theatre production poses on stage

Ball State’s Department of Theatre and Dance offers eight diverse degree options that develop and nurture each student's creativity, curiosity, and collaborative skills. We inspire our students to be thinkers, responsible citizens, and motivated theatre artists who will make a difference in creating the next generation’s voice.

Our undergraduate-only program, low student-to-faculty ratio, hands-on advising and mentoring from a faculty of working professionals, and distinguished guest artists in all disciplines allow for the personal development of each artist as an individual.

Our Degrees


Our degrees are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and National Association of Schools of Dance.

Bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degrees are highly intensive professional degrees with 85 or more hours in the major area of study. Bachelor of arts or bachelor of science (BA/BS) degrees are still heavily focused on a particular area of theatre but have between 50 and 67 hours in the major, allowing you to add a minor or even double major.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees

We offer bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degrees in:

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Degrees

We offer bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degrees in:

Showcases, Festivals, and Workshops

Every year we produce multiple events that give our students the chance to share their work with professionals and learn from working professionals from around the country. We host showcases in New York and Chicago, a Los Angeles Experience, the Discovery Festival for new plays and musical works, Playwriting Week, and Theatre Education Week. Learn more.


University Theatre exterior

The Department of Theatre and Dance houses multiple performance venues, rehearsal spaces, design labs, and production shops, all designed to give you a real-world training environment.

From our 410-seat, mainstage University Theatre to small, Cave laboratory theatre used for more experimental performances and classes, you will have access to a variety of venues to perform, rehearse, and learn. See our facilities.

Mission Statements and Objectives

The mission of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State University is to provide pre-professional and liberal arts training for all students within the disciplines of acting, musical theatre, dance, design and technology, directing, stage management, theatrical studies, and theatre education. The department is committed to having an ethnically and culturally diverse, stylistically varied, and technologically enhanced production season that is driven by our curriculum choices. The department encourages national, regional, and university partnerships that broaden the educational and professional experiences of both our students and our faculty.

Objectives for the Department of Theatre and Dance (not in any priority order)

  • To provide academic training and practical experience for students who wish to pursue careers in theatre, dance, and related fields, or who wish to continue their studies at an advanced professional or graduate program.
  • To develop students’ artistic sensitivity, creativity, and integrity.
  • To afford the opportunity for students to develop a significant level of competency in one option/area of concentration – acting, dance, musical theatre, design and technology, directing/stage management, theatre education, or theatrical studies.
  • To expand students’ knowledge of theatre history, dance history, dramatic and dance literature, dramatic and dance theory, as well as current trends in the arts.
  • To encourage an appreciation and understanding of related disciplines.
  • To provide quality “Introduction to Theatre” and “Introduction to Dance” courses for the University’s Core Curriculum Program that will encourage students to become enlightened and appreciative audience members.
  • To expand the liberal arts education of all students who enroll in theatre and dance courses or who participate in theatrical productions.
  • To assist in the preparation of future teachers of theatre in the public or private school system, K-12.
  • To provide students with career counseling and professional opportunities while attending Ball State University in order to facilitate the transition between undergraduate training and their profession, graduate school or other potential areas of employment.
  • To serve as a cultural resource for the University and the community at large.
  • To engender in our students, the University community, and the general public, an appreciation and understanding of theatre and dance and how these art forms have enriched our cultural and aesthetic life.

The Dance area offers two degrees: The bachelor of fine arts degree in Dance provides a pre-professional experience within a liberal arts program, offering advanced coursework in all dance disciplines – modern, ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre, and world forms – in addition to rigorous practice and study in performance, choreography, and theory. The bachelor of arts / bachelor of sciences degree in Dance Studies offers a substantial technique component paired with a liberal-arts style variety of choreography, history, theory, and other dance courses. Our dedicated faculty cultivates each dancer’s uniqueness with detailed attention to the core components of the program – technique, artistry, creativity and intellect – through a challenging and supportive community that deepens and enriches each dancer’s knowledge of their craft.

  • Technique-Technical diversity is a primary focus at Ball State. Students receive advanced training in all areas of dance through the eighty-five (85) credit hour degree program, in addition to studio courses in composition, improvisation, partnering and repertory.
  • Artistry-Performance opportunities range from departmental Mainstage Dance concerts (two per academic year) to off campus engagements in cities like New York and Chicago, and everything in between. Students have many settings in which to hone their performance skills, including Ball State Dance Theatre (the resident dance company), the American College Dance Festival, faculty and student choreographed concerts, and the informal Dance Studio Series.
  • Creativity-Students are encouraged to develop their choreographic skill by creating dances for Ball State concerts, including the junior and senior choreography projects. Additionally, student choreography projects have included theatrical productions, self-produced evenings, regional and national festival submissions, community outreach, and college campus events.
  • Intellect-In addition to academic course work, including dance history, pedagogy, and anatomy, dancers are invested in expanding their intellectual experiences through immersive learning projects, portfolio submissions, research studies, and collaborations with other artists and departments.
  • The dance program is one of only 80 institutional members who have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Community Partnerships

The Department of Theatre and Dance offers a number of formal partnerships with community organizations that students may pursue for course credit as applicable:

Muncie Civic Theatre reserves one directing slot per year in its Studio Series for a directing student capstone project.

Theatre Education students can earn independent study credit by working in Burris Laboratory School's Drama Program, which is run entirely by the Theatre Education Option.

Theatre 100 students have the opportunity to earn class credit by doing community service through Ball State's Student Voluntary Services.

A partnership between the School of Music, the Department of Theatre and Dance (headed by the Theatre Education Option), Interlock: The East Central Indiana Autism Society of America, and Sibshops (The Sibling Support Project) created the nationally recognized Ball State Prism Project. This project is a program that utilizes the performing arts as a medium to explore and develop social skills for children ages 6-14 who are challenged with special needs.