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Bachelor of Theatre Arts: Set Your Sights on Tomorrow

What is the Bachelor of Theatre Arts curriculum?

This degree program is for students who wish a well-rounded, substantive theatre education within the framework of a solid liberal arts education. The BTA is not a performance program.  It is designed for students who want to pursue careers in areas such as production management, arts administration, dramaturgy, or teaching.

BTA students take a core of theatre courses that includes introductory acting, design, directing, theatre history, technical theatre, stage management and American drama. You'll also take a significant number of elective courses from a broad range of theatre offerings such as Theatre Forum, Acting and the Black Experience, Playwriting, History of Dress, History of Decor and Performing Arts Administration. In addition, you may take cognate courses in English, film and video studies, music, and social studies or humanities.

The BTA provides flexibility for students who are interested in developing a minor area of study. In consultation with your program advisor, you may customize your programs to fit your personal academic or career goals. Students with serious interest in a second field of study may earn a dual degree, both of which usually can be completed within five years. A total of 120 credit hours is required for the BTA degree.

BTA alumni have found work in a variety of exciting places such as Mosaic Theatre, The Arena Stage, Second City, City Year, Teach for America, NBC Casting, Playwrights Horizons, and various casting and booking agencies in New York. A high percentage have gone on to graduate study in areas such as theatre history and criticism, law, education, arts administration, social work, and literature. In addition to working in acting directing, teach, arts administration, and stage management, BTAs have also pursued careers in musical direction, conducting, and choreography.

Degree Requirements for the BTA

Theatre Course List

How are Bachelor of Theatre Arts students involved with productions?

University Productions:

BTA majors receive course credit for working in production shops (costume, scenery, paint, props, electrics, sound) and for assisting the stage managers or arts management staff with the various theatre, musical theatre, opera and dance productions offered by the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Studio performances and staged readings:

Playwriting classes present their works-in-progress to the public at the end of the year. A number of BTA majors participate as writers and/or readers.

Basement Arts:

The student-run Basement Arts company presents 25 or 30 studio productions each year. Students produce the plays. Performances are presented on weekends, generally in Studio One.

Other University of Michigan Productions:

Majors also design various plays produced by such university groups as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, MUSKET, the Rude Mechanicals,and others.

Local theatre groups:

A  number of our faculty and students work with two local Equity theatres, the Performance Network and the Purple Rose Theater, founded by actor Jeff Daniels, Arbor Opera Theatre, Burns Park Players, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, as well as a number of traditional and non-traditional theatre companies in the area. In addition students often work with high school theatres in the area. The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, located in Jackson, MI, runs mid-July through August.

What will my career options be after graduation?


Who can I talk to about the BTA degree?

Call the U-M Theatre Department at 734.764.5350.
Ask to speak with the advisor for the Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree.

How do I apply to the Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree program?

1. Complete the Common Application. (Already a U-M student? Submit the online cross-campus transfer application instead.)

2. Create a DecisionDesk profile, through which you'll demonstrate your artistic preparation.

See the Auditions & Interviews page for more detailed information.

actor in costume

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower