Parents   |   Community   |   Current Students   |   Faculty & Staff  

Conservatory of
Theatre Arts

Degree Programs & Minors


Faculty & Staff

Purchase Repertory Theatre

Theatre & Performance Productions

Home / Academic Programs / Arts / Theatre Arts / Theatre Design/Technology MFA

Theatre Arts Banner

The Theatre Design/Technology MFA Program | Concentrations | Courses | Faculty

The Theatre Design/Technology MFA Program: Graduate Courses

The MFA program in theare design/technology is currently undergoing revision and is closed to admission.



Theatre Technology I
TDT 5010
and 5020 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An introduction to theories of technical production, methods, and planning, with emphasis on advanced technical drafting of scenery and safety practices.

Scene Design I
TDT 5030
and 5040 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Basic principles and practice of scene design, including script analysis. Composition and focus in scene design, developing acting areas, entrances, exits, and movement patterns. Research period architecture, art, and dress while refining drafting skills: complete ground plans and sections with masking, fully drafted elevations, color sketches, and a white model. All of these areas have preliminary, refined, and finished stages. Fall: Greek play with classical elements in period and Molière play with limitations of period style. Spring: Modern plays, one with exterior and one with period interior box set with ceiling.

Costume Design I
TDT 5050
and 5060 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An introduction to concept, costume rendering, character extension, and historical research.

Lighting Design I
TDT 5070
and 5080 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An introduction to concept-based lighting design in the theatre. Through play analysis and practical lab exercises, students begin to comprehend the connections between color, equipment, angles of light, etc. and how these are used to support their ideas and feelings on stage. Students also obtain a basic knowledge of lighting rendering, equipment, history, theory, drafting, etc., and have the opportunity to observe working professionals during technical and dress rehearsals of outside productions.

Costume Construction I
TDT 5081
and 5090 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Training in costume construction: hand-sewing techniques, machine operations, pattern layout, and fabric identifications.

Properties Construction I
TDT 5100
/ 3 credits / Every year
Craft training in the construction of stage properties: learning basic approaches to upholstery and drapery, learning different sculpturing techniques, and creating prop lists with an emphasis on research, both historical and pictorial. Visual resources are used to push students out of their comfort zone in the ways they approach projects (both independently and in groups, depending on the project).

Theatre Technology II
TDT 5100
and 5120 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Focuses on the advanced technologies needed to understand and build complete structures. Topics include live load and structural computations, wood vs. steel structures, and rigging practices for large loads. An intensive research/drafting project is required.

Scene Design II
TDT 5130
and 5140 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Students learn to develop a cohesive, unified design for a multiset show. Topics include finding design elements that flow through each set to give the sense of style and unity, working out ground plans and scene changes to assure speed and practicality, and using historical plays from several periods to evoke a sense for period style. Full drafting and model building with intensive work on sketching and rendering techniques to develop presentation-quality sketches.

Costume Design II
TDT 5150
and 5160 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
A continuation of TDT 5060, with emphasis on character and script analysis and on developing skills in color, line, proportion, scale, movement, and rhythm. Study involves historical reality and stylization with projects that address design theory and practical problems, research and chart making, as well as conceptualizing designs for dance, drama, and opera. Rendering technique workshops are included.

Lighting Design II
TDT 5170
and 5180 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Continued study of lighting design principles, with emphasis on drafting and design of full-scale, concept-based light plots for the theatre.

Arrow up icon 


Theatre Technology III
TDT 5210
and 5220 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
A seminar covering a mixture of advanced scenery construction techniques and the set of managerial skills required to be a working professional in the industry. Typically includes field trips to production venues in New York City, including shops, theatres, and studios, together with mock interviews and production/shop scenarios.

Scene Design III
TDT 5230
and 5240 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Design projects developed to meet the needs of each student. Furthers the skill sets needed to become a working professional in the many mediums of scenic design.

Stage Carpentry
TDT 5245
/ 2 credits / Fall
An expansion of the theories and practices of stagecraft in a studio setting. Includes standard practices involved in stagecraft and accepted construction techniques.

Costume Design III
TDT 5250
and 5260 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Advanced design projects developed to meet the needs of each student. Furthers the skill sets needed to become a working professional in the many mediums of costume design.

Lighting Design III
TDT 5270
and 5280 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Advanced work in concept-based lighting design, preparing students to enter the professional community. Through class projects, lab exercises, guest lectures, and field trips, students master a wide range of lighting design mediums (e.g., theatre, opera, dance, television, video, corporate theatre, architectural). Students are exposed to automated and advanced lighting equipment, control consoles, channel assignment theory, the business of lighting, and industry leaders.

Advanced Graduate Production
TDT 5290
/ 6 credits
Frequency and description unavailable.

Scene Painting I
TDT 5300
and 5310 / 2 credits (per semester) / Every year
An exploration of the techniques of large-scale, realistic painting through a series of critiqued exercises in the rendering of various materials and textures.

