Department of Theatre Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts

Costume Design

We will be recruiting for the Costume Design program in the spring of 2018 for admittance the following fall semester.

The MFA program in Costume Design is intended to prepare students for entry into careers in educational or professional theatre and the performing arts.

Emphasis is on the development of a collaborative process that will serve the student throughout his or her career, accomplished through a balanced training program of classes and work on realized productions.

Students are selected for admission on the basis of resumes, interviews, and portfolio reviews. A visit to Purdue is recommended, to allow the student the opportunity to interact with current students and the faculty and staff.

Based on the principle that a good designer is well educated in many areas, Costume Design students take courses in script analysis, theory and criticism, period styles, stage makeup, rendering, costume crafts, and costume design. Emphasis in the costume design classes is on the development of an aesthetic response to a script and the ability to successfully collaborate as part of a design team. The MFA program at Purdue subscribes to the idea that a strong design best rests on a foundation of technical knowledge, and that the study of technology is enriched by an understanding of design.

Upon completion of graduate study, the student should have the ability to communicate, both verbally and through renderings, an understanding of the elements and principles of design. Students should demonstrate skills in costume technology, understand the roles of the director and other designers, and be familiar with the major developments of period style.

During residency, the graduate student serves as costume designer on a variety of productions. Projects range from minimally supported studio productions to main stage productions with full shop support. Training at Purdue culminates in a fully documented terminal design project and a professional internship.

In order to strengthen the relationship between design and technology, those MFA students awarded an assistantship with the Theatre Department work in the Costume Shop as costume technologists.

Costume photo

MFA Costume Design Plan of Study

The applicant is required to interivew with a Purdue representative and submit the following materials when applying to the MFA Costume Design program:

  • Theatrical resume
  • Transcript(s) from all schools attended
  • Statement of goals for undertaking the study of Costume Design
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • The Graduate School application fee is $60 (U.S. dollars) for domestic applicants and $75 (U.S. dollars) for international applicants. You must pay your application fee online with your credit card. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted and processed using a secured online payment system. Your application will not be processed until your nonrefundable application fee has been paid.

Interviews are held at all University/Resident Theatre Association sites or can be arranged at the Purdue campus. Those wishing to be interviewed at U/RTA sites are encouraged to contact Purdue by mail in order to assure an interview with a Purdue representative.

For specific questions regarding the Costume Design MFA program, contact:

Erin Carignan
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Costume Design
Purdue Theatre
Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts
552 W. Wood Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2002

765-494-2144
e-mail: ecarigna@purdue.edu

Purdue University
College of Liberal Arts
Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts

For general information about Purdue Theatre, please call:

Rosie Starks 
765-494-3080
Fax: 765-496-1766
e-mail: rstarks@purdue.edu

Click here for application information or to apply on-line. (Select "Theatre" as the area of study.)

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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