Design

Application Requirements

M.F.A. and Certificate

The Design application (set, costume, lighting and projection) includes a required statement of purpose, résumé, one letter of recommendation, in addition to the name and address of two other references, and an academic transcript and the submission of a portfolio. If specified below, applicants should submit a digital portfolio through the online application. No video or other digital imagery will be accepted as part of a set design applicant's portfolio. All such materials will not be reviewed.

The portfolio is not an advertisement and should not be "dressed up" to "sell" oneself. Please avoid mats, acetate covers, superfluous graphics, and other forms of "eyewash." Binders are discouraged. Plots and paperwork should be printed full scale and folded if necessary.

Set, lighting and projection design applicants should self-schedule an in-person portfolio review by contacting the Design department at 203.432.1579 or kate.begley@yale.edu.

Lighting and Set design applicants who are unable to appear in-person for an interview should mail their portfolio to the Design department by March 1, 2019. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)

Lighting Design

Lighting design applicants should submit a digital portfolio through the online application process. Lighting design applicants, who should self-schedule an in-person interview, bring their portfolio to the interview. Applications must be complete at the time of an in-person interview.

Lighting applicants, who are unable to appear in-person for an interview, should mail their portfolio to the Design department by March 1, 2019. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)

Set, lighting and projection design applicants should self-schedule an in-person portfolio review by contacting the Design department at 203.432.1579 or kate.begley@yale.edu.

Preparing a Lighting Design Portfolio

No video or digital imagery will be looked at during the in-person interview.  Please bring hard copies of all materials you wish to have considered.

A portfolio should only be mailed to the Design department if the lighting design applicant cannot schedule an in-person interview in New Haven. The digital portfolio submitted online does not suffice by itself.  Every piece in the portfolio must be marked with the applicant's name, the name of the play, the date of creation, and whether it was realized in production. If the portfolio needs to be returned, a $20 handling fee must be included in the portfolio to cover the return shipping unless the applicant retrieves it in person. Portfolios are returned after the review process is completed.

The portfolio is not an advertisement and should not be "dressed up" to "sell" oneself. Please avoid mats, acetate covers, superfluous graphics, and other forms of "eyewash." Binders are discouraged. Plots and paperwork should be printed full scale and folded if necessary.

Although the Design department expects students to take courses in all visual design disciplines—set, costume, lighting, and projection—it is not expected that the applicant's portfolio will be balanced equally among them. A lighting designer's portfolio should be mainly lighting designs, but it is essential that some work be included which shows the applicant understands the other areas of design. Applicants to the lighting design program are encouraged to include sketches and drawings, especially figure drawing.

The lighting designer’s portfolio must contain four or five full light plots showing a range of experience. Half-inch scale is preferred. Each plot should be accompanied by a lighting section and all paperwork (except cue sheets): hook-up, instrument schedule, and magic sheet(s). Plots sent without hook-up and magic sheet are not considered. Photos of the set under full light are encouraged as are any documents that help convey the physical production (set ground plan and section). Photos of cues can be submitted as well. Remember that photographs say more about the photographer than the lighting design or lighting designer. Highly selective pictures often fail to give a sense of the overall approach.

Set Design

NOTE: Set design applicants do NOT submit a digital portfolio through the online application process. Set design applicants, who should self-schedule an in-person interview, bring their portfolio to the interview. Applications must be complete at the time of an in-person interview.

Set design applicants, who are unable to appear in-person for an interview, should mail their portfolio to the Design department by March 1, 2019. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)

Set, lighting and projection design applicants should self-schedule an in-person portfolio review by contacting the Design department at 203.432.1579 or kate.begley@yale.edu.

Preparing a Set Design Portfolio

No video or other digital imagery will be accepted as part of a set design applicant's portfolio. All such materials will not be reviewed.

A portfolio should only be mailed to the Design Department if the set design applicant cannot schedule an in-person interview in New Haven. Every piece in the portfolio must be marked with the applicant's name, the name of the play, the date of creation, and whether it was realized in production. If the portfolio needs to be returned, a $20 handling fee must be included in the portfolio to cover the return shipping unless the applicant retrieves it in person. Portfolios are returned after the review process is completed.

The portfolio is not an advertisement and should not be "dressed up" to "sell" oneself. Please avoid large mats, acetate covers, superfluous graphics, and other forms of "eyewash." Such dressing does not make up for weak drawing and design.

