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Actor in rehearsal for a production of "Mr. Burns, a post-electric play"

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need to audition or submit a portfolio to major or minor in Performing and Media Arts?

There is no audition or portfolio requirement for admission to the major or minor, and all initial admissions decisions for Cornell are made centrally by the admissions staff. Students who matriculate to the College of Arts & Sciences may, after the successful completion of a PMA class, declare the PMA major. Students enrolled in any of Cornell’s colleges may minor in PMA.

Find more information about the PMA major, including how to schedule a tour. Additional information on the PMA minor is here

What are the differences between BA and BFA degrees?

The Bachelor of Arts degree (BA), earned by students who major in Performing and Media Arts at Cornell, is tied to our liberal arts curriculum. BA students at Cornell pursue a program of study that balances coursework across the major disciplinary areas: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics & Physical Sciences. Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs (BFA) are professional training programs, where students concentrate their undergraduate studies on a specific art form. The Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell does not offer the BFA degree.

What can I do after Cornell with a BA degree in Performing and Media Arts?

The PMA BA program provides students with a strong foundation in both the study and practice of our art forms: film/television/digital media, theatre, and dance. PMA students also develop transferable skills, such as creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking, that are applicable to a broad range of career paths. While some PMA students successfully pursue careers in the arts, others creatively apply their PMA training elsewhere. View profiles of PMA alumni working in arts and other professional fields.

What kinds of classes will I be required to take as a PMA major or minor?

The PMA major and its four minors offer students a range of course options to fulfill our requirements. The PMA curriculum is organized around four rubrics: Embodied Performance, Creative Authorship, Design, and History/Theory/Criticism. We also want students to have hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, which we call Production Labs, as part of their program of study.

What kinds of creative opportunities will I have as a PMA major or minor?

PMA students have many opportunities to pursue creative work in both live and mediatized art forms. The department produces multiple theatrical and dance performances each year, while our filmmaking students develop and screen projects and curate our film festivals. Information on this year’s creative events.

Do I have to be a PMA major or minor to be involved with PMA?

PMA welcomes student involvement at all levels, from declared majors and minors, to those enrolled in our classes, to those who simply want to explore the arts while at Cornell. However, enrollment in some of our classes is limited, and priority for enrollment must go to our declared PMA majors and minors. Similarly, some of our creative opportunities are limited to advanced students who have demonstrated their artistic knowledge and expertise through a sequence of PMA classes.

Can I combine PMA with another major or minor?

There are many students in the College of Arts & Sciences who double major, or combine a major in one department with a minor, or multiple minors, in other areas. Although it is not usually possible to double major across Colleges at Cornell, it is usually possible to minor outside one’s College, and we have many PMA minors from across the University.

Does PMA have a musical theatre program?

While PMA does occasionally stage musical theatre productions, we do not train students in musical theatre per se. Students with an interest in musical theatre may pursue vocal performance training through the Department of Music and may study acting and dance/movement technique in PMA. There are also independent student clubs that stage musical theatre productions, such as the Melodramatics.

What other ways can I be involved in the arts at Cornell?

There are many student clubs and organizations at Cornell with an arts focus.