The acting program at Purdue University seeks to expand the young actor’s range of knowledge and expression through the performance of drama. The actor is a channel for the truth in the play and must possess the ability to comprehend the playwright’s message and communicate it as a character. The acting program consists of acting core classes, specialized training, and related required courses. Upon completion, the student may choose to enter directly into an acting career, any communication-related field, or pursue graduate study for a career in theatre.

Points of Pride

  • Two new theatres in Purdue’s Visual Performing Arts Building opened in fall 2005. The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre is a proscenium house seating 300 people, while the Gordon Mallett Studio Theatre features a flexible configuration and seat 105-155 people.  These new theatres complement additional larger campus venues.
  • The study of Theatre includes both the classroom study and practical application of those studies.  Therefore, the student is encouraged and expected to be an active member of our production community. In this laboratory setting, the student not only applies information and ideas learned in classes, but also learns the critical life lessons of responsibility, commitment, and cooperation, which are crucial skills needed for survival in the 21st century.


  • Actor
  • Public speaker/presenter
  • Graduate or professional school
  • Trial attorney (develop presentation skills)
  • Many other positions in business/management, not necessarily related to theatre arts but able to capitalize on students' broad-based liberal arts skill set

Plan of Study

A minimum Grade of "C-" or better is required in all theatre courses to remain in and advance in the program.
A minimum Grade of "B: or better is required in Italicized performance courses in order to progress to the next performance course.

Acting majors must maintain a GPA of 2.5 in order to be considered for casting in production work. ALL acting majors are required to audition for and accept one mainstage role per semester, as cast.


THTR 20100 Theatre Appreciation



1. The following courses in THTR (16)

THTR 16400 Intro to Theatre Organization & Mgmt
THTR 21300 Vocal Production I
THTR 23300 Acting I: Acting Technique

THTR 38000 History of Theatre I
THTR 38100 History of Theatre II
THTR 44000 Directing: Page to Stage

2. Select ONE of the following four design and technology courses in THTR (2)

THTR 16000 Introduction to Scenic Design/Technology
THTR 16100 Introduction to Costume Design/Technology
THTR 16200 Introduction to Lighting Design/Technology
THTR 16300 Introduction to Sound Design/Technology


1. Enroll in FOUR practicum credits in THTR (4)
(enrollment is by Audition for 33600/53600; all courses may be repeated)

THTR 33600 Rehearsal and Performance
THTR 53600 Advanced Problems in Acting

2. The following courses in THTR (16-18)
(THTR 43300 is offered every other year; THTR 23500 and THTR 32300 may be repeated)

THTR 23500 Vocal Physical Preparation
THTR 25600 Stage Make-up
THTR 32300 Movement for the Actor
THTR 33300 Acting II: Scene Study
THTR 33400 Acting III: Acting for the Camera
THTR 43300 Acting IV: Acting Shakespeare

3. Select from the following (4-5)

(2) DANC 10100 Modern Dance Technique I or DANC 10200 Ballet I or DANC 10300 Jazz Dance I
(2) DANC 20100 Modern Dance Technique II or DANC 20200 Ballet II or DANC 20300 Jazz Dance II
(1) DANC 14000 Dance Improvisation
(1) DANC 14400 Contact Improvisation
(2-3) THTR 52600 Advanced Stage Movement

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit

Print Plan of Study

Department of Theatre

Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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