE 230 Acting 2: Text and Performance 3
THEATRE 236 Theatre Production and Design 3
 Credits16
Year 2
Fall
THEATRE 213 Play Analysis 3
THEATRE 430 Stage Voice and Speech 1 3
THEATRE 440 Physical Performance 1 3
THEATRE 470 Acting Technique 3 3
PSOA Core Required Elective 3
 Credits15
Spring
THEATRE 224 Make-Up 3
THEATRE 431 Stage Voice and Speech 2 3
THEATRE 441 Physical Performance 2 3
THEATRE 471 Acting Technique 4 3
University CoreGeneral Education Requirements 3
 Credits15
Year 3
Fall
THEATRE 321 The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism 3
THEATRE 530 Stage Voice and Speech 3 3
THEATRE 540 Physical Performance 3 3
THEATRE 570 Acting 5 3
University CoreRequired Elective 3
 Credits15
Spring
THEATRE 322 The Theatre: Modern and Contemporary Period 3
THEATRE 475 Rehearsal and Performance: 2
THEATRE 531 Stage Voice and Speech 4 3
THEATRE 541 Physical Performance 4 3
THEATRE 571 Acting 6 3
University CoreRequired Electives 3
 Credits17
Year 4
Fall
THEATRE 275 Performing Arts Management 3
THEATRE 475 Rehearsal and Performance: 2
University CoreRequired Elective 3
PSOA CoreRequired Elective 9
 Credits17
Spring
THEATRE 322 The Theatre: Modern and Contemporary Period 3
THEATRE 475 Rehearsal and Performance: 2
University CoreRequired Elective 3
PSOA CoreRequired Elective 3
Theatre ElectivesDegree Electives 4
 Credits15
 Total Credits124

Musical Theatre: Example of Required Courses in 4-Year Plan

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
FallCredits
DANCE 111 Ballet I 2
MUSIC 142 Class Voice for Musical Theater Level I 2
MUSIC XXXChoral Ensemble 1
MUSPERF 1
Fundamentals of Piano:
or Lessons in Piano
1
THEATRE 110 Fundamentals of the Actor's Process 3
THEATRE 214
Stagecraft
or Costume Construction
2-4
 Credits11-13
Spring
DANCE 111
Ballet I
or Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition II
2
MUSIC 143 Class Voice for Music Theatre Level II 2
MUSIC 101 Fundamentals of Music 3
THEATRE 230 Acting 2: Text and Performance 3
MUSIC XXXChoral Ensemble 1
MUSPERF 1
Fundamentals of Piano:
or Lessons in Piano
1
University CoreGeneral University Requirement 3
 Credits15
Year 2
Fall
DANCE 111
Ballet I
or Contemporary Dance Practice: Ballet Tradition II
2
MUSPERF 111 Lessons in Voice 1
MUSIC 244 Basic Diction in Singing 1
THEATRE 321 The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism 3
THEATRE 213 Play Analysis 3
MUSIC 123 Aural Theory I 1
University CoreGeneral University Requirement 3
THEATRE 236 Theatre Production and Design 3
 Credits17
Spring
DANCE 115
Jazz Dance I
or Jazz Dance II
2
MUSPERF 111 Lessons in Voice 1
Select one of the following: 2
Rehearsal and Performance:  
Opera Theatre  
Repertoire and Ensemble  
University CoreGeneral University Requirement 3
University CoreGeneral University Requirement 3
Elective(Outside of PSOA) 3
 Credits14
Year 3
Fall
DANCE 315 History of the American Musical Theater (OWC-B required course) 3
DANCE 115
Jazz Dance I
or Jazz Dance II
2
DANCE 117 Tap I 2
MUSPERF 311 Lessons in Voice 2
THEATRE 231 Voice and Speech for Effective Communication 3
THEATRE 470 Acting Technique 3 3
Elective(Related Elective) 2
 Credits17
Spring
DANCE 115
Jazz Dance I
or Jazz Dance II
2
MUSPERF 311 Lessons in Voice 2
THEATRE 471 Acting Technique 4 3
Select one of the following: 2
Rehearsal and Performance:  
Opera Theatre  
Repertoire and Ensemble  
PSOA ElectiveArt or Film Course 3
Elective(Outside of PSOA) 3
Elective(Related Elective) 2
 Credits17
Year 4
Fall
DANCE 327 Dance for the Musical Theatre I 2
MUSPERF 311 Lessons in Voice 2
THEATRE 408 Acting in Musical Theatre 3
THEATRE 472 Performance Capstone in Musical Theatre 3
PSOA Elective(Any PSOA Elective) 3
Elective(Outside of PSOA) 3
 Credits16
Spring
DANCE 427 Dance for the Musical Theatre II 2
MUSPERF 311 Lessons in Voice 2
Select one of the following: 2
Rehearsal and Performance:  
Opera Theatre  
Repertoire and Ensemble  
General Elective(Outside of PSOA) 3
Elective(General Elective) 3
Elective(Related Elective) 3
 Credits15
 Total Credits122-124

Advance to Major/Retention

To be accepted and continue in good standing within any Theatre degree program, students must meet or exceed all general university requirements, have and maintain a 2.5 GPA overall (with the exception of Theatre Education majors). BA degree majors must also maintain a 2.75 GPA within the major. Theatre Education majors must maintain a 3.0 in the major. All BFA degree majors must maintain a 3.0 in the major. Additionally, all Theatre majors in all programs must pass all Theatre Core courses with a C grade or better. Students will be put on probation inside the major, and may be denied continuation in their program, if they receive a D grade or lower in any Theatre Core courses, which are:

THEATRE 110Fundamentals of the Actor's Process3
THEATRE 204Theatre and Social Change3
THEATRE 213Play Analysis3
THEATRE 214Stagecraft4
THEATRE 225Costume Construction2
THEATRE 230Acting 2: Text and Performance3
THEATRE 236Theatre Production and Design3
THEATRE 260Storytelling:3
THEATRE 275Performing Arts Management3
THEATRE 305The Theatrical Experience:3
THEATRE 321The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism3
THEATRE 322The Theatre: Modern and Contemporary Period3

As per Wisconsin State statutes, all Theatre Education students must also pass the Praxis II Theatre Content test, or a portfolio equivalent as determined by the program, before being allowed to engage in their student teaching fieldwork.

