Welcome to the 2009-10 academic year!

We are very pleased to have you here with us, and we look forward to working with you.  The Costume Design Curriculum is a partnership between the Drama Department faculty,  graduate and undergraduate students and the Costume Shop staff.


The UCI costume curriculum combines design aesthetics with leadership skills and actual industry practice to prepare students for their professional careers.  We emphasize artistic expression, development of artistic response and habits, an understanding of drama in storytelling, negotiating skills and project management for creative teams.    It is not possible to learn any of the performing arts from a book;  these arts have been handed from one generation to the next since the beginning of human history.   Our curriculum reflects this tradition, combining theoretical and classroom learning with practical experience on department shows.

Classroom Learning

Costume class topics rotate on a three year cycle to ensure each student will have the opportunity to study 9 design studio topics, design related skills such as crafts, millinery, textiles and surface modification, draping, and rendering along with academic topics in dramatic literature and history.   Please note, each student must plan ahead to take courses when they are offered, as most classes will not repeat during your time here.

Click here to download the current 3 Year Class rotation 2010 schedule.

Active Learning

We believe the number of design and production opportunities open to each student is a special strength of our program.    Students work on our department shows in several ways: Costume Designer, Assistant Costume Designer or Design Assistant, or as a TA or 240 student creating costume shop projects for department shows.  You will participate in some capacity in most of the shows in our season, and each assignment exposes you one kind of performance.   Our goal is to prepare you, so that when you are hired professionally to do a similar show you will be aware pf the parameters of the show.

We want each design or construction project to be one that you may add to your portfolio.  When you graduate you will have professional quality examples of design renderings, organizational documents and bibles, documentation of sourcing, purchasing, working with rentals houses, dying, millinery, accessory building, surface modification, distressing, and other projects. 

Please approach each assignment as a potential job application, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of your portfolios as you begin each project.  Often these very samples in your portfolio will set you apart from the many others entering the job market.

Guest Artist & Directors Program

Each year UCI brings in a number of guest artists and directors to interact with our students.  In Fall 08 the world famous Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe worked with our students to demonstrate their performance style, costumes and make up techniques.  The 08-09 performance season included a show directed by Romanian guest artist Mihai Maniutiu who re-created his European master work The Bacchae Trilogy with student actors and designers.   The 09-10 season includes a show created with Herbert Sequenza of Culture Clash. We encourage every student to attend rehearsals or workshops with these artists to learn from the masters.

Internships & Partnerships

We offer internship opportunities with such organizations as the South Coast Rep, DisneyLand, The Mark Taper Forum/ Center Theater Group, Western Costume Company and many other organizations.  We also have close partnerships with the Academy of New Music Association to present new musical workshops on campus.  Please note acceptance of any intern by a performing organization is not automatic- the student must work to acquire the skills,  attitude and work ethic for an internship assignment; students must apply through our faculty to the specific organization.    Please talk to your faculty for further details.  We encourage you to use your summers as an opportunity to gain outside work experience.

Additional Design Opportunities

There are a large number of of student and faculty directed work shops , international productions, Chapman College student films and other outside projects.   Working on these projects will augment your portfolio, and we encourage you to stretch your experience this way.    We want you to learn to assess whether a project is really beneficial to you, or if you are being taken advantage of.  Remember, you want a well rounded portfolio that represents your possibilities.  You don’t want to present a book that classifies you as a cheap date!   By your third year, we will advise you switch from UCI unsupported projects to entry level professional projects such as area theaters or short films.

However, if the faculty thinks your class work or production assignments suffer, we will ask you to drop the outside activities.

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