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CCM: About

CCM: About
The courtyard outside of CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater.

The courtyard outside of CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater.

Academic Programs & Majors

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate programs. Refer to the chart below for more information on the types of degrees offered by each program and click on the degree titles to view specific degree plans.


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Theater Design and Production : Stage Design

What is Theater Design and Production : Stage Design?

Stage Design is the art, craft and practice of designing and implementing theatrical 3-D environments for drama, opera, musical theatre, dance performance, live concert events, film, video and television productions and themed events and environments. Though superficially similar in some ways to interior or architectural design, stage design goes beyond decoration to visually, spatially and environmentally support and thematically expand a script, screenplay or scenario by facilitating human interaction and/or choreography within the context of a theatrical event.

The successful stage design graduate student comes to this program with demonstrated skill and experience in stage design and theatrical production and/or affiliated areas or disciplines. The student must be highly motivated, engaged and excellent at creative problem solving.  Stage designers must be intellectually curious people eager to develop their artistic talents in the visual and decorative arts, be passionate about working collaboratively and enjoy and excel in working with their hands and their minds simultaneously as they expand their skill and knowledge of theatrical design art and practice, and technical production. Effective stage designers must be able to easily visualize objects and environments in 3D and imagine insightful ways to tell a dramatic story moving through time and space.  

Graduate students seeking Assistantships with tuition remission and stipends must have demonstrated experience in scenic painting and/or prop making and be highly motivated, organized and excellent creative problem solvers and eager to work with their hands.

Career Possibilities

Theatrical stage designer; Theatrical stage design studio assistant; Theme Park attraction designer; Film, video, or media production designer or set designer; Exhibit designer: Event designer; Concert set design

Undergraduate and graduate Stage Design, Scenic Painting, and Prop Making students of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) have been, or are now currently employed in design, drafting, model making, scenic panting, and prop making, and film, media and television design with The Metropolitan Opera, Playwright’s Horizon, Central City Opera, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, South Coast Repertory, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Wolf Trap Opera, Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, The MUNY in Saint Louis, Shakespeare Theater St. Louis, The Denver Theatre Center, Cirque du Soleil, The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Toledo Ballet, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Spoleto Opera Theatre, Chicago Lyric Opera, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Stages St. Louis, American Players Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Glimmerglass Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, Disney, Broadway, and national tours, as well as Art Direction and Set Design for commercial and independent film companies. Representative titles are: James and the Giant Peach, Angels and Demons, House of Cards, X-Men: First Class, Spider Man 3, Shrek 2, Saving Private Ryan, and Little Voice.



The academic advisors for Stage Design, Scenic Painting and Stage Props are:

Professor Thomas C. Umfrid
513 -556-9452

Assistant Professor Mark Halpin 

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

The exemplar faculty and teaching staff are supported by the exceptional facilities. This synthesis optimizes the graduate experience informing and supporting the superb level of instruction.

The department of Theatre Design and Production (TDP) is a separate, centralized department and produces the mainstage and studio productions for the departments of Drama, Musical Theater, Opera and Dance.

Beyond the classrooms and drafting studio, the Design, Scenic Painting and Prop Making students spend much of their time perfecting their skills and developing their talents in the CCM Scenery, Props and Painting Workshops and theatres. The CCM Scene Shop is a generously sized 8,500 square foot space with 24’ clear vertical space and is extremely well equipped. The Scenic Workshop is the centerpiece of the Corbett Center for the Arts and came on line in the late 1990’s and was designed by the architecture firm of Pei, Cobb, and Freed.

Students design for all three main performance spaces: The 740-seat Corbett Auditorium underwent a five-million dollar renovation-the result is one of the most visually striking and acoustically balanced college theatres in the nation. Corbett Auditorium is very well equipped with a 54'-0" proscenium, hydraulic orchestra lift, dimmer-per-circuit lighting and extensive sound and video circuiting. Corbett Auditorium won the prestigious 1997 USITT Meritorious Achievement Award for Outstanding New Theatre.

The 400-seat Patricia Corbett Theater features a modified-thrust stage with a 42'-0" proscenium opening. The Theater recently underwent an extensive half-million dollar lighting system renovation. Designed by Ming Cho Lee - this theater has a Bayreuth style pit and steeply raked intimate seating.

The Cohen Family Studio Theater is a one-of-a-kind flexible space. This venue incorporates a unique architectural 'apse' within the outer structure of a more traditional large black-box with a multitude of staging possibilities through the use of modular seating. The theater, with flexible seating for approximately 150, serves as the home for CCM's workshop series and laboratory productions.

Admission Requirements

For specific admissions information, International student requirements and application deadlines please visit the CCM Admissions website.

Transferring to UC Requirements

Students who have completed graduate courses at another institution can request an evaluation for the transfer of these credits into a CCM degree program. The evaluation of such credits is performed by the divisional faculty who have the instructional responsibility for the particular course(s) in question. Once the evaluation has been completed, a recommendation will be submitted to the director of graduate studies for final approval. No more than 12 semester hours can be transferred, and only courses with at least a grade of B will be considered.

Changing Majors within UC Requirements

Acceptance of transfer credit in those major theatre production courses specifically required for the respective degree programs will be determined by an appropriate audition or examination. In addition to fulfilling UC and CCM changing majors within UC admission requirements: for consideration into Stage Design the applicant must present a portfolio demonstrating artistic proficiency in drawing, painting and crafts work demonstrating, among other skills and talents, a flair for the dramatic and theatrical and an ability to perceive and manipulate space. Prior experience in applied theatrical design and technical production work would be necessary to be considered for entrance into the MFA Stage Design degree program.

Graduation Requirements

Awarding of the degree is dependent upon the successful completion of the final design/research project. For stage design majors, this project will include the research, design, and execution of all necessary paperwork (see course description) for an actual or theoretical design assignment. The project will be accompanied by a written argument of the conceptualization/approach and will be presented and defended orally by the candidate before a selected faculty committee.


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

National Association of the Schools of Theatre (NAST)

University and Resident Theatre Association (URTA) 

Quick Facts

Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theater Design and Production : Stage Design

Full-Time Program Duration

3 Years


Uptown Campus West


Corbett 2440
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0003
Phone: (513) 556-9452
Thomas Umfrid