Advanced Study (Capstone) Courses
Special Courses in TDPS encompass both one and two-semester opportunities and each requires planning and submission of an application at least one semester prior to the start of the proposed project. This document is updated annually and contains detailed information about each course as well as links to additional resources and applications.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Course Number Description
THEATER H195 Honors Projects - Two Semester Thesis or Essay and Production
THEATER 196/277 Practical Application - Single Semester Studio Production or Workshop
THEATER 197 Field Study - Off-campus, Supervised Internship
THEATER 99/199/299 Independent Study - Research, Mentorship
The H195A/B Honors Project is the centerpiece and culmination of an outstanding career in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. projects are approved based on a strong engaging proposal and in recognition of a student’s excellent work both within the department and the university. Projects can be accomplished as Written Thesis-Only or Written Honors Essay and Production. Honors Projects are restricted to Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Majors only. The 195 Written Honors Project may be undertaken in either a Spring/Fall or Fall/Spring cycle. Please note that acceptance of your Honors Project proposal does not guarantee the receipt of departmental honors upon graduation. In order to receive departmental honors, transfer students must accumulate a minimum of 60 units at UC Berkeley, and all students must meet the final departmental GPA and over‐all GPA requirements as determined by the College of Letters and Sciences, as well as successfully complete H195A/B.
195 Honors Project requires two semesters with each semester carrying four units of credit; credit cannot be awarded for one semester without the other. Specific disciplines (such as design, directing, choreography, etc.) carry with them certain expectations as to course work completed or to be completed. The actual course content and format of the H195 sequence depends upon the student and the Faculty Mentor(s). In the past, Honors Projects have encompassed directorial, choreography, design, performance, research, and playwriting projects.
All H195A/B projects will begin with a semester of focused research on a subject of critical interest in the field of theater, dance, or performance studies. Often this will take the form of a passionate question that you wish to pursue in writing and in performance or execution of some kind. This research may take many forms and you are encouraged to discuss the options with your Faculty Mentor. A successful proposal should 1) give a detailed explanation of the nature and scope of the proposed research; 2) articulate the intended goals of the project; and 3) discuss how the research project relates to the subsequent performance/production/written project.
Faculty Mentors for H195
All proposals for Honors Projects must be accompanied by a signed Faculty Mentors agreement form and signed application. Students are encouraged to start discussing projects (both the possibilities and the limitations of what you envision) with potential Faculty Mentors as early as possible. Students are required to submit and discuss a rough draft of their proposal with a Faculty Mentor before the deadline for proposals. Faculty Mentors will not sign proposals that have not been reviewed with them before the deadline. Faculty Mentors will then be responsible for answering questions from the H195 Committee and, if the project is approved, for monitoring the student's progress on a regular basis throughout the course.
In the case of the Honors Essay and Production Option in which the student works with two Faculty Mentors: one for the research work to be undertaken during the first semester and a second for the performance/production work to be undertaken during the second semester, the student must confer with both faculty mentors and obtain both their signatures on the proposal form and mentorship form. (In specific instances the Honors Essay and Production project may involve the performance/production portion taking place in the first semester, and the essay component taking place in the second semester.)
Option A: Written Thesis-Only
The first semester: In this option, the student's Honors Project will consist solely of a written thesis. The first semester of the course will be an intensive critical study of some aspect of theater, dance, or performance studies. The semester culminates in drafting a detailed thesis proposal – a ten page precis of the thesis, followed by an annotated bibliography of studies consulted. This thesis proposal is due on the first day of the last week of class of the semester. The Faculty Mentors must approve the work completed, and approve the student to complete the thesis in the second semester. Note: Students who do not complete the first
semester, or whose work is not of passing quality, will not be allowed to proceed with the second semester of the course. Mentors will notify students before the next semester begins if work has not been satisfactory.
The second semester: In the second semester of this plan, the student will write the thesis developed in the first (research) semester. Midway through the second semester, the student will submit a draft of 40‐60 pages to their committee. The committee consists of the Faculty Mentor(s)and an additional Senate Faculty member selected by the student. The committee reads and comments on the draft leaving the student time to submit a final draft on the first day of the last week of class of the semester. This final draft will be the document on which the student receives a final grade for the thesis.
