The Theatre Department’s mission is to provide undergraduate students with a comprehensive education in the practices and processes of creating theatre and live performance within the context of higher learning. We offer a number of programs designed to suit your particular interests, including Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees as well as minors in Acting, Stage Combat, Theatre Directing and Writing for Performance. In consultation with your academic advisor, you are encouraged to carefully consider your interests, abilities and goals when determining which degree track to pursue.
For requirements and more information about these programs, visit the catalog.
Is there a fire inside you to tell stories on stage? As an Acting major, you’ll learn to stoke your passion to move audiences. You’ll master a range of acting styles, engage with frequent production work and hone your auditioning skills. You’ll challenge your voice, body and imagination. And you’ll put your skills to the test outside the classroom: immersing yourself in Chicago’s professional theatre scene, collaborating with film and music students, and studying on location in London or Los Angeles.Learn More
Do you want to immerse yourself in theatre with a global perspective? In Columbia’s Acting with International Performance BFA program, you’ll study European and American theatre techniques and spend the spring semester of your junior year abroad at Rose Bruford College, located just outside of London. You’ll master a range of acting styles, engage with frequent production work and hone your auditioning skills, all with an international point of view.Learn More
Comedy is about more than what’s funny. In this interdisciplinary program, you’ll learn about comedy writing, producing, directing and performing. You’ll practice all forms: sketch, stand-up, physical, improvisation, and writing for TV and the internet. You’ll also get to spend an immersive semester at The Second City, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre and improv school. You’ll develop your skills alongside college students from across the country and collaborate to create a showcase production on one of The Second City stages.Learn More
As a Musical Theatre major, you’ll study singing, dancing and acting. The program is flexible enough to give you room to pursue a minor or second major in another area of study. You’ll have opportunities to be part of productions and will get frequent exposure to the Chicago theatre scene. You’ll be in classes taught by theatre professionals who connect you to the industry the minute you walk through the door.Learn More
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance offers comprehensive training for students who wish to pursue professional performance careers. You’ll enter Columbia as a Musical Theatre BA student and audition into the BFA in your first year. You’ll take fundamental theatre courses as well as advanced courses in acting, voice and dance. You’ll leave Columbia as a professional ready to work in the musical theatre industry.Learn More
In Columbia’s Theatre program, you’ll gain a comprehensive theatre education with practical training in live performance and production––a way to sample a little of everything in the theatre world. Diverse courses like acting, improv, design and tech, theatre history, playwriting, and theatre business allow you to pursue your unique vision while studying with working professionals in Chicago’s thriving creative community. This program is ideal if you want to pursue a career in teaching, dramaturgy or theatre administration.Learn More
What will you imagine and create as a theatre designer? At Columbia, you’ll learn about puppetry, costumes, makeup, scenery, props, paint, lighting and the countless details that bring a performance to life. You’ll learn how to envision and how to build. And you’ll take advantage of a range of opportunities that will put your skills to the test through internships and freelance work with faculty in one of the greatest theatre cities in the world.Learn More
From auditions to rehearsals to opening night, directors shape the vision of theatre. In this intensive hands-on program, our faculty of working artists and professionals will prepare you to direct three fully-realized productions by the time you graduate. You’ll develop strong leadership and collaborative skills as you guide teams of actors, designers and technicians, and work within budgets on theatrical productions. You’ll also observe how working directors in the professional theatre bring their visions to life.Learn More
Shape what’s next in theatre technology through Columbia’s cutting-edge professional program. You’ll dive into the essential behind-the-scenes experience of building theatrical productions. You’ll get hands-on experience on crews and on sets and gain practical knowledge of a full range disciplines: costumes, makeup, lighting and scenic/set design. You’ll have many opportunities to work on departmental productions and to pursue an internship while studying in one of the great theatre cities of the world.Learn More
Are you ready to advance your work from the page to the stage? You’ll write new work every semester in this hands-on, collaborative playwriting program. You’ll learn how to structure engaging plots and create captivating characters. You’ll begin with short scenes and monologues, then build up to 10-minute, one-act and full-length plays. Your scripts will be performed and informed by your peers, first in the classroom and then in staged readings and workshop productions for invited audiences.Learn More
The Acting Minor is a sequence of courses in acting, improvisational techniques, voice training and movement. This program allows you to deepen your commitment to performance and support collaborations with writers, musicians and filmmakers.
From fisticuffs to sword play, stage combat is an essential tool for actors and storytellers across genres. In the four-semester Stage Combat Minor you’ll earn national certification as a stage combat specialist. You’ll be eligible for work choreographing fights and stunts in theatre, TV and film. The safety-regulated program features training with weapons and unarmed combat, as well as the opportunity to “learn to fly” at the Media Production Center. It is the only fully-equipped stage combat program in the region.
With the Theatre Directing minor, you’ll learn the skills necessary to conceptualize, organize and facilitate the preparation of scripted material for performance. In your capstone course, you will synthesize your understanding of acting, technical and design elements, project organization, and dramatic theory through the production of a one-act play.
Writing for performance is a versatile skill, whatever your course of study. Columbia’s playwriting minor provides exposure to dramatic structure, creative problem solving, script forms and verbal presentation skills through the practices of reading, writing and staging dramatic texts.
We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.
If you can’t make it to campus, don’t worry! We have a full schedule of events all across the U.S. and around the world.