The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in dramaturgy/criticism helps students explore their critical thinking and writing skills for a variety of applications within theatre and other art forms. The four-year curriculum provides students with primary tools – script analysis, dramatic theory, and new play development – and practical application of those tools in our production process.
Students learn from a distinguished and award-winning faculty of professional dramaturgs, directors, and arts writers both in the classroom and through individual guidance and advising. Students receive formal and informal feedback from faculty through continual evaluation of their work and portfolio presentations.
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The first year curriculum is taken in collaboration with other theatre studies students and is an immersion into the culture of theatrical production and literature. Coursework includes script analysis, theatre history, and performance to facilitate critical thinking, and an experiential understanding of the theatrical process. Students also participate in three crew assignments in various areas of production.
In the second year, students move into the specific dramaturgy/criticism curriculum and focus on an introduction to production dramaturgy, its historical precedent, and educational outreach. Students also take coursework in design or technical areas as well as courses in English, literature, and communication. Students participate in the production season as dramaturgs and assistant production dramaturgs.
Third-year students hone their critical thinking and writing skills through dramatic theory and journalistic criticism courses. Students also explore the production process through directing coursework, and can engage in elective theatre, English, or communication coursework. Students continue to participate in our season as production dramaturgs, and participate in two formal portfolio evaluations.
The fourth year is a transition year, further developing students’ abilities and preparing students to enter the profession. Coursework includes various career and networking opportunities, practical application of the students’ skills, and elective coursework in the individual area of interest. Students continue to participate in our season as production dramaturgs and are placed in a professional internship of their choosing.
At the end of each year, The Theatre School hosts a Graduate Showcase event to showcase the work of our graduating design students. Under the guidance of the faculty, graduating designers prepare a showcase exhibit of their portfolio – which is presented in Chicago for artistic directors, alumni, and other members of the theatre, film, and television industries.
In addition to the theatre training curriculum, students complete 52 quarterly credit hours (13 courses) in the university's Liberal Studies Program. Courses are taken in theatre history, writing, quantitative reasoning and technological literacy, philosophical inquiry, religious dimensions, scientific inquiry, understanding the past, multiculturalism in the United States, and electives. These liberal studies courses are scheduled during the first three years of the program.
Every student receives quarterly evaluation and feedback from the faculty. Evaluations are based on discipline, collaboration, professional potential, and progress in the program.