The School of Art and Design History and Theory offers courses to students in all schools at Parsons School of Design. It aims to develop the intellectual rigor necessary for students to become the next generation of art and design leaders.


At the undergraduate level, the curriculum treats the history, theory, and analysis of design and art practices as essential to the formation of human knowledge and culture, as agents of social change, and as sites of diversity. Teaching builds on high-caliber research and scholarship by the faculty. The school extends the study of design, art, and visual culture to the broader New School community through lecture and seminar courses, which are available to undergraduates and graduates from other divisions in the university.

In addition to teaching all undergraduates in Parsons, The School of Art and Design History and Theory currently offers two groundbreaking Master of Arts programs:

The MA in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies is uniquely defined by its specialized curriculum and its location within the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The program addresses decorative arts and design history while giving students access to a premier international collection.

In fall 2010, the school launched an MA in Fashion Studies, a groundbreaking program in which students explore fashion as object, image, practice, theory, and concept using an interdisciplinary approach. Students develop a critical understanding of fashion’s complex global intersections with identities, histories, and cultures in the contemporary world.

Design Studies is a research-driven graduate minor that builds on The New School’s legacy of civic engagement and brings together the academic strengths of Parsons and other divisions of The New School.

Graduate Programs

Undergraduate Curriculum

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