The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu

Undergraduate Major Program

The course of study in the Department of Theater is grounded in the belief that the performing arts draw on a unique combination of intellectual and artistic skills and talents, which are most fully developed when theory and practice are integrated into the learning experience.

On the undergraduate level, the Department offers a B.A. in Theater. Students pursue a multi-faceted course of study divided into

Currently, the Department counts about 130 majors and about 50 minors. No audition is required for the major.

We also offer a Minor in Theater. Please visit our minor page for further details.

Students in the program gain expertise in all the fundamental areas of theatrical art in graduated sequences of study designed to bring into focus rigorous critical thinking, precise methods of research, and imaginative expression.

Although theater majors often focus in on a specific area of the field, such as performance, design and production, directing, or dramaturgy, the major is designed to give students experience in all areas of theater. Students leave the department superbly trained, with a well-rounded base of knowledge that makes them competitive candidates for employment as well as graduate study. In addition to coursework, students participate in productions, serving as actors, designers, stage managers, directors and dramaturgs, both in our season and in independent undergraduate productions and informal events. Undergraduate theater majors also participate in many special events designed to supplement the curriculum, ranging from hands-on master classes with guest professionals to career-development workshops.



A student who completes the BA in Theater at UMass will be able to:

  • Engage in rigorous critical thinking.

  • Execute precise methods of research.

  • Be able to read, understand, analyze, and interpret a wide variety of texts for theater.

  • Have a basic understanding of all of the professional fields of theater making, as well as an understanding of how to continue developing your specific skills.

  • Engage effectively in teamwork and collaboration, hallmarks of the theatrical process.

  • Communicate effectively in both written and verbal forms, as well as develop an appreciation for visual and aural forms of communications.

  • Express yourself creatively.

  • Have a thorough understanding of the production process.

  • Present yourself professionally in attitude, approach, and dedication.

  • Show respectfulness and open-mindedness in working with your fellow theater makers.

Students also benefit tremendously from the Five-College Consortium. UMass is located down the road from four renowned liberal arts colleges: Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and Amherst College. This consortium enables students to take courses or participate in productions at any of the other member schools at no extra charge. There are also several Five-College programs, including those in Dance and Film, which offer courses on the five campuses to all students.

Western Massachusetts boasts a number of regional and community theater companies and arts organizations which offer both interesting programming and great opportunities to get involved; UMass Theater undergraduate students have found internships, summer work, and other opportunities at companies including Shakespeare and Co., Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hampshire Shakespeare, and others. 

WAM Theatre, a professional theater company in the Berkshires that operates at the intersection of art and activism and is committed to theater for gender equity, offers UMass Theater students access to project-based internships that include opportunities for artistic mentorship, community engagement, and teaching assistantships.

The major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an outstanding foundation for a career in the theater. It is also a superb preparation for graduate work in the field. Additionally, a theater education is useful in many related professions such as film and TV, public relations, law, broadcasting, management, advertising, arts administration, teaching, and social work.

How to Declare

If you are a UMass student thinking about declaring the major or adding a minor, welcome! We are thrilled to have you! Please make an appointment with the Undergraduate Program Director, Amy Altadonna, to complete the paperwork, discuss your progress toward the degree, and sign up for an advisor.

Registration Forms and Checklists