Performing Arts

The Department of Performing Arts offers majors in American Musical Culture and in Theater & Performance Studies and minors in Music, Theater & Performance Studies, and Performing Arts.

Major in American Musical Culture

A major in American Musical Culture consists of ten music courses and one senior capstone project. Designed for students interested in American Studies, arts management, cultural criticism, entertainment law, media studies, music business, music journalism or musicology/ethnomusicology, the program offers a range of classes in music history, theory, recording arts, and performance. Requirements for the degree include: Writing About Music (MUSC-161); two music theory courses (MUSC-141 and an additional course that falls within course number range MUSC-240–275 or MUSC-340–375); at least three of the four core courses in music (MUSC-114, 115, 116, 117), which cover the department’s general areas of music history distribution (Western European Tradition, Multicultural Traditions, Jazz and Popular Music); three upper-level courses in music history and culture or music theory; and one course credit based on four semesters in MUSC-100 Music Performance. Students are limited to a total of 4 performance credit hours (MUSC 100), which are bundled to form a single 3-credit course. After this requirement is completed, they can continue to participate in a performance ensemble by signing up for the zero credit option (MUSC-101). To complete the Senior Capstone Project, students may choose between a research project (i.e., a thesis, documentary, or lecture recital) or an intensive semester/summer internship related to their academic interests (e.g.,  NPR, The Kennedy Center, Rolling Stone Magazine, Sirius/XM Radio, Voice of America, Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, The Washington Post, NBC, William Morris Entertainment, Sony Music).  Students must submit a proposal for the Senior Capstone Project to their music advisor and/or the Director of the Music Program before beginning the project and no later than October 1 of their senior year.

Potential majors are advised during their first two years to take Writing About Music (MUSC-161), at least one of the core courses (MUSC-114, 115, 116 or 117), and Diatonic Harmony (MUSC-141), since these are prerequisites for most upper-level courses. Note: The Pre-requesite for MUSC-141 is Elements of Music (MUSC-041). MUSC-041 does not count towards the major. Students with previous training in Music Theory may receive a waiver for the MUSC-041 pre-requisite upon successful completion of a placement exam, administered by the instructor of MUSC-041/141 during the first week of classes fall and spring semesters.

The integrated writing requirement for the degree in American Musical Culture is fulfilled by MUSC 161 Writing about Music as well as through final writing projects (research papers, music compositions/arrangements, radio/film scripts and/or music journalism essays) in various upper-level courses.


(30 credit hours; 10 courses, plus the Senior Capstone Project)

  • Writing about Music (MUSC-161)
  • 2 music theory courses: Diatonic Harmony (MUSC-141) and a second course numbered 240–275 or 340–375
  • 3 of the 4 core courses in music history and culture (MUSC-114 Western European Tradition, MUSC-115 Music in a Multicultural World, MUSC-116 Jazz History, MUSC-117 Rock History)
  • 3 upper-level courses, numbered 200 or higher, in music history and culture (220–239, 260–269, 320–339, 360–369, 420–439) or music theory/composition (240–275, 340–375, 440–459)
  • 1 course credit based on 4 semesters in MUSC-100 Music Performance
  • Senior Capstone Project

Note: One course may be fulfilled by cognate courses in other fields or study abroad, if approved by the Director of the Music Program.

Major in Theater & Performance Studies

A major in Theater & Performance Studies consists of twelve courses that combine critical and creative inquiry, including a single-credit senior colloquium. Designed for students interested in theater and performance, social justice, cultural criticism, American and world cultures, education and arts management, this distinctive major offers special studio/seminars in a range of areas, including: adaptation and performance, devising new work, and interdisciplinary learning about culture, politics and identity through the lens of performance research. Studio courses include playwriting, acting, direction, cross-cultural ensemble, solo performance, and design and multimedia production. Requirements for the degree include: three core methods courses of Acting I (TPST-120), Play Analysis (TPST-130) and Adaptation and Performance of Literature (TPST-200); either Cross-Cultural Performance Studies or World Theater History (TPST-105 or TPST-240); one of our gateway courses in technical theater or design, such as Design, Costume Design, Production Techniques, or Stage Management (TPST-170, or TPST-173, or TPST-160, or TPST-165/265); five additional electives—including two at the intermediate level (TPST-201 and higher), two or more at the advanced level (TPST-300 or higher), and one elective at any level; and our one-credit Senior Majors Colloquium (TPST-410). All majors also take 3 credit hours of TPST 091-093 in the Production Practicum series, including one for runcrew, across different semesters, which bundle to create a single 3-credit course. Electives may draw from preapproved study abroad, immersive Performance Labs (TPST 191-3) tied to our Home Season, and cognate courses taught by our Associated Faculty.