Continuation

Students who are in danger of being dropped from the program, or put on probation, will receive a written warning. Any Theatre student who is dropped or suspended from his/her program (due to failing/low grades and/or academic misconduct) has the right to an appeal. Any student wishing to appeal must inform the Chair and his/her Area Head of their interest and in writing. Students must then meet with the Chair and the Area Head to discuss their appeal. The appeal may then be forwarded to the Theatre Department Appeals Committee and the Theatre Department Chair. Appeals committee findings will be given to the student in writing and in a timely manner.

Application Process

The Theatre BFA is in compliance with all general requirements for undergraduate degrees including the general education, continuation, and laptop program requirements. Admission to each BFA track is based on an audition (Acting, Musical Theatre) or interview (Production). Prospective students are encouraged to pre-audition or pre-apply to the Theatre BFA programs during their senior year of high school. Accepted students will gain full admission to their BFA Program on successful completion of their GER core competency requirements. For more information on the application process and to apply online go to: uwm.edu/arts/theatre/

Application to the BFA is encouraged following successful completion of the first-year (Freshman) Theatre Core sequence (see suggested schedule on Plan of Study tab).

BFA program applicants must submit the following:

  1. A separate application form;  New
  2. A statement of purpose;
  3. A current resume;
  4. Copies of high school or appropriate college transcripts (for transfer students). [Unofficial copies are acceptable for departmental purposes.];
  5. Two confidential letters of recommendation, preferably from instructors familiar with the student’s artistic and/or academic abilities. Letters should be submitted in signed and sealed envelopes or sent electronically directly from the recommender and will remain confidential and the property of UWM; and
  6. Acting and Musical Theatre candidates should submit a headshot or other suitable photo.

Freshman and transfer applicants must additionally complete the UWM admission process, be accepted into the university, and send separate copies of transcripts and letters of recommendations directly to the department.

All materials may be submitted to the department electronically.

Following review of applications, all candidates will be contacted for interviews or, for Acting and Musical Theatre candidates, participate in an entrance audition. In the Production interview, candidates will have an opportunity to present representative samples of their work/experience in theatre or related skill areas and to chat with the faculty about their goals. The interview allows time to talk about the Production curriculum and to explore the specific interests of the candidate. Based on this interview, faculty can craft and advise an individualized and challenging arc of training from the many production classes in scenery, lights, sound, props, costumes, and stage management, as well as opening the entire PSOA class offerings to explore the connections between theatre and all the arts.

Acceptance into the BFA in Musical Theatre requires a successful audition and application packet prior to beginning in the theatre major, either as an incoming freshman or transfer student. Acceptance into the BFA in Acting requires a successful audition and application that may be made either prior to entering the major as an incoming freshman or transfer student or at the completion of the first year (freshman) Theatre Core sequence.

Additional Musical Theatre Entrance Requirements

Some required courses of the Musical Theatre Track have placement-level testing. As part of the Musical Theatre entrance audition, students take Piano and Theory Placement Exams to determine in which level of piano and music theory to enroll.

  • Piano: Depending on audition results, a student may be required to enroll in MUSPERF 1 for two semesters. Proficiency for these courses requires a passing grade of B or better. If piano proficiency can be demonstrated through the Piano Placement Exam, then two semesters of piano lessons at the MUSPERF 101 level are required.

  • Theory: Depending on exam results, a student may be required to enroll in MUSIC 101, or test into MUSIC 123 with 3 additional credits available toward electives. Proficiency for these courses requires a passing grade of C or better.

End-of-Semester Review Process

BFA Theatre faculty will assess students' academic and artistic growth through individual conferences at the end of each semester.

Student Evaluation

All BFA Theatre majors who do not demonstrate a consistent level of artistic and academic improvement, have and maintain a 2.5 GPA overall, and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in their program may not advance, may be placed on probation, and/or dropped from the program.

Appeal Process

Any BFA Theatre major who is dropped from the program has the right to appeal. The appeals committee will consist of two full-time, tenured or tenure track faculty, or teaching academic staff, from the Peck School of the Arts, a faculty member of the student’s own choosing, and the faculty member who oversees the specific degree track. In addition, a Peck School of the Arts Student Services advisor will be present as a non-voting member. Outcome(s) of the appeal will be given to the student in writing and in a timely manner.

Advising

Location: Theatre 120
Reception Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday through Friday
(closed on university holidays)
Contact: (414) 229-4763

Academic advising is an important aspect of long-term academic success. At the Peck School of the Arts, we offer professional academic advising in the following undergraduate disciplines: art, dance, film, music, and theatre.

Advisors provide students with individualized advising to assist them in areas such as: degree requirements, major options, course selection, campus resources, college success strategies, graduation assessment, academic policies and procedures, etc. 

For more information on Peck School of the Arts advising, please visit http://uwm.edu/arts/advising/.

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a GPA of 3.500 or greater in the major and the academic department's recommendation.

High Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or greater and the academic department's recommendation.

Departmental Honors are granted to students recommended by their academic department for Honors excellence in performance not reflected in the GPA.

Dean's Honors are granted to students with major achievements in one or more of the arts.

Honors in the Peck School of the Arts

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.