A-Z Index

Speech and Theatre Education

Why Major in Speech and Theatre Education?

Speech and theatre education majors become certified to teach grades nine through 12 as well as serve as a play directors and forensics or debate coaches. Faculty focus on ensuring students have the skills and techniques to effectively teach as well as a comprehensive understanding of theatre and all communication areas.

Students majoring in speech and theatre education have access to hands-on experiences beginning their freshman years and direct at least one production prior to graduation. To prepare students for a successful college experience and career, faculty provide a mentoring program that matches new students with upperclassman to help balance school and extracurricular activities.

Minor in Speech and Theatre Education

The speech and theatre education minor is a fully certified program that permits students to teach grades nine through 12. Students take the same foundation courses as theater majors and participate in Northwest’s freshman/transfer showcase during their first year.

Learn more about the Speech and Theatre Education minor »

Career Opportunities

placement rate

100% of students who graduate with a degree in speech and theatre education find employment or continue their education within six months of graduation.

Profession-Based Learning Experiences

Education majors get experience in the classroom during their freshman year. The Northwest education programs are dedicated to ensuring students are career-ready and prepared for the first day of school.

Freshman- and sophomore-year observations provide students opportunities to work with classroom teachers for 30 hours during their first year. Students interact with professionals in the field and learn the operations of a classroom and good teaching practices.

During the junior-year practicum experience, students spend 90 hours in the classroom, teaching lessons, integrating technology and literacy, engaging learning strategies and using assessment to guide education in theatre and speech classrooms.

During the senior-year student teaching experience, students teach in a classroom for 16 weeks, and have opportunities to work with high school extracurricular in theatre, speech and debate.

Learning Resources

Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts

The Ron Houston Center for Performing Arts is home to three performance venues: the Mary Linn Auditorium, Black Box Theatre and the Studio Theatre.

The Mary Linn Auditorium seats 1,022, includes two sound booths, a large scene shop, several dressing rooms, a green room, costume shop, prop rooms and wardrobe areas.

Black Box Theatre

The Black Box Theatre is located directly below the Mary Linn Auditorium and is used for innovative and experimental productions, classroom activities and lab series performances.

The Studio Theatre is a 5,500-square-foot variable seating and flexible staging performance laboratory that contains state-of-the-art technology including electric laboratories.

Student Organizations

Speaking Bearcats

The Speaking Bearcats forensics team has claimed 27 national championships since 2009. Students interested in debate and traveling the country are encouraged to contact Brian Swafford at

University Players

Open to any student interested in theatre, University Players offers workshops about topics such as monologues, dialects, musical theatre, voiceover, puppetry and other acting-related skills, and gives students a chance during weekly meetings to discuss different performance methods and styles, practice techniques learned in class and “play” through improvisation. Students in University Players also travel to local cities to see professional theatre and participate in Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival events. 

Comedy Inc. specializes in improvisation, sketch comedy, comedic performance and stand-up comedy. Students learn skills in improvisational acting and various forms of comedic writing. Members perform several shows per year such as holiday-themed shows, a Lip Sync tournament, culminating show at the end of each semester. Comedy Inc. teaches members to think on their feet, build confidence, work as a team and develop a welcoming atmosphere for all who wish to join. 

Alpha Psi Omega is the national theatre honor society. Activities for the Kappa Sigma cast include providing meals to cast and crew for Mainstage productions, producing a children’s show that tours to local elementary schools and producing and organizing the yearly departmental awards banquet. Membership is by invitation.

For a full list of student organizations with in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts »

Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Study Abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members supervise short-term study abroad programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available – faculty-led and traditional study abroad.

The traditional program can be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »

The Northwest Difference

The Northwest Difference

Founded in 1905, Northwest is a traditional campus with more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in the middle of everywhere, Maryville is two hours from Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri and 2 ½ hours from Des Moines, Iowa.

Textbooks and Laptops Included

Save more than $7,200 over four years through our textbooks and laptop program.

Laptop Program Information
$22 Million money for you

Nearly $22 Million in scholarships and grants awarded annually.

Scholarship Information
Career Ready. Day One.

Students organizations, internships and profession-based learning experiences ensure students are Career Ready, Day One.

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Graduation Rate: 90th percentile

Graduation Rate: 90th percentile of Northwest's national peer group.