High-achieving junior majors may apply via formal proposal to pursue an honors senior thesis project, a competitive opportunity that culminates their specific trajectory and that can manifest as a creative research project, a scholarly thesis, or a community-based project.  

Potential majors are advised to take Play Analysis (TPST 130) during their first two years and at least one other gateway course. Those seeking to pursue an honors thesis project are advised to have completed at least half of their degree by January of the junior year.  

A minimum of one course bundle (in 091-3) is required and a maximum of two additional course bundles (from TPST 191-3) may be applied toward the major. A third bundle (i.e. second bundle of TPST 191-3) would need to be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who would notify the student's dean.


(34 credit hours; 12 courses including TPST 410)

  • 3 Core Methods Courses: Acting I (TPST-120), Play Analysis (TPST-130) & Adaptation and Performance of Literature (TPST-200)
  • 1 of Cross-Cultural Performance Studies (TPST-105) or World Theater History (TPST-240)
  • 1 Technical Theater or Design Class (TPST-160 or 170 or 173 or 165/265)
  • 2 Intermediate elective courses 201 or higher
  • 2 Advanced elective courses selected from 300–499
  • 1 elective course at any level
  • TPST-410 Majors Colloquium (1 credit)
  • 3 Credit Hours of TPST-091-093 Production Practicum sequence 

The Production Practicum sequence begins with TPST 091, a series of skills-based workshops taught by production faculty/staff, followed in future semesters by two semesters of TPST 093 (or one semester of TPST 092 for two-credits, by approval) for faculty-mentored tech labs tied to TPST’s Home Season in the Davis Center. This includes one runcrew assignment (a more immersive commitment for 3-4 weeks) and one semester of three lab hours weekly in the Scene, Costume, or Props Shop, as assigned by TPST Staff and Faculty, based on placement forms distributed the first day of semester. Stage management for the Home Season typically counts for two credits.

Note about Credit and Enrollment for Creative Participation in TPST Productions: Students participating as cast members or in another sustained creative way across the rehearsal process (eg dramaturg, designer, assistant director, etc.), must enroll for the course assigned to that production in the zero or 1 or 2-credit option (TPST-190, 191 or, at times 192). Because of the immersive nature of theater rehearsal, students may request that three enrollments in TPST-190, 191, or 192 be bundled into a three-credit course for the TPST major.  With approval from the DUS and the student's dean, a TPST major may request a second bundle based on three additional enrollments in TPST 191, or 192, for a maximum of two bundles (in addition to the required bundle of three enrollments in 091, 092, or 093).  Students may continue to pursue the zero-credit option subsequently.

Note: Two courses may be fulfilled via transfer credits, study abroad, or cognate courses, if approved by the Program Director.

Note for Honors/Thesis Projects: To qualify for honors in TPST, a student must complete the honors program, which includes a thesis project (scholarly, creative or community-based). To apply, majors must have a 3.5 GPA in TPST courses taken at Georgetown by January of their junior year and have taken at least five TPST courses at GU, most at the 200-level or above. (Transfer students and those who have studied abroad may petition the TPST Program Director for an exception). In the early spring of their junior year, students submit a detailed project proposal following guidelines available from the DUS; faculty select the strongest proposals, approving only those scholarly, creative and community-based projects anchored in original research and TPST methodologies. The committee carefully considers student preparedness to carry out the specific project. The Thesis Workshop course is typically required in addition to students' registration in a three-credit directed study overseen by their lead advisor to assure intensive, sustained focus; this normally transpires across two semesters. The final deadline for each project is set with the primary thesis advisor, depending on the nature of the project (eg., scholarly written or creative production), however all must be fully completed by April 15 to be considered for honors. Only those projects unanimously assessed as honors quality by the three-person faculty committee appointed by the DUS receive honors. In very rare cases the faculty committee recommends distinction.


