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 2017, the following course is being offered:

    Exploring Scandinavian Design in Stockholm and Helsinki, June 26–July 7, 2017


    $5,720 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.

    Course Information

    This course examines the predominant themes and concepts of Scandinavian design and culture from the 17th to the 20th century, focusing on built environments and the elements they contain, including architecture, furniture, interiors, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, industrial design, and glass. The course is set in Stockholm and Helsinki, capitals that share a long tradition of and commitment to decorative arts and design. Coursework includes in-depth study of works by noted Swedish and Finnish architects and designers Alvar Aalto and Gunnar Asplund, among others. Students visit sites and collections in and around Stockholm such as major art and design museums, Skokloster, and the Gustavsbergs porslinsmuseum. They travel to Dalarna and visit the Carl and Karin Larsson home in Sundborn. In Helsinki, students take advantage of the city’s many cultural offerings and design activities. Class participants also visit important Finnish collections and sites such as The National Design Museum, the Alvar Aalto home and studio, the Marimekko fabric printing workshops, and the Arabia factory and museum. On a day trip to Noormarkku, students visit Aalto’s iconic Villa Mairea and Paimio Sanatorium and Erik Bryggman’s Resurrection Chapel, enhancing their experience of design in situ.

    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

    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.

    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 or call 212.849.8344.