College of Liberal Arts USC
Theatre, Speech, & Dance


 Graduate Index

Jim O’Connor, Chair/Artistic Director


    Susan E. Anderson, M.F.A., University of California, 1973
    Elbin Cleveland, M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1972
    Jim O’Connor, M.F.A., Pennsylvania State University, 1969

Associate Professors

    Sarah Barker, M.F.A., Southern Methodist University, 1974
    David Berube, Ph.D., New York University, 1990
    H. Thorne Compton, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1974
    Ann Dreher, M.A., Northwestern University, 1968
    James Hunter, M.F.A., University of Virginia, 1991
    Richard Jennings, M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, 1979
    Lisa B. Martin-Stuart, M.F.A., University of Texas, Austin, 1984
    Charles Wilbanks, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1982
    David Wiles, M.F.A., Yale University, 1993

Assistant Professors

    Kevin Sargent, Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1996
    Terry Donovan Smith, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1996
    Erica Tobolski, M.F.A., Purdue University, 1989


    Andrew J. Mills, M.F.A., University of South Carolina, 1996
    Walter O’Rourke, M.A., University of South Carolina, 1975

Adjunct Professors

    John MacNicholas, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1973
    Alfred Nordmann, Ph.D., Universität Hamburg, 1986

Distinguished Professors Emeriti

    Russell E. Green, M.F.A., Yale University, 1956
    James A. Patterson, M.A., University of Michigan, 1959

Professor Emerita

    Jayne F. Mulvaney, M.A., University of Michigan, 1970


The curricula in theatre arts are based on the belief that critical study, performance, and studio work are all necessary for the education of the theatre artist. Study of literature, theatre history, and theory deepens the artist’s understanding of principles and perspectives. Likewise, the studio provides the necessary practical training for the artist, and productions become the laboratory for practice of new skills gained.

The production of plays is the principal means available for coordinating all the elements of theatre art. The play is the single experience in which the knowledge and insight gained from history, theory, and criticism are given substance by the arts of the playwright, director, actor, and designer. In this way the production program of the department is an integral component of the education of graduate students.

To excel in the practical disciplines of theatre, an individual’s natural abilities must be developed through study combined with practice. Hence, while individual students with a high degree of natural talent are selected, it will be their ability to apply themselves with discipline and determination to the preparation and practice of classroom work that will lead to their final success in programs and in the profession.

Similarly, graduate study in oral communication in its various modes involves uniting theory, criticism, history, and practice. Experiences in communication require the synthesis and application of abstract materials. The ultimate goal is to produce students who have knowledge of the field’s history and literature and its theoretical foundations and who are capable of applying their knowledge in understanding and evaluating performance.

The ultimate aim of our graduate programs is to produce theatre artists who have knowledge of representative plays from all periods of Western European theatre history and of the theoretical foundations of Western drama and the theatre arts. They should be capable of applying that knowledge in performance and production work.

The department uses a combination of permanent faculty and visiting professionals to provide its graduate population with appropriate instructional experiences. There are 21 full-time faculty dedicated to departmental instruction. In addition to these full-time faculty, part-time adjunct professors from the Shakespeare Theatre serve the graduate program. The department also uses artists-in-residence to augment graduate instruction, play production, and the dance program.

This faculty serves graduate students in the M.A., M.A.T., I.M.A., and M.F.A. degree programs. With an attractive student-teacher ratio, the graduate programs in theatre and speech provide a number of forums in which experiences, ideas, and knowledge can be shared.


Applicants for the M.A., M.A.T., and I.M.A. degrees should hold a baccalaureate degree that includes a minimum of 24 semester hours in theatre or speech (depending upon desired track) with grades indicating graduate ability. Applicants for the M.A.T. and I.M.A. should submit satisfactory scores on the Miller Analogies Test. Applicants for the M.A. degree must submit satisfactory scores on the general section of the Graduate Record Examination and a recent writing sample. While there is no absolute minimum score required on the MAT or GRE, students with less than a 40 (MAT) or 1000 (GRE verbal and quantitative) usually find it difficult to complete the program and may need to justify their scores during the application process. Applicants for the M.F.A. degree should hold a B.F.A. or B.A. degree from an accredited institution with a major in theatre. Acceptance of an M.F.A. applicant, determined by the departmental admissions committee, will be based upon academic records, letters of recommendation, interviews, and either the critical examination of appropriate portfolio materials or the audition.


Master of Arts

This program is designed for those seeking preparation for the Ph.D. or M.F.A. degree as well as for experienced and certified secondary-school teachers who wish intensive academic course work in theatre or speech.

