Decorative Arts Graduate Seminars

  • International Summer Student Life


    The Master of Arts in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies, a collaborative program of Parsons School of Design and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, offers graduate summer seminars. These courses are open to all students currently enrolled in MA or PhD programs at an accredited university.

    Program Schedule

    In summer 2016, the following course is being offered:

    Exploring German Decorative Arts in Berlin, June 20–July 1, 2016

    Course Description

    Exploring German Decorative Arts in Berlin

    Situated in the center of Europe, Germany was influenced by styles from across the continent, which had a great impact on the creation of a unique German style and left a rich legacy open to new discoveries since the reunification of the country. Based in Berlin, this course explores Germany’s rich heritage of architecture, decorative arts and material culture since the 18th century (baroque, rococo, and classicism) and German designers’ roles in shaping the course of modernism. The curriculum includes visits to important German museum collections, including the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Werkbund Archiv (Museum der Dinge), and the Bauhaus Archiv, and excursions to royal palaces and house museums dating from the 18th through the 20th century in and near Berlin (many of which have kept their original decoration and furnishings), as well as the Bauhaus School and the master buildings in Dessau. The course is aimed at students who want to become familiar with contemporary architecture, design, and collections in Berlin and the reconstruction that continues to reshape the city, which after the massive destruction during the Second World War, 29 years of separation, and the unification of the two German republics is once again serving as the capital of Germany.

    Faculty: Ulrich Leben

    Graduate Credit

    Participants earn three graduate credits for successful completion of the course.

    Course Requirements

    Students are expected to attend all classes, site visits, and excursions. Classes and excursions begin promptly at the designated times; latecomers cannot be accommodated. Grades are based on class participation (20 percent) and a final slide identification and essay examination (80 percent).

    The course is moderately physically challenging, as it involves hours of walking and standing. Because of space limitations, friends and family are not permitted to join the class for lectures, walks, or site visits.


    $5,530 per course (includes all gratuities and course materials)

    Housing and Meals

    Participants are responsible for their own accommodations, meals, and transportation to and from course locations.

    Register now

    Visit Registration for course descriptions and more details. Early registration is advised.

    Contact us

    For more information about the summer graduate seminar, email Sarah Lichtman, assistant professor, Design History and Design Studies; director, MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies, School of Art and Design History and Theory, at or call 212.849.8344.