Prospective Students

Lewis Center for the Arts Certificate Program FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL

What is the Lewis Center for the Arts (LCA)?

The LCA is the academic unit that houses Princeton’s Programs in Dance, Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Theater, Music Theater and Atelier. The LCA also presents more than 120 arts events each year.

Where is the Lewis Center for the Arts?

Most of the LCA’s venues, classrooms and offices are housed in one of three sites that stretch across Princeton’s main campus: New South, 185 Nassau (“The House of VIS”) and the Lewis Arts complex. Students enrolled in LCA courses often have 24/7 access to state-of-the-art studios and rehearsal spaces.

What can I do right now if I am interested in pursuing a certificate with the Lewis Center?

Contact the Program Associate for the certificate you expect to pursue so that they can keep you up to date on special events, opportunities and deadlines of particular relevance to certificate students. Review the list of program staff members

 


COURSES

What if I’m interested in a course but I don’t have much (or any) previous experience in the arts?

Whatever your prior experience, you are our ideal student. All LCA courses aim to deepen your engagement with the arts, whatever your previous experience level. Courses at the 100- or 200-level can give an especially rich start. LCA 101 is a sampler of all the different programs: Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, and Theater. Some upper-level courses (and many Atelier classes) might be right for you as well. Take the plunge and just see where it leads you!

Are there auditions or tryouts for LCA courses?

As a general rule: no — though many courses do require interested students to apply or to interview.
There is a Placement Class for Dance Performance Workshop courses (typically on the afternoon before Fall courses begin) to match students to an appropriately challenging choreographic style and process. Some specialized or advanced courses might require interviews (by email or in person); others might ask for work samples; and all Creative Writing courses require a simple application. Just follow the instructions on the registrar’s course page to begin the process! For THR/MTD, Students can participate in certain theater & music theater program shows for credit, in performing & non-performing roles. Students interested in participating in program shows must attend a Try On Theater day, offered three times a year.

Do all LCA courses meet the LA distribution requirement?

Some do, but not all. A great many LCA courses will help you meet your LA requirement, but every semester there are courses offered in most distribution areas.

Why are some LCA courses PDF-only and others NPDF?

Every LCA course requires your serious investment of time, attention and energy during and beyond scheduled class meetings. Each Program determines which evaluation structure best supports your success in meeting the specific expectations of each particular course. Remember that PDF-only courses are exempted from your allotment of allowed PDFs, whether tallied within a specific semester or your entire time at Princeton.

Can I take an LCA class as a fifth class?

Absolutely. LCA classes are often an ideal option for a fifth course, especially if in a discipline you enjoy (and especially if you’re planning to pursue a certificate). Most LCA courses tap into different parts of your intellect and imagination than other courses, so an LCA class can sometimes help provide balance within even the most demanding course load (Reminder: University policy prohibits first-year AB students from taking five courses in their first semester at Princeton; first-year BSE students can enroll in five courses in their first semester, provided they obtain the approval of their academic advisor.)

What if the course I want to take has no more spots for first year students?

Many LCA courses maintain limited enrollments. If you find yourself closed out of a course you really want to take, it might make sense either to wait for the course to be offered in a future semester or to explore other courses offered by the Program this semester. (There are almost always LCA courses ready to welcome additional students.) But it is definitely worth contacting the Program Associate, Program Director or Course Instructor to inquire about your current enrollment options.

What if I missed the application deadline for a course?

All is not lost — but first you have to send an email. For Creative Writing courses, contact the Creative Writing Program Associate for guidance. For all other Programs, reach out to the Course Instructor or Program Director to inquire about current enrollment options for the course. If you’re not sure who to email, contact LewisCenter@princeton.edu and we’ll help you connect with the right person. Just send that email!

Why are there no reviews of the course I’m considering?

An absence of reviews is often an indication that the course and/or the instructor are comparatively new to Princeton’s course catalog. Many LCA courses are offered by distinguished artists and scholars who are in residence at Princeton for a comparatively short time. Some are new courses developed in direct response to student interest. Still other courses are one-time opportunities that will never be offered again. Don’t let a course’s lack of reviews discourage you from checking it out for yourself!

I want to take a class that meets at two different times on the same day. I have a conflict in the afternoon, but not in the evening. How do I sign up for the evening section of this class?

Look again at the registrar’s section-listing for your desired course. It is not uncommon for a single VIS course to have two multi-hour class meetings on the same day, or for a single THR course to meet at two totally different times on two totally different days. If the section listing is the same for both meeting times, you will be expected to be present at both listed times in order to enroll in the course.

