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MFA in Theatre - Scenic, Costume, or Lighting Design Track

The University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance strives to create a challenging and supportive environment where an inquisitive, motivated and resourceful theatre design and technology student will be given the opportunity and support to explore and develop their own individual and unique voice through artistic collaboration. Upon successful completion of the program, a UH graduate will be exceptionally well suited and qualified for a career in the theatre and the related entertainment industry.

Design students specialize and train in one or more discipline: scenic design, costume design or lighting design. All students enter the program together, and remain together for three years. Only one class is trained at a time. Collaboration is the heart and soul of the program. Students will develop a solid working knowledge of the elements and principles of their discipline in order to create a close collaborative working environment. In addition to the design and collaboration classes, the curriculum includes the study of dramaturgy, literature and theatre history.

The Design and Technology program is a professional training program that respects the traditional skills and heritage of our profession, while placing an emphasis on the new and emerging technologies and skills in our contemporary theatre practice. Our goal is to give the developing theatre artist the tools and skills that are best matched to realizing their theatrical vision.

The Design and Technology program provides ample opportunity to put dreams and theory into practice. Students should expect to design between six and eight fully supported productions in a variety of at least three venues over the course of their studies. The faculty and staff mentor all projects and provide guidance and feedback throughout the design and production process. In addition to faculty directors, UH brings in guest directors, professionals from across the country to participate in the program. Design and Technology students are regularly exposed to the artists of the local Houston arts institutions – the Alley Theatre, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Theatre Under the Stars, Stages Repertory, Main Street Theatre to name a few.

The Design and Technology Program typically accepts six to eight designers per class and four costume technicians. All students receive tuition waivers (through the Doctorial Student Teaching Fellowship program), and are employed .50 FTE as teaching assistants for three years of study. Assistants typically provide leadership in the shop/production area related to their area of study and teach undergraduate technology courses after the completion of their first year.


First Semester (Fall) — 9 credits 

  • Scenic Design and Rendering - 3 credits
  • Period Styles for the Theatre - 3 credits
  • Director/Design Collaboration I - 3 credits

Second Semester (Spring) — 9 credits

  • Costume Design and Digital Rendering - 3 credits
  • Dramatic Theory and Criticism or Selected Periods in Theatre History – 3 credits
  • Director/Design Collaboration II - 3 credits

Third Semester (Fall)  — 9 credits

  • Color Theory - 3 credts
  • Lighting Design - 3 credits
  • Dramatic Theory and Criticism or Selected Periods in Theatre History – 3 credits

Fourth Semester (Spring) - 9 credits

  • Lighting Design II, or Costume Design II or Scenic Design II – 3 credits
  • Drawing and Rendering (Art) – 3 credits
  • Digital Rendering – 3 credits

Fifth Semester (Fall) - 9 credits

  • Design Studio - 6 credits
  • Alley Theatre Design/Technology - 3 credits

Sixth Semester (Spring) - 9 credits

  • Design Studio - 6 credits
  • Capstone Portfolio Project - 3 credits

Please note, we will recruit our next design class in Spring 2014 to start Fall 2014.