BFA–Theatre, Scene 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, Scene 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 Scene 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, Scene 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 scenic design 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 Scene 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 273 & 274 Graphic Rendering 1 & 2 2 2
    CFA TH 307 & 308 History of Period Styles 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 363 Scene Design 3 3
    CFA TH 348 Scene Painting 1 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 463 & 466 Scene Design 5 & 6 3 3
    CFA TH 240 Directing 1 2
    Approved elective(s)* 6 4
    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 Scene Design majors in the Theatre Core is CFA TH 174 2D Drafting & Visual Communication 2.

    ^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 (16 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 TH 333 Figure Drawing
    • CFA TH 339 Production
    • CFA TH 349 Theatre in Practice
    • CFA TH 350 Scene Painting 2
    • CFA TH 368 Scene Design 4
    • CFA TH 455 History of Period Styles 3
    • CFA TH 460 History of Period Styles 4
    • CFA TH 467 Scene Painting 3
    • CFA TH 468 Scene Painting 4
    • CFA TH 539 Production
    • CFA TH 549 Theatre in Practice
    • CFA TH 563 Drawing for Designers
    • Any course listed as a Dramatic Literature elective
    • 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)

      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.