Skip to main content

Academics

Recommendations

If you're looking to put together a course of study during your undergraduate years that might build your skills as an actor, enrich your creative life and knowledge as a director, or generally help you transition into the world of the performing arts (both onstage and offstage), here are some courses that we (i.e. the Theatre Program) recommend. We'll be adding to this list as we discover more classes to share with you, but this is a start. Most of these are entry level courses that have no pre-requisites.  See the CDCS for course descriptions.  (Note: not all classes might be available at all times, and course and course numbers are subject to change.)

ENGLISH

Almost any English class will give you insight into literature, language, thought, emotion, and culture which will be invaluable in your journey throughout the creative and performing arts.  We recommend them all!

DANCE

Using your body as an instrument to express thought and emotion is one of the backbones of an actor's technique. These classes may help cultivate a heightened awareness of your body.

  • DAN 102 Fundamentals of Movement
  • DAN 104 Contact Improvisation
  • DAN 110 Beginning Dance Techniques: Jazz, Modern and Ballet
  • DAN 140 Beginning Tap
  • DAN 145 Beginning Jazz Technique
  • DAN 150 Beginning Contemporary Dance Technique
  • DAN 160 Dance Improvisation
  • DAN 171 Capoeira: Brazilian Art Movement
  • DAN 217 Body as Medium: Performance Art
  • DAN 265 Contemporary Dance
  • DAN 278 Choreography
ART & ART HISTORY

Being knowledgeable about and inspired by visual art feeds the imagination and also your inspiration.  While many courses could be useful, this might be a good place to start:

  • AH 101 Intro to Art and Visual Culture
ANTHROPOLOGY

How cultures function and how language, the self, and behavior influence human interactions and history are fascinating.  Think about:

  • ANT 101 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANT 105 Language and Culture
  • ANT 220 Personhood
  • ANT 226 Culture and Consumption
BRAIN AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE

How the brain functions means insight into how we think and act, valuable understanding for the actor and the director (not to mention the playwright!):

  • BCS 110 Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 151 Perception and Action
RELIGION AND CLASSICS

Knowing where much of Western Civilization comes from and wrestling with the great questions that have fascinated society since the beginning of recorded time is helpful in being able to understand plays and characters in a broader context.  There are so many courses in Religion and Classics to recommend!  Explore many more than the two mentioned here.

  • CLA 140 Classical and Scriptural Backgrounds
  • CLA 203 History of Ancient Philosophy
FILM AND MEDIA STUDIES and MODERN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES and HISTORY

Pretty much any course in these disciplines, be it studying French New Wave cinema, or German Literature or the history of any part or period of human history will broaden your horizon, enrich your worldview, provide food for the imagination, and enrich your work.

MUSIC

Learning how to read music, or sight read or sing; how to pick out a tune on a piano or guitar; even how to think about and explore sound design can really help all students be they actors or directors or stage managers.

  • MUR 101 Elements of Music
  • MUR 109 Musicianship I: Literacy Studies
  • MUR 116 Keyboard Skills II
  • MUR 193 Sound Design
 PHILOSOPHY

The understanding of thought and the moral and ethical dilemmas and questions that have occupied humankind for hundreds of years are equally the questions at the heart of all real drama and theatrical work.  Exploring them is challenging, but hugely enriching.

  • PHL 101 Intro to Philosophy
  • PHL 102 Ethics
  • PHL 103 Moral Problems
  • PHL 105 Reason and Agency
  • PHL 201 History of Ancient Philosophy
  • PHL 223 Social and Political Philosophy
PSYCHOLOGY

Human psychology underpins the basis of all (or most) 20th century drama, especially those forms rooted in naturalism and realism.  There is a treasure trove of things to be discovered!

  • PSY 101 Intro to Psychology
  • PSY 110 Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • PSY 151 Perception and Action

Have other courses to recommend? Let us know!