Our students take advantage of a variety of opportunities beyond formal coursework.

Participation in national and international design competitions, as well as mentored independent projects, is encouraged. Students regularly participate in and win prestigious scholarships and design competitions, attend conferences, and participate in student professional organizations.

Additionally, students in HCD are active members of many other Cornell extra curricular activities including the campus sustainability initiative, athletics, political groups, theater and the arts, and social organizations.

Research provides valuable practical knowledge while broadening students’ interests. There are opportunities for students to join faculty research groups, to work and conduct research, or to pursue independent research projects with faculty mentorship.  Students can apply to the Honors program to pursue an independent research inquiry under the guidance of a faculty member as seniors.

Many students spend a semester studying abroad in international fashion centers such as London, Paris, and Florence, or take part in Cornell exchange programs in Hong Kong, Paris, Seoul, or New Zealand. There are programs geared to the interests of design, fashion business, and fiber science.

Fashion Design and Fashion Design Management students generally pursue summer internships with fashion industry firms such as: Malia Mills, The Row, MBF Trend Consulting, Nike, Inc., Marios Schwab LTD, Prabal Gurung, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, JS International, Mara Hoffman, Under Armour, and Saks Fifth Avenue.  Fiber Science students may engage in summer internships in technical apparel or personal care, as well as in product development and testing labs. Additional field experiences include National Science Foundation funded Research Experience programs. 

Design and Environmental Analysis students participate in DEA's annual career fair, PURSUIT.  Held each spring, this event has over 20 firm representatives (with over 85% DEA alumni) that make presentations about their firms and interview our students for full-time and internship positions.  Firms have included:  AECOM, BAMO, Corgan, EY, Gensler, MMoser, Perkins + Will, TPG.  DEA students also participate in career fairs held on campus, as well as AAP's (Architecture, Art & Planning) annual Career Days.  And DEA students work in the Career Development Office here in the College of Human Ecology, advising undergraduates, grad students on interview skills and portfolio development.

Students can also find internships in conjunction with staff in the Career Development Office. Students are provided assistance with internship searches and in developing resumes and preparing for interviews.

Undergraduate and Graduate students can participate in competitions throughout the year.

AIA-AAH STERIS Student Design Charrette

This is an annual competition between design schools focused on healthcare environments. A three-day charrette is held at the annual Center for Health Design Healthcare Conference and Expo and is adjudicated by design professionals. Students are required to analyze a site, create a program and provide schematic design solutions.

Barbara L. Kuhlman Fiber and Wearable Arts Scholarship

The Barbara L. Kuhlman Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity established by the estate of Barbara L. Kuhlman. Ms. Kuhlman, a college professor and life-long supporter of fiber arts, achieved world-renowned status as a collector, a lecturer, and author in her field. The Foundation continues her dedication to fiber arts with philanthropic sponsorships. Their interest is to provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships to undergraduate students with a declared major in Fiber Arts or a closely related discipline.

Cooper Lighting Solutions' SOURCE Awards

The Cooper Lighting Solutions' SOURCE Awards have been a national student competition for over 43 years.  This competition asks students to submit their lighting design projects which are judged on their creativity and design "considerations such as energy efficiency, controls integration, best use of natural light and customization."  Student submissions are judged by lighting professionals and winners are awarded monetary prizes and attend LightFair, a national lighting conference for both lighting manufacturers and design professionals.

Fashion Scholarship Fund

The Fashion Scholarship Fund is the foremost fashion-oriented education and workforce development nonprofit in the U.S. The FSF works directly with the country's most talented young students from diverse backgrounds and awards over $1 million each year in scholarships to help these students succeed in all sectors of the industry including design, merchandising, marketing analytics, and business strategy.

The FSF also provides scholars with a wide range of internship and career opportunities, mentorship, networking, professional development, and unprecedented access to the industry's most influential leaders and companies.

Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards

YMA and the Geoffrey Beene Foundation formed a strategic alliance with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund in 2007 to further the mutual goal of expanding support for students seeking careers in the Fashion Industry. The Geoffrey Beene Foundation has donated to the YMA FSF more than $5.5 million committed through 2017.