Both of DPA’s distinctive interdisciplinary majors—American Musical Culture and Theater & Performance Studies—understand writing as integral. Students fulfill their Integrated Writing Requirement by virtue of completing each major. See further details regarding Music’s and Theater's Integrated Writing pathways here and here.

Minor Programs: Music, Theater & Performance Studies, and Performing Arts

DPA offers three minors. The requirements for a minor in Music or Theater & Performance Studies include a combination of scholarly and creative courses. The Performing Arts minor is designed for students working across various genres of the performing arts, including Dance and Public Speaking. The Performing Arts minor includes three 3-credit courses in any one of four disciplines (TPST, Music, Dance or Public Speaking) and three additional courses from any other area/s in the department. Four 1-credit Music or Dance performance credits or three 1-credit Theater performance credits may be bundled into a single 3-credit course upon request by the student to her dean. Performing Arts Minors concentrating in TPST, Music or Dance can count up to two total bundles toward the degree (either each bundling from a different performing arts field or, if approved by the DUS, two in the same field.)

Note: Disciplines bundle credits slightly differently due to their respective methods: Music and Dance Performance Ensembles emphasize sustained work in a faculty-directed company over time, meeting a set number of hours weekly, whereas Theater requires more immersive, concentrated hours in a given semester for faculty-led productions.

It is possible to major in one discipline and to major or minor in another single discipline within the department. However, it is not permitted to combine an American Musical Culture or Theater & Performance Studies major with a Performing Arts minor unless the minor draws exclusively from other DPA disciplines than the major. For any minor, at least four courses must be taken within the department.

Required Courses for the MinorS

(18 credit hours; 6 music courses)

  • Diatonic Harmony (MUSC-141)
  • 1 course in musicology (music history and culture), numbered 110 or higher (MUSC 114–117, 220–275, 320–375, 420–439)
  • 4 additional course credits in music, which may include one course credit based on 4 terms in MUSC-100 Music Performance, but may not include MUSC-041 Elements of Music
  • Note: One course may be fulfilled by cognate courses in other fields or study abroad, if approved by Program Director.
Theater & Performance Studies

(19 credit hours; 6 courses plus TPST 091)

  • Play Analysis (TPST-130)
  • 1 of 4 Methods Courses, selected from TPST-105, TPST-170, TPST-200, TPST-240
  • 2 courses at any level
  • 2 courses, 200 or higher
  • Production Practicum: Workshop (TPST 091), a single credit course

Note: Up to two courses may be fulfilled by cognate courses in other fields or study abroad, if approved by TPST DUS.

Note: For the minor, three credits of TPST-191 (Performance Lab) may be bundled once to make a single three-credit course toward the minor. 

Performing Arts

(18 credit hours; 6 courses in Performing Arts)

  • 3 courses in any one of four disciplines (Theater, Music, Dance, or Public Speaking), which may include one 3-credit course based on 4 terms of MUSC-100, 4 terms in DANC-100 or (due to more immersive rehearsals) 3 credits of TPST-191.
  • 3 courses from any other areas in the department, which may include one 3-credit course based on 4 terms in MUSC-100 Music performance, 4 terms in DANC-100 Dance Performance, or (due to more immersive rehearsals) 3 credits of TPST-191.
  • Performing Arts Minors with a primary concentration in Dance may bundle four terms of DANC-102 technique classes (eg in Ballet or Modern) for one 3-credit course in addition to a course bundle for four enrollments in DANC-100. Only Minors concentrating in Dance may do two bundles in Dance.
  • Note: Students may not take more than three courses in any one discipline for this minor.

(For course listings for Music and Theater see