BFA–Theatre, Lighting Design major

The Design, Production & Management programs prepare talented and committed students for the professional world of theatre and related careers in the performing arts. The curriculum stresses the development of a student as a theatre artist, focusing on collaboration, imagination, critical thinking, communication skills, problem-solving, and oral critique, as well as preparation for a professional career.

During each year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, courses in major core principles follow a carefully integrated sequence of class exercises and production opportunities. The committed students who pursue the BFA–Theatre, Lighting Design major in the Design, Production & Management programs 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 tell important stories to today’s audiences and work productively under the rigors of the theatrical profession. Most importantly, they find their own voice as a theatre artist. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, production opportunities, and exposure to the profession. Students are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through their studio coursework; hands-on, in-process production advising; and end-of-semester conferences.

Learning Outcomes

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:

  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of theatre as an art form and the essential role it plays in contemporary society.
  • Demonstrate spoken and written critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, and communication skills in an arts-based discipline.
  • Demonstrate an ability to enrich creative storytelling and take artistic risks.
  • Demonstrate an awareness and ability to engage in the diverse community of theatre artists.
  • Demonstrate a high level of artistic, interpretive, and craft skills and techniques in lighting design and production as a foundation for entering into a career in theatre and the live performing arts.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Lighting Design will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation as well as some of the requirements in Communication; Quantitative Reasoning; Diversity, Civic Engagement & Global Citizenship; and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

Program of Study (minimum of 132 credits)

First Year+ 1st 2nd
CFA FA 100 Doing, Making & Knowing: The CFA Experience^ 2
CFA TH 136 Theatre Collaboration 1: Equitable & Inclusive Theatre Practice 2
CFA TH 171 & 172 Language & Craft of Theatre 1 & 2 2 2
CFA TH 101 Introduction to the Study of Theatre & Performance 3
CFA TH 104 Dramatic Literature 1: Beginnings of Theatre to the Early 19th Century 4
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 120) 4
CFA TH 165 DP&M Community Forum 1: Discovering Theatre through History 2
CFA TH 166 DP&M Community Forum 2: Contemporary Theatre Makers 2
CFA TH 157 Introduction to Design 1: Storytelling & Collaboration for Live Performance 3
CFA TH 158 Introduction to Design 2: 2D & 3D Design Fundamentals 3
CFA TH 173 2D Drafting & Visual Communication 1 2
Drafting elective* 2
Total credits 18 15
Second Year
CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice 2
CFA TH 339 Production 2 2
CFA TH 257 & 258 Scenography 1 & 2 3 3
CFA TH 392 VectorWorks 2 2
CFA TH 318 Automated Lighting Technology 2
CFA TH 285 & 286 Lighting Crafts 1 & 2 2 2
Approved elective(s) 3 3
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major (e.g., CAS WR 151/152/153) 4 4
Total credits 16 18
Third Year
CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice 2
CFA TH 339 Production 2
CFA TH 383 Lighting Design 3 3
CFA TH 319 Automated Lighting Design 2
Dramatic Literature elective* 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Study Abroad or additional coursework† 16
Total credits 17 16
Fourth Year
CFA TH 549 Theatre in Practice 2 2
CFA TH 539 Production 2
CFA TH 483 & 486 Lighting Design 5 & 6 3 3
CFA TH 450 Senior Capstone Project 2
Approved elective(s)* 4
Art History elective* 4
CFA TH 240 Directing 1 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 17 15

+Please see the Theatre Core section for complete distribution guidelines for the first year. The recommended Drafting elective for Lighting Design majors in the Theatre Core is CFA TH 391 VectorWorks 1.

^CFA FA 100 is not required for transfer students.

