Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, comprises a vibrant community of nearly 1,200 makers—dancers, filmmakers, musicians, theater artists, visual artists, and designers unafraid to get their hands dirty as they collaborate with our renowned faculty of professional working artists.

Mason Gross graduates emerge not merely with a degree but, ideally, with a commitment to making innovative and purposeful contributions to the wider community—onstage, backstage, in a gallery, a classroom, a studio, and beyond.

The goal: to cultivate thinking, thoughtful makers embracing art as an ever-changing field of possibility.

The school, just 45 minutes from the crackling energy of New York City’s arts scene, serves as the flagship public arts conservatory at Rutgers, a Big Ten research university serving more than 71,000 students. Rutgers is the nation’s eighth-oldest institution of higher learning and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Fast Facts

  • Consistently one of the most selective schools at Rutgers
  • Location: The City of New Brunswick, a short train ride from New York City and Philadelphia. The campus is an urban/suburban hybrid, with downtown art galleries and studios; two performing arts centers, featuring student productions and concerts; and rehearsal space in a tranquil setting
  • Founded in 1976
  • Student body: 861 undergraduate students and 308 graduate students, from 31 states and territories and 23 countries (fall 2019)
  • 324 faculty

Known for

Engaging the Community

Mason Gross School of the Arts reaches out to the community via Rutgers Arts Online course offerings; Rutgers Community Arts classes serving artists of all ages and abilities; the year-round “Mason Gross Presents” event series, featuring esteemed visiting artists and top-notch student artists; and the annual “Rutgers in New York” series of performances and exhibits.



The School of Creative and Performing Arts is founded at Rutgers University at the request of Rutgers’ 17th president, Edward J. Bloustein. Theater actor, director, and playwright Jack Bettenbender serves as first dean of the school.

The school is renamed the Mason Gross School of the Arts in honor of Mason Welch Gross (1911–1977), beloved professor of philosophy, 16th president of Rutgers University, and staunch advocate of the arts in New Brunswick. The school initially consists of master’s degree programs in music, theater, and visual arts, with a total of 90 graduate students. Undergraduate programs in dance, music, theater, and visual arts are soon added and enrollment grows rapidly.



Nicholas Music Center, designed by the renowned Italian architect Pietro Belluschi, the architect of Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, is completed.

The Blanche and Irving Laurie Music Library is dedicated as part of the Mabel B. Smith Douglass Library on the Douglass campus.



New Theater (now Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater) is completed.

Rutgers Community Arts (formerly the Mason Gross Extension Division) is founded, offering year-round educational opportunities for precollege and adult students.



Rutgers Arts Online is founded. The largest online program at Rutgers, RAO delivers high-quality arts education online to the Rutgers community and students around the globe, including a master of music education degree.

The Rutgers Filmmaking Center (formerly Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking) is founded, producing narrative and documentary films in collaboration with other units of the university. The program launches a bachelor of fine arts degree in film in 2015.



The school celebrates its 40th anniversary with a schoolwide collaborative performance of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale at Nicholas Music Center. A repeat performance is held at New York City's Le Poisson Rouge.

Mason Gross makes its debut at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art venue downtown. The $172 million redevelopment project, in which Mason Gross is a 28 percent owner, provides new performance and professional opportunities for students.


within Rutgers University


who are award-winning artists and professionals in their fields