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Earn Your BFA in Costume Design from the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts

Webster’s Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Costume Design is one of only a few programs whose productions are designed entirely by undergraduate students; faculty input on production work is strictly advisory. Design students acquire production experience necessary for their degree and simultaneously build exciting, varied portfolios. The combination conceptual work in the design classroom coupled with practical shop and stage work creates a unique opportunity for artistic and professional growth. Our curricular sequence aims to improve each student’s artistic skills. Students majoring in Costume Design pair design classes with fine arts courses throughout their time at Webster.

Design students enrich their studies by working with our professional partners. Many students opt also to study abroad or do an internship during their third or fourth year at Webster.

Three characters, smiling with their arms around each other’s shoulders, are dressed in red and black punk attire.

American Idiot, 2022

Three women dressed in ornate, early 20th century dress with empire waistlines are deep in discussion on a stage set with a red chaise lounge and chair.

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, 2024

Two actors are dressed in Avant Garde, modern costumes. One actor wears sunglasses and the other has a beard made of pearls. Behind them, there is a leather chair and floating papers from floor to ceiling.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, 2024

Three actors are dressed in clothing representing different eras. A woman holds an antique box with gold metalwork and wears a pink lace dress. The man standing by her is dressed like a genie. A third man dressed in black crouches behind them.

Myths and Hymns, 2023

A woman dressed in a white nightgown kneels on a red velvet bed with gold brocade pillows in the center of the stage. In the background are dimly lit stairways and arches.

Romeo and Juliet, 2023

An actor is dressed as a religious man holding a book. He is wearing an embellished cream and gold brocade gown.

Silence, 2024

here are two actors. The one in front wears a black suit with gold ruffle collar and reaches for the sky, while a woman in the background is adorned in elaborate, floor-length whimsical gown.

Sueño, 2022

Choose Webster for Your BFA in Costume Design

A Costume Design Program Known for Quality

Our BFA degree in Costume Design is one of the most respected in the country, and our graduates have gone on to successful careers in costume design for theater, film and television. Our rigorous and comprehensive program provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the competitive field of costume design. Our Costume Design program has a long list of impressive graduates who now design for Broadway, television, award shows and regional theatres across the country, including “Law & Order SVU (NBC)," “Prodigal Son (FOX)," “Saturday Night Live,” Stages in St. Louis, and on Broadway, with productions including “Slave Play,” “Hadestown,” “The Prom,” “Cabaret,” “On Your Feet,” “Beetlejuice” and “Bronx Tale.”

Train with the Pros

Sargent Conservatory’s training program benefits from several professional partnerships, including collaborations with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival and The Muny. We share our costume shops with The Rep and with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. We are able to offer students unparalleled opportunities to work alongside professional theatre artists, stage managers, directors and designers in the city’s thriving theatre scene.

Our students also benefit from studying in a city that boasts an internationally renowned opera company and orchestra, a vibrant music scene and a number of excellent art museums.

Mentorship from Experienced Faculty

Sargent Conservatory’s faculty members are working professionals and dedicated educators committed to nurturing their students’ artistic growth. Learn more about the individual accomplishments of our faculty. Their work includes Broadway, off-Broadway, regional and international credits, as well as projects in a variety of other fields (film, television, voice-over, corporate events). Several faculty members are currently employed by our professional partners. As a result, students in our technical production programs consistently have the opportunity to work in professional endeavors.

Featured Alum

Our alums include Tyler Arnold (BFA in Costume Design, ’17), whose post-graduation work has included “Slave Play” on Broadway and “Law & Order SVU.” Photos feature “Lysistrata,” which Arnold designed for the Conservatory in 2016.

Webster's Sargent Conservatory Curriculum

Our design programs begin with a fundamental first-year experience aimed to develop a common theatre vocabulary and practice. Key courses include:

  • Fundamentals of design
  • Scenography
  • Drafting
  • Patterning
  • Technical production
  • Introduction to drawing
  • Principles of drawing
  • 3-D design

In the second year of training, students delve into the specific processes of their disciplines. Production assignments complement coursework, ensuring students are putting learning to hands-on practice. Key courses include:

  • Costume design seminar
  • Patterning and draping
  • Vectorworks
  • Rendering
  • Visual history
  • Figure drawing
  • Crew management
  • Theatre history

In their third year, design students focus their studies in their particular discipline and take on more creative responsibility in the Conservatory production process. Increasingly, students will take advantage of opportunities for professional experiences with our professional partners. Many students opt to take a semester abroad or on internship during the third year. Key courses now include electives in other design areas:

  • Costume design 1
  • Costume design seminar
  • Costume design electives (including millinery, mask-making and dyeing)
  • Figure drawing

The fourth year aims to provide a smooth transition into professional practice. Production assignments will serve to round out a student’s resume, and preparation for the Senior Portfolio Open House will entail creating a website and fine-tuning interviewing skills. Classes typically involve:

  • Costume design 2
  • Costume design seminar
  • Design electives (including millinery, mask-making and dyeing)
  • Professional practice
  • Figure drawing

Theatre Scholarships

Almost every full-time undergraduate student at Webster University receives some sort of financial aid. Webster’s Office of Financial Aid is committed to making a college education affordable.

Additionally, the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts awards annual scholarships designated specifically for theatre majors. In 2023-2024, the department awarded over $225,000 in scholarships to its students. Most of these awards are reserved for our third- and fourth-year students. Every year we allot some scholarships to first-year students. These awards are made in consultation with the recruiting faculty and with the Office of Financial Aid. There is no separate application process. Please contact Andrew Laue, Associate Director of Fine Arts Admissions at, for additional information.

Dee Graham
David Huffman Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund Recipient

“My time here at Webster has broadened my viewpoints and my ability to empathize with others. In the world of entertainment, more and more diverse voices are being heard.”

Dee Graham
Dee Graham

BFA in Costume Construction, ’22

Actor in front wears a black suit with gold ruffle collar and reaches for the sky, while a woman in the background is adorned in elaborate, floor-length whimsical gown.

Apply Today for the BFA in Costume Design

Actor in front wears a black suit with gold ruffle collar and reaches for the sky, while a woman in the background is adorned in elaborate, floor-length whimsical gown.

Webster's Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts is committed to your artistic growth and academic success. The first step is to fill out an application.

Contact Renee Garcia, Assistant Professor of Costume Design

Get Started on Your Fine Arts Degree in Costume Design

Take the next step toward earning your BFA in Costume Design — we are here to help you get started.


Learn more about our academic programs and our main campus and locations.


Connect with our admissions counselors and academic advisors.


Apply to Webster and take the next steps for financial aid and scholarships.

Contact the Admissions Office to Find Out More

If you have more questions about the program, your application or other enrollment-related inquiries, contact our Admissions Office.

Call 314-246-7800 or 800-753-6765 or send an email to