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Theater Design and Technology

Start building a firm foundation as a theater professional on day one and then decide whether you want to focus more closely on the design or the technical aspects of your major.

If design is your preference, you can specialize in set design, costume design, and/or lighting design. If you like theater’s technical side, explore scene construction or painting, lighting, properties, costumes, or sound design.

The bachelor of fine arts program is appropriate if you want to pursue a degree in entertainment design or technology. If you want a broader curriculum in the liberal arts, a bachelor of science in drama with an emphasis on technical theater is also available.

About VPA

Home to the visual and performing arts at Syracuse, VPA supports the creative process and professional development. The College is divided into seven areas: the School of Art; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the School of Design; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; the Department of Film and Media Arts; and the Department of Creative Arts Therapy.


Sample courses for theater design and technology majors include:

  • Media, Methods, and Materials in Theatrical Design
  • Scene Design
  • Theatrical Costume Design
  • Stage Lighting
  • Development of Theater and Drama

View official major requirements.

Practical Experience

Work with department of drama faculty directors and designers on main stage productions. The professional staff at Syracuse Stage will collaborate with you and may even produce your designs. Assisting guest designers and completing an internship will also enrich your college experience at Syracuse.

The facilities you’ll have access to at Syracuse University are all first rate: the Theater Design Center features three design studios, crafts rooms, a LightBox, CAD lab, and design library. Performance spaces include a 500-seat proscenium, a 25-seat theater, and a smaller Loft Theater.

Immerse yourself in the  Tepper Semester —a unique residency program in New York City that nurtures your creative, intellectual, and personal growth. Intensify your artistic training and deepen your understanding of the business side of stage management while living in New York’s Theater District and attending classes on Theatre Row.

Work with a distinguished group of industry professionals—many of whom are Syracuse Drama alumni—who visit campus as guest artists each year. Recent guest artists include: Vanessa Williams ’85, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winning actor/singer; Nick Corley ’81, actor/director; Tony Walton, Emmy, Academy, and Tony Award-winning designer; and Joan Schirle, founding artistic director of the Dell’Arte Company.

Study Abroad

As a theater design and technology major, you will have the opportunity to spend a semester immersed in the theater world of London where you can participate in an exchange program with Rose Bruford College. You can also take advantage of study abroad opportunities in Florence, Italy. 

Life After Syracuse University

As a College of Visual and Performing Arts graduate with a major in theater design and technology, you can explore such careers as:

  • Art director
  • Fashion designer
  • Film or stage director
  • Museum exhibit designer
  • Theater, film, and TV technician
  • Web designer