BFA in Lighting Design

The Design & Production programs prepare talented and committed students for careers in the professional world of theatre and related entertainment media. The program curriculum stresses the development of a student as a theatre artist. Focusing on collaboration, imagination, intellect, communication skills, oral critique, as well as professional behavior.

During each year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, courses in design, production, graphic skills, management and dramatic literature follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and production opportunities. The committed students who pursue the BFA degree in Design, Production, or Management at Boston University discover who they are, what they do well, and what they are capable of doing. They learn to be collaborative theatre artists who work productively under the stresses of the theatrical profession and, most importantly, they learn to integrate design, production, and management skills with their own personal sensibility.

The Lighting Design program aims to develop a complete theatre artist by fostering a passion for theatre, storytelling, design, and the collaborative process. Through their required coursework and production assignments, Lighting Design students will:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of theatre practice and its various components of directing, acting, design, and production.
  2. Articulate an understanding of the connection between historical periods within theatre, art, culture, and society.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze a wide variety of texts, music, history, art, and design in order to communicate through light, visual, conceptual, and emotional responses to an audience in support of the actor, the director, and the design team.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the functions and qualities of light and the creative use of them to support storytelling and the theatrical experience.
  5. Demonstrate the proficiency in the skills necessary to be a working Lighting Designer, including, but not limited to, drafting, familiarity with lighting technology and lighting paperwork, and implementation of a lighting design from the conceptual phase to opening night.
  6. Successfully complete a website that demonstrates proficiency in Lighting Design sufficient to obtain professional positions in the performing arts.

Program of Study (minimum of 130 credits)

First Year

All freshmen Design, Production, and Stage Management students are admitted to the Theatre Design, Production, and Management core curriculum. The freshman core is designed to provide an appropriate context for faculty evaluations of each student’s strengths, interests, and potential for success in the upper years of training. At the end of the freshman year, each student declares a major. This decision is reviewed by all members of the School of Theatre faculty before a student is officially enrolled in his or her major.

The Theatre Design, Production & Management core provides a foundation for all future study in design (lighting, scenery, costume, or sound), production (technical or costume), stage management, or theatre arts, design & production. By acquiring a base of artistic and technical skills, students begin to explore the breadth and depth of what it means to be a professional theatre artist today.

Please see the Freshman Core section for complete distribution guidelines.

The foundational methods class for lighting design majors in the Core is CFA TH 186 Lighting Crafts. Should students elect not to take this course as part of the Theatre Design, Production, and Management core, they will be required to take this course in the spring of their sophomore year.

The foundational drafting class for lighting design majors in the Core is CFA TH 162 VectorWorks 1. Should students elect not to take this course as part of the Theatre Design, Production, and Management core, they will be required to take this course in the spring of their sophomore year.

Second Year 1st 2nd
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 297 & 298 Production 4 4
CFA TH 283 & 284 Lighting Design 1 & 2 3 3
CFA TH 261 VectorWorks 2 1
CFA TH 178 Figure Drawing 1
CFA TH 385 Photography 1 1
CFA TH 263 Scene Design 1 3
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4 4
Drama Literature elective* 3
CFA TH 194 Intro to Stage Management 1
Total 17 17
Third Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 383 & 384 Lighting Design 3 & 4 3 3
CFA TH 397 & 398 Production 4 4
CFA TH 287 Sound Design 1 3
CFA TH 279 Costume Design 1 3
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4
Architecture elective* 4
Drama Literature elective* 3
Music Appreciation elective* 2
Total 18 17
Fourth Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 497 & 498 Production 4 4
CFA TH 483 & 484 Lighting Design 5 & 6 3 3
CFA TH 452 Design & Production Senior Thesis 3
Directing elective* 2
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4 4
Total 14 15

* Students select Architecture, Directing, Drama Literature, and Music Appreciation electives in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

Architecture
  • CAS AH 201 Understanding Architecture
  • CAS AH 205 History of World Architecture
  • CAS AH 284 Arts in America
  • CAS AH 331 Archaic Greece
  • CAS AH 353 Renaissance Architecture
  • CAS AH 387 Boston Architecture and Urbanism
Directing
  • CFA TH 240 Beginning Directing
  • CFA TH 485 Choreography and Design: Experiments in Light and Movement
Drama Literature
  • CFA TH 201 Dramatic Literature: 1850–1950
  • CFA TH 202 Dramatic Literature: 1950–1990
  • CFA TH 401 Dramaturgical Methods and Investigations
  • CFA TH 402 Contemporary Dramatic Literature: 1990–Present
  • CAS EN 355 Modern Drama 1
  • CAS EN 356 Modern Drama 2
  • CAS EN 363 Shakespeare 1
  • CAS EN 364 Shakespeare 2
  • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories & Plays (in English Translation)
Music Appreciation
  • CFA MH 106 Music and Culture
  • CFA MH 211 History & Literature of Music 1
  • CFA MH 212 History of Literature of Music 2
  • CFA MH 232 Jazz Music
  • CFA MH 331 Topics in World Music
  • CFA MH 333 Popular Music & Culture
  • CFA MH 334 Interdisciplinary Topics in Music History
  • CFA MH 336 Musical Cultures of the World
  • CFA MH 344 Music & Society
  • CFA MT 668 Understanding Opera

Students electing to take courses to fulfill their Architecture, Directing, Drama Literature, and Music Appreciation electives that are not listed above require the approval of their faculty advisor.

Liberal Arts Distribution Guidelines

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs require 28 credits (typically seven courses) of liberal arts courses to complete the course of study for graduation. These 28 credits must include a 100-level writing course (CAS WR 100) along with a variety of courses that fulfill one of the following three tracks:

1. Students select Liberal Arts courses in the areas of Social Science, Humanities, and Philosophy/Religion in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor.

a. Students take one course in each of the following areas:

Social Science

Areas of study from which a student may select Social Science courses include but are not limited to:

  • CAS AN – Anthropology
  • CAS AR – Archaeology
  • CAS HI – History
  • CAS IR – International Relations
  • CAS PO – Political Science
  • CAS PS – Psychology
  • CAS SO – Sociology
  • CAS WS – Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Humanities

Areas of study from which a student may select Humanities courses include but are not limited to:

  • CAS AH – History of Art & Architecture
  • CAS AR – Archaeology
  • CAS CL – Classical Studies
  • CAS EN – English
  • CAS LA, LC, LD, LE, LG, LH, LJ, LK, LN, LR, LT, LW, LY, LZ, XL – World Languages & Literatures
  • CAS LF, LI, LP, LS – Romance Studies
  • CAS LX – Linguistics
  • CAS WS – Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Philosophy/Religion

Areas of study from which a student may select courses are:

  • CAS PH – Philosophy
  • CAS RN – Religion

Students electing to take a course to fulfill their Social Science, Humanities, or Philosophy/Religion requirement that is not listed above require the approval of their faculty advisor.

b. Students take an additional course in either one of the following areas:

  • Social Science (see suggested areas of study above), or
  • Humanities (see suggested areas of study above including Philosophy and Religion)

c. Students take two more liberal arts classes of their choosing.

OR

2. A minor through an approved CAS-designated program of study.

OR

3. An individually designed plan of study (i.e., Arts Administration or Russian Literature) outlined in a detailed written proposal, and pre-approved by the faculty at the end of the first year of study.