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Artistic and Intellectual Excellence in Theatre

The BFA in Theatre is geared for those students focused on future careers as performers, technicians, designers.

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. 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.

The University of Southern Mississippi in an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

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6shows produced each academic year
3theatres for public performances
4showings of National Theatre Live

What Will I Learn?

In a production-oriented environment, students take courses in:

  • Directing
  • Acting
  • Design & Technology, including Lighting and Sound, Costuming, and Scenery
  • Theatre History
  • Professional Preparation

A selection of additional coursework tailored to individual student interest.


The theatre program offers scholarship consideration to students who complete their online registration, attend "Curtain Up Welcome Day", and complete a successful audition/interview. Service awardees must complete 15 hours of service for the program each semester by working the High School Drama Festival and other activities.

Special Scholarships 

The highly exclusive and competitive scholarships are awarded by the theatre faculty for talented and needy students. These awards range from $100-$8,000. 

USM Foundation

The USM Foundation administers a variety of scholarships for eligible students through a scholarship application system that has many useful online features and benefits. Students can easily search, review requirements, apply and accept awards for available scholarship opportunities. Interested students can apply for all scholarships administered by the USM Foundation using this online application. Students are required to complete the application only once each academic year. Students will be considered for one of these scholarships after successful completion of their freshman year. Apply for scholarships

The theatre program hosts a "Curtain Up Welcome Day," for prospective students to perform their audition and interview. 

The day begins after Black and Gold Day, hosted on November 9, and will include the following schedule of events:

  • Introduction to the program
  • Guided tours to prospective students and their families
  • Individual meetings with department faculty to learn more about programs of study
  • In groups, students will audition and/or interview.

For this aspect of the day:

  • Actors should prepare a 1-minute monologue entirely of their choosing, from any genre, style or period.
  • Actors may follow their monologue with 16 bars of a song of their choosing (a cappella only please), but singing is not required for audition.
  • Designers, directors, dramaturgs and stage managers should provide their portfolios for a portfolio review and interview with departmental faculty.

**All participants are encouraged to provide resumes and other supporting documents that best represent their work.

Register for Curtain Up   Black & Gold Day

Faculty Highlight: Craig Dettman

Professor Dettman served as the producer for the 42nd active year of the Southern Arena Theatre (SAT) in the summer of 2018. A lighting and sound design faculty member, Dettman also offered his creative skills to the SAT season.


  • Actor
  • Designer
  • Stage Manager
  • Carlos Nine, 2012
    Entertainment Tech lead/lighting designer at King's Dominion; graduate student at Texas State University.
  • Chris Marroy, 2010
    Freelance actor in Los Angeles; member of SAG/AFTRA.
  • Kaylyn Kriaski, 2015
    Stage manager at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre; company management intern at Hanger Theatre.

USM's exclusive partnership with the Lessac Research and Training Institute under Professor Robin Aronson's careful and innovative guidance has been life altering.                                                                                                                                            

Rachael Swartz'14

Now that I have some perspective, one of the greatest advantages of USM was the opportunity to audition for a lot of productions including showcases, mainstage, and Southern Arena Theatre; I performed in something every semester—that kind of experience is invaluable.

Langston Darby’09