Textiles (MFA)

  • Textiles are literally and figuratively woven into human history and culture. Today communities of makers, designers, and scholars are exploring textiles — from locally crafted materials to 3D knitted matter to hand-embellished fabrics — and pioneering textile-based industries and theory. The Master of Fine Arts in Textiles, launched in fall 2018, enables you to explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft. In the process, you are prepared for the growing array of creative and professional opportunities related to textiles in fashion design, product design, interior design, textiles research, set design, fine arts, architecture, and hybrid fields.

    This program is part of Parsons' School of Fashion (SOF).

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    Interweaving Theory and Practice

    In the two-year, 60-credit full-time MFA Textiles program, you develop a critical understanding of textiles’ sociocultural, environmental, and emotional dimensions throughout human history and into our future. You explore the potential to unite craft with innovative high-tech and bio-tech production. In studio courses, you develop skills in essential fabric-making techniques, such as fiber development and innovation, yarn sourcing and making, weaving and jacquard technology, knitting, pattern design, and textile embellishments. You refine your personal aesthetic sensibilities and understanding of sustainable practices on-site in NYC textile studios and design ateliers, deepening collaborative and conceptual abilities in weaving, dyeing, knitting, and printing. Instruction in business best practices is integrated into each aspect of the curriculum, bringing economic and conceptual real-world skills into the studio.

    Cross-Disciplinary by Design

    Your study in the MFA Textiles program is interdisciplinary by design. Coursework connects fields including art, architecture, interior and industrial design, as well as fashion and autonomous design. The curriculum unites concerns ranging from human dignity to environmental sustainability to social justice. Accordingly, the program welcomes applicants from various backgrounds in textile research and making related to the liberal arts as well as creative disciplines including fashion design, interior design, product design, fine arts, and architecture. The goal is to create a diverse textiles community committed to expanding the field and integrating the high-tech innovations of Silicon Valley with local craft techniques developed in the Hudson Valley. Your study prepares you for a future in which smart textiles play many roles, collecting and transmitting data in a variety of products, including domestic goods and woven technology.

    Join the Critical Conversation

    Textiles are integral to a diverse array of institutions and industries — from fashion design, interior design, and scenic design to ubiquitous computing, automotive design, acoustic design, and health. At the same time, textiles fulfill the desire for tactile stimulation that accompanies the recent rise in digital and virtual culture. In the MFA Textiles program, you explore these dynamics creatively and reflectively, dissolving the boundaries between technology and craft, in keeping with contemporary practice. In the process, you take an active role in textile cultures and industries, preparing to reimagine textile mills and design businesses, lend studio skills to companies, launch a business as an independent designer or high-tech researcher, or pursue advanced studies.

    Textiles as Urban Practice

    New York Textile Month — a September celebration of textile culture initiated by MFA Textiles founder Lidewij Edelkoort, dean of Hybrid Design Studies at Parsons — highlights the community-based approach to promoting textile industries that students in the program will find. Local partners in the event become your direct mentors, inviting you into their studios and businesses one day a week to build your creative skills and networks. The growing global interest in textile-related creation brings international players into the fold to partner with the program, extending your understanding of conceptualization and production. The program also draws on Parsons’ institutional partners such as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, with its extensive material collections and curatorial resources. Lectures and hybrid workshops by major international designers and producers add dimension to your learning.

  • Curriculum

    The Master of Fine Arts degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits. Transfer credits are not accepted. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner.

    For a complete listing of courses and course descriptions, visit the university course catalog.

    First Year / Fall
    PGTX 5100 Major Studio 1 9
    PGTX 5050 Textiles Industry Partnership 1* 3
    PGTX 5085 History of Textiles* 3
    First Year / Spring
    PGTX 5110 Major Studio 2

    In this class, students build on Major Studio 1 and begin creating textiles and advancing their understanding of the history of the discipline and industrial development. Students propose new scenarios related to current movements in the field, considering new ways to contribute to the local production and regional sourcing of textiles. Students investigate the prioritization, function, and impact of textiles in fields such as fashion, art, architecture, and industrial design. In shaping their scenarios, students explore research methods while gathering and examining data.

