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M.F.A. in Theatre - Scenic, Costume, or Lighting Design

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 fellowships (through the Graduation Tuition Fellowship), 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.


FALL—First Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6353--Grad Design I (3)
  • THEA 6309--CAD I (3) or Flat Pattern
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1)
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

SPRING—Second Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6307 --Planning (3) or Dying (3) 6315
  • THEA 7353--Period Styles (3)
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1) 7141
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

FALL—Third Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6327--Digital Rendering (3)
  • THEA 6342--Drawing & Rendering (3)
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1)
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

SPRING—Fourth Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6329--Digital Media (3)
  • THEA 6354--Grad Design II (3)
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1)
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

FALL—Fifth Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6310 CAD II (3) or THEA 6304--Mask (3)
  • Dramatic Theory/Crit or Selected Periods (3)
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1)
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

SPRING—Sixth Semester—9 credits

  • THEA 6312—Design Portfolio (3)
  • Dramatic Theory & Crit or Selected Periods (3)
  • THEA 7141—Collaboration (1)
  • THEA 6294--Design & Production Studio (2)

How to Apply