Architectural Lighting Design, Minor


Engage, excite, and educate students about architectural lighting design by offering the definitive dynamic undergraduate lighting minor in an accredited interior design program.


Begun with a Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education grant in 1996, lighting design at TCU emerged into an interdisciplinary lighting minor with a dedicated, well equipped educational lighting lab in two years. The Lighting Designer in Residence program has attracted a veritable who’s who of lighting design including Paul Gregory, Chip Israel, Jonathan Speirs, and Anne Militello.

The Center for Lighting Education, established in 1998 and unique to this area of the country, provides students and professionals hands on experiential learning opportunities and the ability to mock-up retail design vignettes in order to evaluate the impact of lighting. The Center offers students lessons on energy efficiency, the use of color, angles and intensities to create different moods and atmospheres for retail purposes.


The 18-hour Architectural Lighting Design minor is an interdisciplinary minor intended for any student wanting to learn more about how lighting impacts the display of visual merchandise in interior environments. Furthermore, the lighting minor is especially intended to enhance the design programs of fashion merchandising, interior design, and theater. An interdisciplinary series of lighting courses provide lighting education across the complete spectrum of experiences that a practicing Interior Designer, or Lighting Designer, might encounter in professional practice. Additionally, the lighting minor strengthens the studio design experience by adding lighting knowledge throughout the curriculum. Finally, the lighting minor emphasizes actual hands-on lighting experiences through the Theater courses and the Lighting for Visual Presentation class which includes the Lighting Designer in Residence series.


Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising students are required to complete their internship during the summer between their junior and senior years. The students are assisted in their internship placement and are monitored throughout the experience. Students with the lighting minor have selected internships within their discipline and this area of specialization. Examples of Internship sites include: Steelman Partners – Las Vegas, NV; Archilume – Austin, TX; Johnson Light Studio – New York City; Bouyea & Associates – CT; and Craig Roberts Associates – Dallas, TX.


Lighting minors have a variety of choices after graduation. Visual merchandising, architectural lighting design, interior design, sales, and graduate school are among the most common choices. While a graduate degree is not required to practice, many students opt for this route if they want to learn more about lighting or if they wish to work as a College Professor in the future. Previous lighting minors have attended Parsons The New School for Design in New York, NY while others have opted to attend graduate school for Masters Degrees in Architecture with an emphasis in Lighting at such institutions as the University of Las Vegas.

Job placement for graduates with the lighting minor is excellent because the minor provides students with a specialized knowledge base that most design programs do not offer. Lighting minors are in demand upon graduation and often return to work with the organization for which they interned.


TCU lighting minors have received external industry scholarships and grants in support of their academic studies as well as funding to attend local, regional, national and international conferences. Past funding has included IALD Education Trust Student Stipends, Nuckolls Fund Jules Horton International Student Achievement Awards, Nuckolls Fund Jonas Bellovin Scholar Achievement Awards GE’s Lighting Institute and North Texas IES Chapter.

A semester abroad Italy travel program is available as an additional component of the curriculum. Lighting students have also studied abroad in Paris.

Students have the opportunity to affiliate with local sections of professional organizations including International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). Student memberships are available for both organizations.


The interdisciplinary minor is open to all TCU students. Design professionals and community members interested in the lighting courses may sign up through TCU Extended Education. Minor course requirements vary depending on the student’s declared major. Details are outlined below.


IDFM 20503 Fundamentals of Lighting
IDFM 20513 Digital Media in Lighting
IDFM 40513 Senior Thesis in Lighting

Plus (3) of the below courses (*for ID Majors (4) of the below courses):

IDFM 30503 Lighting and the Human Experience
IDFM 30513 Lighting for Interior Design I
IDFM 40503 Lighting for interior Design II
ARST 20743 Photography
ARGD 10143 Graphic Design Intro to Visual Communications
DANC 30333 Lighting & Design for Dance
THEA 21413 Stage Lighting
THEA 41413 Adv. Stage Lighting