The Program in Music Theater is open to all students who are committed to music theater practice and/or scholarship. Students may begin taking courses that count toward certificate requirements in their first year at Princeton and most classes have no prerequisites. There is no application—all students are accepted into the Program in Music Theater.
Students may register for music theater and/or theater certificates as early as their first year and as late as their senior year (although signing up in your senior year will limit your options for realized senior independent work). Signing up for a certificate entitles you to free tickets to program shows (subject to availability), and puts you on all our e-lists for invitations to projects in NYC and elsewhere, program workshops and events, conversations with visiting artists etc.
Requirements for the certificate in Music Theater:
(1) Coursework (total of 5 courses)
- 1 course in Theater (THR)
- 1 course in Music (MUS)
- 1 course in Dance (DAN)
- 2 courses that focus on any form of music theater, including opera, American musical theater, and experimental music theater. These courses can be academic or practice-based. MTD courses count, of course, as do many courses in other Departments and Programs not cross-listed with MTD. Please direct questions about specific courses to Joe Fonseca or Professor Stacy Wolf.
NOTE: Certain applicable courses taken to satisfy requirements for the Theater certificate can also be used to satisfy requirements for the Music Theater certificate.
(2) Senior Independent Work:
This work might take the form of creating a music theater piece: composing the music and/or writing the lyrics and/or writing the book. It might be the direction of a production, the performance of a major role, or the design or dramaturgy of a production, under the supervision of faculty and professional staff, independently, or in conjunction with another campus-producing organization. This work might be an independent scholarly paper or another music theater-oriented project.
Music Theater students who wish to propose a realized project as part of the Theater program production season, using theater program equipment, space and/or staff, are expected to participate in the Theater Program’s collaborative methods seminar, THR 402, during the junior year.
It is possible to complete senior independent work through the Theater Program’s season without proposing a realized project or taking THR 402 in two ways. One is by writing, acting, designing, directing, stage managing or participating in a project in the theater and music theater season that has been chosen by other students. The other is by proposing an academic theatrical exploration, independent performance studies project or any other project (such as writing a play that you do not expect to be performed) that does not require the use of theater program staff, space, or equipment.
Students may elect to do an independent performance studies project approved by and under the supervision of Program in Theater faculty.
If the student’s department permits, the student might choose to complete one part of the departmental independent work (senior thesis) on a topic approved by the Program in Music Theater faculty dealing with some facet of music theater in relation to that department’s subject matter. This independent work could take the form of a textual, cultural, or theoretical study; or it could be a combination of research and practical work supervised by the program faculty and the student’s departmental adviser.
NOTE: Students also earning the certificate in Theater must complete Senior Independent work unique to the Music Theater certificate.
(3) Technical and Production Support Work:
A certain number of hours of technical work on Program in Theater productions. All technical hours must have been assigned to the student by the thesis proposal deadline date in the junior year, usually late February or early March. At least half of these hours must be completed prior to this deadline; and all technical hours must be completed by the end of junior year.
Students can work in the costume or scene shop, help to build a set or hang lights or locate props, stage manage, run a light or sound board, work on the run crew, or many other jobs. As a benchmark, serving as the stage manager on one production typically fulfills the Program in Theater’s tech hours.
Students interested in directing a music theater production in the Program in Theater season are encouraged to stage manage a production in their freshman, sophomore, or junior year as preparation for directing. Stage managing a production for the theater program fulfills the technical work requirement for the program.
NOTE: Students also earning the certificate in Theater only need to fulfill one set of tech hours.
(4) Community Meetings and Events:
Given that collaboration is at the heart of music theater making, a successful music theater education has to be rooted in an engaged community. At the start of each academic year, students will be required to attend a short meeting of all Theater and Music Theater certificate students. In addition, the Theater and Music Theater programs will require occasional certificate student attendance at workshops aimed at supporting our ability to create art in a collaborative manner. Each year, the Theater and Music Theater programs host, produce, and present a variety of theatrical events and symposia. MTD certificate students are expected to participate in or attend at least one significant theatrical event in each of their junior and senior years. The Theater and Music Theater programs also provide a wide array of workshops, events and trips to the theater for our certificate students.
Certificate of Proficiency:
Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in music theater upon graduation.
Students wishing to receive a certificate register online at any time prior to senior year. Register now
Check out a helpful visual guide and FAQs about pursuing a certificate in a program in the Lewis Center for the Arts »