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 email 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. Also in the center are well-appointed acting/directing and dance studios, costume, scene, and properties shops, a sound recording room, a computer lab, and a metal shop. At the entrance of campus is the department-affiliated and student-run 150-seat Barn Theater.

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Theater Arts professor Gerald Casel receives National Dance Project grant to create a new work titled Not About Race Dance. His project will tour the United States in 2020.

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.

Alumni Focus

Greg Towle (B.A., Theater Arts, 2013) was recently appointed Projection Supervisor at Denver Center Theatre Company. 

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.

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

Please see our Catalog Statement for Theater Arts Major declaration and degree completion requirements and for Theater Arts Minor and Dance 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