Emphasis in Theatre. Candidates for the M.A. degree with emphasis in theatre must take a minimum of 30 semester hours in addition to three to six hours of thesis work, distributed as follows: nine hours in history and criticism, three hours in research methods, six hours of critical studies, three hours of dramaturgy or historiography, three hours of seminars in production, and six hours of electives. At least 21 hours must be elected in the Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance. Candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. A scholarly thesis is required.

Emphasis in Speech Communication. Candidates for the M.A. with emphasis in speech communication must take a minimum of 30 semester hours distributed as follows: 12 hours in theory or history of the discipline, six hours in criticism and research methods, three to six hours of thesis preparation, and six to nine hours of elective courses. At least 21 hours must be elected in the Department of Theatre, Speech, and Dance. Candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. A scholary thesis is required.

Master of Arts in Teaching

The M.A.T. degree requires 30 semester hours of graduate-level course work, with six to 15 credits in professional education and 15 to 24 credits in the teaching content area. Eligibility for admission is limited to those persons seeking initial certification. Additionally, candidates must complete South Carolina certification requirements for a Class I professional certification in the teaching content area and in professional education (at least 30 credits total including undergraduate and graduate work). Thus, candidates must complete additional course work in professional education and/or their teaching content area at the undergraduate and graduate levels as necessary.

Interdisciplinary Master of Arts

The Interdisciplinary Master of Arts (I.M.A.) degree for secondary school teachers is designed for college graduates who already hold a professional certificate in the teaching field in which they wish to earn the master’s degree or who are academically certifiable by virtue of course work previously earned. Upon completion of the I.M.A. degree program, recipients will be eligible for a South Carolina Class I certificate in the teaching area. Major emphasis in this program is placed on course work in the teaching area. The I.M.A. degree requires 33 hours of graduate-level course work with nine credits in professional education, 21 credits in the teaching area, and three credits in an elective course that addresses current issues and concerns of teachers.

Master of Fine Arts

This degree program is intended primarily for those entering the profession of theatre. It requires at least 63 hours of graduate credit and residency at the University of South Carolina. The M.F.A. degree may be taken with an emphasis in acting, directing, costume design, scenic design, lighting design, or lighting/technical theatre. Each student’s program of courses will be determined by departmental guidelines with the agreement of the major advisor and will be formulated using three criteria: professional goals, past education and experience, and appropriate preparation for a thesis project and written comprehensive examination. All students in the program will complete a professional internship.

Course Descriptions (THSP)

