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The New School

Parsons School of Design

United States Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

Parsons students are designers, artists, and scholars who learn to apply the transformative capacity of design responsibly, creatively, and purposefully. Our diverse community of students and faculty explore multiple sites and scales of engagement, from on-campus research initiatives to partnerships that bring about change in New York and in the world.

International Role

In 1921, Parsons School of Design was the first art and design school in America to found a campus abroad. Today, Parsons offers its students the possibility to expand their horizons by studying abroad at various art and design schools around the world. Parsons' campus is in the heart of multicultural New York City and with approximately 45 percent international students, the international experience at Parsons is also prevalent at the home campus. Parsons has exchange relationships and collaborations with many peer institutions across the globe, particularly in Latin America, Northern and Western Europe, and East Asia.

National Role

Parsons develops and manages collaborative student projects with corporations, government and non-profit organizations. The projects provide students with concentrated “real-world” experiences while delivering solutions for sponsors’ design and business challenges. Parsons offers comprehensive expertise in all areas of design with access to the strengths at The New School in the Social Sciences, Liberal Arts, Management and Urban Policy, and the Performing Arts. Among the most recent noteworthy partnerships is the newly designed hospital gown completed in partnership with Care+Wear, which involved BFA Fashion Design students, hospitals, patients, doctors, and nurses to collaborate on a design that makes the patient feel comfortable while providing medical staff with one gown that covers multiple needs, therefore reducing hospital waste. Students in the BFA Product Design and MFA Industrial Design programs worked with Roche Bobois to design functional, full-scale seating devices aimed at reinvigorating "the cultural and historical rituals of resting, gathering, and nourishing the body." Through this partnership, three winning designs were presented, with one moving forward to be prototyped and potentially manufactured by Roche Bobois.

Main Focus

Parsons has been a pioneer in art and design education since its inception and it continues to be one of the preeminent design schools in the world. Parsons students are taught how to recognize excellence in design and to understand how art and design interact with the broader forces of society, culture, and economy. Parsons’ rigorous and progressive programs and distinctive faculty embrace curricular innovation, pioneering uses of technology, collaborative approaches, and global perspectives on design.

Faculties and Departments

The various programs through which Parsons offers its undergraduate and graduate degrees are Architectural Design, Architecture, Communication Design, Data Visualization, Design and Technology, Design and Urban Ecologies, Fashion Design, Fashion Design and Society, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Studies, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, History of Design and Curatorial Studies, Illustration, Industrial Design, Integrated Design, Interior Design, Lighting Design, Photography, Product Design, Strategic Design and Management, Textiles, Theories of Urban Practice, and Transdisciplinary Design. Parsons School of Design is part of The New School, which is comprised of four other divisions: Schools of Public Engagement, The New School for Social Research, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Performing Arts.

Bachelor Level Programs

Parsons offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs in the areas of Architectural Design, Communication Design, Design and Technology, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Illustration, Integrated Design, Interior Design, Photography, and Product Design. Parsons offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Strategic Design and Management. All programs are approximately four years in duration. Parsons also offers four Associate (AAS) degree programs targeted towards career changers or professionals in a related design field. The programs are approximately one to two years in duration. Areas of study include Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Graphic Design, and Interior Design. The AAS programs are designed for students who have earned a BA, BS, BFA, or BBA degree or have completed some college-level coursework. AAS students often enter their program with some professional experience, although previous experience does not need to relate to their area of study. 

Master Level Programs

Parsons offers Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs in the areas of Design and Technology, Fashion Design and Society, Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Lighting Design, Photography, Textiles, and Transdisciplinary Design. The approximate duration of these degrees are 2 years. Besides these, there is a Master of Architecture degree at Parsons, which takes 3 years to complete and also Master of Arts (MA) programs in Fashion Studies, History of Design and Curatorial Studies, and Theories of Urban Practice. Parsons also offers Master of Science (MS) programs in Data Visualization, Design and Urban Ecologies, and Strategic Design and Management – these programs take approximately 2 years to complete. Additionally, Parsons offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program in Communication Design, which takes one year to complete.

Research Activity and Main Areas

The graduate programs at Parsons provide a wide scope for research in diverse disciplines. To name a few, the M.Arch. program at Parsons takes pride in its focus on research into contemporary architectural ideas and practices. Similarly, other graduate programs like Fine Arts, Design and Technology, History of Design and Curatorial Studies, Lighting Design, and Photography offer students the opportunity to explore their work through an original written thesis, a creative project, or a curated exhibition in their second year of study. Within faculty research, there is a large focus on areas such as sustainability and social justice. Faculty work closely with other divisions at The New School to take advantage of their expertise in the social sciences, management, etc.

Doctorate Level Programs

At present Parsons does not offer a doctoral level program.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

All subject areas are open to fee-paying visiting students, although a portfolio is required and some areas may not be appropriate given a particular student's level of experience. Exchanges are also permissible for schools with an agreement with Parsons.

Application Deadlines

Early March for fall semester, early October for spring semester.

Teaching Languages


Semester Dates

Fall: late August to mid-December

Spring: late January to mid-May


Bachelor: 4500
Master: 950

Exchange Students

Incoming: 15
Outgoing: 15
Others: 5

Teaching Staff

Professors: 175
Part-time Teachers: 920

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