Master of Arts in Costume Studies

Master of Arts in Costume Studies

The field of costume studies is one of the most exciting areas of current visual arts research. Since 1979, the MA program in Costume Studies has focused on the history of costume and textiles in its broadest aesthetic and cultural context. It was the first curriculum in the United States to educate specialists in this field.

MA in Costume Studies
The program offers courses that emphasize the relation of costume studies to material culture and the fine and decorative arts. The 42-point curriculum includes core courses as well as electives in exhibition and museum topics, art theory and criticism, and the decorative arts. Faculty in the program associated with museums and galleries in New York teach courses in costume and textile history, decorative arts, and conservation. Students benefit from collections of costume, accessories, and related objects at leading institutions, including the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Museum of the City of New York, and the New-York Historical Society. The internship component of the program enables students to gain firsthand work experience and make valuable professional contacts. Through research and writing, object study, and internships, students in the Costume Studies program gain knowledge in the history and theory of dress and textiles in the broadest aesthetic and cultural context.

Career Opportunities
There are many options available for those who graduate with an MA in this rapidly expanding field, such as: 

  • curators
  • museum administrators
  • collection managers and exhibition consultants
  • auction house specialists
  • private dealers
  • archivists and historical researchers
  • educators, writers, journalists, critics 
New Dual Degree Opportunity: MA Costume Studies/MS Library Science

In addition to an MA in Costume Studies, students can earn an MS in Library and Information Science. In partnership with Long Island University's Palmer School of Library and Information Science, this dual-degree program combines the rigorous study of costume studies with professional qualification to give graduates a competitive edge in the evolving fields of information science, digital humanities, curatorial studies, and data archiving.

Learn more about the 61-point dual-degree program in Costume Studies and Library Science.