Scenic Design and Technology

Master of Fine Arts in Scenic Design and Technology

The M.F.A. design program is an intense three-year course of study for students seeking professional preparation in scenic, costume, or lighting design.

Studio design courses, together with fully realized production experience, offer expectations found in the real world.

  • Three years of graduate courses and production work totaling at least sixty-four designated credit hours
  • A production or research thesis
  • Oral defense of the thesis project
  • A successful evaluation at the end of each semester of study
  • An overall grade point average of 3.0

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA of 3.0 required.
Theatre Studies
THET 610Research Methods3
THET 627Graduate Costume and Decoration 13
THET 628Graduate Costume and Decoration 23
THET 697Research3
THET 697Research3
THET 698Thesis or Dissertation3
Theatre Performance Design
THET 424Advanced Technical Production3
THET 520Principles of Stage Lighting2
THET 622Graduate Scene Design3
THET 623Advanced Graduate Scene Design3
THET 623Advanced Graduate Scene Design3
THET 629Graduate Computer Assisted Design Seminar3
THET 630Graduate Rendering Techniques3
THET 631Graduate Drafting for the Stage3
THET 635Graduate Scene Painting3
THET 725Portfolio Development1
Practicum
Graduate Production Practicum (taken 4 times, 1 credit each)4
Graduate Production Practicum
Electives12
Oral Defense
Evaluation and Portfolio Review (semesterly)
Total Hours61

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
FallHoursSpringHours
THET 6001THET 5202
THET 6103THET 6233
THET 6223THET 6293
THET 6313THET 6001
 10 9
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHours
THET 6353THET 6233
THET 6001THET 6283
THET 6273THET 6001
THET 6303THET 4243
 Elective3
 10 13
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHours
THET 6973THET 6986
THET 7251Elective3
Elective3 
Elective3 
 10 9
Total credit hours: 61

Major Learning Goals

Scenic Design and Technology

General Requirements:

Graduates of M.F.A. programs in the School of Theatre & Dance must exhibit exceptional skill in theatre practice and a well-developed personal aesthetic. The competencies outlined below are combined and synthesized to achieve this result.

  1. Advanced professional competence in some aspect of theatre practice as exemplified by a considerable depth of knowledge and achievement demonstrated by a significant body of work

  2. A breadth of understanding in theatre and any appropriate related disciplines, the ability to think independently, and to integrate and synthesize information associated with high levels of practice in an area of specialization

  3. Awareness of current issues and developments that are influencing the principal field(s) of study, and professional ability and clear potential to contribute to the practice and advancement of the field

  4. Writing and speaking skills to communicate clearly and effectively to the theatre communities and the public

  5. Advanced capabilities with technologies normally utilized in the creation of work

  6. An understanding of professional ethics and practice associated with the major field

Specific Requirements:

The graduate must demonstrate advanced professional competence in scenic design including, but not limited to:

  1. Advanced knowledge and skills in working with drawing and rendering, model making, two- and three- dimensional design, computer/digital technology, video and projection, and functional knowledge of the histories of style and scene design.

  2. Advanced knowledge and abilities in developing settings for productions of plays covering a range of styles, periods, and types of theatre, and utilization of techniques for production of a full range of theatrical effects.

  3. Creative and technical ability to develop scene designs from concept to finished product.

  4. A working knowledge of play analysis and of ways that historical, critical, and theoretical content inform various aspects of design and production.

  5. The ability to work with theatre professionals in their processes of production.

The student must design at least two major productions during the period of study, at least one of which must be fully realized for the public. 

Courses

THET 520. Principles of Stage Lighting. 2 Hours.

An exploration of lighting as a creative tool with emphasis on design development and equipment.

THET 523. Costume Crafts Studio. 3 Hours.

This course will allow the graduate student to pursue research and intensive projects in the area of costume crafts through course work and lecture.

THET 524. Production Planning. 3 Hours.

Through the use of examples from the industry and an examination of current shows in the School's production program, this course will offer a detailed study of the principles and successful strategies of production planning. An emphasis will be placed on time and labor management and budgeting for theatrical productions.

THET 535. Grad Theatre Health and Safety. 3 Hours.

An overview of safety-related issues in the theatre and entertainment technology industries. Through formal lectures and practical projects, students will be introduced to applicable safety policies and codes. Students will also complete American Red Cross CPR and First Aid certification.

