Honors Projects

An Honors Project (Theater H195A/B) is the culmination of an outstanding career in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. Projects are approved each year based on available resources and funds, but more importantly, projects are approved in recognition of excellent work within the major and strong, engaging proposals that seek to answer a research question or experiment.


Projects can be accomplished as:

  1. Written Thesis Only, or
  2. Written Honors Essay & Production

Honors Projects are restricted to Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies majors only. The Written Honors Project may be undertaken in either a Spring/Fall or Fall/Spring cycle. The Essay-Production Honors Project is only available in the Fall/Spring cycle.

To discuss your options for Honors Projects, contact the Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Michael Mansfield: tdpsugadvisor@berkeley.edu

Option 1: Written Thesis Only

The first semester (Theater H195A, total of 4 units) is an intensive critical study of some aspect of theater, dance, or performance studies. The semester culminates in drafting a detailed thesis proposal: a ten-page synopsis of the thesis, and an annotated bibliography of studies consulted. The Faculty Supervisor must approve the work completed, and approve the student to complete the thesis in the second semester.

The second semester (H195B, 4 units) is spent writing the thesis based on the previous semester's research. Midway through the second semester, the student will submit a draft of 40–60 pages to their committee (Faculty Supervisor and an additional Senate faculty member selected by the student), who will read and comment on the draft. This final draft will be the document on which the student receives a final grade for the thesis.

Option 2: Written Honors Essay & Production

The first semester (Theater H195A, total of 4 units) is an intensive critical study of some aspect of theater, dance, or performance studies. This semester culminates in writing a 25–40 page critical, historical, and/or theoretical Honors Essay. The essay considers a significant problem, and is evaluated as a free-standing project — that is, the Honors Essay will be treated as a critical text in its own terms, not only as preparation for the second-semester production.

The second semester (H195B, 4 units) is a performance/production project that engages with the Honors Essay, that culminates in directing a play, choreographing a dance piece, designing a production, writing a play, staging a costume show, etc.

Prerequisites & Rules

Please note the following before submitting an application:

  • You must be a TDPS major to pursue an Honors Project.
  • You must have a minimum UC Berkeley GPA of 3.3
  • This commitment covers a full academic year, with each semester carrying four units of credit; credit cannot be awarded for one semester without the other.
  • Before beginning the Honors Project, at least two of the three upper division Performance Studies and/or History of Performance courses must be completed and the last one will be finished concurrently within the first semester of the Honors Project.
  • To be eligible for H195A/B with both a written thesis and a production component in Theater, you must have completed 60: Introduction to Technical Theater & Production and 162: Directing before the Honors Project year begins.
  • To be eligible for H195A/B with both a written thesis and a production component in Dance, you must have completed 60: Introduction to Technical Theater & Production and 146A and 146B: Choreography.
  • Specific disciplines (such as design, directing, choreography, etc.) carry with them certain expectations as to course work completed or to be completed.

Faculty Supervision

Students select a Faculty Supervisor to mentor their work throughout the year. If you are pursuing an Honors Essay and Production and wish to have two supervisors during the year, one for the research semester and one for the production semester, you may choose two different faculty members. The actual course content and format of the H195A/B sequence depend upon the student's proposed honors thesis or essay/production and the Faculty Supervisor(s). In the past, Honors Projects have encompassed directorial, choreography, design, performance, research, and playwriting projects.

Honors students can work with available and willing Senate Faculty members as their supervisors in the first semester during their research phase. In the second semester, the Second Reader or the Production Supervisor may be a non-Senate Faculty member who agrees to support your project without remuneration.

Students are encouraged to start discussing projects (both the possibilities and the limitations of what you envision) with potential Faculty Supervisors as early as possible. Students are required to submit and discuss a rough draft of their proposal with a Faculty Supervisor at least two weeks before the deadline for proposals. Faculty Supervisors will not sign proposals that have not been reviewed with them before the deadline. Faculty Supervisors will then be responsible for presenting the proposal and answering questions from the H195A/B Committee and, if the project is approved, for monitoring the student’s progress on a regular basis throughout the course. If you have 2 Supervisors for your H195A?B, both should be involved in the proposal process. Coordinate with both of them early in the process.

Due Dates

Honors Thesis proposals are due on the third Friday of November/April of the previous semester:

  • For Fall 2022 / Spring 2023: Applications are due to Michael Mansfield by 4pm on April 15, 2022
  • For Spring 2023 / Fall 2024: Applications are due to Michael Mansfield by 4pm on November 18, 2022

Honors Essay and Production proposals are due in the spring of the previous academic year:

  • For Fall 2022 / Spring 2023: Draft of application is due to your Faculty Advisor by 4pm on April 15, 2022
  • Final applications are due to Michael Mansfield by 4pm on May 5, 2022