Graduate Programs
Costume Design

The School of Drama Graduate Costume Design Option produces innovative leaders in the design and production fields of clothing for the stage, television, and film industries.

Costume designers consider the human condition and pursue design for theater, dance, opera, film and television. Dynamic training engages critical analysis along with serious artistic development and the study of the many materials and techniques of the field.

Our students are artists and critical thinkers— disciplined multi-taskers who are self-motivated and mature. They possess a realistic knowledge of the business, open positive attitudes, active inquisitive minds and the passionate yet pragmatic goal of entering the profession upon graduation.

Graduate Costume Design students are mentored by a team of leading professionals in all facets of costume design and costume production. Students learn and apply skills needed for a specialized career in the field.


Costume Design students are offered both analytical and artistic coursework to develop holistic artistry. Script analysis and character development balance investigations of the world and style in which the student chooses to design the play. Discreet mini courses exist in Costume Design for the Classics and Costume Design with Music. Intensive historical surveys of clothing, and architecture and décor provide building blocks for design. Rigorous studio instruction in Drawing, Painting and Costume Rendering within School of Drama may be augmented with art and photography courses in the Schools of Art, Design and Architecture.

Essential to the School of Drama Costume program is our philosophical belief that Costume Production be taught alongside Costume Design. Students not only gain important practical knowledge about how they can work withand what they can expect fromtheir future production staffs, but also they learn marketable skills indraping, tailoring, millinery, dyeing and painting, and a constellation of craft courses.

Coursework is also available in Scenography, Design for the Camera, and a multi disciplinary course involving media and experimentation called Future Stages.

Annual resource trips to New York are made with faculty. International students and activities are encouraged through participation in the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design and international summer internships. Renowned alumni, national and international guests present workshops and portfolio reviews annually.

Recent Visiting Artists

  • Mara Blumenfeld
  • Eduardo Castro
  • Deborah Dryden
  • Mariela Gemishevi
  • Hope Hanafin
  • Constance Hoffman
  • Han Lixun
  • Daniel Orlandi
  • Robert Perdziola
  • Mariaèlena Roque
  • Ann Roth


With as many as 20-24 productions annually in the School of Drama—among them The New Works Series, devised work, traditional theater, musicals, opera, dance, television and film—students have ample opportunity to design.

Internships include Costume Design Assistant and Costume Design positions with Quantum Theatre, City Theatre and the Pittsburgh Public Theater.

Advanced students may assist faculty in their work for the profession. Extensive alumni relationships and strong professional associations create opportunities and contacts for students locally, nationally, and internationally.

Unique Platforms

All School of Drama students have to opportunities to participate in the following:

Dance/Light is a performance opportunity for students across all disciplines to collaborate in the creation of original dance and movement pieces.

A Festival of Independent Student Work: Playground is the annual School of Drama three-day performance festival showcasing independent, student-produced work across multiple disciplines.

The Visiting Artists Program brings distinguished national and international guests on to campus to work with students across all disciplines.

The School of Drama Showcase presentations in Pittsburgh, New York, and Los Angeles are designed to give all graduating students from all disciplines the opportunity to meet with and present work to leading arts and entertainment professionals.

Essential to the School of Drama Costume program is our philosophical belief that Costume Design be taught alongside Costume Production.


Graduate Costume Design Curriculum


Claudia Brownlee

Olivera Gajic

Mindy Eshelman

Susan Tsu

Brian Russman

Hugh Hanson

News & Alumni

Your Future

Graduates from the School of Drama Costume Design program work in a range of professional capacities such as designer, assistant designer, draper, shopper, craftsperson and teacher.

    The acclaimed Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama Costume Design Program prepares students for careers in regional and commercial theater, opera, dance, film, television, devised, site specific and new forms of theater making.

    Graduates find employment in theater and entertainment venues throughout the U.S. from New York to Los Angeles and internationally.

    Costume Students from CMU have garnered important national awards in Design and Technology such as the Princess Grace Foundation Award- Daniel Mathews- Pierre Cardin Award, and 5 USITT Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design and Technology Awards: Sophie Schneider, Albulena Borovci, Kimberly Lorentz O’Callaghan, Brandon McWilliams, and Zi Xie. Alumni awards may be seen below.

    Students and alumni have also exhibited award-winning work at the prestigious 2007, 2011 and 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.

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