THET 540. Graduate Vocal Techniques. 2 Hours.

In-depth vocal work, with special care taken to address each actor's individual qualities, beginning with breath, alignment, and release of habitual tension. Open resonance and free articulation to support the actor's voice.

THET 541. Graduate Voice Techniques. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 540. Continue the work introduced in THET 540 with text exploration. Introduce the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and structure.

THET 542. Graduate Stage Movement 1. 2 Hours.

Study of human movement in performance, including basic body awareness and anatomy, as well as Viewpoints and Suzuki training.

THET 543. Graduate Stage Movement 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 542. An intensive study of compositional techniques through the development of original performance materials using movement as a basis. Will include a study of the history of theatrical performance art works and artists.

THET 544. Graduate Acting Studio 1. 3 Hours.

Foundation of the craft of acting including sensory elements ensemble building, environment, personalization, imagination, communication, conflict, and audition skills. Concentration is on modern and contemporary theatre.

THET 545. Graduate Acting 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 544. Exploration of acting techniques applicable to late 19th century, early 20th century European playwrights.

THET 546. Graduate Scene Study 1. 1 Hour.

The presentation of scenes before a panel of acting, voice and movement faculty for critique. May be repeated four times for credit.

THET 547. Graduate Scene Studio 2. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 546. The presentation of scenes chosen from Shakespeare and other plays of heightened text, before a panel of acting, voice, and movement faculty for critique.

THET 590. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Supervised practice in college teaching of theatre. Note: This course is intended to insure that graduate assistants are adequately prepared and supervised when they are given college teaching responsibility. It also provides a mechanism for students not on assistantships to gain teaching experience. (Grading will be P/F.).

THET 591A-Z. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of advanced subjects not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Study may be independent or through specially scheduled lectures.

THET 592. Directed Study. 1-6 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

THET 593A. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

THET 594A-Z. Seminar. 1-6 Hours.

Seminars arranged for advanced graduate students.

THET 595. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

THET 600. Graduate Production Practicum. 1 Hour.

PR: Consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours.) Participation in assigned performance or production projects.

THET 610. Research Methods. 3 Hours.

Methods of production research for graduate students in acting and design, with particular emphasis on writing, library use, and manuscript preparation.

THET 613. Stage Management. 3 Hours.

An exploration of stage managers' techniques, skills, and responsibilities through exercises, research into the profession, and experience stage managing an actual production.

THET 615. Graduate Portfolio Development. 3 Hours.

Lab course on the techniques of portfolio development, focusing on both digital and traditional portfolio formats and related general techniques of graphic and image preparation.

THET 621. Graduate Theatre Make-up. 2 Hours.

PR: Consent. Lecture/laboratory course exploring practical and physical applications of a stage character with makeup. In-depth study of facial anatomy and potential alterations through two- and three-dimensional appliances.

THET 622. Graduate Scene Design. 3 Hours.

Graduate-level study of scenic design including conceptualization, mechanical perspective, drafting, model building, and color rendering. Emphasis placed on translating the script into a visual design.

THET 623. Advanced Graduate Scene Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 622. Continued study of conceptualization and techniques of presentation used in the creation of scenic environments. Emphasis on alternative forms including opera, ballet, display, and industrial venues. (May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit hours.).

THET 624. Graduate Costume Design 1. 3 Hours.

Intensive study of basic design elements as applied to costume design. Script analysis leading to conceptualization and communication through visual language. Experience in practical organization skills, paperwork, and budgeting. Studio/rendering work.

THET 625. Graduate Lighting Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 427 or consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit hours.) Lecture/studio; intensive practical experience of lighting design for the theatre. Emphasis is placed on conceptualization, drafting, and rendering techniques related to the development and presentation of lighting design.

THET 626. Graduate Costume Design 2. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 624. Intensive studio/practical study of costume design. Exploring conceptual process of design for text, movement, dance, opera, and puppetry. Emphasis on rendering, composition, and fabric applications. (May be repeated for maximum of 6 credit hours.).

THET 627. Graduate Costume and Decoration 1. 3 Hours.

A historical survey of clothing, artistic style, and decoration from ancient Egypt to 1750. Emphasis on how stage designers employ period style in the design of costumes, scenery, and properties. (Field trip required.).

THET 628. Graduate Costume and Decoration 2. 3 Hours.

