BFA–Theatre, Sound Design major

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 that 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 Sound 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, Sound Design students will:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of theatre practice and its various components of directing, acting, design, and production.
  2. Collaborate and participate effectively by working in teams, in both leading and supporting roles.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze a wide variety of texts, music, history, and art.
  4. Design sound that will communicate aurally, conceptually, and emotionally to an audience.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the functions and qualities of sound and music, and the creative use of it to support storytelling and the theatrical experience.
  6. Demonstrate the proficiency in the skills sufficient to obtain professional positions in the performing arts as a working Sound Designer, including, but not limited to, drafting, familiarity with sound technology and sound paperwork, and implementation of a sound design from the conceptual phase to opening night.

All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Sound Design will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Aesthetic & Historical Interpretation, 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, co-curricular experiences.

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 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 Freshman Core section for complete distribution guidelines.

The foundational methods class for sound design majors in the Core is CFA TH 190 Audio Fundamentals. 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 sound 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^ 2+ 2+
CFA TH 287 & 288 Sound Design 1 & 2 3 3
CFA TH 261 VectorWorks 2 1
CFA MT 105 Elements of Music Theory 4
CFA TH 289 & 290 Production Audio 1 & 2 3 3
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Open elective 3
Total 18± 16±
Third Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 397 & 398 Production^ 2+ 2+
CFA TH 283 Lighting Design 1 3
CFA TH 270 Tech Production 2 3
CFA MT 435 & 436 Composing with Electronic Sounds
and Computers 1 & 2
2 2
Music History elective* 3
COM FT 502 Sound Design for Film & Television 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total 15± 16±
Fourth Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 497 & 498 Production 2+ 2+
Drama Literature elective* 3 3
CFA TH 265 Scene Design 1 or
CFA TH 275 Costume Design 1



CFA TH 240 Intro to Stage Direction 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
CFA TH 452 Senior Sound Project 3
CFA TH 592 Internship 3
Total 15± 12±

^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 design & production process = 1 credit
  • Participation in two stages of the design & production process = 2 credits
  • Participation in three stages of the design & production process = 3 credits

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

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

Music History

  • 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

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)

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

± 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 Sound Design major must earn at least 130 credits to graduate.