Special Considerations for Theatre Arts Major

The more you explore the world outside of your immediate, native experience, the more you can be in conversation with the world as an artist. While abroad, Theatre Arts majors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the culture of their host cities. Become familiar with the art, literature, and history of the area. Go to the museums and Theatres. Attend local plays, music performances, and poetry readings. Meet new people. Interrogate how your own cultural practices and worldviews inform your experiences abroad.  

Theatre Arts majors are also encouraged to fulfill academic requirements while abroad. Whether you are an actor, director, designer, stage manager, or playwright, there are plenty opportunities for you to earn credit abroad. For more information about how to coordinate study abroad with your academic requirements, see the Fulfilling Academic Requirements section of this site. 

Double majors should be sure to check out the Major Advising Page (MAP) corresponding with their second major, as there are likely study abroad options relevant to both majors. The complete list of available MAPs is here.

Various scholarships are available for U of I students wishing to study abroad, including the Presidential Scholarship for Study Abroad. More information about these scholarships is available here. Additionally, design students may apply for the Erik Ulfers/Margaret Hall Study Abroad Scholarship, offered through the Theatre Arts Department. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with a faculty advisor and/or a Study Abroad Advisor about financing their study abroad experience.

Contact Loyce Arthur, Director of Undergraduate Studies, for more information about studying abroad as a Theatre Arts major. Also be sure to check out the Theatre Arts Department’s study abroad webpage.

In general, Theatre Arts majors are encouraged to study abroad during their junior and/or senior year. Summer and winter programs are highly recommended, especially for double majors who do not have time for study abroad during the school year. Theatre Arts majors can enroll in summer and winter abroad programs at any point during their time at the U of I.

The courses you take abroad will be dependent on when you study abroad. For instance, if you study abroad during your first or second year, you’ll probably want to focus on fulfilling general education requirements. Student who study abroad later will have more opportunities to take courses related to their major while abroad. More information about fulfilling academic requirements abroad as a Theatre Arts major is available here.

Freshmen

Freshman year is best spent fulfilling general education requirements and figuring out whether the Theatre Arts major is right for you (Theatre Arts students usually declare their major at the beginning of their sophomore year). The summer after your freshmen year is a great time to study abroad, though, especially if you are interested in fulfilling your world languages requirement abroad.

Sophomores

Sophomore year is best spent fulfilling your introductory Theatre Arts requirements and choosing an emphasis area, if you want one. Again, the summer after sophomore year is a great time to study abroad.

Juniors & Seniors

Junior and senior year are excellent times to study abroad. Just be sure that you’re on track to graduate in time when you return!

Summer, Winter, & Spring Break

If you can’t seem to find time for study abroad during the academic year, consider a summer program like the London Performance Study and/or a winter program like the Brazil Carnival Program. You might also consider taking International Programs’ International Perspectives: Xiotepec course, through which you can spend spring break in Mexico presenting a theatre project.

Before you enroll in courses abroad, be sure to consult with a faculty advisor in the Theatre Arts Department and/or a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss which of your academic requirements can be taken abroad for credit. You’ll also need to complete a Study Abroad Credit Approval Form (available in the Study Abroad Office) and return it to your Study Abroad Advisor prior to your departure.

Theatre Arts Major Courses

Theatre Arts students are given the opportunity to choose an emphasis area for their major: acting, directing, design, dramaturgy, etc. Whatever your area of study, there are plenty of opportunities for you to fulfill your major requirements while abroad. Just be sure to consult with a faculty advisor before your departure to discuss which overseas courses will transfer for UI credit. (Often, you’ll need to get the approval of the instructor who teaches the UI equivalent of the course you want to enroll in overseas.)

Certain Theatre Arts major requirements cannot be fulfilled while abroad:

With the exception of Acting I and one semester hour of Production Lab, all acting and production courses need to be taken at the U of I. Students who take the equivalent of Acting I overseas will need to audition before enrolling in Acting II at the U of I.

One History of Theatre & Drama course (THTR 2410 or 2411) can be substituted for an equivalent abroad. Overseas courses substituted for a History of Theatre & Drama course will be reviewed for equivalency upon your return. (Bring your syllabus and transcript from the overseas course to the instructor of the UI equivalent course for approval.) One History of Theatre & Drama course must be taken at the U of I.

Your senior seminar must be taken at the U of I.

For more information about fulfilling Theatre Arts major requirements abroad, contact a faculty advisor and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Theatre Arts Department.