A historical survey of clothing, artistic style, and decoration from 1750 to the present. Emphasis on how stage designers employ style in the design of costumes, scenery, and properties. (Field trip required.).

THET 629. Graduate Computer Assisted Design Seminar. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 631 and THET 622 or consent. Advanced study of the computer- assisted graphic design for the stage.

THET 630. Graduate Rendering Techniques. 3 Hours.

This course allows the graduate student to explore and develop rendering techniques for scenic, costume and lighting designs. Students will work in watercolor, acrylic, marker, and other media.

THET 631. Graduate Drafting for the Stage. 3 Hours.

Advanced techniques in drafting in accordance with current graphic standards for stage design and technology. Refinement of technique and graphic style through projects and exercises.

THET 633. Graduate Stage Properties. 3 Hours.

An advanced studio course on the creation and organization of properties for the stage covering materials and construction techniques as well as research methods and keeping accurate paperwork.

THET 635. Graduate Scene Painting. 3 Hours.

Course will provide scene painting skills needed in the execution of any kind of scene design and art skills that crossover into rendering and design. Scene painting skill enhances the artistic range and marketability of scene designers and technicians.

THET 636. Advanced Stagecraft. 3 Hours.

Study and research into advanced technical procedures including welding, materials, wood joinery, and practical construction problem solving. Emphasis on the practices and development of skills through projects.

THET 640. Advanced Graduate Vocal Techniques. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 541 or consent. Intensive vocal exploration with Shakespearean text, character choices, and dialect work.

THET 641. Advanced Graduate Vocal Techniques 2. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 640 or consent. Continuation of THET 640 with emphasis on period style texts, vocalization during emotionally intense scenes and fights. Includes technical analysis of text with attention to screaming, crying, and other moments of emotional intensity.

THET 642. Advanced Graduate Stage Movement. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 543 or consent. Advanced study of movement techniques for character work, including rhythms of basic language/movement connections and period styles of movement.

THET 643. Advanced Graduate Stage Movement 2. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 642 or consent. Continuation of THET 642 through work on directed projects; special topics in issues related to physicality in performance.

THET 644. Advanced Graduate Acting Studio 1. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 545. Continued exploration of the acting process focusing on heightened text and issues of period and style using the works of William Shakespeare.

THET 645. Advanced Acting Studio. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 644. Exploration of acting techniques specific to comedy, comedy of manners, physical comedy and sketch comedy.

THET 650. Graduate Study in Musical Theatre. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 645. Advanced musical theatre performance study with solos and scenes focusing on Stanislavski principles of objective and action along with interpretation choices within music composition.

THET 651. Graduate Acting for the Camera. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 645. Exploration of the principles of acting for the camera using multiple on-camera acting exercises. The course includes performance as well as audition skills.

THET 680. Dramatic Theory and Criticism. 3 Hours.

A survey of the major documents addressing the theories of drama and theatre from the ancient Greeks to the present.

THET 690. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Supervised practice in college teaching of theatre. Note: This course is intended to insure that graduate assistants are adequately prepared and supervised when they are given college teaching responsibility. It also provides a mechanism for students not on assistantships to gain teaching experience. (Grading will be P/F.).

THET 691A-Z. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation of advanced topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Study may be independent or through specially scheduled lectures.

THET 692. Directed Study. 1-6 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

THET 693A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

THET 694A-Z. Seminar. 1-6 Hours.

Seminars arranged for advanced graduate students.

THET 695. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

THET 696. Graduate Seminar. 1 Hour.

PR: Consent. Each graduate student will present at least one seminar to the assembled faculty and graduate student body of his or her program.

THET 697. Research. 1-15 Hours.

PR: Consent. Research activities leading to thesis, problem report, research paper or equivalent scholarly project, or a dissertation. (Grading may be S/U.).

THET 698. Thesis or Dissertation. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. This is an optional course for programs that wish to provide formal supervision during the writing of student reports (698), or dissertations (798). Grading is normal.

THET 699. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 Hours.

THET 699. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 hr. PR: Consent. For graduate students not seeking coursework credit but who wish to meet residency requirements, use the University's facilities, and participate in its academic and cultural programs. Note: Graduate students who are not actively involved in coursework or research are entitled, through enrollment in their department's 699/799 Graduate Colloquium to consult with graduate faculty, participate in both formal and informal academic activities sponsored by their program, and retain all of the rights and privileges of duly enrolled students. Grading is P/F; colloquium credit may not be counted against credit requirements for masters programs. Registration for one credit of 699/799 graduate colloquium satisfies the University requirement of registration in the semester in which graduation occurs.