Production III
TDT 5400
and 5410 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An intensive studio course in which students are assigned to designer/technical director, crew head, and/or other crew positions.

Costume Construction II
TDT 5420
and 5430 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Familiarizes students who are interested in a career in costume construction and/or design with the basics of textiles and related crafts. Focuses on textile identification, fiber classifications and painting, distressing/aging, and other related textile crafts.

Stage Makeup
TDT 5440
and 5450 / 1 credit (per semester) / Every year
Makeup begins with basic corrective work on the student’s own facial structure and progresses to characterization work with hair, putty, and beards, aiming throughout to learn the makeup requirements of the major style periods and specialties like fantasy characters, animals, and clowns.

Rendering and Graphic Techniques
TDT 5460
and 5470 / 2 credits (per semester) / Every year
Focuses on the development of painting and sketching techniques in all categories of theatre design. The primary goal is to assist student designers and technicians in pictorial explanations of their ideas.

Introduction to Sound Design
TDT 5480
/ 2 credits / Spring
A hands-on, introductory audio course in which students learn how to use sound in practical and creative ways, in three phases of production: acquisition, manipulation, and reproduction. Students also learn some of the history of artists and makers who use sound as their medium, as well of some of the technical and theoretical aspects of how sound is created and perceived.

Arrow up icon 


Production IV
TDT 5500
and 5510 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An intensive studio course in which students are assigned to design, technical direct, assist, and hold crew head and/or crew positions.

Vector Works
TDT 5520
/ 3 credits / Fall
Covers the computer-aided drafting and graphic standards for lighting design used in the industry. Extensive out-of-class work is required.

Sources of Stage Design
TDT 5540
/ 3 credits / Fall
Lectures and research assignments in historical modes of decorative art and ornamentation (Greek through 18th century).

Costume Construction III
TDT 5560
and 5570 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
Fall: Construction techniques for dance costumes using stretch fabrics, including patterning, cutting, sewing, and fitting techniques. Also basic principles and construction of tutus and other classical dance costumes. Spring: Tailoring with an overview of the development of the three-piece suit (style details and construction). Basic techniques used in traditional tailoring and an exploration of theatrical methods of tailoring. Alteration techniques and some pattern making are included.

Introduction to Stage Management
TDT 5590
/ 3 credits / Frequency unavailable
An introduction to the fundamental skills of stage management through each phase of the production process: preproduction, first rehearsal, rehearsal period, preparing for the tech, technical rehearsals, previews, opening, running of the show, and closing.

TDT 5600
/ 3 credits / Spring
Basic drafting skills for professional theatrical applications. Lettering, line weight, measuring, drawing with accuracy and clarity, drafting conventions, dimensioning, and drafting simple units and theatre plans and sections. Ground plans and elevations of each flat with details of door and panel moldings, all with descriptive cross-sections showing dimensions. Students must purchase their own supplies.

Graduate Seminar in Conceptualization for Designers
TDT 5640
and 5650 / 1.5 credits (per semester) / Every year
Description unavailable.

Production Management
TDT 5660
/ 3 credits / Spring
This detailed look at the position of a production manager on Broadway takes students from the design process to the load-out of a show and introduces them to the inner workings of a Broadway musical and play.

Arrow up icon 


Title modified Spring 2015 (10/13/14):
Collaborative Process
TDT 5705
/ 2 credits / Spring
An analysis of current theatrical practices and the interaction of designer, technician, stage manager, actor, and director. Guest lecturers include leading industry figures who stress the various methods of collaboration.

Backstage and Beyond
TDT 5710
/ 3 credits / Fall
The study of professionals, shops, and organizations that have played an important role in realizing productions, events, and other live entertainment presentations. The histories of prominent individuals and companies are explored to help piece together an understanding of how the modern production process works. Assignments include research papers and presentations on individuals, organizations, and/or production shops.

CAD for the Theatre
TDT 5720
and 5730 / 3 credits (per semester) / Every year
An introduction to the theories and practices of computer-aided drafting for theatrical productions, including how to draw and organize DWG files so that a designer can express his or her designs to anyone working in the field. Emphasis is also placed on communication skills to help students become comfortable discussing projects with directors, other designers, and future employers. Includes in-class participation, lectures, practical exercises, and critiques.

Seminar in Production Design/Art Direction
TDT 5770
/ 3 credits / Spring
Advanced studies in the art of scenery for film and television. Explores similarities to and differences from the theatrical model involved in the creation of the changing frame with varying camera angles.

TDT 5880
/ 1 credit / Spring
Discussion of the skill sets, techniques, and requirements needed to enter the professional community.

Discontinued Spring 2014 (7/16/13):
TAC 5100/Graduate Seminar in History of the Theatre
TDT 5690/Directing for Stage Managers

Arrow up icon 

Please direct updates for this page to the managing editor in the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs. To add a course, please refer first to the Faculty Handbook.

Theatre Arts Theatre Design Technology MFA Program Banner

For course schedules:
course search