    PGTX 5000 Atelier* 2
    PGTX 5080 Anthropology of Textiles *

    In this course, students draw connections not only between humankind and textile creation, but also between long-standing traditions and modern developments. Students demonstrate knowledge of different materials and fibers and their function in society. Through this course, students develop an understanding of the ways in which the culture of cloth is crucial to humans, over time and across cultures. Students assemble materials for a self-directed research project focused on an aspect of human relationship to cloth. They use original source material and map a series of human interactions and conduct interviews dealing with the people's relationships with cloth. The final research project and essay on the chosen categories of textiles and humans are illustrated with videos, photos, and textiles.


    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan.

    Second Year / Fall
    PGTX 5200 Major Studio 3

    In this course, students research a subject for a final textiles trend forecast (preparing for their final studio) and then write, sketch, and design a proposal for a collection of materials to be developed in the subsequent capstone. Students continue to develop a hybridized practice by making use of theoretical and technical knowledge from various areas including craft in sustainable textiles, textile transformation, smart technology, and industry and forecasting trends, knowledge they have acquired through their studio work.

    PGTX 5000 Atelier* 2
    PGTX 5060 Textiles Industry Partnership 2*

    In this course, students are supported by external partners and explore the way technology influences the aesthetics, function, and value of textiles in fashion. Teams of students are paired with external industry partners to address contemporary issues related to textiles and develop an integrative approach to textiles and technology. The Textiles Industry Partnership course is framed around a problem introduced by the partnering organizations, to  which students research and propose and prototype solutions. Over the course of the semester, students are supported by course faculty and experts from the partnering organizations as they develop their ideas into well-thought-out solutions and presentations. Each semester, the partnership will change, as will the assignment and approach. This course is required for MFA Textiles students and can serve as an elective for students from the MFA Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Fashion Design programs, as well as graduate students in other aligned studies, resulting in cross-disciplinary teams.


    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan.

    Second Year / Spring
    PGTX 5210 Major Studio 4

    In this course, students create a hybrid textile to be developed in close cooperation with industry and ateliers. They start with concept development and move through design iteration, critique, refinement, and application. Articulation and evidence of the project’s social, environmental, and/or cultural value, as well as its ability to speak to the wide-ranging field of textiles, are essential to the project’s success. Emphasis is placed on the application of learning and knowledge in the studio sequence and atelier experiences. The final textile collection is presented in a graduate installation.


    Students should explore their elective options with their advisors to create a coherent study plan.

    PGTX 5000 Atelier* 2
    PGTX 5090 Philosophy of Textiles*

    In this class, students explore the communicative qualities of textiles and how weaving processes illustrate ideas. The course centers on conducting research and developing a personal philosophy of cloth. Students investigate the way cloth has influenced and continues to influence people’s lives, reflecting the times they live in. They examine the influence of construction choices on people's use of their fabrics, changing fashions and design in ways that mirror movements in society. Students produce a written description of their philosophy of the chosen category of cloth and the way it reflects our times, illustrated with photos and textiles, to demonstrate the impact of material making on our world.

    Total Credits 60

    *Courses may be offered during semesters different from those indicated above, with the exception of Major Studio. The timing of course offerings will depend upon industry partnerships, faculty expertise, and student interest, in consultation with the program director.


    Program Contact

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      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.

      Some of your required application materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

      1. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application as we need all required materials to be received before we can place your application under review.
      2. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

      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. There is also a $15 SlideRoom fee.
      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 outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and an explanation of how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been 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. (500–750-word limit)
      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. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. The purpose of the portfolio is to communicate your perspectives on textile design and your singular creative talent. Create a compelling portfolio with up to 40 items that illustrate your conceptual skills, your taste in textiles, your making talent and more. The portfolio should represent an original view of your creative character as a conceptual thinking and your making skills as a designer. Include work that best demonstrates your creative vision from previous experiences. You can include images of the concept work you have established, photos of your textile designs, yarns and color studies, and fiber applications. Please include a brief description of each item that you upload. If you want to include short films such as installation, performance, or live work/process, submit them using SlideRoom. Please do NOT submit an additional hard-copy portfolio to the office of admission. All items that you want the faculty to review on behalf of your portfolio submission should be submitted through SlideRoom only; not by mail.
      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. 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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