THET 712. Entertainment Rigging. 3 Hours.

Examines the tools, equipment, hardware, and safety practices in the entertainment industry. Rigging exploration ranges from traditional theatrical houses to concert settings.

THET 720. Seminar in Production Research. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 610 and THET 622 or THET 626 or THET 625. Seminar approach to individual design projects with oral and written presentations of research materials. Intensive critique within class by faculty and peers.

THET 721. Professional Aspects of Design. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 622 and THET 624 and THET 625. An in-depth work in the packaging and presentation of the design portfolio, resume writing, and job opportunities. Emphasis is placed on methods of making a successful transition from an academic environment into the performance industry.

THET 725. Portfolio Development. 1 Hour.

Independent studio work supervised by faculty mentor to prepare the designer portfolio for professional presentations and interviews.

THET 726. Graduate Automation. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 629. Graduate Automation is the exploration of motorized equipment used in the arts and how it can be utilized for production purposes. Topics from electricity to mechanical design will be discussed.

THET 740. Advanced Graduate Vocal Techniques 3. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 640. The student will focus on more advanced dialect and vocal techniques to refine and ready the student's skills for the professional world. Microphone techniques will be introduced as well as development of voiceover techniques and copy.

THET 750. Graduate Showcase 1. 1 Hour.

PR: THET 645. Preliminary preparation for Graduate Actor's Showcase. The showcase gives the graduating MFA actor the opportunity to demonstrate his/her skills for an audience of professional agents, casting directors, producers, and directors.

THET 751. Showcase Development. 2 Hours.

PR: THET 624. Using skills learned in monologue and scene work, students will develop a performance of selected works, develop a mailing list of professional agents, and perform two showcases.

THET 771. Contemporary Theatre Organizations. 3 Hours.

PR: THET 610. This course studies the philosophical and organizational structure of modern and contemporary theatres (1898-present). The class will function as a graduate seminar.

THET 790. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Supervised practice in college teaching of theatre. Note: This course is intended to insure that graduate assistants are adequately prepared and supervised when they are given college teaching responsibility. It will also present a mechanism for students not on assistantships to gain teaching experience. (Grading will be P/F.).

THET 791A-Z. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation in advanced topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Study may be independent or through specially scheduled lectures.

THET 792. Directed Study. 1-6 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

THET 793A-Z. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

THET 793. Special Topics. 1-6Hr. A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

THET 794A-Z. Specialized Seminars. 3-9 Hours.

(May be repeated for max. 9 hr. credit.) PR: Consent. Selected fields of study in theatre.

THET 795. Independent Study. 1-9 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

THET 796. Graduate Seminar. 1 Hour.

PR: Consent. Each graduate student will present at least one seminar to the assembled faculty and graduate student body of his or her program.

THET 797. Research. 1-15 Hours.

PR: Consent. Research activities leading to thesis, problem report, research paper or equivalent scholarly project, or a dissertation. (Grading may be S/U.).

THET 798. Thesis or Dissertation. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. This is an optional course for programs that wish to provide formal supervision during the writing of student reports (698), or dissertations (798). Grading is normal.

THET 799. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. For graduate students not seeking coursework credit but who wish to meet residency requirements, use the University's facilities, and participate in its academic and cultural programs. Note: Graduate students who are not actively involved in coursework or research are entitled, through enrollment in their department's 699/799 Graduate Colloquium to consult with graduate faculty, participate in both formal and informal academic activities sponsored by their program, and retain all of the rights and privileges of duly enrolled students. Grading is P/F; colloquium credit may not be counted against credit requirements for masters programs. Registration for one credit of 699/799 graduate colloquium satisfies the University requirement of registration in the semester in which graduation occurs.

THET 900. Professional Development. 1-6 Hours.

Professional development courses provide skill renewal or enhancement in a professional field or content area (e.g., education, community health, geology). The continuing education courses are graded on a pass/fail grading scale and do not apply as graduate credit toward a degree program.

THET 930. Professional Development. 1-6 Hours.

Professional development courses provide skill renewal or enhancement in a professional field or content area (e.g., education, community health, geology). These tuition waived continuing education courses are graded on a pass/fail grading scale and do not apply as graduate credit toward a degree program.