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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance


MFA in Lighting Design | Curriculum

Degree Requirements

At least 63 hours of graduate credit and residency at the University of South Carolina are required.  The MFA degree may be taken with an emphasis in acting, directing, costume design, scene design or lighting design. Each student’s program of courses will be determined by departmental guidelines with the agreement of the major advisor and will be formulated using three criteria: professional goals, past education and experience, and appropriate preparation for a thesis project and written comprehensive examination. All students in the program will complete a professional internship.

Other Requirements

  1. A thesis must be accepted by the MFA Advisory Committee and by the Graduate School;
  2. A comprehensive examination must be passed;
  3. All course work must be at the 500 level or above, and one-half of the course work (exclusive of thesis preparation) must be at the 700 level or above;
  4. A professional internship must be successfully completed.



Lighting Design Courses: 24 Credits

Lighting design students normally take the following core courses:

THEA 588  •  ADVANCED STAGE LIGHTING DESIGN I (3 credits)

THEA 589  •  ADVANCED STAGE LIGHTING DESIGN II (3 credits)

THEA 788  •   PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING DESIGN PRACTICES I (3 credits)

THEA  789  •  PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING DESIGN PRACTICES II (3 credits)

THEA 721D  •  LIGHTING DESIGN PRACTICUM I (3 credits)

THEA 721D  •  LIGHTING DESIGN PRACTICUM II (3 credits)

THEA 790  •  PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING DESIGN INTERNSHIP (3-9 credits)


Critical and Supportive Studies:  21 Credits

All design students normally take: 

THEA 710  •  GRADUATE DESIGN STUDIO

THEA 760  •  TEXT ANALYSIS

THEA 550  •  HISTORY OF COSTUMES

THEA 778  •  DIRECTOR'S WORKSHOP I


Lighting design students normally take 9 credits from among the following 3-credit courses: 

THEA 567  •  DRAMATIC THEORY I

THEA 568  •  DRAMATIC THEORY II

THEA 556  •  SCENE DESIGN

THEA 582  •  COSTUME DESIGN

THEA 761  •  STUDIES IN THEATRE HISTORY

THEA 765  •  STAGING IN THE NON-TRADITIONAL THEATRE


Skills Courses: 12 Credits

Lighting design students normally take a total of 13 credits from among the following 3-credit courses:

THEA 555  •  SCENE PAINTING

THEA 510  •  RENDERING TECHNIQUES FOR THE THEATRE

THEA 553  •  ADVANCED STAGECRAFT

THEA 554  •  THEATRE SAFETY

THEA 796  •  COMPUTER-ASSISTED DESIGN FOR THE THEATRE

THEA 797  •  COMPUTER IMAGING FOR THE THEATRE


University Requirement: 3 Credits

THEA 799  •  THESIS PREPARATION



For more detail on courses and degree requirements, refer to the Graduate Bulletin.


Click below for a sample program of study.

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PDF icon mfa_lighting_sample_pos.pdf47.27 KB