Frequently Asked Questions






The Rutgers Design Intensive is a two week intensive created by Mason Gross faculty member, Professor Jacqueline Thaw.  This graphic design summer course nurtures the ability to develop visual ideas, and supplies the digital tools to realize them. Each day addresses a core design principle, a software program, and a creative project.

Is the goal of Design Intensive to teach students new software skills?
No. Teaching goals place emphasis on building visual awareness and on making software serve the designer’s creative vision. The curriculum focuses on core principles of design while introducing relevant software. The course includes focused studio work, technical demonstrations, group critiques, and a field trip to New York City.

What software is taught in Design Intensive?
Students will become familiar with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign while exploring creative visual problems and producing work suitable for a college admissions portfolio.

Do students bring their own computers?
No. Students use Mason Gross’ state of the art Mac labs, the latest software, and professional quality printers.

What is the age range of Design Intensive participants?
Students ages 14–18 (students entering freshman year of high school–rising seniors) are welcome to attend the Design Intensive. The average age of camp participants will vary from year-to-year.  Last year, age distribution was fairly even across the range, not overemphasizing participation of older or younger students.

How many students typically participate in this intensive?
A maximum of 35 students may participate in this intensive.

Do you keep a waitlist when/if the Design Camp reaches maximum enrollment?
Yes. Students will be moved into available spots based solely upon their position in the list.

Where do most students attending the camp come from?
As this is a commuter only camp, most students come from New Jersey, though we have had participants from around the country and the world (Ghana!) in the past. Lodging is available Rutgers University Inn & Conference Center and the East Brunswick Hilton.

What is the experience level of Summer Design Intensive participants?
Summer Design Intensive participants oftentimes are of varying experience levels.  We have created two levels within the Design Intensive in order to better serve all students.  By grouping students into Level I (beginning to early intermediate skills) and Level II (intermediate to advanced level skills) within the same overall class, we are able to better meet participant needs.  The two levels work on the same projects; instructional methods are adjusted to suit the needs of students in each level. Teaching Assistants work with each level in close coordination with the lead instructor to be certain that each level is appropriately challenged and engaged. We work to create an environment in which students are supportive of one another’s efforts and in which one can be successful at any level of advancement.

Is a list of faculty available?
We anticipate announcing final faculty appointments soon.

How are instructors selected?
Faculty and staff are selected based on their outstanding accomplishment as educators and/or designers, and their demonstrated ability to work effectively with precollege students.  We do favor Mason Gross faculty, as well as teaching artists who have a strong connection to Mason Gross School of the Arts (i.e. alumni).

What events are open to parent observation?
The end-of-session gallery show on the last day of camp at the Civic Square Building is open to friends, family, and the general public free of charge.

Can parents/family observe instruction during the Design Intensive?
Non-camp participants are not allowed to be present during instructional or other non-public events.  Safety considerations mandate that the Extension Division keep strict boundaries between the public and campus events involving the instruction of minors, even if the adult attending is a parent of a student.

May parents attend the opening orientation for Design Intensive students?
No, this orientation is for students alone and begins a process of building community within the student body focusing on matters of student, faculty, and staff interaction.



Is a schedule of activities available?
Yes, a sample schedule can be viewed here (update to be posted during spring of 2015).

How are students assessed to provide for proper placement in classes?
All students are part of the same overall class.  Initial Level I & Level II placement is made based upon evaluation of responses to the Participant Questionnaire. If we learn that a student belongs in a different level, we will make that change during the first days of the Intensive. In the event of large enrollment, we may utilize two studios which are adjacent to one another; classes run concurrently; project coordination will remain in effect between the two levels.

How do you motivate my child?
Motivation comes from students who are excited to attend the Design Intensive, faculty who are well prepared and fully engaged in their work, repertoire that inspires developing artists, and a learning environment that is conducive to student achievement.

