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, 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.

The theatre arts major offers unique training for students with vital theatrical sensibilities whose particular interests and abilities are wide-ranging. Students in the Theatre Arts Design & Production program will:

  1. Develop and strengthen a collaborative approach to theatre making.
  2. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the craft of theatre design & production, with opportunities in directing, acting, dramaturgy, and playwriting.
  3. Become proficient in a specific concentration of study through the senior thesis collaborative process.
  4. Develop, sustain, and nurture a laboratory for the development of new work and new approaches to existing work.

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 his or her 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.

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+
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4 4
Performance elective 2 2
Drama Literature elective 3 3
Management elective 2
General elective 4 4
Total 18±  16± 
Third Year
Study Abroad 16
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0
CFA TH 554 Colloquium 1
CFA TH 398 Production* or
CFA TH 348 Rehearsal & Performance 2+
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4
Drama Literature elective 3
Theatre elective 3
General elective 3
Total 16 16± 
Fourth Year
CFA TH 099 Matinee 0 0
CFA TH 553 & 554 Colloquium 1 1
CFA TH 497 Production* or
CFA TH 447 Rehearsal & Performance 2+
CFA TH 452 Senior Thesis 3
CFA TH 591 Internship 3
Liberal Arts Distribution elective 4 4
CFA TH 427 Theatre Ensemble 4 2
Drama Literature elective 3
Theatre elective 3 3
General elective 4
Total 15± 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 advisor. Courses from which a student may select include but are not limited to:

Drama Literature

  • CFA TH 201 Dramatic Literature: 1850–1950
  • CFA TH 202 Dramatic Literature: 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
  • 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)

Management

  • CFA TH 194 Intro to Stage Management
  • CFA TH 293 Stage Management 2: Skills Lab
  • CFA TH 393 Stage Management 3: Types & Styles
  • CFA TH 395 Production Management
  • CFA TH 594 Theatre Management
  • CFA FA 510 Arts Leaders Forum
  • CFA FA 520 Career Development for Artists
  • MET MG 301 Intro to Management
  • MET MG 410 Entrepreneurial Management

Performance

  • CFA TH 120 Acting & Performance 1
  • CFA TH 131 Movement 1: Movement for Theatre
  • CFA TH 132 Movement 2: History and Styles for Dance
  • CFA TH 140 Collaborative 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 Undergrad Directing
  • CFA TH 430 Film/TV Lab

Theatre

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

General

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

^ The School of Theatre has collaborated with the International Programs office to offer theatre-specific program options in London, England; Arezzo, Italy; and Sydney, Australia. However, there are over 40 countries available for study abroad through BU, and School of Theatre students are encouraged to investigate all options.

Students must consult with their faculty advisor for approval on any study abroad semester choices, at which time the individual faculty member can approve the proposed semester abroad. Typically, students in the Study Abroad program will take:

  • Design, Production, and Management Internship – 4 credits
  • Liberal Arts electives – 8 credits
  • Theatre elective – 4 credits

Options and program details can be found at www.bu.edu/abroad.

± 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.

Liberal Arts Distribution Guidelines

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs require 28 credits (typically seven courses) of liberal arts courses to complete the course of study for graduation. These 28 credits must include a 100-level writing course (CAS WR 100) along with a variety of courses that fulfill one of the following three tracks:

1. Students select Liberal Arts courses in the areas of Social Science, Humanities and Philosophy/Religion in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor.

a. Students take one course in each of the following areas:

Social Science

Areas of study from which a student may select Social Science courses include but are not limited to:

  • CAS AN – Anthropology
  • CAS AR – Archaeology
  • CAS HI – History
  • CAS IR – International Relations
  • CAS PO – Political Science
  • CAS PS – Psychology
  • CAS SO – Sociology
  • CAS WS – Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Humanities

Areas of study from which a student may select Humanities courses include but are not limited to:

  • CAS AH – History of Art & Architecture
  • CAS AR – Archaeology
  • CAS CL – Classical Studies
  • CAS EN – English
  • CAS LC, LG, LH, LJ, LK, LR, LT, LY, LZ, XL – World Languages & Literatures
  • CAS LF, LI, LS – Romance Studies
  • CAS LX – Linguistics
  • CAS MU – Music

Philosophy/Religion

Areas of study from which a student may select courses are:

  • CAS PH – Philosophy
  • CAS RN – Religion

Students electing to take a course to fulfill their Social Science, Humanities, or Philosophy/Religion requirement that is not listed above require the approval of their faculty advisor.

b. Students take an additional course in either one of the following areas:

  • Social Science (see suggested areas of study above), or
  • Humanities (see suggested areas of study above including Philosophy and Religion)

c. Students take two more liberal arts classes of their choosing.

OR

2. A minor through an approved CAS-designated program of study.

OR

3. An individually designed plan of study (i.e., Arts Administration or Russian Literature) outlined in a detailed written proposal, and pre-approved by the faculty at the end of the first year of study.