History of Decorative Arts and Design (MA)
Parsons offers the Master of Arts in the History of Decorative Arts and Design in collaboration with the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The degree is awarded for completion of 48 credits of coursework and a master's examination or a thesis. A maximum of six credits of graduate-level coursework can be transferred from another institution. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.
The MA program is normally completed in two or three years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. Required courses are Proseminar, Survey of Decorative Arts 1 and 2, and an elective in either museology or art theory. Students declare major and minor areas of concentration for the MA examination after completing 24 credits; those with a 3.5 minimum grade point average can petition to write a master's thesis.
Contemporary Design Studies
Students can elect to take a suite of courses in contemporary design studies. These explore themes in design and in visual, material, and popular culture, with a focus on the post-1945 period. The curriculum is enriched by its connection to the contemporary design exhibitions of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
A sequence of three courses on aspects of 20th-century American popular culture is also offered: Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture; Advertising in 20th-Century America; and Looking at the Decorative Arts Through Film. These courses, which can be taken in any order, examine the intersection of the popular and the material in American culture and consider ordinary objects in terms of class, gender, and racial identity and the politics of taste.