BFA in Theatre Arts—Design & Production

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, and 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. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, production opportunities, and collaboration with professionals through our Professional Theatre Initiative. Students are regularly mentored by working professional faculty and advisors through their weekly Colloquium, hands-on, in-process Production advising, and end-of-semester conferences.

Learning Outcomes

The Theatre Arts Design & Production 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, students in the Theatre Arts Design & Production program will:

  • Demonstrate a high level of technical and interpretive theatre-making skills sufficient to obtain professional positions in the performing arts.
  • Demonstrate spoken and written critical thinking, collaboration, 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 with diverse communities as a theatre artist.


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 Theatre Arts–Design & Production will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Aesthetic Exploration & Historical Consciousness, as well as some of the requirements in Communication; 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 130 credits)

First Year

All first-year Design, Production, and Stage Management students are admitted to the Theatre Design, Production & Management core curriculum. The first-year theatre 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 first 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 their 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 Theatre Core section for complete distribution guidelines for the first year.

Second Year 1st 2nd
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 297 Production^ 2+
CFA TH 298 Production^ or CFA TH 248 Rehearsal & Performance 2+
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Performance elective* 2 2
Drama Literature elective* 3 3
Management elective* 2
General elective* 4 4
Total credits 18± 16±
Third Year
Study Abroad or additional coursework† 16
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0
CFA TH 553 Colloquium 1
CFA TH 397/398 Production^ or CFA TH 347 Rehearsal & Performance 2+
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Drama Literature elective* 3
Theatre elective* 3
General elective* 3
Total credits 16± 16
Fourth Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 497/498 Production^ or CFA TH 447/448 Rehearsal & Performance 2+
CFA TH 427 Theatre Ensemble 4 2
CFA TH 452 Senior Thesis 3
CFA TH 568s Internship (register for summer 1)/CFA TH 569 Internship Reflection 0/1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Drama Literature elective* 3
Theatre elective* 3 3
General elective* 4
Total credits 13± 18

^ Production classes in the core are 2 credits each as assignments are closely monitored to help students acclimate to the workload in the program. Thereafter production classes are variable credit, depending on the artistic assignment. Production assignments are made by the faculty based on individual student assessment and can be viewed in three stages of the production process:

  • Pre-production: The preparatory work before the rehearsal and build process begins.
  • Production: The rehearsal and build process through opening performance.
  • Performance: The run of the production in front of an audience.

Typically, credits will be awarded as follows:

  • Participation in one stage of the production process = 1 credit
  • Participation in two stages of the production process = 2 credits
  • Participation in three stages of the production process = 3 credits

Credits listed are the fewest a student can earn in a given semester.

*Students select Drama Literature, General, Management, Performance, and Theatre electives in consultation with the student’s faculty mentor and academic advisor.

Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

  • 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)
  • CFA TH 102 Dramatic Literature 1: Greeks to 19th Century
  • CFA TH 201 Dramatic Literature 2: 1850–1950
  • CFA TH 202 Dramatic Literature 3: 1950–1990
  • CFA TH 401 Dramaturgical Methods & Investigations
  • CFA TH 402 Contemporary Dramatic Literature: 1990–Present
  • CFA TH 505 Dramatic Criticism 1
  • CFA TH 506 Dramatic Criticism 2
  • CFA FA 510 Arts Leaders Forum
  • CFA FA 520 Career Development for Artists
  • CFA FA 560 Creative Economy & Social Impact
  • CFA TH 194 Intro to Stage Management
  • CFA TH 299 Stage Management 2
  • CFA TH 399 Stage Management 3
  • CFA TH 495 Production Management
  • CFA TH 594 Theatre Management
  • QST SI 250 Ideas to Impact
  • QST SM 101 Introduction to Management
  • CFA TH 120 Acting & Performance 1
  • CFA TH 130 Movement for Theatre 1 (with instructor permission)
  • CFA TH 131 Movement 1: The Creative Body (with instructor permission)
  • CFA TH 140 Collaborative Theatre Ensemble
  • CFA TH 227 Theatre Ensemble 2: Autobiography
  • CFA TH 228 Theatre Ensemble 2: Adaptation
  • CFA TH 240 Beginning Directing
  • CFA TH 327 Theatre Ensemble 3: Acting/Directing Lab
  • CFA TH 341 Undergraduate Directing 1
  • Any Dance course offered by the Department of Dance (PDP DA)

Students select courses totaling 9 credits (typically three to five courses) offered by the School of Theatre (CFA TH) in consultation with their faculty mentor and academic advisor.


Students select courses totaling 8 credits (typically two to three courses) offered by Boston University in consultation with their faculty mentor and academic advisor.

*Students electing to take courses to fulfill their Drama Literature, Management, Performance, Theatre, and General electives that are not listed above require the approval of their academic advisor and completion of a course substitution form.

Matinee Guidelines

Students must be enrolled in CFA TH 099 Matinee every semester in which they are in residence on campus at Boston University. Students are not required to take Matinee in a study abroad semester.

Internship Guidelines

Students must register in the summer term (CFA TH 568s) for a 0.0 credit, unpaid, off-campus internship with an established, professional arts organization (or member of the Professional Theatre Initiative) or an approved on-campus internship experience with a member of the Boston University faculty or staff. Before applying for internship credit, the student should check with their faculty advisor to determine whether the proposed experience and/or host organization qualifies. Upon completion, students should then register for a 1.0 credit Internship Reflection experience (CFA TH 569) in the fall, handing in all required materials (journal, final reflection paper, essential forms). Details are updated on the CFA website.

†Study Abroad

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.

± Total credits per semester vary according to the courses selected. Credits listed are the fewest a student could earn. All BFA–Theatre students with a Theatre Arts Design & Production major must earn at least 130 credits to graduate.