Section Menu

Department of Theatre & Dance

Theatre Honors in the Major

Bravo to you, honorable theatre major.


These requirements have been developed in order to standardize the thesis writing process and to make department policies transparent and easy to follow. The theatre and dance faculty have developed the requirements to guide you in the production of advanced historical, dramaturgical, or literary research, or in the preparation and presentation of a performance, dance, or design of significant depth, scope and technique. Either the act of writing a thesis or preparing a performance serves as preparation for graduate school and/or your career as an artist. The department emphasizes that any project undertaken as honors in the major may not also serve as the student’s capstone for the emphasis, although the department may consider a significant extension of the capstone project.


In order to earn honors in the major in Theatre and Dance, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 within the major, a cumulative GPA in their undergraduate studies of 3.3, and complete a two (2) semester research project that culminates in the production of a thesis, performance, or design. This project may be inspired by coursework, prior independent studies, or a capstone project, but must stand on its own as an independent endeavor.

Projects appropriate for honors in the major include:

  • a researched thesis in any area of history, design, dramaturgy, or dramatic literature, between 60 and 80 pages
  • a solo performance
  • a full-length play script
  • an improvised production
  • a piece of choreography
The department will consider proposals beyond these categories on a case-by-case basis.

The Committee and the Three-Semester Process

Spring of the Junior Year

The Department expects a student pursuing Honors in the major to select a faculty sponsor from the Department of Theatre and Dance in the spring of the student’s junior year. In conversation with that sponsor, the student should prepare a 2-3 page prospectus defining: the genre of the project, the scope, the anticipated contribution to the field of theatre/dance, and the place of the project in the student’s own studies and future career. This prospectus should be submitted to the sponsor by March 1, who will then present the project to the department. The department will consider all prospectuses and notify students who have permission to proceed. In the spring of the junior year, the student should also secure a committee of two additional Rollins faculty members, one of whom may be drawn from a discipline in another department.

Fall of the Senior Year

The first semester of work should be spent defining the scope of the project, reviewing literature, and developing your research methodology or creative aesthetic. This process will take place under the direction of your faculty sponsor, but your committee will review your progress at the end of the semester. Be sure to establish a clearly understood set of expectations with all members of your committee.

For Honors in the fields of theatre history, design, dramaturgy, and dramatic literature:

Students developing a research thesis must submit to their sponsor a 10-15 page research plan and an annotated bibliography (of approximately 20 sources). A typical plan would likely include:

  • a description of your argument or historical question and its importance to the discipline of theatre or dance
  • a review of the critical literature on your topic and your intervention in this conversation
  • a description of your critical methodology (including historiographical approaches, definitions of major terms, and the scope of the project)
  • a breakdown of chapters

Students who fail to submit these materials to their sponsor will not continue with the project in the second semester. During the first semester, we also encourage students to make written progress toward their chapters, including outlines and drafts. Additional assignments should be discussed with the faculty sponsor.

For Honors in the fields of performance, dance, or design:

Before the first day of finals in the fall semester, students working toward a creative project must submit:

  • an annotated list of at least 20 plays, librettos, theories, historical artifacts (photographs, video,
    recordings, casebooks, etc) or choreographers that are similar to or related to your project
  • 1/3 of the actual project in draft form and a 10-15 page researched reflection on the student’s creative process

Students who fail to submit these materials to their sponsor will not continue with the project in the second semester. Additional assignments and changes in direction based on the project’s evolution should be discussed with the faculty sponsor.

Spring of the Senior Year

By the end of the second semester, students working a research thesis should produce a polished document that demonstrates excellent composition, grammar, and organization. Students completing a creative project should prepare to perform or present the work in a public venue.

Project Submission and the Oral Defense

Research projects should be submitted to all members of the committee no later than two weeks before the scheduled oral defense. The oral defense must take place prior to the last day of classes. Performances or displays of creative work should be scheduled for a time when all committee members can be present. The oral defense of creative work should follow no longer than two weeks after the performance/display, except in circumstances in which the committee agrees to a longer period of time between the presentation and the defense.

Defense meetings will typically last one hour and wil include a brief presentation by the candidate, a question and answer period, private discussion among the committee during which the candidate will be asked ot leave the room, and a final discussion on the committee's decision once the candidate returns. The award of "Honors in the Major Field" requires satisfactory completion of the oral examination.

In addition to copies for the committee, students should submit a bound copy of the thesis to the Department of Theatre and Dance for our archive.