Department of Performing Arts

Theatre Design/Technology (BFA)

An Emerson education in Theatre Design/Technology prepares you to enter the theatre industry as a professional in your craft: fluent in the language of design and technology, conversant in the tools you will encounter at theatres throughout the country, and with a strong understanding of the essentials of design.

I Am Emerson with Mitchell Girgasky

Lighting Design student Mitchell Girgasky discusses his view on creativity and collaboration. 

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This program is based on a hands-on, apprenticeship model of teaching, where students learn from highly skilled faculty; and coursework in scenic, lighting, sound, costume, props, and technical design is quickly applied to work done at professional internships or in the College’s producing laboratory, Emerson Stage. As a student in a design program focused exclusively on undergraduates, you’ll have unique access to the College’s performance and production spaces, which include five theatres ranging from the seating-flexible Jackie Liebergott Black Box to the 1,186-seat Cutler Majestic Theatre.

Lighting Design students hang lights in the Cutler Majestic Theatre. Students work and design in all five theatres on campus.

Teamwork and mentorship are essential parts of a career in theatre and core to your experience at Emerson. As a student in this program, you will work with a faculty advisor – a working artist and academic with deep ties to the national theatre community – to develop an individually tailored program of study based on your skills and interests. You will also have the opportunity to learn from your peers: students like you who are engaged, ambitious, and passionate about creating the physical world of a production. The relationships you build here will serve as the core of your professional network for years to come.

Your Emerson experience culminates with a senior-year portfolio review by members of the industry, designed to introduce you to a wider circle of potential colleagues – and launch your career.

Scenic Design students in our scene shop

Students learn to design, build, and paint scenery and props in our fully-outfitted scene shop.

Program Requirements

BFA Theatre Design/Technology 68
Electives 4
General Education Requirements 56
Total 128

To view descriptions for any classes listed below, visit our course catalogue.

Department of Performing Arts - Core

Year Number Course Credits
1st PA101 Languages of the Stage 4
1st TH142 Stagecraft Laboratories: Electrics 2
1st TH143 Stagecraft Laboratories: Props 2
1st TH149 Emerson Stage Production Crew 0
2nd TH215 World Drama in its Context I 4
2nd TH216 World Drama in its Context II 4
3rd-4th Advanced Drama Studies 4
Total 20

BFA Theatre Design/Technology - Core

Year Number Course Credits
1st TH121 Introduction to Acting I 4
1st TH140 Drafting 4
1st TH144 Stagecraft Laboratories: Costume Construction 2
1st TH145 Stagecraft Laboratories: Scenic Construction 2
1st TH150 History of Fashion and Decor: Design Research 4
1st TH240 Rendering 4
2nd TH249 Emerson Stage Production Team 0
Total 20

BFA Theatre Design/Technology - Advanced

Year Number Course Credits
2nd-4th Design Concentration 12
Three of the following courses:
TH242 Lighting Design I
TH245 Scenic Design I
TH248 Costume Design I
TH342 Lighting Design II
TH345 Scenic Design II
TH348 Costume Design II
TH441 Topics in Technical Direction (repeatable)
2nd-4th Design Theory & Practice 8
TH243 Sound Design 4
TH244 Costume Construction 4
TH247 Make-up for Theatre 2
TH340 AutoCAD 4
TH346 Scene Painting 4
TH347 Make-up Effects for Film & TV 2
TH350 Topics in Design Presentation 4
TH440A-C Technical Theatre Labs 4
TH470 Design in Practice Topics 4
TH479 Business of Design Topics 4
TH540 Puppetry 4
2nd-4th Production Assignments 8
Total 28

Costume design

A student works on a costume detail in Emerson College's fully outfitted costume shop. Costume design is one of the available concentrations in this degree.