  • 500—Selected Topics in Theatre Production. (1) A series of courses, each lasting one third of a semester. Topics and prerequisites are announced in the class schedule for each semester.
  • 510—Rendering Techniques for the Theatre. (3) Rendering techniques for the communication of concepts and mood in the design process.
  • 511—Arguments in Cultural Studies. (3) The study of arguments from popular culture.
  • 512—Arguments in Science and Technology. (3) The study of arguments drawn from science and technology emphasizing how scientific methodologies are modified and corrupted to make persuasive appeals.
  • 520—Playwright’s Workshop. (3) Principles and practice of playwriting. Writing, adapting, and revising plays. May be repeated with consent of department chair.
  • 522—Creative Drama. (3) Methods and techniques in developing and leading informal dramatic activity with children.
  • 526—Children’s Theatre. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170 and 253, or consent of instructor) Special problems in producing plays for child audiences.
  • 529—Theatre Management. (3) Problems involved in organizing, administering, and promoting the non-professional theatre.
  • 531—Theatre Graphics. (3) Specialized graphic techniques used in the preparation of a theatrical production. Practice in the execution and interpretation of working drawings, perspective sketches, color renderings, scale models, etc.
  • 541—Speech Criticism. (3) Detailed analysis and evaluation of the research models utilized in the criticism of public address. Application of one or more critical methods will be required.
  • 543—Legal Communication. (3) Communication questions and skills employed by lawyers, judges, litigants, and jurors in criminal and civil judicial processes; special emphasis on interviewing, negotiation, and litigation.
  • 544—18th and 19th Century American Public Address. (3) The discourse of selected American speakers whose speeches played a significant role in shaping and reflecting the nation’s development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • 545—20th and 21st Century American Public Address. (3) Examines discourse of selected American speakers whose speeches have played a significant role in shaping and reflecting the nation’s development in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • 546—Alternative Voices. (3) The oral discourse of selected American speakers drawn from groups such as women, African Americans, and other populations traditionally underrepresented in the canons of public address.
  • 547—Persuasive Communication. (3) Analysis of the process and functions of persuasive communication (analysis of public speaking).
  • 548—Contemporary Campaign Rhetoric. (3) Analysis and evaluation of the suasory speechmaking of political figures seeking state or national offices. Offered only in fall semesters in which national elections are held.
  • 549—Rhetoric of Performance Texts. (3) Analysis, evaluation, and application of selected rhetorical theories. Course will focus on performance texts.
  • 550—History of Costume. (3) A survey of clothing through the ages with emphasis on the dress of the actor in significant periods of theatrical activity. From ancient times to present day.
  • 552—Stage Costume Pattern Drafting and Drawing. (3) The principles of pattern making for costume construction using flat-pattern and draping techniques.
  • 553—Advanced Stagecraft. (3) (Prereq: THSP 253 or equivalent) Advanced principles and practices of stagecraft.
  • 554—Performing Arts Safety. (3) Study of health and safety hazards for actors, technicians, and audience members.
  • 555—Scene Painting for the Stage. (3) Techniques of scene painting. Application of principles of painting to the stage.
  • 556—Stage Design. (3) Survey of the history and principles of scene design. Assignments will involve drawings, watercolor sketches, and scale models.
  • 557—Advanced Scenic Design. (3) (Prereq: THSP 556 or consent of instructor) Advanced procedures and techniques of scenic design.
  • 560—Advanced Argumentation and Debate. (3) (Prereq: THSP 260 or consent of instructor) Theories and principles of debating across many settings.
  • 561—History of the Theatre I. (3) A survey of plays, playwrights, actors, production, and the physical development of theatres from the time of the Greeks to 1660; reading of representative plays required.
  • 562—History of the Theatre II. (3) A survey of plays, playwrights, actors, production, and the physical development of theatres from 1660 to the present; reading of representative plays required.
  • 563—Great Debates. (3) A study of debates at the Constitutional Convention, Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858), vice presidential and presidential debates, and other national debates.
  • 564—Speechwriting. (3) An exploration of the process of advanced policy advocacy emphasizing speechwriting strategies, issues management, and systematic advocacy campaigns.
  • 567—Dramatic Theory I. (3) A survey of the major works of dramatic theory and criticism, with emphasis on theories of theatrical performance. from Aristotle through 18th-century neo-classicism.
  • 568—Dramatic Theory II. (3) A survey of the major works of dramatic theory and criticism, with emphasis on theories of theatrical performance from the 18th century to the present.
  • 570—Advanced Acting I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 240 or THSP 372, and THSP 370 with a grade of B or above) Theory and practice in the development of a role and an understanding of the psychology of the audience-actor relationship.
  • 571—Advanced Acting II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 240 or THSP 372 and a grade of B or higher in THSP 370) Technique of performing play scripts with heightened language and styles other than naturalism/realism. Some examples of genres that may be taught are Classical Greek, Elizabethan, absurdist.
  • 572—Advanced Makeup. (2) (Prereq: THSP 172 or consent of instructor) Specific character types, prosthetics, wig making, and corrective makeup. Special attention to the development of files of character illustrations and the designing of specific makeups.
  • 573—Dancer’s Workshop. (1) (Prereq: graduate standing or three credits in dance) Individual advanced training in movement, improvisation, flexibility, and precision in dance styles including modern and ballet.
  • 575—Rehearsal and Performance. (3) An intensive laboratory course in repertory theatre.
  • 576—Rehearsal and Performance. (3) An intensive laboratory course in repertory theatre.
  • 577—Dance Performance. {=PEDU 577} (3) Rehearsal, choreographic analysis, and dance performance. All components of dance production—including music, costume, lighting, and scenery—will be considered.
