Come learn with us. Come laugh with us.

At Emerson, we believe that great comedy stems from a huge bank of knowledge. The BFA in Comedic Arts sustains an intense focus on comedy, while remaining rooted in the liberal arts by exposing you to a wide range of perspectives.

Our BFA in Comedic Arts is the first degree of its kind in the country. You’ll become immersed in a hands-on and multi-faceted exploration of comedy, learning to practice the craft while exploring its historical, cultural, and theoretical dimensions as a global art form.

In addition to your coursework with outstanding faculty, you can:

Curriculum

Our Comedic Arts curriculum integrates courses in writing, performance, production, and comedic studies to immerse you in a hands-on and multi-faceted exploration of comedy. You will learn to practice the craft of comedy while exploring its historical, cultural, and theoretical dimensions as a global art form. We draw our courses and distinguished faculty from the departments of Visual and Media Arts; Performing Arts; and Writing, Literature and Publishing. After striking a balance between writing, performance, and production in your first two years, you may choose to concentrate your studies in one or more of these arenas beginning in your junior year. The table below outlines the course requirements for a major in Comedic Arts.

Course Requirements

Every Comedic Arts major is required to take the following classes: 32 credits

Comedic Arts Core
CA 100 Why Did the Chicken? Fundamentals of Comedic Storytelling
CA 102 Evolution of Comedy I
CA 103 Evolution of Comedy II
PA 121 Introduction to Comedic Acting: Text, Ensemble, and Embodied Play
PA 125 Performing Improvisational Comedy
CA 200 Modes of Comedy Production
VM 222 Writing for Television
CA 300 Theories of Humor and Laughter 

Every Comedic Arts major is required to take 12 credits (3 classes) of upper-level courses in writing, production, and/or performance. Some of the courses that meet these requirements are:

Writing
VM 220 Writing the Short Subject
VM 321 Writing the Tween Series
VM 322/WR 323 Comedy Writing (Comedic Writing for Television; Stand Up; Sketch Troupe)
VM 326 Writing for Animation
VM 327 Writing the Web Series
VM 385 Comedy Writing for Late Night
VM 386 Writing Comedic Movies
VM 386 Writing the Comedic Monologue
CA 420/VM 420 Topics in Comedic Arts (Creating the Comedic Series; Advanced Sketch Comedy Writing; The Art of the Pitch - Developing and Selling and Original Comedy Series)
VM 423 Writing Television Pilots
VM 429 The Comedy Writer’s Room
Production
CA 333 Elements of Sitcom Production
CA 320 Topics in Comedy: (Comedic Playwriting; ComEx! Comedic Arts Showcase)
VM 400 Partnered Studio/Topics in Visual and Media Arts (Creative Careers in Television)
CA 420 Topics in Comedic Arts (Advanced Sketch Writing and Performance for Television)
Performance
PA 321 Topics in Comedic Performance (Mastering Comedic Scene Work; Advanced Improv; Performing Physical Comedy)
PA 325 Performing Sketch Comedy
CA 420 Topics in Comedic Arts (Creating Characters and Solo Performance)

Every Comedic Arts major is required to take one upper level Studies Course (4 credits). Some of the courses that meet these requirements are:

Studies 
LI 372 Shakespearean Comedy
VM 403 Seminar in Comedic Studies (Border Crossing and Comedy; Norman Lear; Queer Film Comedy and Camp Sensibility; Queer TV Comedy Since Ellen Came Out: 1997-the present; Global Chaplin; Nasty Women & American Television Comedy; Gender and Comedy–Unruly Women, Chick Flicks, Broad Cities, and Feminist Killjoys)
CA 410/LI 410 Craft and Contemporary Comedic Literature
VM 412 American Film Comedy 

In addition to the requirements above, students may choose to fulfill some of their required course work at the L.A. or Kasteel Well campuses, complete an internship for credit, or undertake a directed study in comedy.

In addition to the Liberal Arts and major requirements, all students are required to complete at least two courses at the 300 or 400 level from the following liberal art areas: 8 credits 

Capstone
VM 423 Writing Television Pilots 
VM 429 Comedy Writers' Room
CA 420 Topics in Comedic Arts
CA 450 Capstone in Comedy Writing, Performance and Production
CA 498 Directed Study in Comedic Arts 
SA 420 Advanced Sketch Troupe
Electives
Courses used to satisfy requirements above may not also satisfy this requirement
VM 403 Seminar in Comedic Studies
VM 412 American Film Comedy
VM 423 Writing Television Pilots
VM 429 Comedy Writers' Room
VM 473 Editing Comedy Productions 
PA 334 Acting for Film and Television
CA 320 Topics in Comedy
CA 400 Partnered Studio
CA 420 Topics in Comedy
CA 450 Capstone in Comedy Writing, Performance and Production
CA 498 Directed Study
CA 499 Internship
Special Topics Courses
VM 403 01 Seminar in Comedic Studies: Norman Lear
VM 403 02 Seminar in Comedic Studies: Queer TV Comedy Since Ellen Came Out: 1997 to the Present
VM 403 03 Seminar in Comedic Studies: Border Crossing and Comedy
CA 320 Comedic Playwriting
CA 420 Creating the Comedic Series
CA 420 Creating Characters and Solo Performance

In addition to the Liberal Arts and major requirements, all students are required to complete at least two courses at the 300 or 400 level from the following liberal art areas: 8 credits 

EC Economics 
HI History 
IN Interdisciplinary Studies
LI Literature
PH Ethnics, Philosophy
PL Political Science
PS Psychology 
RL Religion
SC Science
SO Sociology 
TH Theatre (TH313,315)
VM Visual and Media Arts (VM315, 409, 410)