No joke: Emerson College will offer a four-year degree in comedy starting Sept. 2016.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Comedic Arts is the first of its kind, seeking to prepare graduates for careers in comedy performance, writing and production.

Emerson has a long run of successful alumni in the comedy industry, including legendary producer Norman Lear, former latenight host Jay Leno, actress and comedian Jennifer Coolidge and “Friends” exec producer Kevin Bright (who is also the founding director of the school’s Los Angeles branch).

“This new degree strengthens Emerson’s commitment to the study of comedy by adding academic rigor and institutional resources from faculty and industry professionals at the main Boston campus and at our Los Angeles facility,” said Lee Pelton, president of Emerson College. “In keeping with the college’s rich teaching tradition, the new major will combine an academic focus with hands-on opportunities.”

In addition to general liberal arts coursework, the curriculum will include classes relating to sitcom production, theories of humor, comedy writing for latenight shows, performing, writing and directing sketch comedy and a partnership with the Upright Citizens Brigade improv group. Students will also have access to Emerson’s American Comedy Archives, a curated comedy database of interviews.