Scenic Design

Scenic Design, part of the Live Design and Production program at The University of Texas at Austin, includes a mastery of both traditional and modern techniques as applicable to all forms of narrative design. Strong emphasis is placed upon script analysis and the interpretation of story and character. Drawing, rendering, drafting and model-building, both in conventional and digital media, are central components of the program.

The Scene Design program aims to develop students' artistry while providing a foundational knowledge of skills and technological tools to serve tomorrow's storytellers in the theatre as well as a variety of other creative endeavors including opera, film, television, art installations, exhibit design, theme parks and retail space.

We consider Scene Design to be an area of work and study that is in conversation with all other disciplines throughout The University of Texas at Austin's graduate program. The M.F.A. in Theatre with a specialization in live design is a three-year, 60 hour course of study consisting of four components: the design studio, skill-building, realized productions and critical thinking/writing, culminating in a unique thesis of the student's own invention. Two candidates per discipline are admitted each year to a program of 30 students - a small group within the large department.


In addition to the The University of Texas at Austin's Graduate School requirements, we require that students submit a portfolio of work online or by mail for review. 

Students must own a laptop computer with a required suite of software and a removable USB drive of at least 100GB.

Design Opportunities  

Students typically assist a graduate student in their first semester and are then assigned production designs in the spring. Assignments generally include one major produced design per year with other, smaller opportunities surrounding the central project (as available). Scenic Design graduates emerge with a full portfolio of realized work across a variety of genres.

Conference and Internship Opportunities 

The program is primarily completed on campus, although we do encourage travel and participation for professional and cultural education. The Prague Quadrennial, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), design assistance opportunities and study abroad have often been part of the student experience during graduate school at the university. Many students have participated in internship programs at major theaters, major opera companies, design studios and television studios. In some cases, partial financial support is available from the university for these opportunities. 

National Portfolio 

The University of Texas at Austin's Scenic Design graduates may participate in The National Design Portfolio Review in New York and/or Design Showcase West in Los Angeles. 

Download Sample Degree Plan



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seats in a black box theatre


From studios to stages, see what facilities make up the F. Loren Winship Drama Building.

two hats displayed as part of a showcase.

UT Live Design and Production Showcase

An annual presentation and celebration of the work of students in the UT Live Design and Production area.