Apparel Design provides a unique approach to graduate study through its focus on conducting independent research in aspects of apparel design including fashion theory, functional apparel, sizing and anthropometrics, cultural and historic aspects of dress and textile design, apparel industry issues, CAD and other technologies, etc. We help you craft your graduate research program based on your interests and goals to address significant issues of apparel design within the context of aesthetics, production, function, and the meanings of dress.

Diverse, engaged faculty

The apparel design faculty has research- and industry-based expertise from design conception through production and analysis. The fiber science faculty offer supporting courses in fabric structure, color and functional characteristics for apparel students and contribute technical expertise to thesis/dissertation research. Working with a professor with whom your research interests align, you'll also take courses with other department faculty and in other fields of study related to your thesis/dissertation research.

Individualized programs

A written thesis is required for completion of all graduate degrees in Fiber Science & Apparel Design. Candidates for the PhD require at least three years of full-time study beyond the master's degree. Candidates for the MS or MA usually complete their degree requirements within two years.

Unlike undergraduate studies, graduate work focuses on independent research. At the masters level, you identify a research focus and select courses that will prepare you to conduct the research. At the PhD level you are also expected to take coursework that will give you a broad base in all aspects of the apparel design discipline, along with courses that will help you develop your research topic. The core courses for graduate study in apparel design are:

FSAD 6415: Anthropology of the Fashioned Body
FSAD 6500: Fashion, Media, and Technology
FSAD 6640: Human Factors: Anthropometrics and Apparel
FSAD 6700: Fashion Theory and Philosophy
FSAD 6900: Understanding Functional Aspects of Clothing and Design

Relevant, rigorous research

Your apparel design research immerses you in a problem-solving endeavor using qualitative and/or quantitative methods that link elements of apparel and textile design in the context of aesthetics, function, technique and the meaning of dress. These research projects often have an interdisciplinary perspective that reach across the university and to private industry and government.

The department and Cornell University provide excellent support and resources for graduate study, including competitive grants for research expenses, grants for travel to conferences and world-class libraries, collections and research labs.

For more detailed information on the different areas of apparel design research conducted at Cornell visit individual faculty webpages, and contact us to discuss your interests.

For information about applying, please see our graduate admissions page.