Graduation with Distinction

Distinction Projects

You may pursue a project in writing, directing, design, acting, literature, history, or theory. All projects must have a research component and a substantial written portion. Projects may also have a production component.

Check out some past Senior Distinction Projects

Eligibility

Students with at least a 3.5 GPA in their Theater Studies course are eligible to apply for a project. Students must complete 11 courses in total to graduate with distinction in the major instead of the standard 10. All distinction courses count toward the major. The student’s proposed project needs the approval of the project supervisor, second committee member, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). All applications must be submitted by March of the student’s junior year (March 2, 2020 for students graduating in 2021). NOTE: Beginning with the Class of 2022, there will be also be a spring-to-fall distinction option for students who wish to start their project in the spring of their junior year. A student may pursue a project in writing, directing, design, acting, dramatic literature, theater history, or performance studies. All projects must include a substantial written component. They may also have a production component.  Here is the Policy for Graduation with Distinction in Theater Studies and an application form. Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or assistant with questions. Your project needs the approval of the your chosen project supervisor and of the director of undergraduate studies. All projects need to be approved before registration in the spring semester of the year prior to the project.

Distinction Coursework

In the 2020-2021 academic year, you are required to take either a Research Independent Study (THEATRST 493-1) or a "home seminar" in the Fall and the Senior Colloquium (THEATRST 401s) in the spring. 

FALL SEMESTER: Research Independent Study (THEATRST 493-1) or Home Seminar

The Research Independent Study (THEATRST 493-1) option requires students to meet once every two weeks with their instructor. At least 15 pages of research must be documented and turned in by the end of the semester. This documentation can vary depending on the nature of the research, including but not limited to written notes, visual representations, and journal entries. Home seminars entail enrolling in a course taught by your thesis adviser closely associated with your topic. You should first get the instructor's permission and arrange to do extra reading and writing assignments for the class that will translate the course work into the terms of your distinction project. 

SPRING SEMESTER: Senior Colloquium (THEATRST 401s)

All distinction candidates must submit a thesis paper. Senior distinction candidates are not
expected to write an additional paper for the colloquium; their thesis paper fulfills that requirement.
• Candidates with a distinction project in theater history, performance studies, or dramatic
literature are required to submit a 40-70 page thesis paper.
• Candidates with a distinction project in acting or directing are required to submit a 25 page
paper supplementary to their acting or directing project.
• Candidates writing original scripts, adaptations, and/or translations are required to turn in a 15
page paper supplementary to their playwriting project. 

Evaluation Procedure

Upon approval by the instructor, the completed thesis is submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) by March 30 for evaluation by a committee comprised by the DUS, the thesis advisor, and one other faculty member. Please submit 3 bound copies to the DUS, along with an electronic copy via email to coco.wilder@duke.edu