Costume Design Emphasis

Student working in costume shop

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design and Technology with an emphasis in Costume Design and Construction is an intensive, pre-professional training program, coupled with the traditional college experience. At Penn State, you will be part of a top-tier training program in Costuming while obtaining an excellent well-rounded education as a part of General Education requirements for the University.

B.F.A. candidates receive comprehensive training in all areas of production design and technology before focusing on their specific area.

Students with an emphasis in Costume Design take courses in:
–A comprehensive sequence of beginning and advanced classroom exercises in Costume Design
–Graphic and presentation techniques utilizing both digital and traditional media
 –Basic and advanced costume construction techniques including draping, flat patterning, sewing skills for the theatre, tailoring, fabric modification, wig dressing, and mask making
–Basic and advanced stage make-up projects
 –In depth History of Fashion classes and projects in textile studies

Practical production experience along with our exceptional faculty is the strengths of our B.F.A. program. Exciting design opportunities and stimulating production assignments are a fundamental component of students’ experience at Penn State. We strive to create a challenging, yet nurturing environment for our students, enabling them to fully develop their intellectual and artistic potential.

We strongly encourage students’ exposure to professional theatre, and many of our students spend their summers working with professional theatre companies around the country. Visiting artists are periodically on site joining artistic production teams, conducting workshops, and working hand in hand with the student body. The professional producing arm of the School of Theatre, Penn State Centre Stage, enables costume students even greater and more direct contact with artists working in the industry. In addition, students are exposed to “hands on” research in our historic clothing collection of over 1,000 garments and accessories. Field trips to museums, costume exhibits, and exposure to New York City commercial theatre resources enhance campus studies on a regular basis.

a selection of costumes from our costume shop

The state-of-the-art facilities in the School of Theatre include:
–Dedicated design studios/computer Mac lab
–Newly renovated 380-seat proscenium theatre –250-seat thrust theatre and 120-seat proscenium theatre in the heart of downtown State College
 –Well-equipped Costume Department consisting of a newly renovated costume shop with fitting area, millinery and craft shop, fabric modification and dye facilities, hair and wig area, sewing laboratory, and historic clothing research library.
–Professional Costume Shop Faculty and Staff include a full-time shop manager, head cutter/draper, resident tailor, costume technology specialist, and craftsman/millinery professional.

Upon graduation, students are well qualified to continue training in an advanced degree program or move directly into the industry. Recent alumni have gone 
on to attend graduate training programs at: Carnegie- Mellon University, The Juilliard School, The University of California, Irvine, and The University of Texas at Austin. Various graduates working in the profession hold positions with: Cirque de Soleil (Las Vegas), Glimmerglass Opera, Utah Shakespearian Festival, and freelance design positions in New York City.


Logo for United Scenic Artists


Logo for Stage Directors and Choreographers Society


Contact Us

Address: Penn State School of Theatre, 116 Theatre Building, University Park, PA 16802 USA.

Office: (814) 865 7586

Fax: (814) 865 5754

Tickets: (814) 863 0255