University of South Carolina


Theatre: What to Expect

Theatre majors at the University of South Carolina will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills through a liberal arts education with a thorough study of theatre. At USC, we live, work, and play in a vibrant urban center with opportunities for culture and fun! USC’s Theatre major is one of a select group of nationally recognized programs accredited by both the National Association of Schools of Theatre and the University of Resident Theatre Association. You can choose to emphasize in areas of performance, design, dramaturgy, or directing. As a Theatre major, you will be required to actively participate in productions. You will have access to outstanding facilities including an active mainstage program with two theatre venues, which includes an arena stage and a proscenium stage. Longstreet Theatre is the best arena theatre in the southeast, a modern gem built inside of an antebellum chapel. Facilities also include a second Black Box laboratory Theatre where you can do experimental work.

You will also benefit from the active guest artist program, which brings in professional directors, actors, and designers from all over the world to work with students. In addition to specific training and skills learned in acting, design, and technical theatre; Theatre majors gain skills in collaboration, teamwork, creative problem solving, communication, and leadership. As a Theatre major at USC, you will enjoy small classes for technique courses so that you can benefit with one-on-one training with faculty. Outside of the classroom, you will work directly with faculty as a part of the training for mainstage and laboratory theatre rehearsal and performance.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Theatre:

  • Introduction to Theatre Studies
  • Beginning Acting
  • Introductory Theatre Design
  • History of the Theatre I and II
  • Play Direction
  • Theatre Production Laboratory I-IV

Some additional unique and interesting courses offered by the major include:

  • Movement for the Actor
  • Film and Television Acting
  • Make-up Design for Theatre and Film
  • Period Styles for Wig and Hair Design
  • Introduction to Theatre Sound Design
  • Dramaturgy

The Theatre major at USC offers 12 hours of theatre electives that allows you to design your own program of study. On average, there is a 5 to 1 student-faculty ratio in major-specific courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Theatre majors have studied all over the world with most students taking advanced theatre and dramatic literature courses while abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. The Theatre Department has two very active student organizations that you can get involved with, The Puppet Regime and Greenroom Productions. These groups perform all-student produced theatre works, many of which are original works written by students. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many Theatre majors go on to pursue their Master of Fine Arts at top programs across the country.
Distinguished Faculty can help enhance your overall academic experience while at the University. Theatre faculty members are members of Actors Equity, Screen Actors’ Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, United Scenic Artists, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. The department also invites internationally recognized guest artists to act, direct, design, and teach undergraduates.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding students. The Helen Hayes Undergraduate Theatre Scholarship Recruitment Award is awarded to incoming freshman and/or transfer theatre students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship, leadership and contribution in Theatre Arts. The Department of Theatre and Dance offers additional scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

Theatre majors often pursue highly competitive careers within the entertainment industry. Opportunities often include acting, directing, and design; production technology in scenery, lighting, sound, and costumers; theatre management; teaching; and writing. Theatre majors are also favorably looked at by business employers seeking team leaders and employees that exhibit confidence and creative problem-solving skills.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Theatre, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Dance Performance and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Dance Education. All undergraduate degrees require students to actively participate in departmental productions. The department maintains an active guest artist program bringing in professional directors, choreographers, actors, dancers, and designs from all over the world to work with students. The Department of Theatre and Dance at USC is the only school in South Carolina that offers a Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre, the highest degree possible in the fields of design and performance. The Department of Theatre and Dance boasts outstanding facilities including the Longstreet Theatre, the best arena theatre in the Southeast. The Department of Theatre and Dance is in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Points of Pride

  • The Department of Theatre and Dance has 19 full-time faculty that have won awards for their ongoing research in playwriting, directing, choreography, and design for theatre and film.
  • A number of students have won Magellan Scholarships for research.
  • Many undergraduate students are working professionally in dance, theatre, and film.
Additional Resources.
Department of Theatre and Dance Website
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin