Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts is designed to provide training for professional careers in theatre, dance, and many other performing arts. The combination of liberal arts and professional training also prepares students for graduate school, teacher certifications, interdisciplinary/avocational interests in theatre and dance, as well as professional pursuits in other milieus. Coursework is supported and enhanced by the hands-on nature of the department’s performance and production program. Students execute nearly all of the work on our School-sponsored productions.

The Theatre Arts major consists of 27 units of core requirements and an additional 18 elective units. Students are highly encouraged to meet regularly with their major advisor to select elective coursework that is most relevant to their career goals and they make efficient progress through the coursework.

There is no audition or portfolio review requirement to declare a major in Theatre Arts.

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

Core Courses (24 units)

TH A 130Acting Workshop I3
TH A 202Integrated Theatre Studies3
Select Two:6
Scenery and Props Laboratory and Crew
Costume and Makeup Laboratory and Crew
Lighting and Sound Laboratory and Crew
TH A 401Global Theatre History I3
TH A 402Global Theatre History II3
TH A 405GWAnalyzing and Writing About Theatre - GWAR3
TH A 515Management and Administration for Theatrical Production3

Advanced Topics in Theatre Studies (3 units)

Select One:

DANC 350Dance Aesthetics: Cultural/Historical Perspectives3
DANC 430Historical Survey of Dance in the Western World3
DANC/ANTH 657Ethnography of Dance3
TH A 340Principles of Directing3
TH A 341History of Directing3
TH A 404Musical Theatre History and Literature3
TH A 406The Art of Comedy3
TH A/DANC 408Performance in Asia and the Asian Diaspora3
TH A 409Queer Theatre and Performance3
TH A 504Historical Styles of Decor and Clothing3
TH A 531Advanced Topics in Theatre Performance3
TH A/MUS 559Women in Jazz3
TH A/C W 605Writing and Performing Monologues3

Major Electives (18 units)

The Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts requires 18 elective units with the TH A prefix. At least 9 units must be upper-division units.

Teaching Credential: The Single Subject Approved Program (English Subject Matter: Drama Emphasis) requires the 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 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
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
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)

  1. The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.
  2. In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at and Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.

First-Time Student Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Theatre Arts.
THA ADT Roadmap

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.