Theater Arts

Zoot Suit, 2017 | Photo: Steve DiBartolomeo


The Theater Arts Department combines drama, dance, critical studies, and theater design/technology to offer students an intensive, unified undergraduate program. The lower-division curriculum requires a range of practical work in various subdisciplines and a rigorous exposure to the history of drama, design, and dance. At the upper-division level, students are given the opportunity to focus on an area of interest within the discipline in limited-enrollment studios and through direct interaction with faculty. 

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • M.A.
  • Minor

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. in Theater; undergraduate minor in Theater or Dance: See website for more info.
  • M.A. program: See website for more info.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High School Preparation

High school students who plan to pursue our major or either of our minors need no special preparation other than the courses required for UC admission.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students may petition to have equivalent courses taken at other schools count toward the major requirements. During the first quarter on campus, transfer students may declare the major after completing an academic study plan with the Theater Arts Advisor (please e-mail to schedule an appointment).

Petition forms and information on courses and major requirements may be obtained at the department office, J106 Theater Arts Center.


  • Choreography
  • Acting
  • Costume design
  • Dance
  • Directing
  • Playwriting
  • Producing
  • Stage design
  • Stage management
  • Teaching
  • Television
  • Film

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


UCSC Global Engagement provides undergraduates with opportunities to study in university-level academic programs abroad. Students may explore options on the International Education Office website. Many programs require competency in a language other than English. Students may receive transfer credit for a maximum of two Theater Arts courses taken abroad, reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the department chair. Students should consult with a faculty member and the department academic advisor about their course of study before going abroad. 


The Theater Arts Center contains a 500-seat thrust stage, a state-of-the-art black box experimental theater, and a 200-seat proscenium theater; acting, directing, and dance studios; costume, scene, and properties shops; a sound recording room; a computer lab; and a metal shop. Elsewhere on campus are additional dance studios, the open-air Quarry Theater seating 3,000, and the 150-seat Barn Theater.

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Professor Michael Chemers’ book The Monster in Theatre History: This Thing of Darkness, based on his popular "Monsters" UCSC Theater Arts lecture course, was published by Oxford UK: Routledge in 2017. Chemers' book on dramaturgy, Ghost Light, was translated into Korean and Farsi in 2016 and is being used as a foundational text for Iranian undergraduate and graduate dramatic literature programs in Tehran and Qom.

Alumni Focus

Ashley Nicole Black (B.A., Theater Arts, 2007) earned a 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Greg Towle (B.A., Theater Arts, 2013) was recently appointed Head of Media Design at Denver Center Theatre Company.

Kevin Beggs (B.A., Theater Arts and Politics, 1989), as president of Lionsgate Television Group, develops and produces all programming for domestic and international distribution.

Department Website

General Catalog Information


The theater arts major requires seven lower-division courses, eight upper-division courses, and six credits of the course Theater Arts 50 Fundamentals of Theater Production. In order to declare the major, students must have successfully completed three theater arts courses:
—One course chosen from the history/theory series Theater Arts 61A, B, or C 
—Two courses chosen from the following: 
    • Theater Arts 10 Introduction to Theater Design and Technology
    • One of two lower division acting courses: Theater Arts 20 Introductory Studies in Acting 
       or Theater Arts 21A Acting Studio 1A: Psychological Realism
    • Theater Arts 30 Introduction to Modern Dance Theory and Technique 

Students are encouraged to complete these pre-declaration courses as early in their studies at UCSC as possible. Please see the UCSC General Catalog or the Theater Arts Department website for more information on the major requirements.


Students earn a minor in theater arts by completing eight courses (seven 5-credit courses and one 2-credit course) comprising a background in the theory and practice of theater arts as well as a focus on either drama, theater design/technology, or dance. There is no comprehensive requirement for the minor. The course requirements are listed below:

  • Lower-division courses: Theater Arts 61A, B, or C; one quarter of the 2-credit course Theater Arts 50; one course in the student’s area of focus chosen from Theater Arts 10, 20, 21A, 30, or 40.
  • Upper-division courses: Three chosen from Theater Arts 113, 116A, 161, 163, 164, 165; two upper-division studio courses (one of which may be a Faculty-Directed Production).


Students earn a minor in dance by completing eight courses (three lower division, five upper division) comprising a background in the theory and practice of dance. There is no comprehensive requirement for the minor. The course requirements are listed below:

  • Lower-division courses: one 5-credit course in dance Foundations (Theater Arts 30, 33C, or 36); one course (varying units) in Cultural Forms (including, but not restricted to, Theater Arts 22, 37, or 80Z); one quarter of the 2-credit course Theater Arts 50
  • Upper-division courses: one 5-credit course in dance Foundations (Theater Arts 130, 131C, 135, or 136); one course in Critical Studies (Theater Arts 164, 165, 166, or 167); three 5-credit elective courses planned in consultation with a faculty advisor, including, but not restricted to, Theater Arts 122, 128, 131, 135, 137, or 139


Transfer students are advised to consult the department advisor to determine which courses may be applied to the major or minors from other colleges. 

Please see the UCSC General Catalog or the Theater Arts Department website for more information on major and minor requirements.

More Information

J106 Theater Arts Center
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064

(831) 459-2974

See Also
Catalog Program Statement