Frequently Asked Questions
What is the deadline for applying to the program?
The deadline is February 15th, 2013. Remember, that each transcript is reviewed by our registrar which takes time. So if you can get your application in a few weeks prior to the deadline date it is better for everyone.
What must be submitted with the application?
All applicants must submit an application form online; a personal statement, a resume, two letters of recommendation (two academic (preferred) or one from an academic reference and one from an employment-related reference); transcripts from ALL previously attended institutions of higher education; GRE scores; international students must also submit TOEFL scores; and a non-refundable $50.00 application fee to:
School of Graduate Studies
27th Street at Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
Is the GRE required of all applicants?
Yes, it is one of the many elements that informs us about the potential of the applicant to succeed at graduate level research and writing. We are less interested in your math score than we are in the verbal and the writing component. The GRE score should be mailed to us directly from the source – the report code for FIT School of Graduate Studies is 5199. Further information about the test can be found on the website: www.gre.org
If I am an International Student, can I apply to the program?
Yes, we have welcomed many International Students over the past 20 years. Along with the GRE, the TOEFL test is required to demonstrate proficiency in English. The test scores should be sent directly to FIT from the Educational Testing Service. We will not accept scores sent by the student. Other issues, such as visa status should be discussed in advance with our International Student Office.
Can I complete the program as a part-time student?
Yes and No – I will explain. Yes, in that one can take less than the 9 credits per term that is required to be considered “full-time.” Students can take up to 4 years to complete the program at their own pace. Yes also, in that there are many evening classes that would allow a student to hold a part-time or possibly a flexible full-time job. No, in that there many daytime classes over the two years that must remain in the day for museum interactions. The actual answer will be different for each person.
How many students are accepted each year?
We like to take in somewhere between 16 and 20 students each year.
Are there specific undergraduate degrees that you would prefer an applicant to have?
A degree that takes in art history and/or history and/or anthropology would prepare a student for the global understanding of the place of fashion and textile production in human endeavors. The study of these fields, including a study of literature, is rich in sociological, psychological, and economical aspects – important to fashion history – thus an applicant can come from a number of quite varied backgrounds. A student with an enriched writing and research background in any given area would be a good candidate. We have taken many successful students from English, theater history, costuming, textile science, and other backgrounds.
What is the language requirement?
All entering students must either have two years (usually 4 college terms) of a language on their transcript, or, if they have studied a language in a non-traditional way, they can sit for a waiver translation exam given by the department once each term. The languages that we prefer are French, Italian, Spanish, and German (in that order), but other languages are acceptable.
What is the chemistry requirement?
Until 2011, all students entering the program were required to have taken one term of college level chemistry with a lab component (usually called General Chemistry I). Starting with the class of 2012, the prerequisite has been changed. Now, only students who select the textile conservation emphasis will be required to have one term of chemistry.
The curatorial emphasis students will not have to take chemistry (though it is recommended). For students who are undecided about conservation during their first year and later select the conservation path, they will be required to have taken the chemistry course before the start of their second year and their advanced conservation courses. It is highly recommended that anyone with an idea that they are interested in conservation take this course before entering the program. This general chemistry course can be taken at any accredited college or community college and can be taken pass/fail.
What is the art history requirement?
All students entering the program are required to have taken four courses in the history of art. Up to two of those courses can be from related humanities areas like history, archaeology, or literature.
What if I don’t have all my pre-requisites completed at the time of application?
There is the possibility that we will accept a candidate who has not finished all the pre-req’s. However, there must be a plan in place for their timely completion. If it seems that the applicant can complete some open pre-req’s over the summer before entering the program, or during the first year, then the strength of the rest of their application may get them accepted into the program.
What should my personal statement include?
We look carefully at the personal statement. It should express the reasons for your interest in the program as well as your possible future career goals.
I read in the catalogue that a student can select a curatorial or a conservation emphasis. Do I have to know which I will pursue at the time of application, and how do those paths differ?
