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.

    Explore the MA Fashion Studies community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at This program is part of Parsons’ School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT)

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    Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    Offered both in New York City and at Parsons Paris, the 42-credit program challenges students 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. In addition to a broader study, MA Fashion Studies offers two pathways, in fashion curation and fashion journalism, enabling students to gain a deeper knowledge of fashion curation and archival practice or fashion journalism through a series of electives offered by the program and throughout The New School. Interested students can also explore paths throughout the university by completing 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 are actively involved in teaching in higher education, while others 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.

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    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.


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      As critical thinkers, equipped with strong research and writing skills, our MA Fashion Studies graduates are making their mark on fashion academia, media and publishing as well as in the fashion industry.

      MA Fashion Studies graduates employ their skills across a variety of career paths. They have gone on to pursue PhD degrees at universities around the world; others work at fashion media companies, magazines and publishing houses, including Rizzoli Publishing, Meredith, Vogue, W, Nylon, I-D, and InStyle. Some graduates are actively involved in teaching in higher education, while others 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 corporations such as Alexander Wang, Tory Burch, Gucci, Net-a-porter, J. Crew, and Louis Vuitton.

      PhD Studies

      Our MA Fashion Studies graduates have continued their studies in interdisciplinary PhD programs at top universities in the United States and abroad. They include the following:

      • Lauren Downing Peters (2012), Fashion Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden
      • Anya Kurennaya (2012), Communication, Culture and Media, Drexel University, Philadelphia
      • Maureen Brewster (2013), Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors, University of Georgia, Atlanta
      • Rebecca Crawford (2013), School of Design, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
      • Roberto Filipello (2013), School of Design, University of Edinburgh, UK
      • Alex Esculapio (2014), Design History, University of Brighton, UK
      • Laura Beltran-Rubio (2016), American Studies, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg
      • Rikki Byrd (2016), African American Studies, Northwestern University, Chicago
      • Leren Li (2016), History of Design, Royal College of Art, London, UK
      • Caroline Lo (2016), Design, Winchester School of Art – University of Southampton, UK
      • Axelle Toussaint (Boyer) (2017), History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Alla Eizenberg (2017), Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Helsinki
      • Julie Macindoe (2017), Fashion and Textiles, RMIT Melbourne, Australia
      • Zoey Chu (2018), Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Stony Brook University, Southampton
      • Matthew Porter (2018), Anthropology, University of California, Irvine

      Diverse Career Pathways

      MA Fashion Studies graduates work in various fields in fashion, from higher education and museum institutions to fashion media and magazines, fashion buying, merchandising and operations, market research, nonprofits, and start-ups, including the following:

      Higher Education 

      • Kim Jenkins (2013), Assistant Professor, Fashion Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto
      • Anthony Palliparambil (2016), Artist and Faculty, Parsons School of Design, New York
      • Lauren Peters (2012), Assistant Professor, Fashion Studies, Columbia College Chicago 

      Museums, Archives, Curatorial Work

      • Nicole Rivas (2014), Fashion Archivist & Collections Specialist, A Current Affair
      • Neil Wu-Gibbs (2015), Manager of Special Events and Board Relations & Special Assistant to the President, Museum of Chinese in America
      • Michelle McVicker (2016), Collection and Education Assistant at the Museum at FIT
      • Joelle Firzli (2016), Independent Curator
      • Axelle Toussaint Boyer (2017), 2019 Fellow, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (NMAfA)/National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
      • Leslie Kay Lim (2017), Exhibition Assistant, Museum of Modern Art

      Costume Design and Styling 

      • Maeve Kelly (2012), Costume Coordinator, United Scenic Artists 829
      • Rachel Kinnard (2013), Costume Designer, Producer and Writer
      • Cheryl Son (2019), Fashion Assistant, Wall Street Journal 

      Fashion Media and Magazines 

      • Ann Jacoby (2013), Fashion Editor, InStyle
      • Minna Shim (2013), Senior Content & Social Media Editor, Harper’s Bazaar
      • Vanessa Rosales (2014), Independent Fashion Writer and Critic
      • Eliza Dillard (2015), Senior Copywriter, Meredith Corp.
      • Allison Taylor (2015), Fashion and Beauty Content Editor, The Foundry/Meredith Corp.
      • Patricia Maeda (2016), Content Editor, Fashion Snoops
      • Abraham “Abe” Martinez (2018), Digital Editor, V magazine
      • Yanran Xiong (2019), Writer and Social Media Manager, Rouge Fashion Book

      Market and Consumer Research 

      • Aanchal Jiwraijka (2017), Insights Researcher, WGSN
      • Jessica Kim (2017), Fashion Market Researcher, Sae-A Trading Co.

