The Theatre School > Conservatory > Undergraduate Conservatory > Comedy Arts
The Theatre School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in comedy arts prepares graduates to be performers, directors, and content creators through the academic study of the history and techniques of comedy. Through a combination of coursework and performances both on-campus and in professional Chicago comedy venues, the curriculum reflects the way comedians have learned their field for centuries: testing material in front of an audience, digesting their response, and then learning to revise and rethink in order to be successful communicators and storytellers. At DePaul, we consider Chicago to be our classroom. As one of the nation’s best comedy scenes, our classroom is hard to beat.
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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.
BFA Comedy Arts students, like all first year students at The Theatre School, complete three crew assignments as part of our public season. Students also participate in our Mess Fest comedy festival in the winter quarter and our Wrights of Spring playwriting festival in the spring quarter.
In the second year, students begin the specialized comedy arts sequence by studying the history of comedy as well as the foundations of writing and performing comedy for the stage. Students will present performances in both on and off-campus venues as well as our annual Mess Fest comedy festival and our annual Wrights of Spring playwriting festival.
In the third year, students continue to build their writing and performance skills while beginning to explore the production process as a director. Through courses offered through DePaul's School for Cinematic Arts, students learn to translate the skills and material they have developed on stage into filmed media. Students continue to master the skill of live performance as they produce performances off-campus in Chicago comedy venues.
In the fourth year, students continue to develop their skills while also making the transition to the profession. In addition to advanced coursework and performances in Chicago comedy venues, students will pursue professional internship opportunities based on their individual career goals. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the LA Quarter Program through DePaul's School of Cinematic Arts, taking courses with industry professionals and interning in the Los Angeles entertainment community.
Fourth year comedy arts students participate in the Graduate Showcase during the spring academic quarter. Under the
guidance of the faculty, graduating comedy arts students prepare a
showcase exhibit of their portfolio – which is presented in Chicago for
artistic directors, alumni, and other members of the theatre, film, and
In addition to the major's requirements, 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.
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