School of Theater

MFA Program

Head of Lighting Design:
Anne Militello

By the time they graduate, MFA Lighting Design students will:

  • Have a complete command of the theatrical and concert lighting design process, including developing a conceptual approach, creating the required drafting and paperwork on up to date computer software and clearly and successfully articulating designs.
  • Have produced original and expressive artistic work for the stage, reflected in a unique professional level design portfolio.
  • Have the intellectual, technical and creative skills to embark on a professional career as a lighting designer.
  • Be effective collaborators and communicators.
  • Have the skills to create design presentations using computer aided rendering and animation.
  • Have historical knowledge of the development of light as a medium in the fine arts, theater and architecture. Have the knowledge of scientific discoveries of the physiological effects of lighting and lighting design.
  • Have a command of the methodology  of the architectural lighting design process, including immersive environments including developing a conceptual approach, creating the required drafting and paperwork.
  • Have an understanding of the work and methodology of design of environmental lighting design
  • Have the understand of and ability to program state-of-the-art lighting consoles and the ability to use intelligent lighting fixtures.

MFA Lighting Design Curriculum


Every student is assigned a faculty mentor who is responsible for guiding the student through the artistic and academic programs. CalArts emphasizes the creation of strong student-to-faculty relationships which enable students to draw from their instructors’ knowledge and creative spirit. Although students are initially assigned to a mentor, they have the freedom to change mentors at any point, and the student-mentor relationship continues throughout the student’s time at CalArts.

Apply to CalArts

For application requirements, please visit

If you wish to speak to a counselor for useful information on assembling a portfolio for admission, more information about our program, or for general questions about the application process, please email, or call (661) 255-1050.

Last edited by rsdavid on Dec 01, 2016
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