Preparing a Proposal for an Honors Thesis‐Only Project:
Your proposal should include a clear statement of the critical, theoretical, or historical problem you will be addressing through research and critical writing over the course of two semesters. Often this is focused more by a passionate question to which you seek an answer or want to explore in depth. The project might involve an engagement with live performance, or be confined to another area of performance studies: a critical reading of dramatic texts, a study of ideological issues in the work of a playwright, theater company, or genre of performance; an interrogation of an important performance tradition. The proposal should contain a brief description of the problem, and give some idea of the scope of the thesis, what issues, sections, or topics might be covered. It should also contain a brief annotated bibliography of primary and secondary texts that will be useful in writing and research.
Option B: Written Honors Essay and Production
You may wish to have two mentors, one for the research semester, and one for the production semester. This is optional. If you choose to have two mentors they must fill out the required paperwork consenting to this plan.
The first semester of the course will be an intensive critical study of some aspect of theater, dance, or performance studies. This semester culminates in the writing of a 25‐40 page critical, historical, and/or theoretical essay on your subject. This essay should consider a significant problem, and will be evaluated as a freestanding critical project – that is, the Honors Essay will be evaluated for its accomplishment as a critical text in its own terms, not only as a prolegomenon for the second‐semester production project. This essay is due on the first day of the last week of class of the semester. Note: Students who do not complete the first semester, or whose work is not of passing quality, will not be allowed to proceed with the second semester of the course.
The second semester focuses on a performance/production project that engages with the honors essay, climaxing in the actual directing of a play, choreographing of a dance piece, designing of a production, writing of a play, etc. (The scope of the Honors Project is not necessarily limited to these areas. Students are encouraged to explore other possibilities with their Faculty Mentors.)
In addition to the general requirements for an Honors Project, individual types of projects, such as directing, choreographing, etc., carry with them certain specific expectations. You may wish to consider/address the following recommendations and expectations when drafting your proposal:
Students are not required to propose from within the following five project types, but are encouraged to consider the following comments as guidelines toward a successful project proposal. The production component may be proposed at the Workshop or Studio Production level. Please see the “Production Rubrics” page for detailed information about the differences between these two opportunities.
Eligibility: completion of THR 146 A or B Choreography, and THR 60 Intro to Technical Theater
Proposal: Must include written evidence (146A or 146B or faculty recommendation) of student's ability to choreograph and to assume the responsibilities of the particular project, number of dancers involved, technical needs, musical needs, approximate length of piece. Proposal should include discussion of how this performance will benefit from, grow out of, and complement a substantial research project to be completed during the first semester.
The Production: should be at least 45‐60 minutes in length. Requires Post‐Production Choreographer's Notebook and self‐evaluation. Contents of this notebook will be determined with your Mentor(s).
Eligibility: completion of appropriate design course work either in Scenic, Costume, and/or Lighting from THR 173, 174, 175, 177 or 178 and THR 60 Intro to Technical Theater
Proposal: Written evidence of design abilities (either from 173, 174, and/or 175 or faculty recommendation). Must discuss feasibility of project being designed. Proposal should include discussion of how this performance will benefit from, grow out of, and complement a substantial research project to be completed during the first semester.
Production: Requires Post‐Production Presentation Book, including preparatory design research, roughs, model(s), complete drafting, prop list, complete, annotated set of renderings as appropriate, and a self‐evaluation. Contents of this book will be determined with your Mentor(s).
Eligibility: completion of THR 162 Or 163 Directing and THR 60 Introduction to Technical Theater
Recommended: Previous experience directing and/or serving as assistant to the director for a main stage production.
Proposal: Must include evidence (THR 162/3 or faculty recommendation) of student's ability to direct and to assume the responsibilities of a particular project. Discuss feasibility of project given available actor pool, technical resources, and director's previous experience. Proposal should include discussion of how this performance will benefit from, grow out of, and complement a substantial research project to be completed during the first semester.
Production: Requires Post‐Production Director's Notebook and self‐evaluation. Contents of this book will be determined with your Mentors.