       PR, Communications, Marketing 

      • Shelley Wu (2012), Content/Editorial Strategy & Product Marketing, Google
      • Charlotte Davis (2012), Senior Copy Editor, Ogilvy & Mather
      • Molly Rottmann (2013), Associate Director, Academic Communication, Parsons School of Design
      • Derek Cooper (2016), Trade Marketing Manager, Moleskin 
      • Adelle McElveen (2016), The Fashionista Lab, and Enablement Consultant in Influencer Marketing, CreatorIQ
      • Mareike Koback (2017), Public Relations Assistant Gucci
      • Shayna Goncalves (2017), Business Development Executive at The Stylista/Onlife Networks
      • Julie Pham (2018), Marketing Coordinator, Kisuii
      • Victoria Grass (2019), Marketing Strategy and Research Analyst, Condé Nast

      Fashion Buying, Merchandising, Operations

      • Nami Kim Murdick (2012), National Sales Manager, Salvatore Ferragamo
      • Stephanie Edith Herold (2015), Assistant General Manager Operations, Saks Fifth Avenue
      • Erin Riley (2015), Website Merchandiser, Net-a-Porter
      • Jasmin Young (2016), Operations Manager, NOAH
      • Julia Wonjung Jang (2016), Production Coordinator, Textiles, Asan International
      • Constance Haas (2017), Online Assistant Buyer, Hennes & Mauritz
      • Julie Mahdavi (2017), Merchandising and Operations, Care+Wear
      • Leah Merritt (2019), International Account Executive, global fashion office, Barefoot Chic UK
      • Jeniffer Varela (2019), Authentication & Brand Compliance Lead, The RealReal


      • Susana Aguirre Avalos (2014), Sales and PR Director, Mercado Global
      • Malin Viola Vennberg (2015), Communications Manager, Mistra Future Fashion
      • Carly-Ann Fergus (2016), Director of XRC Labs, tech accelerator

      Fashion Entrepreneurs 

      • Cayla O’Connell Davis (2014), Founder and CEO of Knickey
      • Catherine Smith (2017), Founder and CEO of Plan de Ville

      Admission Requirements

      Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

      Application Deadline

      The application deadline is January 2. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the 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.

      Financial Aid Deadline

      Merit Scholarships:
      All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. 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 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.
        • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email 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 admission 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 with proof of their degree conferral prior to enrollment. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

        Submitting Transcripts By Mail: Applicants should make arrangements to have their college/university send transcripts directly to The New School at the mailing address for Supplemental Materials. All transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope with the institutional seal and signature of the registrar. All documents not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

        Submitting Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors:
        • National Student Clearinghouse
        • Parchment Exchange
        • SCRIP-SAFE International
        We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. 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.

        International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES), Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.

        Follow all document requirements as outlined on the evaluation service providers’ websites. Evaluations completed by WES or ECE will be sent directly to us electronically by the vendor.

        All other NACES provider evaluation should be mailed directly by the vendor to the address for Supplemental Materials. A copy of the transcript which was evaluated should accompany the evaluation in the same sealed envelope or the official transcript should be sent directly to The New School by the issuing college/university.
      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: Two letters of recommendation are required. Recommenders may submit recommendations online. Instructions are included in the online application. If preferred, the recommendation forms may be sent by mail in signed, sealed envelopes. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the Applicant Information section, and save the form. Forward the saved form to the recommenders to complete the remaining sections and submit. Applicants may 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, PTE, and DET: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, for PTE is 63, and for DET is 115. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

        The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET 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). After reviewing your application, the Office of Admission may require you to submit an English Language Proficiency test score to evaluate your candidacy.

        We accept test scores taken within the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test.

        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/DET 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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