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Southern Miss students performing in a theatre production.

Theatre BA

A comprehensive and flexible degree in theatre studies designed for students with a broad array of interests in aesthetics, artistic skills sets, and the cultural contexts of theatre as a living art.

Artistic and Intellectual Excellence in Theatre Studies!

The BA in Theatre promotes a broad array of coursework with a flexible approach to specialization for a more comprehensive and well-rounded education in theatre studies.

Perfect for students with interests in more than one area of theatre training, the BA is particularly appropriate for young directors, stage managers, and dramaturgs. This degree plan balances analysis and creativity with the awareness of theatre's importance to society.

Some of the coursework available to students include:

  • Directing
  • Acting
  • Design & Technology, including Lighting and Sound, Costuming, and Scenery
  • Dramaturgy
  • Stage Management
  • A selection of additional coursework tailored to individual student interest


In their first two years of study, students engage with foundational acting methods for building characters and for developing vocal and physical approaches to acting.

Students will also learn how design and technology function as a storytelling process and important aspect of the theatre event. As students develop their interests, faculty advisors assist in advanced coursework tailored to a student’s individual interests.

The Department of Theatre provides coursework in every area of theatre studies, including performance, musical theatre, directing, design and technology, dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre history.

Degree Options

There is one Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree available with this major.

More about this Major


Students who graduate from the BA Theatre degree are problem-solvers and collaborators, and go on to professional success in the entertainment industries and in an array of other professional settings.

Current graduates work as freelance and company stage managers, directors, entrepreneurs, actors, fight choreographers, grant writers, teachers, and public relations specialists.

The USM Department of Theatre continues to mold my craft as a performer in more ways than one. The faculty truly guides each student into a career path that fits them best.

Courses You Might Take

THE 107: Introduction to Design for Theatre

This course teaches the foundational skills required by all designers, and emphasizes how to communicate visual ideas to theatre-makers, including color theory, research, collaboration, drafting, and model building.

THE 320 and 420: Sequence in Directing for the Theatre

These courses provide students with foundational and advanced skills for analyzing a play text, collaborating with actors and designers, and staging methods.

THE 310: Intermediate Acting

Building upon the foundational skills of our introductory acting course, this class promotes honesty and authenticity in character-building, and offers methods for promoting instinctive awareness through the popular "Meisner" technique.

THE 428: Theatre History II

This course provides a survey of modern and contemporary theatre trends, and makes use of the reading of exemplary plays to examine broader questions into aesthetics and the social impact of theatre.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Lou Rackoff

Professor, Head of Directing

Favorite Course: THE 320: Fundamentals of Directing. This course introduces students to both the conceptual framework of directing and the practical application of directing tools in two scenes students direct during the semester.

Expertise: Lou has been a guest director for more than 50 productions at numerous professional theatres and universities throughout the country.

J. Theresa Bush

Assistant Professor, Head of Costuming

Favorite Course: THE 304: Stage Makeup is awesome! Students play with makeup and discover what it means to be a performer and a designer, to bring characters to life.

Expertise: Costume design, mask-making and costume technology

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Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.