The Master of Fine Arts Lighting Design program is part of the School of Constructed Environments (SCE), placing degree candidates in direct contact with architects as well as product and interior designers. All students share research and fabrication facilities, are frequently integrated in classes, and work in an open studio environment. SCE encourages lighting designers to pursue interdisciplinary research with these colleagues, and students' collaborations have yielded bold advances in the integration of architectural design and lighting.
An urban landscape and a center for environmental design, New York City affords students of lighting design rich opportunities for learning. Zoning and building regulations, traffic and pedestrian safety, neighborhood integration—each connects the city to lighting design. And as the world becomes increasingly urban, the role of lighting design will grow in step. New York is home to the largest lighting design community in the world. Here students have access to industry-related activities including professional internships and extracurricular activities with leading global practitioners, publishers, manufacturers, and organizations.
Research on the human dimensions of lighting design and the societal—and regulatory—imperatives of sustainable practices ground the Lighting Design program in longstanding university values such as civic and environmental responsibility, global perspective, and collaborative methods. A recent faculty-led workshop combined these values: A partnership led by faculty member Derek Porter with the Florence-based Targetti Foundation brought MFA LD students to Florence for a week long workshop to develop theoretical lighting plans in response to the historic city center.
Other learning experiences arise from Architectural Lighting's annual Light & Architecture Design Awards event, co-hosted by the program, which brings acclaimed international designers to campus. For the awards event, student teams create illuminated environments.
Students are also encouraged to attend trade shows and conferences such as Lightfair International and the Professional Lighting Design Convention, as well as to participate in organizations such as the Designers Lighting Forum of New York, the New York City Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers. Faculty, students, and outside scholars and practitioners share fresh thinking about lighting design in Scapes, SCE's multidisciplinary publication.