MFA in Scene Design

Our Master of Fine Arts in Design programs provide early-career professionals with the opportunity to cultivate their artistic identities and professional objectives while refining and enhancing their technical and artistic skills and range. Each School of Theatre MFA student receives extensive experience in collaboration with MFA Directing, Production, and Production Management students as well as working with talented BFA performance, design, and production students.

Our program seeks to:

  • Enhance artistic communication skills and hands-on design experience within the wide range of production opportunities.
  • Explore and enhance creative collaborations with directors, actors, technicians, and playwrights.
  • Consider the pragmatic aspects of the profession and envision possibilities for new artistic leadership in American theatre.

MFA Design students are prepared for substantive careers, either as resident or freelance artists, with special emphasis placed on understanding the American regional theatre and other not-for-profit venues. Training includes collaboration with advisors and instructors who are working professionals. Full-time students may complete the program in three years, including summers (two and a half years in residence with a sixth semester option spent in professional internship placement). Most students can expect to receive financial aid in the form of scholarship, living stipend, and teaching assistantships.

Admission is highly selective, with the School of Theatre admitting one to three students each year into each of the Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Sound Design MFA programs.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Production opportunities and leadership roles on two productions each year with additional experiences in supporting production on 12 to 15 produced shows per year
  • Preparation and execution of a Thesis that represents the culmination of three years of study
  • Opportunity to work on productions of the Huntington Theatre Company as well as other members of the Professional Theatre Initiative (PTI)
  • Internships with leading regional theatres, shops, and PTI affiliates

Program of Study

(minimum of 60 credits)

First Year 1st 2nd
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 697 & 698 Production 2+ 2+
CFA TH 677 & 678 Figure Drawing 1 1
CFA TH 755 & 756 History of Period Styles 1 & 2 2 2
CFA TH 653 & 654 Master Class 2 2
CFA TH 665 & 666 Scene Painting 1 & 2 2 2
CFA TH 663 & 664 Scene Design Studio 1 & 2 3 3
CFA TH 683 & 684 Lighting Design Studio 1 & 2 3 3
Total 16 16
Second Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 797 & 798 Production 2+ 2+
CFA TH 675 & 676 Costume Design Studio 1 & 2 3 3
CFA TH 855 & 856 History of Period Styles 3 & 4 2 2
CFA TH 765 & 766 Scene Painting 3 & 4 2 2
CFA TH 545 & 546 Directed Study: Drama Criticism 1 1
CFA TH 559 & 560 Scene Design Studio Lab 1 & 2
CFA TH 763 & 764 Scene Design Studio 3 & 4 3 3
Total 14 14
Third Year
CFA TH 591 Internship 4
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 898 Production 1
CFA TH 950 Grad project 3
Total 4 4