Since the beginning of 2008, the FSF has been granting four Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Awards (now for $30,000 each) to enterprising students majoring in fashion and related disciplines (design, merchandising, finance, marketing, retailing and liberal arts), as well as four $10,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarships for each of the four runner-up finalists.

Medium Design Collective

To build an interdisciplinary collective of individuals, as a platform for engaging in dialogue and collaboration about design:  empowering creative individuals through design.

SAE Collegiate Baja Design Series 

In this annual competition, 40 Cornell students build and race an off-road vehicle. The competition requires students to balance design and cost with dynamic performance while following a strict set of safety guidelines and standardized rules. There are three North American competitions annually, each with 100 competing teams.

With faculty support, students participate in national and international conferences. This may happen as part of a class or students will submit papers or posters for conferences and present their research.  Our students are regular presenters as the Center for Health Design Healthcare Conference and Expo, the International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the International Interior Design Association, the International Textiles and Apparel Association and The Fiber Society.

Our students are active members of organizations, including:

Cornell Fashion Collective

The Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC) is a Cornell student-run organization devoted to production of an annual spring fashion show, showcasing student design, student models, and student event management. Involvement from any Cornell student interested in Fashion is invited. Representatives from the Fashion Industry often attend the show. 

Cornell Fashion Industry Network

CFIN: Cornell Fashion Industry Network is a student-run organization at Cornell University. CFIN works to bring members of the fashion industry to Cornell to discuss their career paths and industry experiences. Students are able to connect with these speakers to gain insight about entering the fashion world.

Cornell University Healthy Futures: Graduate Chapter (CUHFG)

Cornell University Healthy Futures: Graduate Chapter (CUHFG> is the graduate division of the first academic institute in the country to combine hospitality, environmental design, and health policy and management to improve patient and customer experience.

Cornell University Sustainable Design

Founded in 2009, Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) is a student run, interdisciplinary project team with a bias towards impact.  We bring together students from across all seven colleges to work alongside renowned faculty and knowledgeable professionals in our mission to create a network of proactively sustainable communities.

Design Connect

Design Connect is a multidisciplinary, student-run community design organization based at Cornell University.  We foster the mutual exchange of expertise and experiential learning between Cornell students and local municipalities in Upstate New York.  Participating in Design Connects provides students with practical experience and our partners with low-cost, viable design and planning services.

Human Centered Design Graduate Student Association

The Cornell Human-Centered Design Graduate Student Association (Cornell HCDD GSA) is a hub for innovators passionate about human-centered design. We foster collaboration, learning, and innovation, uniting diverse minds to create user-focused solutions. Explore interactive workshops, seminars, and a future where empathy-driven design leads the way. Join us today to craft a user-friendly tomorrow!

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) has a Cornell chapter that consists of a group of students and faculty interested in human factors and ergonomics. The organization plans and coordinates events and activities that include invited speakers, practical demonstrations of ergonomic design principles, and field trips. The chapter contributes to the CUErgo website and has established an information library in the DEA Resource Center

International Facility Managers Association (IFMA)

International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) helps students who are interested in the field of facility planning and management explore the profession and stay current with the latest issues in the field. Chapter activities include speaker events, field trips, and joint meetings with other professional association chapters. Student members also have access to the IFMA research library, scholarships, educational events, and IFMA publications. For more information, call 607-255-2144.

International Interior Design Association (IIDA)

International Interior Design Association (IIDA) supports design professionals, industry affiliates, educators, students, firms, and their clients through our network of 15,000 members across 58 countries.  We advocate for advancement in education, design excellence, legislation, leadership, accreditation, and community outreach to increase the value and understanding of interior design as a profession that enhances business value and positively impacts the health and well-being of people's lives every day.  

The Thread Magazine

The Thread Magazine is an independent student publication that focuses on fashion, lifestyle, and art at Cornell. The Thread represents a conglomeration of student-made fashion, art, photography, styling, and design and publishes an issue each semester to showcase the interdisciplinary talents of individuals within the Cornell community through compelling visual and written storytelling.