About the Performance Studies Major
The Department of Performance Studies explores performance in all its forms, extending and deepening the understanding of performance as central to the human condition. Students majoring in performance studies engage performance both as an object of study—something to be documented and analyzed—and as a method of study—something to be experienced and enacted. From the adaptation and staging of texts, to the exploration of rituals and festivals, to the study of performance in everyday life, students in the department enter the world of performance and performance theory as an important and emerging field of study.
Good Courses for First-Year Students
Students majoring in performance studies must take two of the following three introductory courses:
Perf St 101 Modes of Performance
Perf St 200 Introduction to Performance Studies
Perf St 203 Performance Culture and Communication
Other courses that are good introductions to the discipline include Perf St 103 Analysis and Performance of Literature and Perf St 216 Theories and Methods in Performance
During the first year, students in performance studies take a combination of major courses and distribution courses. The distribution requirements are the liberal arts classes that all students in the School of Communication must complete to receive a bachelor’s degree. Performance Studies majors take 2 courses in each of the three distribution areas: Math/Science/Technology; 3 in Individual and Social Behavior; 3 in the Humanities and Fine Arts; and 10 additional in any distribution category.
AP and IB Credit
AP and IB credits may be applied to the SoC distribution requirement with certain restrictions (see SoC Table). If your credit is not yet posted, have your scores sent from the College Board to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Once your AP/IB credit is posted to your transcript, it can be applied to your distribution requirements as follows:
- One AP/IB credit in each of the three areas: Math/Science/Technology; Individual and Social Behavior; and Humanities and Fine Arts
- An additional six AP/IB credits may apply as additional distribution classes
- A final credit may count as an elective
- The maximum total number of AP or IB credit that may apply is 10
Performance Studies alumni pursue a wide range of careers. Several have been instrumental in founding innovative theatre companies (including Lookingglass, Redmoon, Lifeline, and Roadworks companies). Many elect to pursue graduate study in performance studies as well as other disciplines. Other recent majors have begun successful careers as theater and film artists, as actors, directors, and producers. Others now employ their critical and creative thinking skills in their careers as teachers, psychologists, lawyers, and urban planners.
For more information about the major, contact Performance Studies Advisor Justin Zullo firstname.lastname@example.org. SoC students can make an appointment via advising.northwestern.edu. Non-SoC students can make an appointment by calling 847-491-7214.