Honors Courses

You may be able to receive Theatre Arts Honors credit for courses taken abroad. For more information, consult with the Theatre Arts Honors Advisor, Meredith Alexander. Once you know which overseas course you want to substitute for a Theatre Arts Honors course, you’ll need to get the approval of the Theatre Arts Honors Advisor and the UI course’s instructor.

Also keep in mind that if you are pursuing University Honors, it’s possible to earn an Honors Commendation for 12 hours of Honors coursework taken abroad.

Entrepreneurship Certificate

Candidates for the Performing Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate are encouraged to take business courses while abroad. (Check out the Business Major Advising Page for ideas.) Up to two Performing Arts Entrepreneurship course requirements can be fulfilled overseas. For more information, consult with David McGraw in the Theatre Arts Department.

Theatre Arts Minor Courses

Theatre Arts minors may be able to receive minor credit abroad. Just be sure to get the approval of the instructor who teaches the UI equivalent of the course you want to enroll in overseas. Consult the Theatre Arts Department’s webpage for a list of courses that count toward the minor.

General Education Courses

Theatre Arts majors are encouraged to fulfill general education requirements abroad, especially those who are in their first or second year at the U of I. The world languages requirement, in particular, lends itself to study abroad. Information about pre-approved overseas language programs is available here.

Many general education courses can be taken abroad, just be sure to consult with Academic Advising and/or a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss which courses will transfer upon your return. Contact the Study Abroad Office for a list of general education requirements pre-approved for study abroad.

While London and Ireland are popular destinations for Theatre Arts majors who study abroad, opportunities for study abroad are not geographically or linguistically limited! Remember, the more you explore the world outside of your immediate, native experience, the more you can be in conversation with the world as an artist. Theatre Arts majors are encouraged to consider countries outside of the United Kingdom (as well as non-English speaking countries) for study abroad.

Remember that certain Theatre Arts major courses cannot be taken abroad. Consult with your faculty advisor to be sure that the courses you are planning to take overseas will transfer upon your return.

Study abroad can be costly, but if you plan in advance, you may be able to find funding for your trip. Be aware of how much your study abroad program costs, because it might be the same as your UI tuition. For more information about study abroad scholarships, contact International Programs.  For information about Theatre Arts tuition scholarships, check the Scholarships section of the Theatre Arts webpage.

Theatre Arts majors should participate in study abroad programs that offer courses relevant to their major and/or general education requirements. Students are especially encouraged to fulfill their world languages requirements abroad, and should check out this list of pre-approved overseas language programs.

Summer and winter programs are highly recommended, especially for double majors and other students who don’t have time for study abroad during the school year. Students participating in summer programs are encouraged to enroll in multiple programs during the same summer, especially if the programs are in geographically similar locations and their dates align (e.g. the London Performance Study and the Irish Writing Program).

Another short-term option is to enroll in the International Perspectives: Xicotepec course on campus at the U of I, which can be supplemented by participation in a one-week faculty-led travel opportunity in Mexico. Students enroll for a 10-week class during spring semester, then have the option to spend spring break presenting theatre projects in Mexico. Credit is earned for the on-campus course only. Hint: If you take Elements of Design and/or Costume Design II during the same semester, you can substitute certain Design assignments with a special project related to your International Perspectives presentation.

While we suggest you look at these recommended programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of our website, explore another online directory of study abroad programs, and/or consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.

Double majors, check out the Major Advising Page corresponding with your second major for additional study abroad opportunities.

Candidates for the Performing Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate should consider taking business courses abroad (and check out programs recommended for business majors here).

Africa

University of KwaZulu-Natal Exchange

This exchange program offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a summer, semester or academic year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. The Summer Session offers special classes that provide an introduction to South Africa from a variety of academic perspectives, including political science, history, literature, Theatre, art history, and ethnomusicology.  Academic Term Session students will be enrolled in regular University of KwaZulu-Natal courses.

ISEP Ghana

The ISEP Exchange program allows University of Iowa students a semester or a year of study in regular coursework at the University of Ghana. One of the university's objectives for its own students is to ensure that they have an understanding of world affairs, in particular of the histories, institutions and cultures of African civilizations.

Australia

Regents Semester in Australia

The Iowa Regents Semester in Australia offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Newcastle or the University of Tasmania.  Participants are fully integrated academically and socially with their Australian peers.  A large selection of English coursework is available, including creative writing.