 


CREATIVE WRITING

I might want to pursue a Creative Writing certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

1)Plan to take at least two 200-level Creative Writing workshop courses. 2) Look into whether the “Creative Writing” track in the English Department might be right for you. The certificate requires 4 courses, plus substantial independent work during senior year.

Will every interested student be accepted into the CWR certificate program?

Acceptance to the CWR certificate program is selective and by application only the during Junior Spring.

When applying for Creative Writing courses, will seats be filled on a first-come, first-served basis? Are students assigned to seats in certain sections of a course, or can they choose their preference?

Once your CWR course application has been reviewed, you will be given permission to enroll in any section of the course for which you applied. You can then select a spot in any open section that works for your schedule; however after classes fill and there are limited seats left, the CWR administrative team will give you permission to enroll only a specific section.

I’m interested in Screenwriting. How do I pursue that?

Applicants to the Screenwriting track in CWR must have taken at least one 200/300-level workshop in poetry, fiction or translation and at least two courses in screenwriting.

 


DANCE

I might want to pursue a Dance certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

1)Plan to take at least two dance courses. 2) Get involved in performing, designing, or collaborating with Senior Thesis Projects and Princeton Dance Festival. 3) Take co-curricular classes, go to performances. The certificate requires 5 courses, plus co-curricular opportunities and technical hours*. Design your own path and choose a focus — Choreography, Performance, Dance Studies, Other.

*All students pursuing DAN, THR and MTD certificates are expected to have completed a certain number of tech hours or student show support by the end of Senior Spring, and are strongly encouraged to start these hours during their first four semesters.

Will every interested student be accepted into the DAN certificate program?

Acceptance to the DAN certificate program is selective and by application only during Sophomore Spring.

 


THEATER

I might want to pursue a Theater certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

1) Plan to take at least one course in Theater, perhaps THR/MTD 101 which is mandatory for the classes of 2025 and beyond. The certificate requires a minimum of 5 courses, plus Senior independent work during senior year and Student Show Support.*

2)Attend a Try On Theater day to explore participating in theater in performing & non-performing roles.

3) All students pursuing THR and MTD certificates are expected to have supported program shows before their senior year and are strongly encouraged to start these hours during their first four semesters.

4)Look into whether the ‘Theatre/Performance Studies” track in the English Department might be right for you.

*All students pursuing DAN, THR and MTD certificates are expected to have completed a certain number of tech hours or student show support by the end of Senior Spring, and are strongly encouraged to start these hours during their first four semesters.

Will every interested student be accepted in the THR and MTD certificate program?

Yes, those students interested in pursuing certificates in THR or MTD can declare at any time but are strongly encouraged to do so no later than Sophomore Spring (in order to fully participate in the following year’s season proposal process).

 


MUSIC THEATER

I might want to pursue a Music Theater certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

1) Plan to take at least one course in Music, Dance, or Theater. 2) Look into whether related tracks in the Music or English Departments might be right for you. The certificate requires 5 courses, plus Senior independent work during senior year and Student Show Support.*

*All students pursuing DAN, THR and MTD certificates are expected to have completed a certain number of tech hours or student show support by the end of Senior Spring, and are strongly encouraged to start these hours during their first four semesters.

Will every interested student be accepted in the THR and MTD certificate program?

Yes, those students interested in pursuing certificates in THR or MTD can declare at any time but are strongly encouraged to do so no later than Sophomore Spring (in order to fully participate in the following year’s season proposal process).

 


VISUAL ARTS

I might want to pursue a Visual Arts certificate at the Lewis Center for the Arts. What should I do in my first four semesters?

1) Plan to take at least two studio courses in Visual Arts and one course in Art & Archeology. 2) Look into whether majoring in Art & Archaeology (Practice of Art) might be right for you. 3) Come to a VIS Information Session, held twice a year, for program details. The certificate requires 7 courses, plus substantial independent work during senior year.

Will every interested student be accepted into the VIS certificate program?

Acceptance to the VIS certificate program is selective and by application only during Sophomore Spring.

I’m interested in Filmmaking. How do I pursue that?

To pursue the film/video track in VIS, be sure that at least one of your two required studio courses is in film production and that you take at least one course in Film History/Theory (either in place of or in addition to the required Art & Archaeology course).

 

 


PRINCETON ATELIER

What are Atelier courses?

Atelier courses are among the most extraordinary curricular opportunities you’ll have at Princeton. Founded by Professor Emerita Toni Morrison, the Atelier provides Princeton students the opportunity to work directly in collaboration with some of the most exciting artists from all disciplines and from all parts of the world. Atelier courses are usually unusual, unpredictable and only ever offered once. So, if you see an Atelier that excites your imagination, don’t hesitate — enroll immediately!