  • 578—Play Direction I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170, 370, and 556 or 588) A study of the principles, procedures and practice of stage direction, with the selection, analysis, casting, and rehearsal of a one-act play to be presented in the laboratory theatre.
  • 579—Play Direction II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 578) A continuation of THSP 578.
  • 581—Film as Performance. (3) Study and analysis of film production, performance, and aesthetics.
  • 582—Costume Design. (3) Theory and practice in the design of theatre costumes.
  • 585—Design for Communications Media Production. (3) (Prereq: THSP 253, THSP 351) The study and application of techniques in theatrical stagecraft, design, lighting, costuming, and make up applicable to specialized fields of communication media.
  • 586—The Articulate Body. (3) Theoretical and experimental exploration of the major body systems and developmental movements to bring more articulation to the body and more awareness and physical ease in performance.
  • 587—Film and Television Acting. (3) (Prereq: THSP 170) Theory and practice of film and television acting.
  • 588—Stage Light Design I. (3) The interrelationship of stage lighting and other production elements. Design techniques, equipment, and script analysis. Laboratory work on department productions. Restricted to theatre majors or those having special permission of instructor.
  • 589—Advanced Stage Lighting Design II. (3) Stage lighting equipment and design techniques. Laboratory work on departmental productions.
  • 599—Special Topics in Theatre and Speech. (3) Reading and research on selected topics. Course content varies and will be announced in the schedule of classes by suffix and title. May be repeated once as topics vary.
  • 702—Directing Debate and Forensics. (3) Direction and coaching of interscholastic and intercollegiate programs in contest debates and forensic events.
  • 710—Graduate Design Studio. (3) (Prereq: M.F.A. degree candidate status) The collaborative process between directors and theatrical designers.
  • 721—M.F.A. Practicum. (1–6) (Prereq: admission into M.F.A. program) A studio workshop for advanced study of theatre arts and crafts. Content varies with instructors: 721A, Technical Direction; 721B, Management; 721C, Costuming; 721D, Lighting; 721E, Acting; 721F, Scenery and Properties; 721G, Directing.
  • 730—Stage Management. (3) The aim of this course is to train graduate students in the requirements of stage management—production meetings, assisting the director, and running the show. Professional, community, and academic theatre will be covered.
  • 731—Technical Drawing for the Theatre. (3) Advanced training in the technique and practice of technical drawing for the theatre.
  • 741—Advanced Voice Laboratory. (1–3) Advanced training in vocal skills needed by actors. (A) Techniques of Berry and Linklater, (B) Technique of Skinner. May be repeated for a total of 15 hours.
  • 752—Advanced Costume Construction. (3) Advanced procedures and techniques of drafting, draping, pattern making, and wig making. Fabrics, their selection and modification for stage use.
  • 754—Theatrical Rigging and Mechanics. (3) (Prereq: THSP 553) Traditional and modern techniques for solving problems from actual theatrical productions.
  • 755—Advanced Scene Painting for the Stage. (3) Advanced techniques in scene painting. Application of principles of painting to the stage.
  • 756—Advanced Costume Design. (3) Advanced procedures and techniques of costume design: includes color theory, fabric potentiality, theatrical use of line, mass, and color.
  • 757—Problems in Theatre Practice I. (3) Analysis of selected problems in theatrical design, technical execution, or performance techniques. May be repeated once for credit.
  • 758—Problems in Theatre Practice II. (3) Analysis of selected problems in theatrical design, technical execution, or performance techniques. May be repeated once for credit.
  • 759—Design Motifs. (3) Practical and research projects on identification, isolation, and selection of historic motifs for theatrical purposes.
  • 761—Studies in Theatre History. (3) May be repeated as topics vary for a total of 12 hours.
  • 765—Staging in the Non-Traditional Theatre. (3)
  • 770—Problems in Acting, Rehearsal and Performance. (3)
  • 771—Problems in Acting, Rehearsal and Performance. (3)
  • 773—Performing in Period Plays I. (3) (registration by audition only) A synthesis of literary, critical, historical, and acting problems of selected period pieces with public performance providing the laboratory for testing alternative solutions.
  • 774—Performing in Period Plays II. (3) (registration by audition only) A synthesis of literary, critical, historical, and acting problems of selected period pieces with public performance providing the laboratory for testing alternative solutions.
  • 777—Advanced Movement and Dance. (1–3) Advanced training in movement skills needed by actors. May be repeated for a total of 15 hours.
  • 778—Director’s Workshop I. (3) Principles and practice of directing for the stage. The advanced study of the director’s role in patterning the auditory stimuli for arena and proscenium theatres.
  • 779—Director’s Workshop II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 778) A continuation of THSP 778.
  • 782—Professional Costume Design Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 583 or consent of instructor) Rendering techniques, script study, color, and textile applications, prepared for presentation.
  • 783—Professional Costume Design Practices II. (3) Complex design projects, advanced rendering techniques, and translation to stage.
  • 786—Professional Scene Design Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 557 or consent of instructor) Production-related scene design problems and projects.
  • 787—Professional Scene Design Practices II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 786 or consent of instructor) Responsibilities of the professional scene designer; analysis of problems and preparation of projects.
  • 788—Professional Stage Lighting Practices I. (3) (Prereq: THSP 589 or equivalent) Large scale projects, such as musical theatre, ballet and multi-set plays, prepared with appropriate professional techniques for presentation and critique.
  • 789—Professional Stage Lighting Practices II. (3) (Prereq: THSP 788 or equivalent) Continuation of THSP 788, to include complex stage lighting problems as well as projects involving related lighting fields.
  • 790—Professional Theatre Internship. (3–9) (Prereq: M.F.A. degree candidate status)
  • 796—Special Projects. (1–3)
  • 797—Special Projects. (1–3)
  • 799—Thesis Preparation. (1–9)

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