Dramatic Art Major, B.A.

The study of dramatic art focuses on dramatic texts of the classical and modern periods from across the globe and introduces the student to the variety of artistic endeavors necessary to realize the text in theatrical performance. Majors concentrate on the literature and history of the theatre while investigating the processes involved in acting, directing, design, costume, and technical production.

Courses focus on the connections between theatre and society, between theatrical performance and the visual arts, and between dramatic literature and philosophy, history, and other literary forms. The study of theatre embraces a range of subjects in the humanities and fine arts, including literature, language, aesthetics, culture, and performance.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the dramatic art program, students should be able to:

  • Analyze a play through identification and evaluation of its dramatic structure, character, language, genre, action, and themes
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and the ability to write cogently about creative, artistic process of theatre, its literature, and its history
  • Recognize and comprehend the impact of culture, society, and language on drama
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the basic skills of a particular area of dramatic practice (e.g., acting, direction, or design)
  • Employ problem-solving skills in various aspects of theatrical production


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
DRAM 120IDEAs in Action General Education logo Play Analysis 1, H, F3
Three courses in dramatic literature/theatre history/criticism:9
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Theatre Histories 2
And two courses chosen from:
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Theatre History and Literature I
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Theatre History and Literature II
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Theatre History and Literature III
Studies in Dramatic Theory and Criticism H
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Modern British Drama H
DRAM 286
IDEAs in Action General Education logo African American Theatre
DRAM 289
DRAM 291
IDEAs in Action General Education logo "Corner of the Sky": The American Musical
Arts Criticism
DRAM 297
DRAM 298
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Latin American Theatre
IDEAs in Action General Education logo United States Latino/a Theatre
DRAM 489
Performing African American History
African American Theatre: Exploring Legacy and Contemporary Voices
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Hindi-Urdu Poetry in Performance
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Story of Rama in India
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Story of Rama in Indian Culture–Experiential
IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Mahabharata: Remembered and Reimagined–Experiential
IDEAs in Action General Education logo Chinese Traditional Theater
Three foundational courses in acting, design, and directing:
DRAM 150IDEAs in Action General Education logo Beginning Acting for the Major3
DRAM 277IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Theatrical Design3
DRAM 300IDEAs in Action General Education logo Directing3
One course in technical production or costume production:
DRAM 191IDEAs in Action General Education logo Technical Methods: Scenery3
or DRAM 192 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Technical Methods: Costume
Production Practicum:
DRAM 193IDEAs in Action General Education logo Production Practicum (with PlayMakers Repertory Company; transfer credit not allowed.) 33
Total Hours27

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.


FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.


Students planning to major in dramatic art should complete DRAM 120 preferably during their first year as it is the pre-requisite for the rest of the major.


DRAM 220 is the pre-requisite for the rest of the dramatic literature/theatre/history/criticism courses.


This course fulfills the High Impact Gen Ed requirement in the IDEAs in Action curriculum and the experiential education Gen Ed requirement in the Making Connections curriculum.

The major provides a broad basis for understanding and appreciating theatre as a cultural entity and as an artistic process. The program also provides opportunities for students to learn and develop basic skills in the various areas of theatre practice. All General Education requirements apply.

Because the College of Arts and Sciences allows a total of 45 credit hours (15 three-hour courses) in a student’s major to count toward graduation, as many as six electives can be selected from the range of offerings in the department. Students may choose to concentrate on an area (or areas) of special interest within the major: acting, directing, voice, movement, technical production, design (scenic, costume, sound, and lighting), costume history, costume construction, dramatic literature and criticism, dramaturgy, stage management, theatre management, and playwriting.

Students majoring in dramatic art cannot pursue the minor in dramatic art.

Special Opportunities in Dramatic Art

Honors in Dramatic Art

In order to receive departmental honors, students must have a 3.3 overall grade point average, a 3.6 grade point average in dramatic art, and complete at least five of the eight core courses in the major by the end of the junior year. Students enroll in DRAM 691H (three hours credit) and DRAM 692H (three hours credit) during their senior year and complete a special project (essay or creative endeavor) approved by the department. A student may then be designated as a candidate for undergraduate honors or highest honors based on department review of the special project or performance.

Departmental Involvement

Two undergraduate students are elected each year from among the majors to serve as representatives to the faculty. They attend faculty meetings and host events that bring students and faculty together.

Performance/Production Opportunities

The Department of Dramatic Art’s Kenan Theatre Company (KTC), offers many opportunities for interested students — majors and nonmajors alike — to participate in performance and production. Each year the department supports four full productions in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre. Seasons may include classic plays, contemporary plays, musicals, and original works. The director of undergraduate production and a board of undergraduate students fill leadership roles within KTC and oversee the department season. Productions are directed by faculty or guest artists. Undergraduate students are involved in the technical components of production as designers, carpenters, painters, electricians, costumers, and sound engineers. The KTC board typically includes producers, a publicity team, prop supervisor, wardrobe supervisor, master electrician, and a technical director for the entire season. Designers are selected on a per-show basis and can include undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members.

PlayMakers Repertory Company

Named one of America's "best regional theaters" by American Theatre Magazine, PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina's premiere professional theater company, located in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art. With reduced rate student ticket prices available for all shows, and unique opportunities to observe, work alongside and learn from professional theater artists throughout the year, PlayMakers serves as a hands-on research laboratory and educational resource to both undergraduate and graduate students.  PlayMakers rehearsals are open to the entire UNC community, and company members strive to make themselves available for student mentoring. Undergraduate performers are invited to audition for supporting and understudy roles in PlayMakers productions twice a year. Undergraduates can also contribute backstage, running crew for PlayMakers' shows, serving as assistant directors, stage managers or technicians alongside industry experts, or working as interns in the theatre's administrative offices. PlayMakers makes available to every UNC student the experience of working for an award-winning professional theatre.

Study Abroad

With more than 300 programs available in 70 countries, there are many international experiences structured to enhance the student’s undergraduate career. Major and minor credit is available as well as General Education credit. Departmental approval for theatre courses is arranged with the director of undergraduate studies and is coordinated by the Study Abroad Office.

Specific study abroad opportunities for dramatic art students include, but are not limited to, semester or yearlong exchange programs at Trinity College Dublin, the National University of Ireland in Galway, the University of Glasgow, and Queens University Belfast. Students can also spend the summer or a semester with programs at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and the Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin.

Students are also eligible for the Elizabeth Malone Roughton Study Abroad Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to a dramatic art student studying in Ireland for a semester and completing a theatre-related internship as part of the program, and for three Joan H. Gillings Study Abroad Scholarships for drama majors and minors completing a theatre-related program for either semester or year-long study abroad.

Undergraduate Awards

Each spring the Department of Dramatic Art awards several monetary prizes to its undergraduate majors (and graduate students) who are continuing into the next academic year. The prizes have been endowed by generous alumni and friends, including Andy Griffith and George Grizzard. In addition, the Sam Selden Prize in Playwriting, the Wes Egan Award in Design, and the Lillian Chason Scholarship are awarded competitively each year.

Undergraduate Research

Faculty and departmental advisors are available to help students define areas of interest, understand the existing knowledge base in a particular area, and develop a plan for meaningful undergraduate research. These goals can be realized through departmental independent study and honors research. See the director of undergraduate studies and the honors advisor for more information. Additional resources are available through the Office for Undergraduate Research.

Department of Dramatic Art

Visit Program Website

Center for Dramatic Art, CB# 3230

(919) 962-1132


Kathy Williams


Director of Undergraduate Studies

David Navalinsky