Graduation with Distinction

Distinction Projects

You may pursue a project in writing, directing, acting, design/theater technology, dramatic literature, theater history, or performance studies. 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


Students with at least a 3.5 GPA in their Theater Studies courses 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.  

Here is the Policy for Graduation with Distinction in Theater Studies and an application form.

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

Distinction Coursework

In the 2021–2022 academic year, you are required to take either a Research Independent Study (THEATRST 493-1) or a "home seminar" in the first semester and the Senior Distinction Project (THEATRST 495) in the second semester.  

First 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. The home seminar option is only available the first semester you are working on your distinction project.

Second Semester: Senior Distinction Project (THEATRST 495)

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 dramatic literature, theater history, or performance studies are required to submit a 40–70-page thesis paper
  • Candidates with a distinction project in acting, directing, or design/theater technology 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 by March 30, 2022 for evaluation by a committee composed 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 the DUS assistant.