Costume Studies (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

The field of costume studies is one of the most exciting areas of current visual arts research. Since 1979 the MA program in Costume Studies has focused on the history of costume and textiles in its broadest aesthetic and cultural contexts. It was the first curriculum in the United States to educate specialists in this field. An additional dual-degree option between the Department of Art and Art Professions and Long Island University Post’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science bridges theory and practice, so that students benefit from the programs’ complementary strengths in teaching information science and costume studies.

The programs offer courses that emphasize the relation of costume studies to material culture and the fine and decorative arts. The 36-unit MA curriculum includes core courses as well as electives in exhibition and museum topics, art theory and criticism, and the decorative arts. The 61-unit dual MA and MS offers many of the same core course with the additional unique combination of courses that address costume studies, and library and information science.

Faculty in the programs, some of whom are associated with museums and galleries in New York, teach courses in costume and textile history, decorative arts, and conservation. Students are exposed to collections of costumes, accessories, and related objects at leading institutions, including the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and the New York Historical Society. The internship component of the program enables students to gain firsthand work experience and make valuable professional contacts. Students in the dual-degree program are mentored and advised by subject specialists from local New York City libraries. A 160-hour mentoring arrangement provides students the opportunity for hands-on experiences.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See How to Apply for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.