Summer Certificate

Performance & Culture in the U.S.

Background image: "Cycle" by Lisa Wymore (Photo by Robbie Sweeny)
Image credit:
Robbie Sweeny

Earn a Certificate for Performance & Culture in the U.S. by completing three required courses in one or two consecutive summers. Develop or deepen your U.S. cultural literacy and intercultural communication skills as you study acting or public speaking, explore performance modalities, and learn how performance intersects with media and society.

This program is administered by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS). Upon satisfactory completion of the required coursework, the student will receive a certificate from TDPS confirming the completion of the program. All completed coursework will be noted on the student's transcript, but the certificate will not be noted.

Certificate Requirements:

  • Complete one course from each category below to earn the Certificate.
  • Students may complete required courses in one or two consecutive summers.
  • Courses may not count for both the certificate and a TDPS major/minor.
  • All courses must be taken for a letter grade and must be passed with a C or higher.

Refer to the Summer 2024 Class Schedule for times, dates, and locations for each class.

Communication & Creative Expression (Choose One)

Theater 5 | Public Speaking & Presentation Skills

Students will learn to present themselves and material clearly, confidently, and persuasively, using age-old arts of oral communication. They will learn techniques for overcoming stage fright, developing clear enunciation, finding and using their natural, unaffected vocal register, varying tone and intonation to hold audience interest, controlling pacing, moving with assurance and purpose, using appropriate gestures, and eye contact as well as exploring methods to change behaviors that bar effective communication and structure speeches to maximize persuasiveness.

Theater 10 | Fundamentals of Acting I

Fundamentals of Acting I is the entry level course for the acting sequence and focuses on releasing and cultivating the actor's inherent creativity. Through exercises, improvisation, scenes, and monologues, the actor begins to develop basic techniques designed to stimulate the imagination, develop vocal and physical ability, increase awareness of self and others, introduce effective ways to analyze texts, think critically about the craft of acting, and enhance self-confidence and communication skills. This class is the essential beginning of the actor's studies, which will ultimately allow her or him to effectively engage and explore work from a rich diversity of genres, styles, and backgrounds.

Theater 14 | Theater for Social Change (Performance Workshop)

In a time where division and polarization are all too common, many feel called to bridge gaps and learn how to be in active solidarity across difference. In this course, we will consider various ways of acting in solidarity through theatrical performance, and explore what each student’s unique contribution is to the field of theater for social change. Students will have the opportunity to research social justice issues that are important to them, explore their own creative visions for change, and build skills to develop creative work in response to those issues.

Performance Theory & Critical Inquiry 

Theater 118AC | Performance, Television, and Social Media (Online)

This course examines the intersections of performance and media—specifically the media forms of television and social media in the U.S.—with a focus on how various types of difference (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic class) are enacted, articulated, represented, and played on TV and social media platforms.

Performance Modalities (Choose One)

Theater 177 | Sound Design for Performance

Students will learn to construct sound cues and soundtracks for theater performances and videos using industry standard software, and will learn fundamental principles of incorporating video and sound into stage productions. Students will be exposed to the writings and works of prominent sound theorists, designers, and engineers and multimedia performance artists. The most successful students may be invited to participate in UC Berkeley theater productions as sound designers.

Theater 190 | Performance Appreciation

This course examines performance as a primary mode of human expression, communication, and cultural production. Through viewing live and recorded performances, readings, movement/theater exercises, discussions, and written responses to performances, students will learn to place performance in a variety of cultural, artistic and historical contexts. Theater directors, choreographers, performers, and curators will give presentations and share their perspectives on related course material.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate in the Certificate program?

Please submit this form if you intend to complete the Certificate. 

To enroll or apply:

How do I learn more about each course?

For descriptions, schedules, and requirements, visit

May I speak with someone about the Certificate program?

For questions related to Certificate courses and requirements, contact the Undergraduate Academic Advisor:

Laxmi Kumaran

What are the eligibility requirements to participate?

Other than the English proficiency requirements for international students (noted below), there are no eligibility requirements to participate. The Certificate program is open to any student who wishes to take the coursework.

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in all classes to be eligible for the Certificate; meaning, all courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher to count toward the Certificate.

I am a non-native English speaker. What is the English proficiency requirement to participate?

International students are required to show the official proof of their English proficiency. Please review the list of approved English proficiency tests, minimum scores, and criteria for exemption and waiver.

I am a TDPS major/minor. If I complete the Certificate, can the same courses count toward my major/minor?

TDPS students who wish to receive the Certificate will need to complete all TDPS major/minor requirements separately from the Certificate. No courses can count for both a major/minor and the Certificate.

How do I get more information about fees, financial aid, enrollment, and student services?

Visit the Summer Sessions website or contact the Summer Sessions Office.