Parsons Paris

History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA)

  • The Parsons Paris campus is not currently admitting new students to this master’s degree program. All related interest and applications should be directed to the main Parsons in New York City, where the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies program, now in its third decade, continues to be based.   

    The MA in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies at  Parsons Paris enables students to investigate, understand, and display the objects and environments that surround us. Through a variety of seminars, workshops, research, and curatorial projects, students develop the skills needed to engage with design objects and material culture. The Centre National des Arts Plastiques, and other leading art and design institutions, this object-focused, practice-based program prepares students for future careers as museum curators, educators, scholars, or cultural entrepreneurs.

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    Perspectives on Design History and Practice

    The MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies curriculum offers practical and theoretical instruction in researching and displaying design objects and projects. Courses on curatorial studies and the history of design in a social and cultural context reflect the program’s broad scope and relevance. This graduate program is also offered at Parsons in New York City in partnership with the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

    Hands-On Curatorial Experience

    Students complete the 42 required credits in two years of full-time study or three to four years of part-time study. Graduate students have opportunities to curate exhibitions, create programming for the public, and produce interpretive materials – all of which provide essential hands-on experience in museum and curatorial practices. 

    Museum Studies in Paris

    Classes meet both on the Parsons Paris campus and in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. This offers students the opportunity not only to learn directly from the collection but also to work with curators, educators, visiting researchers, and designers in the museum's community of scholars. Students are also encouraged to pursue internships in museums, galleries, auction house archives, and historic houses throughout Paris.

    Broad Design Research Horizons

    Access to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs collection and library, to the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art library, and to the vivid cultural programming of both public and private art and design institutions in Paris allows students to enrich their object-based research and to broaden their intellectual and curatorial horizons. Parsons Paris also supports individual and group projects through student travel and research grants. Additionally, the program provides support for research initiatives through its network of advisors and partner institutions in the field of art, design, and material culture. 

    Future Opportunities

    Graduates of the program may go on to obtain specialist and management positions in auction houses, museums, and historic houses; enter fields such as criticism, journalism, consulting, and e-commerce; and pursue advanced study at academic institutions.

  • Student Work

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    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.

    First Year / Fall
    APHT 5001 Survey of Decorative Arts 1 3 -
    APHT 5000 Proseminar 3 -
    APHT 5126 Elective: Curatorial Project 3 -
    Elective
    3 -
    Total Credits 12
    First Year / Spring
    APHT 5002 Survey of Decorative Arts 2 - 3
    Electives
    - 9
    12
    Second Year / Fall
    APHT 5901 Independent Study: Thesis 1 3 -
    Electives
    6 -
    Or Electives (if taking master’s exam) 9 -
    9
    Second Year / Spring
    APHT 5902 Independent Study: Thesis 2 - 3
    Electives
    - 6
    Or, APHT 5903 Independent Study: Master’s Exam - 3
    Electives
    - 6
    9
    Total Credits 42

    Faculty

    Admission Requirements

    Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

    Application Deadline
    The priority 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 received after the priority deadline on a rolling basis. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.

    Financial Aid Deadline
    Merit Scholarships:
    All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. Scholarship awards are included in applicants’ admission decision letters. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.

    Federal Student Aid:
    If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. The New School’s federal school code is 002780. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid. Submit your FAFSA by our February 1 FAFSA Priority Deadline.

    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: The application fee is $50. The fee is paid through the online application and is non-refundable.
    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 (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, and for PTE is 63. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

      The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores for applicants 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 (minimum of three years attendance). Upon review of your application the Office of Admission may require you to submit an English Language Proficiency test score to further evaluate your candidacy.

      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 English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 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. 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.
    4. Readmission: The Application for Readmission should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). If you would like to apply for readmission, review the readmission deadlines and requirements in the Readmission section of our How to Apply information.
    5. 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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