The Theatre Design/Technology MFA Program

This two- and three-year MFA program provides professional training in the following areas of theatre design and technology:

  1. scenic design
  2. costume design
  3. lighting design
  4. technical direction/production management

MFA students design and mount productions for theatre, opera, and dance, and occasionally for film. We prepare our MFA students for a professional career, equipping the designer and technical director for today and the future.

The MFA program in theatre design/technology is exceptional because of its:

  • curriculum, which is balanced between studio studies and practical experience
  • facilities, which are among the finest in the country for teaching design/technology
  • collaborative environment: our MFA students work with other students who are being professionally trained as choreographers, actors, musicians, dancers, and singers
  • hands-on training: students design and mount productions themselves, instead of executing productions designed by the faculty
  • affordability: we provide superior professional training at low SUNY tuition

Classes on the MFA level are small, personal, and intensive, and admission to the program is highly selective, in the master-apprentice tradition. Only a small number of students are admitted to the program—perhaps two or three in each area of specialization. Classes and seminars have an approximate ratio of five students to one teacher. In addition, internships may be arranged for qualified students to work with a number of leading professional designers, at selected regional theatres, in scene shops, and with professional union crews.

About the Curriculum
During the three-year program, skills are developed and refined under careful faculty guidance and instruction. It is expected that applicants specialize in one or perhaps two areas, although they receive training in all areas of design and technology as needed. While there is a basic core curriculum, classes and requirements are tailored to each student’s needs and abilities. The course of study varies in credits from 60 to 85, depending on individual qualifications. In some instances, the faculty may approve a two-year course of study for very advanced students.

About Our Alumni
The success of our MFA alumni demonstrates the quality and success of the program. The majority are now working in their chosen fields on Broadway and Off Broadway, at regional theatres, on major films, in television, in dance, at the Metropolitan Opera, at the Philadelphia Opera, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, at several Las Vegas showrooms, and at scene shops in New York and Hollywood. Many report that the Purchase “network” continues among former students, helping them pursue their careers and locate job openings.

Faculty: Please refer to the BFA Program for a list of the theatre design/technology faculty.

For additional information and updates during 2013–2015, please visit

Arrow up icon | << Conservatory of Theatre Arts home