Study Theatre Design and Technology at the University of Montana
The design of the set, lighting, costumes and sound are defining elements of a theatre production that help to shape an audience’s experience. The bachelor’s degree in theatre design and technology will prepare you for this crucial behind‐the‐scenes role, giving you the opportunity to learn from and work alongside top theatre production professionals in one of the first programs of its kind in the nation.
As a theatre design major at UM, you’ll have opportunities to work on several shows every year, giving you hundreds of hours of hands‐on training and experience that will set you up for success when you graduate. You’ll also benefit from a program that gives you access to the resources and connections of the largest accredited theatre program in the Northwest, while also ensuring individualized learning and personal support through small classes.
You can specialize your bachelor’s degree in scenic design, costume design, lighting design, projection design, sound design and stage management.
productions per year, on average
degrees available: BA, BFA, MA, MFA
UM's student theatre organization formed
Other degree options for theatre at UM
What can you do with a theatre degree?
Alumni of our theatre design and technology degree almost all find jobs after graduation. From working with large theatre companies like Cirque du Soleil and the Los Angeles Opera to providing freelance design services in the United States and abroad, our graduates boast extensive design credits that include Broadway, off Broadway, dance, film, television, concert, sports and industrials.
UM alumni have designed shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike and Molly.” One alumnus recently received an Emmy nomination for his design work on the “Carol Burnett Reunion Show.” Many also go on to attend top graduate training programs at institutions such as Carnegie‐Mellon University, NYU, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and more.
Why employers choose UM theatre production degree graduates
Theatre design professionals work with directors, performers and others involved in creating a theatre production. Our graduates are known for being collaborative, empathetic, highly dedicated, creative professionals who develop their craft through extensive on-the-job training while still in school.
Theatre production jobs
Examples of careers in theatre production and design include:
- Theatre technical designer
- Theatre production manager
- Theatre lighting designer
- Theatre costume designer
- Theatre set designer
- Theatre sound designer
According to Salary.com, the average theatre production manager salary in the United States is $50,305. A theatre lighting technician can expect to earn $38,635 on average each year, while a costume designer makes $39,481. The average theatre set designer salary is $52,115.
Experiential learning in the theatre design and technology degree program
From designing lighting and sound to creating costumes and sets, theatre design majors at UM engage in hands‐on, real‐world training to prepare for careers in the industry.
Hands-on learning in the theatre design major
In addition to working on at least five mainstage productions produced each year by the School of Theatre and Dance at UM, theatre design majors also work and tour with Montana Repertory Theatre on their statewide tour, local productions and their educational outreach productions. Other opportunities include productions with the School of Music and the School of Visual and Media Arts.
Theatre design internships
Several of our theatre majors have worked at Disneyworld and Disneyland, earning credit while learning about performance aspects in theme parks. Additional internship opportunities are available locally with the Montana Repertory Theatre and other organizations. Learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at the University of Montana.
Study abroad in the theatre program
Take your study of theatre production overseas. Our faculty have led several tours in Europe for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, taking students to study theatre production and theatre design in Germany, Czech Republic and Italy.
Career development in the theatre design degree program
Get the support you need to start a successful career in theatre production and design. We actively work with our students in developing portfolios, resumes and job interview skills. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to continue training in an advanced degree program or move directly into the industry.
Networking events for theatre design majors
Find summer work and network with area theatre design professionals. Our Professionals Weekends bring in theatre artists from across the region and lead to offers of summer employment for many of our theatre majors.
Faculty experience in the theatre degree program
Our design faculty work for professional theatres around the world, including major companies such as Santa Fe Opera and the University of British Columbia. Many serve in important leadership roles with organizations such as NAST, ACTF and USITT, and have been published in major journals in the United States and Europe.
Theatre design scholarships
We award $30‐40K in scholarships to students majoring in theatre each year. There are also several work‐study opportunities in the theatre office, box office and the shops. Learn more about theatre scholarship opportunities at UM.
Explore classes in the theatre design and technology major
This program includes classes in theatre production and design, stage management, history of theatre arts and more. Concentrations are available in scenic design, costume design, lighting design, projection design, sound design and stage management.