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Lighting Design, Master

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #51 (BCR) Boston, MA, United States
Our Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design program at Boston University provides developing theatre professionals with the opportunity to cultivate their artistic identities while refining and enhancing their craft.


The Lighting Design program at Boston University seeks to:

  • Enhance artistic expression and communication skills through hands-on, mentored design experience within a wide range of production opportunities and classroom instruction.
  • Explore creative collaborations with directors, actors, technicians, and playwrights.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of professional working methods and standards.
  • Create new forms of theatrical expression for the next generation.

MFA Design students are being prepared for substantive careers as theatre artists. Training includes a rigorous curriculum, production design opportunities, and collaboration with professionals through our Professional Theatre Initiative. Students are mentored by working professional faculty and advisors.

Financial aid is available to some students in the form of scholarships, living stipends, or teaching assistantships. Admission is highly selective, with the School of Theatre admitting one to three students each year into each of the Scene Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Sound Design MFA programs.

Curriculum Highlights

  • In-depth classroom instruction in artistic, practical, and skills applications of design to the art of theatre.
  • Production opportunities to design in multiple venues and multiple genres.
  • Preparation and execution of a thesis that represents the culmination of three years of study.
  • Opportunity to work on productions with companies through our Professional Theatre Initiative (PTI).

Learning Outcomes

The Lighting Design program aims to develop a complete theatre artist by fostering a passion for theatre, storytelling, design, and the collaborative process. Through their required coursework and production assignments, Lighting Design students will:

  • Demonstrate a collaborative design approach that embraces best professional practices for lighting design in the performing arts.
  • Clearly articulate an understanding of the connection between historical periods within theatre, art, culture, and society.
  • Demonstrate the advanced ability to critically analyze a wide variety of texts, music, history, art, and design in order to communicate through light, visual, conceptual, and emotional responses to an audience in support of the actor, the director, and the design team.
  • Demonstrate the advanced skills necessary to be a working lighting designer, including, but not limited to, drafting, familiarity with lighting technology and lighting paperwork, and implementation of a lighting design from the conceptual phase to opening night.
  • Demonstrate through the successful completion of the thesis process a focused, creative, and skillful application of lighting design within the theatrical experience.
  • Successfully complete a website and portfolio that demonstrates proficiency in lighting design sufficient to obtain professional design positions in the performing arts.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Colloquium
  • Production
  • Master Class
  • Lighting Design Studio 
  • Grad project

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Credits
    62 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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General Requirements

  • Non-refundable application fee of $95.
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume/cv
  • All international students (non-US citizens) must submit a three-minute video.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    27386 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 27386 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    27386 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 27386 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Boston

  • 1560 - 3240 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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