The degree program in design and costume technology offers concentrations in scenic design, costume design, lighting design, and costume technology. The scenic, costume, and lighting programs require 130-135 credits, including 12 performance project credits in a major production design, costume technology project, or internship. All graduating design and technology students are required to present a portfolio of their work at the final portfolio reviews in the second and third years. The portfolio must include a current résumé. A minimum full-time residency of 3.5 years is required.
The design program takes a conservatory approach, setting aside the first year to build a solid base in the classic skills and techniques that all theater design and production specialists must have. The second and third years expand on that base by examining thoroughly the theory and practice of the design and technical process. Classes are taught by professional designers and technicians who are active in the field. Students work on departmental productions, and each person gets production and design assignments based on his or her ability and the availability of work. Costume technology students are given equivalent assignments in their fields.
Students spend the fall semester of the third year at the Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare's Globe in London where they study with distinguished British designers and take full advantage of London's dynamic theater and cultural opportunities. The fall 3.5 semester focuses on career transition.
Year 1 -
The first year provides a comprehensive review of the foundations of theater history, and design theory and skills. All first-year students take core classes together, providing a strong sense of community and an appreciation of the collaborative nature of theater. Design students begin to focus on foundation classes in their own majors to develop the theory and skills needed to work professionally.
Year 2 - The second year builds on the foundations learned in the first year and provides more in-depth explorations into these foundations of theater through the global theater class, which analyzes current theater styles and theories across the globe. Advanced study of design topics in the student's major continues, with electives in specialized skills. Additional electives in other design and academic disciplines are encouraged.
Year 3 - Students spend the fall semester of their third year in residence in London at Shakespeare's Globe where they study with distinguished British designers and take full advantage of London's dynamic theater and cultural opportunities. Field trips to theater productions, museums, and galleries are all part of the program. Students then return to Rutgers in the spring, pursuing in-depth training in their area of design and begin the first of two thesis projects: fully produced designs for department shows and professional internships in New York City. Additional electives in other design and academic disciplines are encouraged.
Year 3.5 -
Students spend the fall semester of their fourth year studying their specialized design area further in depth while working on their second thesis project. There is also a special focus on career transition. Students enter the profession with a solid foundation in theater history and theory, design theory and skills, and a working understanding of the entertainment business. December graduation launches students into the theater profession five months before graduates of other programs. By cultivating professional contacts developed with the Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty and staff and through professional internships, Mason Gross design graduates are ahead of the game in their transition into the profession.
The professional transition - Immediately following the 3.5 semester, all design students can participate in Rutgers' Design Presentation, a showcase in New York presented to industry professionals. Free of all class obligations, graduates can take immediate advantage of career opportunities.