About the Program

An Emerson education in Theatrical Design & Production 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.

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.

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.

Program Requirements

Requirements Credits
BFA Theatrical Design & Production 68
Electives 4
General Education Requirements 56
Total Credits 128

*BFA Theatrical Design & Production students take TH 142 Stagecraft Electrics and TH 143 Stagecraft Props to fulfill the Performing Arts Core requirement.

To see descriptions of any of the below classes, please visit our course catalog.

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

BFA Theatrical Design & Production Core

Year Number Course Credits
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 TH202 Theatre as a Collaborative Art 4
1st TH240 Rendering 4
2nd TH249 Emerson Stage Production Team 0

BFA Design Technology majors may substitute TH 141, Stagecraft: Special Topics, for one of their four Stagecraft requirements, TH142, TH 143, TH 144, or TH 145, when offered.

BFA Theatrical Design & Production Advanced degrees require students to choose a certain number of courses from the following:

BFA Theatrical Design & Production Advanced (Choose 3 of the Following Courses)

Year Number Course Credits
2nd-4th TH242 Lighting Design I 4
2nd-4th TH245 Scenic Design I 4
2nd-4th TH248 Costume Design I 4
2nd-4th TH342 Lighting Design II 4
2nd-4th TH345 Scenic Design II 4
2nd-4th TH348 Costume Design II 4
2nd-4th TH441 Topics in Technical Direction (repeatable) 4

Design Theory and Practice (Choose 2 of the Following Courses)

Year Number Course Credits
2nd-4th TH243 Sound Design 4
2nd-4th TH244 Costume Construction 4
2nd-4th TH247 Make-up for Theatre 2
2nd-4th TH252 Master Electrician 4
2nd-4th TH340 AutoCAD 4
2nd-4th TH346 Scene Painting 4
2nd-4th TH347 Make-up Effects for Film & TV 2
2nd-4th TH350 Topics in Design Presentation 4
2nd-4th TH440 Technical Theatre Labs 4
2nd-4th TH470 Design in Practice Topics 4
2nd-4th TH540 Puppetry 4

Emerson Stage Production Assignments (8 Credits)

Number Course Credits
PA371 Production Project  
PA372 Production Project  
PA471 Production Project  
PA472 Production Project  
TH470 Design in Practice Topics 4