Although the Design department expects students to take courses in all visual design disciplines — set, costume, lighting, and projection — it is not expected that the applicant's portfolio will be balanced equally among them. A set designer's portfolio should be mainly set designs, but it is essential that some work be included which shows that the applicant understands the other areas of design. The portfolio should convey information about the applicant's ability to express him or herself visually, and how he or she reacts to musical and dramatic materials. It should include a broad spectrum of work from the last several years. If in doubt about a particular item, include it, as an applicant often unwittingly leaves out valuable work. It should also include, if possible, rough preliminary sketches (not computer generated) and sketchbooks, as they show an applicant's thought process and design journey. Production photos must be accompanied by sketches (originals preferred). A limited amount of non-theatrical work such as graphics or painting (not oils) may be included. Photos of scene painting which the applicant has done, or props, masks, or similar items the applicant has built, may be included.

If possible, include a few examples of drafting. Ground plans should accompany each set sketch where possible. Technical (rear) views of scenery are not as useful.

Costume Design

The Admissions Committee prefers that a costume applicant submits a digital portfolio through the online application process. Qualified applicants are invited to interview after the Costume Design Admissions Committee reviews the applications and portfolios.

A costume design applicant, who is unable to submit a digital portfolio, should mail the portfolio to the Design department by February 1, 2019. (Design Department, Yale School of Drama, PO Box 208244, New Haven CT 06520)

Preparing a Costume Design Portfolio
Digital Portfolio The Committee prefers the submission of a digital portfolio through the online application process.
    • Upload files: each no larger than 16MB in either jpeg, png, bmap or tiff. Large groups of images can be combined into a PDG and submitted as one document.
    • Label each file with a title and a brief description of the work.
    • Include costume sketches, photographs of productions, key research images, and examples of life drawing.
    • Scans of pages from a sketchbook are acceptable.
    • May include images of fine art or craft that the applicant has created to give the Committee a better sense of the applicant’s being a fully round artist.

    • Must include costume design for a classical play (i.e., Shakespeare or Chekhov); if unable to submit a classical play design, design a theoretical project for submission.
Costume design applicants who are invited to interview after the Committee's review, or who are unable to submit a digital portfolio through the online application process, should adhere to the following requirements.

The portfolio is not an advertisement and should not be "dressed up" to "sell" oneself. Please avoid large mats, acetate covers, superfluous graphics, and other forms of "eyewash." Such dressing does not make up for weak drawing and design.

Although the Design department expects students to take courses in all visual design disciplines — set, costume, lighting, and projection — it is not expected that the applicant's portfolio will be balanced equally among them. A costume designer’s portfolio should be mainly costume design, but it is essential that some work be included which shows the applicant understands the other areas of design. The portfolio should convey information about the applicant’s ability to express him or herself visually, and how he or she reacts to musical and dramatic materials.  It should include a broad spectrum of work from the last several years.  If in doubt about a particular item, include it, as an applicant often unwittingly leaves out valuable work. The portfolio should also include, if possible, rough preliminary sketches (not computer generated) and sketchbooks, as they show an applicant's thought process and design journey. Production photos must be accompanied by sketches (originals preferred). A limited amount of non-theatrical work such as graphics or painting may be included. Costume sketches should be swatched wherever possible. Pattern drafting may be included.

Photos of scene painting, which the applicant has executed, or props, masks, or similar items the applicant has built, may also be included.

Projection Design

Set, lighting and projection design applicants should self-schedule an in-person portfolio review by contacting the Design department at 203.432.1579 or kate.begley@yale.edu.

Preparing a Projection Design Portfolio

Applicants to projection design should submit file format portfolios electronically through the online application, and also mail the portfolio to:

Wendall K. Harrington
Design Department
PO Box 208244
New Haven CT, 06520

The portfolio submission interface allows applicants to label each file with a title, a date of completion, the materials used, and a brief description of the work. Digital files must adhere strictly to the specifications outlined here. Applicants may upload a total of 15 media files (in acceptable formats) that represent their work in three portfolio projects/productions/examples. Any balance or mix of media files is acceptable.

Additionally, applicants may upload up to three digital media files that may not be part of the three primary portfolio projects. A significant number of the files should represent work done within the last twelve-eighteen months.

To conform to the viewing format, each still image file may be no larger than 16 MB. Applicants should not format images in any presentation program (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote), or include composite images (more than one work per file). Still image files may be sent in jpeg, png, bmp, or tiff format. File format for videos and moving images (videos) are accepted in QuickTime, AVI, or MP4, format. Video files should be no longer than five minutes in length, and the size of video uploads is limited to 265 MB. Do not include titles or credits within the video files. Applicants may post the video to YouTube and provide the link in the portfolio section of the application. This will embed the video in the application for later review. If the video is removed from YouTube or marked as “private,” it will not be viewable by the admissions committee.