The B.A. degree in Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) requires the critical and historical study of theater as well as the study and experience of performance. A total of 60 units are needed to obtain a B.A. degree in TAPS. The major provides aesthetic and critical opportunities for students to develop vital intellectual and creative skills. Students are encouraged to declare a major in their sophomore year.
To schedule an appointment with our student services officer, Justin Higinbotham, please email TAPSstudentservices@stanford.edu.
The Department of Theater & Performance Studies does not admit students directly to its program; all undergraduate applications are handled centrally by Stanford University. Students interested in applying for undergraduate admission should visit the Undergraduate Admissions webpage at www.admissions.stanford.edu for more information.
However, the undergraduate application does include an optional Arts Supplement submission. Students with extraordinary talent in the fine or performing arts—art practice, dance, music and theater—may submit an Arts Supplement. The Arts Supplement is a way for students intending to participate in the Stanford arts community to highlight their talents for the admission process. These materials are entirely optional and will be reviewed at the discretion of the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the fine arts faculty.
Students who submit an Arts Supplement are not required to major in the arts at Stanford. Similarly, students who do not submit an Arts Supplement may still study or participate in the arts at Stanford.
Students interested in submitting a Theater Arts Supplement may choose to audition live with the department, and should contact us at 650-723-2576 to schedule an audition. We will hold Theater auditions on October 18th for Early Restrictive Action applicants, and November 8th for Regular Decision applicants. On each date, students will sign up for an audition slot at either 12:00pm or 1:30pm. Students who audition live do not need to submit any materials electronically through Slideroom, but should simply contact the department to reserve a spot during the live auditions.
While TAPS does offer live auditions as part of the Arts Supplement process, we realize that visiting campus on the selected dates is not always possible for students. If students cannot audition on campus, an online video submission may substitute for a live audition. All online submissions must be made via stanford.slideroom.com.
Arts Instructor Letter of Recommendation
Students submitting a supplement in Theater and Performance Studies must include a letter of reference from an Arts Instructor. This letter should come from an instructor who is familiar with your efforts in theater. For students completing a live audition, please bring this letter with you to your live audition and hand it in at that time. For students submitting their Arts Supplement via the Stanford Slideroom website, this letter must be uploaded to the Slideroom website by the instructor.
For more information, please email our student services officer at TAPSstudentservices@stanford.edu.
All students should bring a resume of their theater experience, and
- Designers should bring examples of their work in a portfolio and be prepared to discuss them.
- Students interested in directing should be prepared to discuss their approach to a particular play and ideas for production.
- Actors should prepare two selections, each under two minutes long. Note:
- One should be from a contemporary play with a character close in age to you;
- The other should be classical, such as a Shakespearean monologue or excerpt from a Greek or Roman work.
- In addition, students may prepare a song, although there will be no accompanist provided.
Please note that the Arts Supplement is one small piece in the overall application process. A submission can never hurt your chances of acceptance to the university, though it also does not guarantee admission.
60 units total for the major
A course may be listed in more than one area; however, each course can only satisfy one major requirement. There is no double credit for a course. Additionally, students may petition the department Undergraduate Advisor to have additional courses offered by the department count towards requirements in areas 2, 3, and 4. TAPS 1 MUST be taken for a LETTER grade.
1. Core—4 units
TAPS 1. Introduction to Theater & Performance Studies (required)
2. Theater and Dance Studies—16 units
(a) An Identity and Diversity course such as TAPS 110, 153W, 160N or 172 (4 units, required)
(b) Any courses between TAPS 150-169, DANCE 160-161
3. Performance Practice—14 units
(a)TAPS 30. Introduction to Designing Theater (4 units, students must take TAPS 30 or 101P)
(b)TAPS 101P. Introduction to Devising Theater (4 units, students must take TAPS 30 or 101P)
c)Dance courses between DANCE 30-149
d)Acting courses between TAPS 20-29, 103-105, 120-129, 203, 201V, 210
e)Design courses between TAPS 30-31, 34, 39D, 42, 131-133, 137, 140, 231-240
f)Directing and Playwriting courses between TAPS 70-79, 170-179
4. Production—8 units
TAPS 34. Stage Management Techniques (3 units)
TAPS 134. Stage Management Project (3 units)
TAPS 39. Theater Crew (2 units)
5. Electives (approved by Undergraduate advisor)—14 units
Any course in TAPS or Dance.
6. Senior Project—4 units
TAPS 200. Senior Project
All TAPS Majors must complete a Senior Project that represents significant work in any area of theater and/or performance. The project must be an original contribution and can consist of any of the following: devising a performance, choreographing a dance, stage managing a production, designing a large theater work, performing a major role, writing a play, directing a show, or researching and writing a senior essay. Work for this project normally begins in Spring Quarter of the junior year and must be completed by the end of the senior year. Students receive credit for senior projects through TAPS 200. A minimum of 4 units is required, but additional units are available for larger projects. Students pursuing senior projects must submit a two-page proposal to a faculty advisor of their choice, which must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor and the department faculty no later than the end of Spring Quarter of the junior year.
For more specific information on the B.A. degree, visit the TAPS section of the current Stanford Bulletin.
For a select number of students, the department confers the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Departmental Honors in Theater & Performance Studies. To be considered for departmental honors, students must meet the following requirements in addition to the other requirements of the TAPS major:
1. Application involves a written submission (including transcript) establishing the student's work to date in the department and outlining the area of research that the student wishes to pursue. Students must have at least an overall university GPA of 3.3 and a 3.5 GPA in courses counting towards the major.
2. Students must have completed half of the courses in their specialization by the end of their junior year.
3. Students complete 4 units in the honors colloquia (TAPS 202), beginning Spring Quarter of their junior year and continuing the following three regular quarters. Each quarter's colloquium is offered for 1 unit, S/NC. In extenuating circumstances (overseas study, for example), an honors program student may substitute other equivalent work for one quarter of the colloquium, with the approval of the honors adviser.
4. By the end of the sixth week of the quarter in which they plan to graduate, students in the honors program must submit an honors thesis (described below), to be read and evaluated by their thesis committee.
6. On the basis of a student's work in the TAPS core, in the area of specialization, on the senior project, in the honors colloquia, and on the honors thesis, three faculty readers determine and confer honors on graduating students who have successfully completed the honors program.
7. Entry into the Honors program does not guarantee an Honors degree. The final decision to confer an Honors degree will be made by the student's thesis committee, upon evaluating the quality of the Senior Project and the thesis.
Honors Colloquia and Thesis— The honors colloquia aim to engage honors program students in important issues in the field focusing on the students' areas of specialization and research. The honors program adviser convenes the colloquia three times per quarter and sets the agenda for meetings and discussion. Students discuss their work in the department and present and discuss their research for their honors thesis.
The honors thesis typically consists of a long essay (40-60 pages) presenting the student's research on an important issue or subject, determined by the student. The honors program adviser, the senior project adviser, and another faculty member constitute the student's honors thesis committee. They read and evaluate the thesis, and make recommendations to the faculty at large regarding its strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, students have the option of using their own senior project as a case study. In these situations, the honors thesis will critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the creative work. Generally, these essays tend to be shorter (about 20-25 pages) because the creative work constitutes one-half of the honors project.