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Senior Thesis Requirement For All Majors

Definition and Rationale

The senior thesis represents the culmination of a student’s theater study and involves the execution, documentation, and evaluation of a major production responsibility during the senior year. As such, the senior thesis is a “capstone” experience that is used by the department to assess the outcome of our instruction and a student’s learning. Students will have the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship with a faculty advisor, leading to meaningful guidance toward post-graduate study or employment.

Senior Thesis Options

Students should begin discussing their possibilities with a faculty mentor as early as their junior year but no later than their next-to-last term. Ideally, the project will be tailored to address the individual students talents and interests. Please note that the requirement of a senior thesis does not entitle you to any particular role or assignment. You must qualify and earn the opportunity, and should keep that in mind when planning options for your thesis experience.

There are many possibilities for senior projects. Discuss your options with your advisor. Among the possibilities are:

  1. For majors concentrating in performance and directing:

    • Researching and performing a major role in a Mainstage or studio production
    • Researching and direction of a full-length Acorn Project production
    • Writing and performing a one person show, or...
    • Researching, compiling, and performing an evening of monologues
    • Stage-managing a studio or Mainstage production, or a dance concert and submission of a prompt book complete with any documentation, handouts, etc.
  2. For majors concentrating in design and theater technology:

    • Researching and designing set, costumes, lights, sound, and/or props (or any combination) for a Mainstage or studio production, or...
    • Researching and executing a design project for a play chosen by the design staff. (This project would not have to be actually produced.)
    • Execution of a major crew head responsibility, including such research and/or documentation deemed necessary by the TD or costumer, or...
    • Researching and executing a solution to a "tech theater problem" (i.e., turntable, blood effects, special effects, etc.)
  3. For majors concentrating in music theater:

    • Researching and performing a major role in the annual TBTG/Music-Theater Musical, Music Department Opera, or IUP Dance Theater concert
    • Writing and performing a one-person music theater review
  4. For majors concentrating in history, theory, criticism, and/or playwriting:

    • Research paper/project on a particular genre, playwright, or play
    • Writing a play for a staged reading in the studio
    • Writing a body of critical essays on productions

Senior Thesis Enrollment and Documentation

Theater majors are required to complete six semesters of THTR 486, "Practicum in Production," in order to graduate. One of these must be designated a student’s senior thesis. Students fulfilling the senior thesis requirement will enroll as they normally would for a section of THTR 486 in consultation with a faculty supervisor. The student and supervisor will mark the practicum agreement form “Senior Thesis.”

Students will document their research, development, and execution of the project in an academically sound method suitable for their area of concentration. For further guidance, see the department guidelines for senior thesis.

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    401 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
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