Design Studies

The PhD Program

The PhD program currently offers three areas of concentration, Interior Environments, Textiles and Clothing Forms, Materials and Material Culture. Within each area, students are expected to build a self-directed but highly coherent curriculum in close consultation with a major faculty advisor.

Graduates of the program are well positioned for careers in higher education, government, industry and more:

To learn more about this program please visit the Graduate School Human Ecology: Design Studies PhD Guide page.

The MFA Program

Students generally focus their work in one of two general areas: Textile and Fashion Design, or Interior Architecture. Students focusing in Interior Architecture typically concentrate on the innovative application of aesthetic, conceptual and expressive design strategies in interior environments. Textile and Fashion Design students focus on the conceptual, technical and aesthetic possibilities of textiles and clothing. There are many students who may work across these areas or have an even more idiosyncratic integrative focus. In every case, students formulate a plan of study to suit their individual needs.

The course of study requires the completion of a minimum of 60 credits and includes a substantial studio work component. The curriculum seeks to create a foundation with flexibility to fit student needs.

Alumni of the MFA program work in a range of fields including higher education, product design, textile design, and science communication:

Improving early childhood classrooms fuels PhD student Rudy Dieudonne

“This research provides...the power to help our government revise classroom design standards across this country and the power to defend students with autism, as well as their constitutional rights to education.”

Community and art making: Three graduating MFA students examine and celebrate the human experience

“We happen to have personalities and sensibilities that really work well together. We have become a family for sure; heart sisters.”

Dó-ing the work of heritage preservation: MFA student Veronica Pham spotlights Vietnamese papermaking

"I’m finding these connections between the history of papermaking and then the history of my own culture and heritage."

Addison Nace weaves a new understanding of global fashion

“[Nace’s] exhibit represents the kind of rigorous textile-focused work that we would love to do more of in the center,” says Carter. “It’s just so exciting to have our students be thought-leaders in the field in this way."

Wright wins Smithsonian fellowship for study of clothing made for disability in the post-war United States

“People tend to think that what we call now adaptive clothing is a recent phenomenon, but it’s existed for such a long time,” Wright said. “The post-war timeframe is just one important moment on this longer timeline.”

Program Contact

Graduate Program Staff

4199 Nancy Nicholas Hall


Graduate Program Committee Chair

Professor Kevin Ponto

Associate Professor