The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre provides intensive specialized coursework for students seeking professional training in one of two separate tracks:
- The Performance BFA has two 130-credit tracks in either Acting or Musical Theatre.
- 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.
|General Education Requirements 1|
|Oral and Written Communication – Part A and Part B 2|
|Quantitative Literacy (QL) – Part A and Part B 2|
|Foreign Language 2|
|Distribution Requirements 1|
|Natural Sciences (Must include one lab)||6|
|Cultural Diversity 2|
|Credits in Peck School of the Arts 3||12|
Learn more about the General Education Requirements.
Credits may be utilized in required curriculum areas.
9 credits are required in 3 of the 4 other departments in PSOA, outside of the student's discipline: Art and Design, Dance, Music, Theatre, or Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres.
All programs and tracks in undergraduate programs within the Theatre Department require a capstone experience. The Theatre Capstone serves as a laboratory for students and provides a framework for application of developing skills and knowledge. Capstone evaluations are used to assess student outcomes and program goals.
Depending on semester or project, capstones are executed and evaluated within the following courses:
|THEATRE 675||Advanced Studio||1-6|
|or THEATRE 685||Internship in Professional Theatre|
Theatre Department Core
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Fundamentals of the Actor's Process|
|Acting for Non-majors|
|Theatre and Social Change|
|THEATRE 230||Acting 2: Text and Performance||3|
|THEATRE 213||Play Analysis||3|
|THEATRE 214||Stagecraft (with lab)||4|
|THEATRE 225||Costume Construction (with lab)||4|
|THEATRE 236||Theatre Production and Design||3|
|THEATRE 275||Performing Arts Management||3|
|THEATRE 305||The Theatrical Experience:||3|
|THEATRE 321||The Theatre: Beginnings Through Realism||3|
|THEATRE 322||The Theatre: Modern and Contemporary Period||3|
|BFA Production Track Requirements and Electives|
|THEATRE 412||Career Preparation and Development||2|
|Select one of the following:||8|
|Studio (4 credit per semester, repeatable)|
|Rehearsal and Performance: (variable credit by assignment)|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Advanced Studio (repeatable)|
|Internship in Professional Theatre (variable credit)|
|Select 29 elective credits||29|
Select from within the Production Curriculum, outside the Production Curriculum, or any other courses in PSOA in consultation with your advisor.
|Within the Production Curriculum|
|THEATRE 215||Properties Production||3|
|THEATRE 218||Computer Modeling and Graphics for Live Performance||3|
|THEATRE 285||Costume Construction 2||3|
|THEATRE 301||Theatrical Millinery||3|
|THEATRE 304||Costume Design||3|
|THEATRE 314||Special Effects for Stage Scenery||3|
|THEATRE 315||Advanced Properties Production||3|
|THEATRE 318||Scene Design||3|
|THEATRE 319||Scenic Painting||3|
|THEATRE 325||History of Costume||3|
|THEATRE 327||The Digital Theatre - Pocket Tech||3|
|THEATRE 337||Sound Production and Digital Editing for Stage and Studio||3|
|THEATRE 338||Lighting Production||3|
|THEATRE 343||Patternmaking and Draping||3|
|THEATRE 380||Stage Management||3|
|THEATRE 418||Lighting Studio||3|
|THEATRE 432||Advanced Theatre Practicum||3|
|THEATRE 435||Production Management||3|
|THEATRE 437||Sound Design and Digital Editing||3|
|THEATRE 480||Leadership Skills for Theatre Management||3|
|THEATRE 675||Advanced Studio (repeat to 12 cr.)||1-6|
|THEATRE 689||Independent Study-Stage Management||1-4|
|THEATRE 692||Independent Study-Technical Theatre, Scene Design and Lighting||1-4|
|THEATRE 693||Independent Study-Costumes||1-4|
|THEATRE 698||Independent Study-Theatre Management and Public Relations||1-4|
|THEATRE 699||Independent Study:||1-4|
|Outside the Production Curriculum|
|THEATRE 231||Introduction to Voice and Speech||3|
|THEATRE 407||Contemporary Theatre Performance:||1-3|
|THEATRE 410||Stage Directing||3|
|THEATRE 497||Study Abroad in Theatre||1-12|
Advance to Major/Retention
To be accepted into any of the Theatre Programs, students must meet or exceed all general university requirements. BFA applicants and BA Theatre Education applicants must either Audition or Interview with the Department in addition. Complete details are on the PSOA portal. To continue in good standing as a Theatre Major, students must meet or exceed all University requirements and maintain a 2.5 GPA overall (with the exception of Theatre Education majors who must maintain a 2.75 GPA overall). BA degree majors must then maintain a 2.75 GPA within the major, with the exception of Theatre Education majors, who must maintain a 3.0 in their major. All BFA Theatre majors must also 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 may be put on probation or be denied continuation in their program if they receive a D grade or lower in any Theatre Core course.
As per Wisconsin State statutes, all Theatre Education students must also pass the Praxis II Theatre Content test, or the Portfolio equivalent as determined by Theatre Education Program, before being allowed to engage in their student teaching fieldwork.
Students who are in danger of being dropped 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, which consists of three full-time, tenure track, indefinite status, or tenured theatre faculty; a faculty member of the student's own choosing, and the Theatre Department Chair. In addition, a Peck School of the Arts Student Services Advisor will be present at the appeals committee meeting as a non-voting member. Appeals committee findings will be given to the student in writing and in a timely manner.
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:
- A separate application form; New
- A statement of purpose;
- A current resume;
- Copies of high school or appropriate college transcripts (for transfer students). [Unofficial copies are acceptable for departmental purposes.];
- 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
- 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.
End-of-Semester Review Process
BFA Theatre faculty will assess students' academic and artistic growth through individual conferences at the end of each semester.
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.
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.
Location: Theatre 120
Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday through Thursday, 9AM-2PM Fridays
(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 and High Honors in the Major are 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 Degree and Honors Degree with Thesis
Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.
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. In schools and colleges in which fewer than 15% of the traditional students have a 3.500 GPA, all-university honors will be awarded to approximately the top 15% of graduating students. A criterion GPA (not lower than 3.200) for this 15% will be calculated based on statistics from the previous comparable semester. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).
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.