No, you don’t have to know which path you will choose during your first year in the program. All students take some basic handling, identification, materials type of courses the first year because we believe they will be necessary for both curatorial and conservation students. In the second year, there are course choices that are made which will create one path or the other. The type of master’s qualifying paper will be slightly different in form based on one path or the other.
What is the nature of the internship requirement?
In order to obtain your degree it is expected that you will have completed (at least) one official approved internship some time during your two years in the program. There are no credits associated with the internship; it is simply a graduation expectation. There are so many great internship sites that have taken our students over the past 20 years that we are blessed with a richness of choices. The choice is yours to make – and get approved. We can assist with letters of introduction. A daily journal, a supervisor’s evaluation, and the completion of 135 hours are expected.
What is the nature of the Qualifying Paper?
Each student will identify a special subject of interest to them some time early in their time in the program. After selecting an appropriate faculty member as their advisor, a proposal is submitted to the Thesis Committee. Once the proposal has been approved, the student will work with the advisor on completing an original paper, rich in research and documentation, of 30 to 60 pages in length that will be submitted as their Qualifying Paper. The student has up to one year after the completion of course work to submit the qualifying paper.
I see that there is a specific list of courses for the program. Can I customize my degree in any way?
Yes, there are a few ways to add the study of specialized areas to your curriculum. The first is through an independent study. Each student in their second year is allowed to take a maximum of two independent study courses, which can be up to three credits each. During that time, a goal is set for some form of specialized investigation and work with a faculty member is set up over the course of a term. Another way of changing the curriculum a bit is to take a pre-approved graduate level course at another institution and transfer those credits. Each student is allowed to submit up to 9 transfer credits. And finally, the choices of where internships are taken and the qualifying paper topic itself will enrich the curriculum in customized ways.
Is student housing available?
Yes, there are several kinds of dorm arrangements on campus. We don’t often have more than one or two students in college housing each year. There are a few other kinds of housing, especially for women, in the NYC area for students who are not ready for or cannot afford an apartment. Contact the Office of Residential Life for more information.
Is there any financial aid, scholarships, or TA positions other than FAFSA loans?
No. There is a college-wide work-study program for qualified financial aid students. For more information contact the Financial Aid Office. Most of our students have a part-time job and some take out Federal loans.
What types of jobs do graduates of the Fashion and Textile Studies program hold?
Obviously our graduates are working in many museums as curators, researchers, public educators, collections managers, and conservators, but there are many other types of positions that require knowledge of historic dress and textiles. We have graduates working in archives, such as the Conde Nast photography archives, in the Donna Karan antique fashion archives, Scalamandre historic fabric archive, in Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Coach, etc. We have graduates who have gone on to teach at the college level all over the country.
Others work at Historic House sites, such as the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, King Manor House, Merchants House, etc. Others have positions as fashion writers, private consultants, private collections managers (working presently at Geoffrey Beene, with Hamish Bowles, etc.) and as vintage dealers. We have several graduates who work for large auction houses (Christies in London and Sotheby’s in New York). Any occupation that has anything to do with historic costume or textiles will benefit from hiring a student from our program.
How does the Fashion and Textile Studies department determine acceptance?
All required application materials are gathered in the applicant’s folder prior to the deadline. Beginning on February 15th, if a student’s application is complete (all materials have been received) the folder is sent to the Admissions Committee for review. Selection is based on ALL the components of the application – GRE, transcripts, GPA, letters, resume, museum experience, etc.
Students who have not come in previously for an interview will be called to set up an appointment or a phone interview will be set up. Students are notified around the second week in March.
Do you create a waiting list?
Yes. For the past few years we have had up to 60 applications for the 16-20 positions. We make our first cut of about 24 students and place about 8 students on the waiting list each year. There are usually a few newly accepted students who defer one year for personal or monetary reasons and one or two that go elsewhere. We end up taking a few off the waiting list each year.