*Students select approved electives and Dramatic Literature electives in consultation with their faculty mentor and academic advisor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

Approved Electives (10 credits)

  • CFA AR 121 Foundation Sculpture
  • CFA AR 131 Drawing 1
  • CFA AR 132 Drawing 1: Drawing as Visual Language
  • CFA AR 141 Foundation Painting
  • CFA AR 193 Visual Arts Drawing
  • CFA AR 221 Materials and Methods in Sculpture
  • CFA AR 223 Installation Art: Subject-Object Relationship in Contemporary Landscape
  • CFA AR 243 Photography 1
  • CFA AR 589 Interactive Design
  • CFA MT 105 Elements of Music Theory
  • CFA MT 435 Composing with Electronic Sounds & Computers 1
  • CFA MT 436 Composing with Electronic Sounds & Computers 2
  • CFA TH 139 20th Century Dance History
  • CFA TH 239 Aesthetics and Philosophy of Dance
  • CFA TH 307 History of Period Styles 1
  • CFA TH 308 History of Period Styles 2
  • CFA TH 339 Production
  • CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice
  • CFA TH 352 Technical Production 2
  • CFA TH 394 Lighting Design 4
  • CFA TH 509 Choreography and Design: Experiments in Light and Movement
  • CFA TH 539 Production
  • CFA TH 549 Theatre in Practice
  • CFA TH 584 Color Interaction
  • CFA TH 586 Designing for Opera
  • CFA TH 571 Media Design 1
  • CFA TH 572 Media Design 2
  • CFA TH 573 Media Production 1
  • CFA TH 574 Media Production 2
  • Any course listed as a Dramatic Literature or Art History elective
  • Any course listed as Architecture
  • Students, in consultation with the academic advisor, may utilize approved electives to fulfill Hub units as advised.

Dramatic Literature Electives (4 credits)

  • CAS CL 224 Greek Literature in Translation
  • CAS EN 355 Drama & Performance, 1840–1945
  • CAS EN 356 Drama & Performance, 1945–Present
  • CAS EN 357 Modern British Drama: A Critic’s Perspective
  • CAS EN 363 Shakespeare 1
  • CAS EN 364 Shakespeare 2
  • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories & Plays (in English Translation)
  • CAS LR 440 Russian Drama
  • CFA TH 205 Dramatic Literature: 1850–1950
  • CFA TH 206 Dramatic Literature: 1950–the Millennium
  • CFA TH 405 Classical Theatre through a Contemporary Lens
  • CFA TH 406 Contemporary Theatre
  • CFA TH 440 Experiencing London Theatre (abroad)
  • CFA TH 508 Contemporary British Theatre (abroad)

Art History Electives (4 credits)

  • CAS AH 111 Introduction to Art History 1: Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  • CAS AH 112 Introduction to Art History 2: Renaissance to Today
  • CAS AH 201 Understanding Architecture
  • CAS AH 205 History of World Architecture
  • CAS AH 215 Arts of Africa and Its Diaspora
  • CAS AH 220 Islamic Art
  • CAS AH 222 Art and Architecture in Ancient America
  • CAS AH 225 The Arts of Asia
  • CAS AH 233 Art of Greece
  • CAS AH 234 The Art of Rome
  • CAS AH 240 Medieval Art
  • CAS AH 242 Latin American Art Since Contact
  • CAS AH 284 Arts in America
  • CAS AH 331 Archaic Greece
  • CAS AH 333 Classical Art
  • CAS AH 353 Renaissance Architecture
  • CAS AH 377 American Furniture
  • CAS AH 379 Nineteenth Century American Art
  • CAS AH 387 Boston Architecture & Urbanism
  • CAS AH 391 Twentieth Century Art to 1940
  • CAS AH 392 Twentieth Century Art 1940 to 1980
  • CAS AH 395 History of Photography
  • CAS AH 398 Twentieth-Century Architecture
  • CAS AH 399 History & Theory of Landscape Architecture
  • CAS AH 500 Global Perspectives on Modern Architecture and Urbanism
  • CAS AH 563 Global Baroque: Art and Power in the Seventeenth Century
  • CAS HI 480 The Theater of History

Students electing to take courses to fulfill their approved electives and Dramatic Literature electives that are not listed above require the approval of the School of Theatre academic advisor and completion of a course substitution form.

†In this semester, students will complete up to 16 credits of additional coursework toward their degree, including major requirements, minor requirements, and/or the BU Hub. These credits may be fulfilled through a Study Abroad experience or elective coursework inside or outside the major.