Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions we receive most often about the Fashion and Textiles Studies MA program. If you don't see your question answered, let us know.

All applicants must submit:

  • online application form
  • 2 short written responses to provided questions, and 1 OPTIONAL further short response
  • curriculum vitae or resumé
  • two letters of recommendation
  • transcripts from ALL previously attended institutions of higher education
  • English Language Proficiency TOEFL or IELTS scores (international students only)

Yes, we have welcomed many international students. The tuition cost for the degree is the same for out-of-state and international students. The TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or Duolingo exam is required to demonstrate proficiency in English if it is not the applicant's first language. 

English language proficiency testing is waived for applicants who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university in which English is both the primary spoken language and the primary language of instruction. (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom)

To learn more about the requirements for International Students, visit our Graduate International Applicants page.

Yes, you can take less than the nine (9) credits per term that is required to be considered full-time. You may take up to four years to complete the program at your own pace.  There are also many evening classes that would allow you to hold a part-time or possibly a flexible full-time job.  

However, please be aware there are many day classes over the two years that must take place during the day for museum interactions or due to professor availability.  

We accept 16–20 students each year.

A degree that includes art history and/or history and/or anthropology and/or material culture would prepare a student for the global understanding of the place of fashion and textile production in human endeavors.  The study of these fields, including a study of literature, is rich in sociological, psychological, and economical aspects important to fashion history thus an applicant can come from a number of quite varied backgrounds.  

A student with an enriched writing and research background in any given area would be a good candidate.  We have taken many successful students from English, theater history, costuming, fashion, textile science, design and other backgrounds.

Our program requires that entering students have some proficiency in the use of at least one language other than English. Preferred languages are French, Italian, Spanish, and German (in that order), but other languages are acceptable. Native speakers of other languages, for whom English is a second language, will be recognized as meeting this standard.

The language requirement may be met in one of the following ways:

  • Your academic transcript can indicate two college-level courses of a foreign language.
  • If you have prior experience in a language or studied a language in a non-traditional way, you may take a proficiency exam to demonstrate mastery of the language at the appropriate level.

All students entering the program are expected to have taken one term of college-level chemistry with a lab component (usually called General Chemistry I). Chemistry is necessary for the program's required conservation courses and understanding textile technicalities. This course can be taken in person or online at any accredited college or community college and can be taken pass/ fail. In person study is preferred where possible as it gives a familiarity with the laboratory setting.

Applicants may contact the admissions office for a list of pre-approved courses which satisfy the requirement

There is the possibility that we will accept a candidate who has not finished all the prerequisites.  However, there must be a plan in place for their timely completion.  

If it seems that you can complete some open prerequisites over the summer before entering the program, then the strength of the rest of your application may lead to acceptance in the program. Please contact us if you have specific questions about prerequisites.

We look carefully at the written components of the application. They should express the reasons for your interest in this program specifically, as well as your previous experience with fashion and/or textiles, and possible future career goals.

Applicants must select a track when applying to the program, however, students may have the opportunity to change their track prior to the start of the second year. All students take some basic handling, identification, materials type of courses the first year because they will be necessary for both curatorial and conservation students.  

In the second year, you will make choices about courses that will lead you down one path or the other. The type of master's degree qualifying paper will be slightly different in form based on one path or the other.

In order to obtain your degree, it is expected that you will have completed (at least) one official approved internship some time during your two years in the program. There are no credits associated with the internship; it is simply a graduation expectation.

There are so many great internship sites that have taken our students in the past that we are blessed with a richness of choices.  The choice is yours to make and get approved.  We can assist with letters of introduction.  A daily journal, a supervisor's evaluation, and the completion of 80 hours are expected.

The qualifying paper is the equivalent of a thesis or dissertation. You will identify a special subject of interest some time early in the program. After selecting an appropriate faculty member as an advisor and working with them on developing the idea, your proposal will be submitted to the thesis committee. Once the proposal has been approved, you will work with your advisor to complete an original paper, rich in research and documentation, of 30 to 60 pages in length. This is your qualifying paper.

You have up to one year after the completion of course work to submit the qualifying paper.

Yes, there are a few ways to add the study of specialized areas to your curriculum. The first is through an independent study. Each student is allowed to take a maximum of two independent study courses during second year, which can be up to three credits each. During that time, a goal is set for some form of specialized investigation and work with a faculty member is set up over the course of a term. 

Another way of changing the curriculum is to take a pre-approved graduate level course at another institution and transfer those credits. Each student is allowed to submit up to nine (9) transfer credits.

And finally, internship choices and the qualifying paper topic itself will enrich the curriculum in customized ways.

Obviously our graduates are working in many museums as curators, researchers, public educators, collections managers, and conservators, but there are many other types of positions that require knowledge of historic dress and textiles.  

We have graduates working in archives, such as the Condé Nast photography archives, in the Donna Karan antique fashion archives, Scalamandre historic fabric archive, in Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Coach, etc.  

We have graduates who have gone on to teach at the college level all over the country. Others work at historic house sites, such as the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, King Manor House, Merchants House, etc. Others have positions as fashion writers, private consultants, private collections managers and as vintage dealers. We have several graduates who work for large auction houses (Christies in London and Sothebys in New York).

Any occupation that has anything to do with historic dress, costume, fashion or textiles will benefit from hiring a student from our program.

All required application materials must be received by the application deadlines.  When your submissions are complete (all materials have been received), they are sent to the admissions committee for review.  

The admissions committee reviews applications holistically taking into consideration  ALL the components of the application: transcripts, GPA, letters, resumé, previous experience, etc.

If you have not previously interviewed, you will be contacted to set up an interview appointment.  

Yes. For the past few years we have had up to 60 applications for the 16–20 positions. For the past few years we have had up to 60 applications for the 16–20 positions. The admission committee will typically place 8-10 students on the waitlist. Waitlisted students may expect a final admissions decision no later than August 1.