Degree Requirements

""For admittance to degree candidacy, you must:

  • satisfy all outstanding prerequisites
  • complete a minimum of 48 approved course credits
  • achieve a final grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
  • complete at least one official internship
  • have your qualifying paper proposal approved by  the thesis committee

You must advance to degree candidacy before being permitted to attend graduation ceremonies. You have one year after achieving degree candidacy to complete your qualifying paper.

Language Requirement

All students are required to have a reading knowledge of either French, Italian, German, or Spanish (though other foreign languages appropriate to a specific field of study will also be considered). This requirement must be met by the end of the second semester of study, or if studying part time, by the time the student completes the equivalent of one full-time year of coursework. Students can satisfy this requirement by completing two years (four semesters) of college-level language study, or by passing a written examination administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Students for whom English is a second language are exempt from the language requirement.


The Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice program emphasizes practical, professional experience, and therefore each student is required to complete an approved internship. Although only one internship is required for graduation, students may choose to serve additional internships for networking opportunities and as aids to professional growth.

Internships may be pursued during the academic year or during winter or summer breaks, and require a minimum commitment of 135 hours. Past sites for internships have included The Museum at FIT, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Costume Institute, Christie's and Sotheby's auction houses, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the textile conservation lab at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Jewish Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Current lists of internship opportunities, descriptions, guidelines, and procedures are kept on file in the Office of Graduate Studies. Each student, in consultation with the faculty internship advisor, makes a formal application for a position, and if selected, reports directly to a staff member at the internship location, who then supervises and evaluates the student's work. Students are required to maintain an internship journal, and to write an essay summarizing their experience. Academic credit cannot be granted for any internship that has not been approved by the faculty advisor before the internship begins.

Qualifying Paper

The qualifying paper may take the form of a scholarly research paper or article, an exhibition proposal or catalog, a conservation treatment proposal and report, a grant proposal, a collection survey, or an interpretive program utilizing a variety of formats, including electronic media.

Students should select a topic whose research and explication is completely manageable within a single year. When completed, a qualifying paper—including but not limited to text, footnotes, bibliography, and illustrations—should not exceed 30-40 pages in length.

It is the student's responsibility to propose a topic and to select an advisor from the graduate faculty. Written proposals must be submitted to, and approved by, both the advisor and the committee before the student may proceed. Students, with their advisors, are invited to attend the committee's discussion of the proposal, to defend and clarify points. Students are encouraged to complete proposals by the end of their third graduate semester. Detailed guidelines are available in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Time Requirement for Degree Completion

Students matriculating full time will have three years to complete all degree requirements, including the qualifying paper (two years of coursework plus one year to write and complete the qualifying paper). Part-time students will have five years to complete all degree requirements (a maximum of four years of coursework plus one year to write and complete the qualifying paper).