Parsons

Fashion Studies (MA)

  • In the groundbreaking interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Fashion Studies program, students develop a critical and historical understanding of fashion and its complex intersections with identities and cultures. MA Fashion Studies investigates the material and visual dimensions of fashion as dress, image, and bodily practice and as a major cultural industry that positions the individual within society and the world.

    This program is part of Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT). Learn about the ADHT community and explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

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    Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    Students in the 42-credit program are challenged to explore the interdisciplinary theories and methodologies that have shaped fashion studies and to contribute to the advancement of the field. Core and elective courses open up broad perspectives on fashion and its connections with design, production, consumption, imagination, representation, embodiment, and identity. Informed by perspectives from a variety of disciplines, courses examine material from art and design history, gender studies, visual studies, film and media studies, anthropology, sociology, and material culture studies. Depending on their research interests, MA Fashion Studies students can choose to supplement their studies with additional courses in the theory, history, and practice of fashion curation or complete the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS), designed to promote intellectual collaboration on issues of gender and sexuality in a variety of disciplines. 

    At Home in New York

    The program draws on New York City’s museums, exhibitions, and public events. The curriculum also calls for students to observe streets, neighborhoods, and retail environments critical to the fashion system. The program sponsors public events, panels, and symposia such as “Fashion Criticism” and “Fashion Curation.” Student-led projects, like the journal BIAS, offer students opportunities to publish work and collaborate with MA Fashion Studies peers.

     

    Access to Fashion

    Students complete internships at fashion magazines, museums, and fashion companies including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, V Magazine, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Diane von Furstenberg, Comme des Garçons, Ralph Lauren, Halston, and Hermès. Students have the opportunity to spend a second-year semester at Parsons Paris, where they have direct access to some of the most prominent fashion and textiles collections in France through the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Musée Galleria, and the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.

    Varied Career Paths

    MA Fashion Studies graduates have gone on to pursue PhD degrees at top universities around the world; others work at top fashion media companies and publishing houses, including Rizzoli Publishing, Vogue, W, Nylon, I-D, and InStyle. Some graduates work in institutions such as the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as archivists, consultants, researchers, merchandisers, buyers, and public relations professionals in fashion houses and at corporations such as Alexander Wang, Gucci, J.Crew, and Louis Vuitton.

    Future Opportunities

    Graduates pursue careers in fashion archiving and curation, museum administration, journalism, media and consulting, criticism, and academia.

  • Curriculum

    The Master of Arts degree is awarded for completion of 42 credits, including a master's thesis. A maximum of six credits of graduate-level coursework may be transferred from another institution. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    Faculty

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      Highlights

      Learn more about what Parsons students, faculty, and alumni are doing throughout the city and around the world.
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      Admission Requirements

      Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

      Application Deadline

      The application deadline is January 1. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the January 1 priority deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Spring term admission is not offered for this program. The fall term readmission deadline is August 1 (review readmission information below). If you are interested in applying to a different Parsons graduate program, please email thinkparsonsgrad@newschool.edu to see which programs are still accepting late applications. The 2017 application will be available in early September.

      Financial Aid Deadline

      All applicants selected for admission into our program are considered for a merit scholarship award that is determined by the strength of their application. Scholarship award notification is communicated at the same time as the admission decision. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid; we recommend submitting by our FAFSA priority deadline of February 1 for fall applicants. (The New School’s federal school code is 002780.)

      Application Instructions

      All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

      Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

      See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

      Required Application Materials

      1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
      2. Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee paid as part of the online application.
      3. Transcripts:
        Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
        • All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
        • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
        • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
        • Do not mail materials that have been uploaded with the online application or any other materials unless requested by the admission office.
        • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email enroll@newschool.edu and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
        The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

        Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts (as well as official certified translations and evaluations of the transcripts/mark sheets and degree certifications if the degree was earned outside of the United States) to The New School. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career.

        Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. New students will not be permitted to register for their second semester of study until all official transcripts (including degree awarding transcripts) have been received by the Office of Graduate Admission. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

        By Mail: Official transcripts should have an original signature or a raised university seal, and must be in a sealed envelope that has been signed or stamped by the issuing university’s registrar or records office. Applicants can either send official transcripts with an Application Materials Cover Sheet or request that institutions send transcripts directly to The New School. See “Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials” for our mailing address in the Additional Instructions and Information section below.

        Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors. The New School’s approved vendors, in order of preference, are
        • Parchment Exchange
        • SCRIP-SAFE International
        • National Student Clearinghouse
        We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. Note: All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

        International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation or be evaluated by World Education Services (WES), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript. In the absence of an evaluation, the Admission Committee will do its best to render a decision. Please note: In some cases, a review cannot be made without an evaluation, and a committee decision will be delayed. The Admission Office reserves the right to request a transcript evaluation if necessary.

        If using WES, visit www.wes.org for instructions and to begin the application process. The “Required Documents” section will explain what to send. If you request your report online, search for “The New School” when selecting our institution. WES will send your completed evaluation directly to The New School.

        If using another NACES provider, follow instructions for that provider. Mailed evaluations and translations should be sent to the mailing address provided for supporting materials. Applicants forwarding these sealed documents should include an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      4. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
      5. Statement of Purpose: Please submit a two-part essay in a single Word document. Your submission should not exceed five pages total.

        Part 1: Autobiographical Statement (250–500-word limit). In a short autobiographical statement, tell us about yourself. You can write about your education, your family, your talents and passions, particular intellectual influences, people you have met, work you’ve done that has shaped the person you have become, or significant places or events in your life, especially as they relate to your field of study. In addition, use this portion of the essay to explain any strengths or weaknesses you may have (examples: low GPA, lack of experience, significant interruption in work or studies, unique skills and achievements as they relate to the program, or any other information you want to share). Your writing should be informative and reflect your own voice.

        Part 2: Academic Statement of Interests (500–750-word limit). Please describe the academic and intellectual interests, progress, and achievements that have contributed to your decision to apply for graduate study in this field. You should include a thoughtful description of your tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, the kind of research questions you intend to pursue, your professional goals, and an explanation of how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. In addition, include a self-assessment of your work as a scholar, pointing out strengths and weaknesses. If you have not enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree and future career expectations upon completion of the program.
      6. Recommendation Letters: You are required to submit two letters of recommendation from faculty or people with whom you have worked professionally. Recommenders can submit recommendations online; instructions are included with the online application. If preferred, the recommendation form can instead be sent by mail in a signed, sealed envelope. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the personal information, save the form, and forward it to the recommender for completion and submission. Applicants can also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
      7. Writing Sample (Optional): Although it is not required, if you would like to submit an academic writing sample that you feel reflects your strengths as a critical thinker and writer for this program, please upload a single document no longer than ten pages in length.
      8. Test Scores:
        TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IBT) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

        A TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test score is not required for applicants

        • Whose primary language is English
        • Who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction

        Upon review of your application, the Office of Admission reserves the right to request a TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test score.


        Arrange for the testing service to send your test scores directly to The New School using the codes listed above. We accept scores from the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test. For more information, visit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE.

        Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 in order to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
      9. Interview: Applicants may be invited for an interview in-person or by phone.

      Additional Information and Instructions

      1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
      2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with The New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
      3. Test Score Codes:
        • TOEFL: The institution code is 2638.
      4. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

        Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

        The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
      5. Readmission:
      6. The Application for Readmission (PDF) should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). Students must reapply to the program to which they were originally admitted. Readmission is only available for current New School programs. If you are looking to transfer 24 or more semester-based credits, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions outlined above. The following materials are required of applicants seeking readmission:

        • Application for Readmission (PDF)
        • Statement of Purpose
        • One letter of recommendation
        • Transcripts if you have attended another college or university since last at The New School
        • An updated portfolio upon faculty request
      7. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
        Parsons School of Design
        Office of Admission (PS 300)
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
       
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