How can Mason Gross summer camps help in college preparation?
Students learning from collegiate faculty and outstanding professionals engaged in successful design careers come into contact with standards of excellence found at a premiere arts conservatory–the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Additionally, the admissions office at Mason Gross will present a workshop on college admissions that will help students in their preparation for college.

One of the goals of the Design Intensive is to aid students in the production of work suitable for a college admissions portfolio. The Portfolio Workshop at the end of session teaches students to present work effectively for college admissions.

How do you get such phenomenal results in such a short time?
The Extension Division promotes high standards of artistic excellence, in camps and year-round programs. Outstanding curriculum, faculty, and preparation for events inspire outstanding achievement, builds communities, and changes lives. We think of all events we run, including the Design Intensive, as gateways to personal excellence.

Will students have free time for activities?
Honestly, not very much! Our intention is to build an exciting, intense, impactful week of graphic design training that will inspire students for the year to come. We do plan fun social events and for opportunities to pursue self-directed, design-related projects, but our primary focus is on providing excellent artistic experiences for our participants.



Where are Design Intensive classes held?
All camp activities are held in the Civic Square Building in New Brunswick, NJ, home to the Mason Gross School of the Arts Visual Arts Department. Click here for building location and directions.

What facilities are used for Design Intensive instruction?
The Design Intensive uses traditional classroom space as well as top-notch computer lab facilities in the Department of Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Will my child be safe on campus?
Yes. We take great care to supervise, buildings, surrounding areas, and all activities utilizing Extension Division staff and counselors.

Are students allowed to leave the Civic Square Building during the day?
Students may leave the CSB facility only when parents have formally notified and gained the approval of the Extension Division’s Director, Christopher Kenniff. Students must then be released to the custody of their parent or approved guardian.

The Extension Division maintains a strict policy of requiring students to stay within the grounds of the Civic Square Building. Student safety is our primary obligation. We cannot be responsible for student well-being if they leave the building grounds.

Are college classes in session during the Design Intensive?
Yes. Intensive participants and collegiate students may pass by one another occasionally. However, our camp events are distinct from all collegiate activity. The interaction between Rutgers student population and our camp guests is minimal.

Are meals included in tuition?
No. Students should bring their own lunch and snacks. Storage area for students lunch and belongings is available.

Are meals included in the trip to NYC for the visit to professional design studios?
No. Students should bring their own lunch and snacks, or bring money to purchase lunch at a restaurant in the area where the visit is planned. In planning the trip to NYC, we do make certain that students will be in an area of NYC where a wide variety of eateries are found. Affordability, quality of available restaurants, and options for students with special dietary needs are taken into consideration when selecting the area students will be during lunch hour in NYC.

How do students get to NYC for the visit to professional design studios?
Students, faculty, and staff all get on the train at the New Brunswick Transit Station. We walk together from Civic Square Building and make pit stops at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts along the way. Depending upon Design Camp enrollment, we may charter a bus for the trip. Students should be prepared to purchase their own round-trip train ticket to NYC at the train station in New Brunswick.

Is transportation for the NYC trip included in the cost of tuition?
No. Students must purchase their own round-trip train ticket to NYC.

Are directions or campus maps available?
You may view building location and find directions here.



Do I need to submit a portfolio for evaluation to be able to register for the Design Intensive?
No.  However, we are eager to get to know you and your work before you arrive. If you have on online gallery you wish to share with us, please do so by emailing Christopher Kenniff with the URL of your online gallery/portfolio.

How do I register?
All registration is online. Please visit the registration page for more information.

Can I register over the phone? 
No. We only accept registrations online.

How do I pay for camp?
Payment is made online via our secure registration system.

  • You will set up a username and password to access your registration account.
  • Please complete online forms as prompted.
  • Pay a portion of your balance due, or pay for the entire camp at once.  Payment plans are available and may be set up at the time of registration.
  • Please note:  Auto billing is required of all camp participants utilizing payment plans.  You may pay off your balance due at once or in stages at any time prior to the final payment plan installment date.
  • Billing questions? Please contact the Mason Gross Extension Division office at or at 848-932-8618.

