Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts is designed to provide training for professional careers in theatre, dance, many of the other performing arts, graduate school, teacher certifications, or interdisciplinary/avocational interests in theatre and dance. Coursework is supported and enhanced by the hands-on nature of the department’s performance and production program. Students accomplish nearly all of the work on productions.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will develop sufficient ability in their area of specialty to be involved in the creation and presentation of public performances in the theatre.
  2. Students will develop competence at thinking conceptually and critically about text, performance and production.
  3. Students will demonstrate a foundational understanding of playwriting and production processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the way these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces.
  4. Students will demonstrate basic competence in the theater techniques of movement skills, voice skills, scenery and properties, costuming and make‐up, lighting and sound, play development, leadership and organization for production– including intermediate to advanced competence in one or more areas of specialization in creation, performance, scholarship or teaching.
  5. Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge of the historical and cultural dimensions of theater, including the works of leading playwrights, actors, directors, and designers both past and present.
  6. Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge of a wide selection of theatre repertory including principal era, genres and cultural sources.
  7. Students will demonstrate the ability to develop and defend informed judgments about theatre.

Theatre Arts (B.A.) — 45 units

The core consists of the 27 units listed below, while each focus area consists of 18 units of required and elective courses particular to that focus area. No fewer than 12 units, planned with and approved by an assigned advisor, must be taken in residence study.

Core Courses (27 units)

TH A 101Orientation to Theatre Arts3
TH A 130Acting Workshop I3
TH A 301Landmarks in Drama: Research and Writing for Theatre Majors3
TH A 302Foundational Skills in Theatre and Dance Production (Foundations in Production)3
TH A 303Production Support for Theatre and Dance Performance (Production Support)3
TH A 401Global Theatre History I3
TH A 402Global Theatre History II3
TH A 405GWAnalyzing and Writing About Theatre - GWAR3
Select One:3
Leadership and Organization for Production
Theatre Management

Areas of Focus (18 units)

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts offers three focus areas: Performance, Play Development and Dramaturgy, and Design and Technical Theatre. Each area of focus has an advised set of foundation courses and a selection of advised electives.


Foundation (9 units)

TH A 125Movement I: Skills3
TH A 223Voice I: Skills3
TH A 230Acting Workshop II3

Electives (9 units)
Select 9 units from the following:

TH A 304Focus on Acting1
TH A 330Acting Workshop III3
TH A 340Principles of Directing3
TH A 341History of Directing3
TH A 408Performance Styles in Asia and the Asian Diaspora3
TH A 433Musical Theatre Workshop3
TH A 435Theatrical Audition1
TH A 440Acting/Directing Workshop3
TH A 454The Business of Acting3
TH A 531Styles of Acting3
TH A 605Writing and Performing Monologues3
TH A 307The Singing Actor: Exploring Music through the Craft of Acting2
TH A 318Voice Major Applied Instruction1
TH A 335Rehearsal and Performance Techniques1
TH A 437Audition Techniques for Musical Theatre3
TH A 452Theatre Pedagogy3
TH A 460Play Development Workshop3
TH A 530Acting: The Play3
TH A 690Brown Bag Theatre Company3
Play Development and Dramaturgy
Select Four:12
The Art of Comedy
Performance Styles in Asia and the Asian Diaspora
Play Development Workshop
Writing and Performing Monologues
Advanced Play Development Workshop
Additional units selected on advisement6
Design and Technical Theatre

Foundation (6 units)

TH A 305Design Graphics for Stage and Screen3
Select One:3
Historical Styles for the Theater: Decor
Historical Styles for the Theater: Clothing

Electives (12 units)
Select from the following:

TH A 323Light Board Operation1
TH A 324Light and Performance: Translating Real World Lighting Environments to the Stage, Dance, and Opera3
TH A 410Scene Design for Stage and Screen3
TH A 411Costume Design for Stage and Screen3
TH A 413Stage Lighting Design I3
TH A 415Sound Design in Theatre2
TH A 609Introduction to Computer Aided Drawing for Theatrical Applications3
TH A 610Practicum in Theatre3
TH A 711Collaborative Processes in Theatre3
TH A 712Portfolio Development1
TH A 740Play Production Concepts3
TH A 414Technical Direction3

Teaching Credential: The Single Subject Approved Program (English Subject Matter: Drama Emphasis) requires completion of courses in English as well as Theatre Arts. For details on this program, please consult credential advisors in the English Teacher Resource and Advising Center.

Complementary Studies

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than TH A, and not cross-listed with TH A. Theatre Arts majors are offered several paths toward completing this requirement, each of which is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner:

  • 12 units in a single foreign language;
  • 12 units in an approved study abroad program;
  • 12 units from a partially completed second major or minor;
  • 12 units in a related discipline or coherent group of classes from related disciplines as approved by a School of Theatre & Dance Advisor.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

This roadmap opens in a new tab.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Theatre Arts. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Theatre Arts

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.