BA Emphasis in Performance (Acting and Musical Theatre)

BA Emphasis in Performance (Acting and Musical Theatre)

Our BA Emphasis in Performance degree prepares students for excellence in every aspect of theatre with a myriad of performance opportunities! Our program is structured to involve students in all aspects of theatre, while giving the flexibility to students to choose their own path of discovery. Within this degree you can train in acting, musical theatre, or your own combination of both.

This emphasis allows for flexibility and a broad scope to your education. It meant for the intellectually curious and for the actor who feels that they are more than their resume and headshot. This is why BA Performance majors are required to have an International Experience. This can be study abroad or experience abroad, and may not be satisfied with a domestic class. The international requirement is one of the many factors that lead to the opening up of creative minds.

Theatre is an immensely rewarding major. Through the art of theatre, we experience works of some of the greatest writers, thinkers, and artists our civilization has ever known. Employers actively seek the skills offered by theatre degree: creative thinking and problem-solving, collaboration, a goal-oriented approach to projects, superior communication skills, an ability to handle deadline pressures, effective time-management, and independent thinking and initiative.

Review the Undergraduate Degree Learning Outcomes

How to Apply

Cal State Application Deadline is November 30

Acceptd Application Deadline is December 31

Prospective students wishing to major in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Performance must audition. Students who wish to apply to SDSU with a general Theatre Arts emphasis are not required to audition.

For prospective performance majors, the application is a two-step process:

  1. First you need to apply to SDSU using the Cal State Apply application during the SDSU filing period between October 1- November 30. At the time of the application, select your Pre-Major as “Theatre – Performance (662595).” Visit the Office of Admissions website for information about applying to the school. There is a non-refundable filing fee of $70 that must be paid at the time of your SDSU application.
  2. Next you need to upload your audition through the Acceptd audition website platform between October 1- December 31. There you will asked to upload a headshot, a resume and one of two video audition packages, based on whether your focus of training will be acting or musical theatre. Visit the Acceptd audition website.

Each piece should be filmed/uploaded as a separate piece of media. No continuous videos. Students are encouraged to use standard technology/recording devices that are available to them (i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc).

There should not be a separate introduction or “slate” video. Instead, “slates” are to appear at the beginning of each piece and included as part of the time allotment.

  • The proper slate for a song is to share your name, the song title, and show in which it appears.
  • The proper slate for a monologue is to share your name, the title of the play, and the playwright.

Audition Option #1 - ACTING

Students should prepare 2-contrasting monologues

  • One monologue should be contemporary realism and the other a classical or heightened language piece. Introduce both monologues at the beginning of your audition. Total audition time: 3 minutes.

Audition Option #2 - MUSICAL THEATRE

Students should prepare two contrasting pieces. 

  • Style: one song should be a ballad (where the piece has longer, sustained vocal lines) and one song should be an uptempo (where the vocal line moves at a conversational pace) so as to contrast style.
  • Length: Each song file should be 60-90 seconds (This time limit includes the slate at the beginning of the piece and is strictly adhered to; please do not upload media files longer than 90 seconds).
  • Accompaniment: Students must sing to musical accompaniment, which could include live or pre-recorded accompaniment. No “a cappella” singing (meaning singing without music).
  • One song should be written before 1970. This song can be either the “uptempo” or the “ballad” (student’s choice).
  • One song should be written after 1970 and contrast the style of the first.
  • One of the two songs (student’s choice) should be filmed in a full frame shot to see your full range of expression, and the other one in a close-up shot (top of the head to the chest should be visible in the frame).

Students should prepare 1 monologue

  • 1 contemporary monologue (written after 1950), 60-90 seconds in length
  • The contemporary monologue should be filmed in a “close-up” shot which means the top of the head to the chest should be visible in the frame.
  • Monologues must be from a published play.
  • Monologues cannot be from musicals.
  • Each monologue file should be 60-90 seconds in length (this time limit includes the slate at the beginning of the piece and is strictly adhered to; please do not upload media files longer than 90 seconds)

There is a non-refundable application fee of $35 that must be paid at the time of your Acceptd audition upload.

If the $35 application fee is burdensome, there is a limited amount of scholarship assistance to help defray this cost. Please contact Peter Cirino for more information at

If you are denied admission based on your performance audition, you cannot apply to SDSU again until the following academic year.

For questions about the audition process, please contact our professors:

ACTING: Prof. Peter Cirino -
MUSICAL THEATRE: Prof. Robert Meffe -

For more information contact the Academic Advisor:

Chad Reyes
DA 204B


The Theatre Arts major is an impacted program. Students are admitted as Performance pre-majors, and must complete the following requirements before advancing into the major:

Students must satisfy the following requirements before advancing from pre-major into the major:

  • Performance majors are required to participate in General Auditions each semester, attend callbacks, and perform as cast in Department productions
  • THEA 111, 120, 130, 231, and 240 must be completed with a grade of C or higher
  • THEA 111, 130, and 332 must be completed with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Check for prerequisites: You must have completed the prerequisites for

the course for which you are registering

PREPARATION for the Major

- TFM 160 - Cinema as Art, 3 units
- THEA 111 - Voice and Movement, 3 units
- THEA 120 - Heritage of Storytelling, 3 units
- THEA 130 - Acting I, 3 units
- THEA 205 - American Musical on Stage & Screen , 3 units
- THEA 231 - Acting II, 3 units
- THEA 240 - Design and Technology for Theatre, 3 units

MAJOR Upper Division Requirements

- THEA 325 - Script Analysis , 3 units
- THEA 332 - Acting III, 3 units
- THEA 355 - Movement for the Theatre , 2 units
- THEA 446 C - Practicum in Performance (Cast Member main season production), 2 units
- THEA 460 A - History of Theatre, 3 units
- THEA 446A - Practicum in Performance (Running Crew-Sets, Lights), 2 units
- THEA 446B - Practicum in Performance (Running Crew-Costumes), 2 units
- THEA 460 B - History of Theatre, 3 units

AND twelve units (12) to be selected from:

- THEA 320A - Advanced Voice & Text for Actors, 3 units
- THEA 350 - Musical Theatre Performance I , 3 units
- THEA 351 - Musical Theatre Performance II , 3 units
- THEA 359 - Directing I, 3 units
- THEA 431 - Workshop in Improvisational Acting, 3 units
- THEA 434 - Audition & Business Skills for the Actor, 3 units
- THEA 435 - Acting on Camera , 3 units
- THEA 450 - Musical Theatre Performance III , 3 units
- THEA 451 - Musical Theatre Performance IV , 3 units
- THEA 532 - Advanced Topics in Stage and Screen, 3 units
- THEA 533A - Theories & Styles in Acting and Directing, 3 units

AND the International Experience Requirement. This is a study abroad or experience abroad, may not be satisfied with a domestic class.
NOTE - THEA 465 may be used to satisfy this requirement in the 2020-2021 academic year, in response to pandemic restrictions

To be selected from:

___ an SDSU faculty-led trip from the College of Extended Studies
___ CSU/SDSU Study Abroad Program
___ ISEP Exchange Program
___ SDSU Semester Abroad Program
___ SDSU Study Travel Program
___ Theatre Independent Study Abroad, offered by an accredited institution (i.e., BADA, LAMDA, RADA)

Visit the Study Abroad page to learn more.

For additional curriculum details, please consult the following:
Undergraduate Catalog

For more information, contact the Academic Advisor:

Chad Reyes
DA 204B