How can I pay my balance due?
You can either return to your online registration account and complete payment via credit card, in person via check or cash, or by mail via check.

Please make all checks payable to “Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey”

Please be certain to identify your child’s name and the camp/institute your child will attend. A $25 fee will be assessed for any returned check. Our mailing address is:

Mason Gross Extension Division
Rutgers Summer Design Intensive
Rehearsal Hall, room 101
85 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Are payment plans available?
For information regarding payment procedures and payment plans for summer programs, please visit the “Payment Procedures” section of our summer program policies page, which can be found here.

Is financial aid available?
No.  However, The Rutgers Federal Credit Union has financing options available for continuing education and summer programs! If financing or cost is an issue, we urge you to fill out the Rutgers Federal Credit Union Continuing Education Loan application.

Are there any discounts for Rutgers faculty or staff?
Yes, Rutgers Faculty & Staff are eligible for a 10% discount.  This discount may not be combined with other offers.


Are airfare and other travel costs included in the tuition?
No, participants are responsible for their own transport costs.

Are recommendations for transport from area airports to campus available?
Yes. Please click here for a summary of available area transportation.

Can you recommend area housing options?
Yes. There is the Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center & the East Brunswick Hilton.



Where is the Design Institute located?
The Civic Square Building address is:

33 Livingston Ave.
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


What time and where is drop off Monday–Friday?
9:30 a.m. at the Civic Square Building lobby

What time and where is pick up Monday–Friday?
4 p.m.–4:30 p.m. at the Civic Square Building lobby

Is parking available at the Civic Square Building?

No Rutgers permit parking is available in downtown New Brunswick


What are your policies regarding social media?
Students may use social media during recreational times only. Faculty and staff are prohibited from interacting with students using social media during camp. Social media used to bully or denigrate other participants will be dealt with under our bullying policy.

What are your policies regarding cell phone use?
Students may use cell phones in-between instructional sessions and during instructional sessions in the event of emergency only. Cell phones must be silenced during instructional sessions.

Student Behavior
The Extension Division reserves the right to dismiss any student for inappropriate behavior. Students are provided with clear guidelines for behavior during an orientation session at the start of each camp session. Refunds will not be provided to any students dismissed from camp for inappropriate behavior. Examples of inappropriate behavior that may result in dismissal:

  • Bullying
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol or being in possession of alcohol
  • Use of illegal drugs, possession of illegal drugs or unapproved use of prescribed medication
  • Failure to obey Extension Division policies and procedures
  • Abusive behavior towards camp faculty and staff
  • Theft
  • Vandalism of university facilities or property

In most cases, students are informed of behavioral issues detected by camp faculty and/or staff and given the opportunity to modify their behavior while continuing in the camp. The Extension Division reserves the right to dismiss students without warning in cases of egregious breach of policies and/or procedures, or in cases where the safety or well-being of other campers is threatened. Parents of minors will be informed of any pending disciplinary action.

Participant waiver & photo release form
A participant waiver that includes a photo release form and a waiver of liability is included in the registration process.  You may print this form at time of registration.

Will my child be able to bring a laptop or other electronic device to camp?
Personal computers may be used during free time. Students will be supplied with a password to connect to RU Wireless.

Is it possible for my child to leave campus during the week?
Yes, but only by special arrangement with the Extension Division Director, Christopher Kenniff. Students whose parents have not formally notified Christopher Kenniff of the need to dismiss will not be permitted to leave the building early.


I have specific questions not addressed in this FAQ document.  Can I speak with someone?
Yes! Please e-mail us your name, phone number, the best time to reach you, and your question(s). In the subject line of your email, please indicate the following your name, the name of the camp, and your question.

We will contact you with the answer to your question at the next available opportunity.

Call us at 848-932-8618.  Please note that the best way for us to put you in touch with someone who can answer your question is to email us first and let us then contact you via phone.