France

IES Paris-French Studies

The IES Paris-French Studies program is offered in the fall semester or for the academic year.  Two years of college-level French is a prerequisite, and instruction is in French.  There are several Art and Art History courses offered, including: Drawing for Beginners, Paris Museums, History of French Art, Modern Art, French Architecture, Art in Francophone Africa, Islamic Art, and more. Cinema, Theatre, Opera, and Aesthetics courses are also offered.

India

International Development Program: India

Study the History of Art, Drama, Dance, Print-making, Textiles, and Therapy of South India, Tamil Nadu! This UI-sponsored program is offered over winter break and gives students with tight schedules the opportunity to pursue their education abroad. Instruction is in English, taught by UI faculty.

Ireland

Irish Writing Program (Dublin)

The Irish Writing Program is a rigorous creative writing program requiring some talent, and especially commitment and discipline. Its goal is to help aspiring writers become better at their craft.

The program has two components: writing workshops, and an interdisciplinary Irish literature & culture course. It offers six semester hours of credit. Grades are issued by the University of Iowa on a University of Iowa transcript.

The creative writing workshop converts to 8N:192 Dublin Writing Workshop and applies to the Non-Fiction & Creative Writing area of the University of Iowa English major. The literature & drama course converts to 008:109 Literature & Culture of the 20th Century and fulfills the Transnational & Post-Colonial area of the major.

The Irish Writing Program will run from Thursday, May 30 (arrival) through Saturday, July 13, 2013 (vacate apartments and return to U.S. or independent travel in Ireland/Europe).

Italy

Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence

SACI was started in 1975, and is now a US non-profit educational institution.  It is accredited through NASAD and is affiliated with Bowling Green University, and it has a good record of enabling students to gain credit toward their major. SACI is housed in several buildings in Florence, including an air-conditioned palazzo with a gallery, library, studios, and a conservation lab. Other facilities include a design center, craft center, and fresco studio. SACI offers semester and year-long programs, as well as a post-BA program.  Courses are organized by subject/media:

  • Two-Dimensional (drawing, painting, printmaking)
  • Three-Dimensional (ceramics, sculpture)
  • Media Area (animation, digital multimedia, photography, video)
  • Design Area (graphic design, illustration, interior design, environmental design, design workshop)
  • Art History (including museology)
  • Art Conservation
  • Italian Studies
  • Italian Language
  • Writing
  • Crafts (batik, jewelry, weaving, book arts)

For information about specific courses, visit the SACI website.

Korea

Korea Exchange Ewha Womans University

At Ewha, international students are required to take between 9 and 18 credit hours. At the School of Fine Arts, classes are taught about Korean Painting, Ceramics, Fiver Arts, Painting, and Sculpture. There is also a school of Design and a Department of Clothing and Textiles. Intensive language courses are also offered, and there is a directed independent study option. For more information, visit Ewha's homepage.

Latin America

Brazil Carnival

This program offers students the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary and foundational learning in the areas of dance, design and music through interaction with and exploration of two main aspects of Brazilian popular culture: Samba and Carnival. Students gain first-hand experience with all aspects of preparation for Brazilian Carnival by exploring dance, music, historical and social contexts, production, critical theories of performance, religious backgrounds and theater making in the Carnival Parades, from current to centuries-old tradition.

Video From a Past Program

International Perspectives: Xiotepec, Mexico

Students may enroll in the International Perspectives: Xicotepec course on campus at the U of I, which can be supplemented by participation in a one-week faculty-led travel opportunity in Mexico. Students enroll for a 10-week class during spring semester, then have the option to spend spring break presenting theatre projects in Mexico. Credit is earned for the on-campus course only.

IFSA Butler - National University of Cuyo, Argentina

As a part of this program, students live with a host family and take intensive language and culture classes. The National University of Cuyo is well known for its Fine Arts programs, which offers courses in ceramics, dance, drama/theatre, and studio art. Students interested in this program should have completed four semesters of university-level Spanish. Visit the IFSA Butler website for more information.

United Kingdom

London Performance Study

This one-of-a kind summer program is designed to provide students with an intensive introduction to theatre in London, with English and Theatre Arts majors receiving credit towards the major. London Performance Study is also open to interested non-majors. The course is worth 3 s.h. of credit. The program is offered by the University of Iowa Departments of English and Theatre Arts and Study Abroad. Note: The price of this trip is a bargain!