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Bachelor of Arts

Theater and performance are an infusion of artistic and technical crafts. Behind all great theater performances are talented actors, the ingenuity of costume and set designers, detailed technicians and visionary directors.

Program Overview

Explore your role in theater and performance.

In the Theatre & Performance Studies program, you’ll explore the human desire to perform in both aesthetic and everyday settings. By understanding the links between the arts and literature, anthropology, communication, sociology, and philosophy, you’ll learn how to harness the power of performance to promote social change. Through a multi-disciplinary curriculum and hands-on experiences, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the history of theater, scriptwriting and analysis, technical production, acting, directing and more.

During your time at Western Colorado University, you’ll also have the opportunity to work as an actor, producer, artistic staff and technical crew in all aspects of the art form through the Western Theatre Company’s four annual productions. Whether you want to pursue creative careers in the performing arts or hone your public presence for broadcast journalism, the program will impart valuable skills for a variety of applications.

Taking the stage

Students work as actors, producers, artistic staff and technical crews in all aspects of the art form through the Western Theatre Company’s four annual productions.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 55 credits is required including the 9-credit Communication Arts Nucleus, six credits of upper-division Communication Arts electives:

Communication Arts Nucleus
COM 205Communication Arts I3
COM 305Communication Arts II3
COM 405Communication Arts Seminar3
Total Credits9

And the following:

COM 121Introduction to Theatre (GT-AH1)3
COM 216Dramatic Literature and Script Analysis3
COM 231Stagecraft I3
COM 235Introduction to Acting3
COM 306Scriptwriting3
COM 317Studies in Theatre (Taken twice with different subject focus)3
COM 340Stage Management3
COM 423Directing3
Select three of the following:9
COM 323
Media/ Arts Management
COM 324
Acting II: Shakespeare
COM 330
Stagecraft II
COM 331
Scenography in Film and Theatre
COM 406
Scriptwriting II
COM 430
Entertainment Scenic Design
Total Credits33

Capstone Course Requirement

The following course fulfills the capstone course requirement for the Communication Arts Major: COM 405 Communication Arts Seminar.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
COM 121 Introduction to Theatre (GT-AH1) 3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area II) 4
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 105
or MATH 140
Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (GT-MA1)
or College Algebra (GT-MA1)
COM 216 Dramatic Literature and Script Analysis 3
COM 231 Stagecraft I 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area II) 4
Gen Ed General Education (Area III) 3
Year Two
COM 205 Communication Arts I 3
COM 235 Introduction to Acting 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I) 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
COM 324
or COM 330
Acting II: Shakespeare
or Stagecraft II
Gen Ed General Education (Area III) 3
Year Three
COM 305 Communication Arts II 3
COM 306 Scriptwriting 3
COM 317 Studies in Theatre 3
COM 340 Stage Management 3
COM 323 Media/ Arts Management (or upper division elective) 3
Elective COM Upper Division Elective course 15
Year Four
COM 405 Communication Arts Seminar 3
COM 406 Scriptwriting II 3
COM 423 Directing 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
COM 317 Studies in Theatre 3
Elective COM Upper Division Elective course 3
Elective Elective or minor course 6
 Total Credits114



Amelia Campbell


“I always wanted to live in the mountains since I was little, and when I found out about Western's vocal department and did a little research, it felt like the right place to call home."


Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

Ready to apply or learn more about Western today?

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  • Must be a full-time student
  • Must be pursuing a major or minor in art, music or the performing arts.
  • Must have financial need


This scholarship is provided by Carol Buswell in honor of her husband Lloyd Buswell, nicknamed “Buzz”who earned his BA in Industrial Arts and Education from 1974 -1978.

  Award depends on funds available


Please complete and submit Western’s Common Scholarship Application

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • KWSB Radio: On air since 1968, KWSB is student driven, student staffed and open to anyone who wants to have their own radio show.
  • Mountaineer Media: A student-run media production group specializing in short films, screenings and storytelling abilities.
  • Taylor Media Center: Houses film production studios, audio production studios and more.
  • Top o’ the World Newspaper: Monthly paper composed by students offering opportunities in newswriting, photography, editing, designing and advertising sales.
  • Western Theatre Company: A co-curricular program and student-run producing board that oversee and provide quality live performance to the campus and Gunnison community.

It’s showtime

Western Theatre Company is a co-curricular program and student-run producing board that oversees and provides quality live performances to the campus and Gunnison community.

News & Research

Western statue in spring

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Comedian, Betsy Sodaro

Western Alumna Lands Big Laughs

Read More about Western Alumna Lands Big Laughs
Alumna Heather Nicolson Hughes returns to direct fall play at Western

Alumna Heather Nicolson Hughes returns to direct fall play at Western

Read More about Alumna Heather Nicolson Hughes returns to direct fall play at Western

Additional Resources

Theatre Internships and Programs

Theatre Internships and Programs Colorado Shakespeare Festival Utah Shakespeare Festival Snowy Range Summer Theatre Email Steven Hughes and send your resume, cover letter, audition videos, portfolios …

Learn More

Department Chairperson

Jack Lucido, MFA

Professor of Communication Arts, Director of Film Studies, Chair of CALL Department

Administrative Assistant

Cindy Petito

Administrative Assistant II

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Taylor Hall 216
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.



Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.