Theatre Department

Degree Requirements

Junior Qualifying Exam and Senior Thesis

The Theatre Degree is made up of a variety of classes and production opportunities for work on and offstage. Two crucial parts of the Reed Degree for all students across the college are the Junior Qualifying Examination and the Senior Thesis. 

In Theatre, a student typically takes the Junior Qualifying early in the second semester of the junior year. The Theatre Junior Qual is based on the close study of a play, which is given to a student in advance for preparation. The examination assesses the student's ability to analyze the play in its historical and cultural context, engage in deep dramaturgical analysis, and close read the text. Each student then uses their close reading to envision their own production of the play, and then writes a series of short essays detailing their ideas for the play in performance. The faculty asks the student to think as actor, director, and designer and to anchor their ideas about production in a close reading of the play text. The final part of the Junior Qualifying Exam asks students to start brainstorming about possible areas of research for the senior thesis. A student's results on the examination factor into decisions about thesis research subject and possible production components. 

A student who majors in Theatre/Literature will take a qualifying exam in each department. The student's exam will be evaluated in Theatre by the Theatre faculty, and in Literature by faculty from the interdisciplinary Theatre/Literature committee. Faculty will evaluate the Theatre/Literature exam based on the student's ability to close read a dramatic text, incorporate dramatic and literary theory, and craft an argument that blends approaches from both Theatre and Literature. 

A student undertakes the senior thesis over the course of the senior year. In Theatre, a senior thesis is always centered on in depth research into a high stakes question about theatre and performance. Each student works with a faculty thesis advisor on this research and writing. Some students engage in production work as a means to test out the central question of the thesis. This production work must be proposed to and approved by the faculty; the faculty consider results on the junior qualifying exam, record of department participation in production, and academic standing, and needs of the department budget and calendar, when considering the possibility of production work. Students have engaged in production work in the form of workshops, staged readings, full productions, and in all areas of theatre including devising, dramaturgy, design, acting, playwriting, and performance studies.


Requirements for the Major

Entering Reed Spring 2017 or earlier

  1. Theatre 202 (Introduction to Theatrical Design), 203 (Acting Laboratory) (offered previously as THEA 210), 331 (Directing I).
  2. Two of the following four courses: Theatre 251 (previously offered as THEA 250), 252 (previously offered as THEA 260), 270 (previously offered as THEA 240), 280. One of these must be Theatre 251 or 252; one course in dramatic literature taken outside the department may be substituted for the remaining course.
  3. Four units of theatre electives.
  4. Fulfillment of crew requirement (see below).
  5. Humanities 210, 220, or 230 (generally used to fulfill the Group B requirement) or two units in one department (other than Theatre) within the Division of the Arts.
  6. Theatre 470 (Thesis).

One unit selected from dance, music, or art is recommended.

Divisional requirement of proficiency in a foreign language at the second-year level.

Crew Requirement (Theatre 162)

Students majoring in theatre or combined theatre programs are required to complete two sections of Theatre 162 before taking the junior qualifying examination. With departmental permission, one section of Theatre 163 may be substituted for one of these sections. For stage managers, one section of Theatre 161 may be substituted. Students should fulfill this requirement in consultation with department faculty. Theatre 162 is also open to nonmajors.


Entering Reed Fall 2017 or after

  1. Theatre laboratory: One unit of Theatre 100 (Theatre Laboratory)
  2. Theatre 201 (Stagecraft), Theatre 202 (Introduction to Theatrical Design), and Theatre 204 (Fundamentals of Acting and Performance: Movement) or Theatre 205 (Fundamentals of Acting and Performance: Text)
  3. Theatre 331 (Directing)
  4. Theatre history. Two of the following: Theatre 251 (Theatre History I: Antiquity to Naturalism), Theatre 252 (Theatre History II: Naturalism to 9/11), Theatre 253 (Theatre History III: 9/11 to Now).
  5. Performance studies. One course numbered between Theatre 270 and 290.
  6. Theatre 301 (Junior Seminar).
  7. Theatre 302 (Junior Production Studio).
  8. Theatre 470 (Thesis).

Divisional requirement of proficiency in a foreign language at the second-year level.

Recommended: at least one course from music, art, or dance.

Theatre Lab Requirement

Students majoring in theatre are required to complete two units of Theatre Laboratory (Theatre 100). Theatre 100 is offered as either a one-half or one full unit course. For a full unit, an academic paper component is required. Lab courses are connected to working on or performing in, a departmentally sponsored production. Students should fulfill this requirement in consultation with department faculty. One of these labs must be taken while fulfilling the role of Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager. An additional course must be taken while fulfilling a production assignment. Theatre Laboratory is also open to non-majors. Theatre majors must take at least one full unit of Theatre 100. Theatre 100 is repeatable for credit.


Minor in Theatre

The goal of the theatre minor is to ensure a strong understanding of theatre practice and theory across the field, including production work through the theatre laboratory.

Requirements for the Minor
All students will complete at least six units of theatre courses, which must include:

  1. Three of the following courses: Theatre 201 (Stagecraft), Theatre 202 (Introduction to Theatrical Design), Theatre 204 (Fundamentals of Acting and Performance: Movement), Theatre 205 (Fundamentals of Acting and Performance: Text), Theatre 233 (Devising), Theatre 331 (Directing), Theatre 335 (Playwriting), and Theatre 336 (Dramaturgy). All 300-level theatre courses have prerequisites.
  2. One unit of theatre history (Theatre 250–259).
  3. One unit of performance studies (Theatre 270–290).
  4. One-half unit of theatre laboratory (Theatre 100).
  5. Additional elective coursework in theatre to complete a total of six units.