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Scene Design Curriculum

A plan of study will be tailored to meet your individual needs with the guidance of your MFA committee consisting of three members of the faculty.

That plan of study will include six hours of Company Core, (491 and 492). Company Core, the cornerstone of the collaborative approach that is fostered in the School of Theatre and Dance, is a two-semester course that is team taught by members of the design and directing faculty.

You will explore methods and techniques to work cooperatively to create exciting and provocative theatre through open discussion with your MFA colleagues.

Other curricular highlights:

  • You are encouraged to name a secondary design emphasis and complete courses in that specialty.
  • Additional course work available in the Wonsook Kim School of Art and the Arts Technology program.
  • Courses in Rendering, Scene Painting, Computer Graphics and Styles of Art and Architecture are available.

Design Opportunities

A major goal of the program is to develop a strong portfolio of realized designs. You can expect to be assigned a major design each semester of your enrollment beginning with your second semester in the program. You will also be assigned work as a prop master or as a paint charge on other productions in the School of Theatre and Dance season.

The faculty consider the pedagogical needs of each of graduate candidate first when assigning designs for each production season. You will also work with directors whom are members of the faculty or candidates in the MFA Directing program.


Our students work in the following Illinois State facilities:

  • Center for the Performing Arts  Theatre, a 500-seat proscenium style theatre (24 feet high by 38 feet wide), 45 line sets, 75-foot grid, multiple stage traps, spiral lift orchestra pit, excellent sightlines and ample wing space.
  • Westhoff Theatre  is a 125-seat thrust style space, features a 24 foot by 32 foot playing area, 21 line sets, and two stage traps center stage.

Additional highlights:

  • Well-equipped scene shop adjoins each theatre and includes a CNC router and a metal shop.
  • A prop shop and storage area are close to the shop and includes an excellent stock of furniture, dressing and set pieces.
  • Each of your designs will be supported with a full production staff including a technical director, prop master and crew members. Often, the team will also include a charge artist.