About This Program

Each summer, Parsons faculty organize two-week graduate study courses in settings around the world — Paris, London, Berlin, Stockholm, and Helsinki, to name some recent examples — that are rich in history and provide focused study of decorative arts, design, and curatorial work. These courses draw on local cultural resources and offer unparalleled access to the objects, interiors, curators, and approaches to scholarship and presentation that make these cultural capitals unique. Recent classes have engaged with topics including Scandinavian modernism and national identity, French period interiors, and German material culture from the late 18th century to the early 20th century.

Timeline to Completion: Two-week intensive, late June to early July

Enrollment Type: This course is open to university graduate degree candidates and undergraduate seniors by permission of the School of Art and Design History and Theory. Participants earn three graduate credits for successful completion of the course.

What You'll Gain

  • A unique opportunity to study art and design up close and on location
  • An in-depth understanding of decorative arts, design, and curatorial work and how they are influenced by culture

How You'll Learn

  • Visits to historic sites that are closely related to the history of design, the decorative arts, and architecture of the local culture
  • Examination and analysis of collections, interiors, room decorations, and furniture in their original historic settings dating from the 17th century to the present
  • Community building with a tight-knit group of students

Summer 2021 (dates TBD); abroad

Program Details


The Graduate Design History and Curatorial Studies program, a collaboration between Parsons School of Design and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, offers graduate summer seminars. These courses are open to all students currently enrolled in MA or PhD programs at an accredited university.

Students are expected to attend all classes, site visits, and excursions. Classes and excursions begin promptly at the designated times; latecomers cannot be accommodated. 

This course is open to university graduate degree candidates and undergraduate seniors by permission of the School of Art and Design History and Theory. 

The course is moderately physically challenging, as it involves hours of walking and standing. Because of space limitations, friends and family are not permitted to join the class for lectures, walks, or site visits.

Resources & Enrollment


Please contact program director Sarah Lichtman at licthmas@newschool.edu or call 212.849.8344. We recommend early action, as the class size is limited and the course may fill before the registration deadline.

Tuition and Fees: $6,225, including all gratuities, course materials, and local travel. Participants are responsible for their own accommodations, meals, and transportation to and from the course.

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