Lighting Design Student from Rose Bruford College on stage programming a show

What you'll study

This course is intended to guide your development towards a successful career in lighting for live performance, film, screen and architecture.

You will learn on a campus with fully equipped lighting labs and venues with highly experienced teachers and industry-standard equipment. The course begins with lighting design for theatre then grows into an exploration of lighting design in corporate events, film, dance, architecture, and live music. Together, we develop your creative skills and ambitions so you can become a powerful, resourceful craftsperson and artist with a unique and individual voice.


Clearing applications are now open. Apply through clearing here.

Rose Bruford College Lighting Design Students in the Rose Theatre

Why choose this course?

Academic education and practical learning

You will learn through class work and practice, designing and creating your own original work and projects through collaboration and experimentation across all three years of the course

Industry real facilities

In addition to designing and working in the three college venues and London venues, the three fully equipped scale lighting laboratories on campus allow you to experiment and create complex and subtle lighting rigs to reflect lighting schemes

Learn from visiting professionals

Visiting professional tutors include: Rick Fisher (Billy Elliot, Swan Lake), Willie Williams (U2, Lady Gaga, David Bowie), Charlie Morgan Jones (Avenue Q), Kevin Sleep (Head of Lighting, ENO), Patrick Woodroffe (Jubilee Concert, Rolling Stones, Take That, Elton John), Lucy Carter (Royal Opera House, ENO, Royal Ballet).

Build your portfolio with real experience

You will take part in and lead realised projects across theatre, live music and events with opportunities to design your own work and take on the role of LD and/or assistant LD. From large projects to small-scale experimental work, installations to full scale performances in central London

Professional contacts and experience

Throughout the course, we connect you with leading professional lighting designers, managers and lighting companies and in your second year, you will undertake an industry placement. We also help and encourage work and non-assessed placements within the industry

Industry specialists and mentoring

Visiting industry specialists regularly teach on subjects from colour theory to software. Professional Lighting Designers also mentor you on show roles and projects - letting you feel supported whilst flexing your design skills

Rose Bruford College lighting effect in a show

Course breakdown

Course content is regularly reviewed to keep it relevant and current. Course modules are therefore subject to change.

Year 1

In your first year, you explore the medium of light. Lab-based design projects encourage freedom to experiment and develop your own individual creative style and language. Modules include:

  • Introduction to lighting design
  • Light and culture – lighting design in its wider cultural and artistic context
  • Lighting design practice – light as part of time-based art forms, visual perception and communication, storyboarding, Vectorworks, production paperwork
  • Light and performance – light and narrative, lighting as an integral part of a performance, working with directors, performers and other designers – Research and analysis of performance and the industry

Year 2

Your second year focuses on applying your understanding of light. Modules include:

  • Lighting practice – Lighting Designer, Lighting Manager, Assistant Lighting Designer roles
  • Industry study/placement
  • Production processes and techniques
  • Creative practice and research – light as a pure art-form
  • Research and context

Year 3

In your final year, you explore how you relate to the use of light. You will also be supported with bespoke careers advice. Modules include:

  • Lighting practice – one or more in-College roles as Lighting Designer or Head of Lighting
  • Researching and creating a live experiment in lighting as part of a collaborative team
  • Professional preparation
  • Independent research project (practical or written dissertation)
  • Graduate exhibition

Teaching and assessment methods

Alongside typical group lessons, you will be taught in a variety of ways including: 

  • Individual and small-group tutorials with Bruford lecturers and visiting professionals 
  • Small group seminars which question, broaden and expand philosophical ideas around art and design
  • Practical workshops on technical skills
  • Learning by doing and being led by example, eg: crewing fit-ups in year 1 
  • Shared modules to all students on creative and technical courses covering a diverse range of topics from academic skills and working environmentally sustainably to business plans and industry funding models 
  • Collaborating with performance students to embed lighting within small scale performances as part of a rehearsal process

Programme summaries

Get a flavour

Play video

Your future career

Rose Bruford College Lighting Design students attaching lights to a lighting rig

Career development is supported throughout the course, with particular emphasis on working with industry professionals to offer bespoke advice in your final year. We aim to put you in front of and amongst the profession.

This includes the opportunity to network and undertake a placement as well as introduce your work to the industry at our graduate exhibition in London. We will also help you plan your career and build a portfolio by working on productions and projects either in the College, in external venues or with outside partners and organisations.

Alumni success

Charlie Morgan Jones

Wagner Ring Cycle, Avenue Q, Derren Brown: Underground, London Fashion Week, Eden Project - Rainforest at Christmas

Jessica Hung Han Yun

KOI award winner, work includes work at Royal Court, Lyric Hammersmith, Sheffield Crucible, Manchester Royal Exchange, Donmar Warehouse, Edinburgh Festival

Ben Cracknell

West End, Fellow of Rose Bruford College

Matthew Pitman

Gorillaz, Dua Lipa

Joe Vose

Designer, Orlight

Robin Barton

Creator of Lamp and Pencil and Hon Fellow of Rose Bruford College

4 graduates shortlisted for 2019 Knight of Illumination (KOI) awards

Wins for Ben Cracknell - Concert Touring & Events category and Jessica Hung Han Yun - Theatre category

Careers options

Our graduates leave us as creative and resourceful lighting artists and engineers, able to marry art with technology and the conceptual with the practical. Graduates have gone on to work in lighting roles for theatre, dance, opera, architecture, concert and corporate events. And studying an Arts related subject gives you a wide range of transferable skills that can be put to use in many careers. Recent graduates have gone on to become:

  • Lighting Designer, Theatre
  • Lighting Designer, Theme Park
  • Lighting Designer, Concert/Touring
  • Lighting Designer, Architecture
  • Associate Lighting Designer
  • Head of Lighting; Lighting Programmer
  • Production Electrician/Chief Lx
  • Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
  • Electricians and electrical fitters
  • Science, engineering and production technicians
  • Arts officers producers and directors
  • Set designers
  • Business sales executives
  • Freelance and Creative start-ups

Meet the staff

Rose Bruford College Lighting Design Subject leader Ben Ratcliffe
Ben Ratcliffe

Subject Leader Lighting Design

Read their profile
Chloe Kenward Lighting Design Lecturer at Rose Bruford College
Chloe Kenward

Lecturer in Lighting Design

Read their profile

How to join

UK/Republic of Ireland and international applicants

For 2022 entry, please apply via

Institution code: R51

Course code: W4W2

64 UCAS points*

This is equivalent to two Cs at ‘A’ level or one Merit and two Passes at BTEC (QCF) National Diploma or equivalent.

*We offer places based upon your future potential. We may offer you a place based on lower UCAS points than shown here, or an offer that is not linked to UCAS points if we have evidence of your potential from your application or portfolio review.


Our Portfolio page gives an overview of what we will ask you to provide once we receive your application.


Course Summary


3 years

Mode of study

Full time

Start date

September 2022

Course Type

Undergraduate Course


BA (Hons)

Course Fees (2022 Entry)

UK/Republic of Ireland students (Fee per year)


International students (Fee per year)


Funding and Support Additional Costs

So, ready?