Eligibility: completion of THR 111 Advanced Acting or 142/3 Advanced Modern Dance Technique and THR 60 Introduction to Technical Theater
Proposal: Must demonstrate evidence of performance abilities (either through faculty or director recommendations). Proposal should include discussion of how this performance will benefit from, grow out of, and complement a substantial research project to be completed during the first semester. The nature of research topics appropriate to this type of project should be discussed with potential Faculty Mentors. Production: Requires Post‐Production self‐evaluation and essay on the actor's choices in light of his/her critical interpretation of the play.
Eligibility: completion of THR 139 Playwriting and THR 60 Introduction to Technical Theater
Proposal: Evidence of playwriting abilities (either from THR 139, writing sample or faculty recommendation). Proposal should include discussion of how this play will benefit from, grow out of, and complement a substantial research project to be completed during the first semester.
Production: First semester research may focus either on theoretical research into the act of playwriting or, more likely, upon an area of research (such as an historical period, a particular cultural community, a specific event, etc). The student must, during the second semester, complete an original play (normally forty to sixty pages in length) by submitting drafts to the Faculty Mentor(s). The student must schedule an informal public reading attended by the Faculty Mentor(s), to be followed by a public discussion, a private discussion/evaluation with the Mentor(s), and, finally, a revised draft of the play along with self‐evaluation. In rare cases, and with the approval of the Department Chair and the Production Manager, students may be approved to schedule a staged reading of the play.
The 196/277 Project is a practical project for the advanced directing or choreography student within the scope of a single semester culminating in a Workshop or a Studio Production. The 196/277 Project is not restricted to Theater and Performance Studies or Dance and Performance Studies Majors or Performance Studies graduate students. Although undergraduate projects are given priority, graduate students may also apply for consideration. This letter-graded course is taken for 3 or 4 units and is possible in either the fall or spring semester.
Faculty Mentors for 196/277
Students are encouraged to start discussing projects (both the possibilities and the limitations of what you envision) with potential Faculty Mentors as early as possible, normally in September or October. Students are required to submit and discuss a rough draft of their proposal with a Faculty Mentor at least two weeks before the deadline for proposals. Faculty Mentors will not sign proposals that have not been reviewed with them before the deadline. Faculty Mentors will then be responsible for presenting the proposal and answering questions from the H195/196 Committee and, if the project is approved, for monitoring the student’s progress on a regular basis throughout the course.
Refer to the TDPS website for THR 196/277 application deadlines.
197 Field Study is an off-campus, supervised internship experience in theatrical production fields such as design and construction, stage management, publicity, and/or arts management, intended to prepare students for careers in the theater and dance professional worlds.
The intention of Theater 197 is to acquire experience and learning in the theater profession that is unavailable here at UCB in the same way. It is important that the internship not just be free labor, but rather, a fulfilling professional and educational experience. Since the Department gives credit for this experience, it is essential that both the On-Site Instructor and the UCB Faculty Mentor understand the nature of the internship and take responsibility for its educational purpose. The more specific all three of you can be about the scope and the nature of the internship in advance, the more likely the internship will be successful. Lack of preparation often creates misunderstandings later, so the more attention each brings to this process in advance, the stronger the internship. We hope a secondary advantage of the internship will be the professional colleagues created. Coordinating this three-way partnership requires preparation and planning..
DeCal/student facilitated classes are an important adjunct curriculum component to the departmental educational structure. Since the 1960’s, students have shared their teaching skills and expertise in hundreds of courses offered each semester at UCB. These classes appear in the departmental course listing. It is up to the applicant and his/her faculty mentor to turn in a complete application.
The sponsoring faculty member is the instructor of record. The paperwork to apply for this course and opportunity is substantial, and planning on the part of both student coordinator(s) and the faculty mentor is necessary. Begin preparation on your DeCal/Student Facilitated Course proposal well before the designated deadline. Student coordinator(s) and faculty mentors should carefully read over the information on the DeCal website: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~decal/
Refer to the TDPS website for DeCal/Student Facilitated/THR 198 course application deadlines and forms.
Independent Study is the opportunity for student(s) to set up a research/learning environment and develop a mentor relationship with one faculty member to accomplish a learning objective.
This is a course based on the mentor relationship between student and faculty member. Start early in your academic career coordinating this learning opportunity.
Refer to the TDPS website for THR 99/199/299 application deadlines and forms.