This is an archived copy of the 2017-18 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

NYSED: 38535   HEGIS: 1009

The 60-credit Fashion Design MFA program is a two-year, full-time program that invites students to embark on a highly mentored personal journey into their own ideas and philosophies around fashion and design. They are be encouraged and supported to innovate in design, fit, cut, construction, silhouette, and materiality, all with intention and meaning. Students are required to reflect with critical distance on their own work as well as contribute as an active participant in the critique space in a collaborative studio environment to gain new perspectives on their own ideas, concepts, philosophies, and ideologies, and to give feedback and insight to others on theirs. 

Upon graduating from this program, students have gained a new level of design fluency and creative confidence, a mastery of their own specialized craft:OLOGY, and an understanding of their place as a maker and influencer in fashion history/futures. They enter personally defined industries as articulate, vocal, and formidable design specialists, not design generalists, and are expected to populate a mix of large-scale, high-end design houses, smaller ateliers, entrepreneurial ventures, experimental think tanks and consultancies, or continued study at MPhil or PhD level. 

Curriculum below is for the entering class of Fall 2017. 


MF 501Thesis Idea2
Semester 1
MF 502Thesis Play3
MF 503Fashion Creation I: X3 Self3
MF 504Design Communication I: Visual Explanations1.5
MF 505The Fashion Activist3
Semester 1 Winter
MF 506International Making Seminar I - Fashion Institute of Technology Investigates FIT3
Semester 2
MF 522Fashion Creation II: Elective Connect3
MF 523Thesis Focus3
MF 524craft:OLOGY3
MF 525Design Communication II: Image Capture2
Semester 3
MF 601Fashion Creation III: Design Archaeology3
MF 603Business I: Brand Marketing and Finance3
MF 604Design Communication III: 2D Curation Portfolio2
MF 605Thesis Edit3
Semester 3 Winter
MF 602International Making Seminar II: Fashion Farming3
Semester 4
MF 626Thesis Conclude4.5
MF 627Thesis: Exhibition Design & Portfolio3
MF 628Business II: Supply Chain Production and Retail3
MF 629Thesis: Captured/Present3
Total Credits60

*Elective Requirement: 6 credits. CHOICE of master's-level coursework as approved by the department chair.


All degree programs require that students maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 every semester while enrolled in the program. A student is placed on probation if his or her semester GPA is below 3.0. A student is not subject to academic dismissal at the end of his or her first semester in a degree program. A student will be dismissed from the college after two consecutive semesters with a GPA below 3.0. A final GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation.


Eligibility to Attend Commencement Exercises
Candidates for the master’s degree at FIT must have advanced to candidacy before being permitted to attend graduation ceremonies.

Maintenance of Matriculation
To maintain matriculation, a degree candidate must register each semester following entry into a program for either (a) at least one approved course or (b) maintenance of matriculation. If a student does not maintain continuous matriculation, or does not complete all degree requirements in the time allowed, that student will be required to apply for readmission to the program following the procedures and requirements listed in the catalog of the readmission year. If readmission is granted, the student will also be required to pay all delinquent maintenance of matriculation fees prior to being awarded the degree.

Degree Requirements


For admittance to degree candidacy, students must have satisfied all outstanding prerequisites, completed a minimum of 60 approved course credits, achieved a final grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, and had their qualifying paper proposal approved by their committee. Students must have advanced to degree candidacy before being permitted to attend graduation ceremonies.

International Seminars
Every student in the Master of Fine Arts Fashion Design degree program is required to complete both international seminars. It is recommended that students budget approximately $4,000 in addition to fees for the first seminar MF 506 , and $6,000 in addition to fees for the second seminar MF 602 . These figures are approximate and may vary. Additional administration fees may also be required.


MF 501 — Thesis Idea

2 credits; 4 lab hours

This intensive orientation course for the Masters of Fashion Design program provides the opportunity for students to engage in workshops, roundtable discussions and mentoring sessions all with the intention of exploring the IDEA they initially proposed in their individual applications. The primary focus of this intensive course is to facilitate the process whereby students explore their own personal inspirations and concepts in ways they may not have first considered.

MF 502 — Thesis Play

3 credits; 6 lab hours

THESIS-PLAY, is a course designed to encourage the student to recognize the importance of PLAY in design. Through guided and mentored weekly meetings students will be expected to provide evidence of personal research through “Doing.” Students are required to work independently and collaboratively, expanding on their own design, creative and technical vocabulary through investigative study. This space is to be considered a safe playground in which the students can metaphorically trip and fall allowing for accidental innovation to take place and in turn establish a strong foundation for work to begin in semester two during THESIS-FOCUS.

MF 503 — Fashion Creation I: X3 Self

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This first semester graduate course in the MFA Fashion Design program introduces students to new ways of looking at the fashion design process through exploration of four key phases: Inspiration, Ideation, Testing and Implementation. It also familiarizes the students with the graduate thesis process for the program.

MF 504 — Design Communication I: Visual Explanations

1.5 credits; 3 lab hours

This course, the first of three in the series focused on Design Communication, will explore various ways in which a designer can document ideas quickly and efficiently as a tool to visually explain thought processes and/or design ideas and solutions to others. Through a series of in-class exercises students will experiment with ‘new ways of designing fashion’.

MF 505 — The Fashion Activist

3 credits; 3 lecture hours

The intent of this course is to challenge the accepted and traditional methodologies within the fashion system, and cause students to question every step of the process from inspiration through sample-making and production, to sales and marketing.

MF 506 — International Making Seminar I - Fashion Institute of Technology Investigates FIT

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This course provides students an opportunity to investigate a wide-range of body types in real- life situations to examine an individual’s needs. Students observe body in motion and discover how fit and function interact with design. The focus of the two-week making seminar is experiential learning, which includes onsite research, exploration and making in London and Paris.

MF 522 — Fashion Creation II: Elective Connect

3 credits; 6 lab hours

Clothing for a fashion designer is simply the vehicle in which the designer’s message can be delivered. There are clothing designers and fashion designers, two very different designers that share clothing as the output. “ELECTIVE CONNECT” has two core projects, both of which use the work done in the elective spaces as a starting point to design two 12-look collections. One look from each collection will be fully realized in materials informed by the data collected in the elective spaces. The work done in this course of study also allows for further exploration in relation to the individual’s thesis.
Prerequisite(s): MF 503.

MF 523 — Thesis Focus

3 credits; 6 lab hours

To be able to block out the noise and FOCUS on the key moments that work in any project is not the easiest of tasks; to recognize that design solutions are beginning to make themselves visible through exploration and PLAY, and being open to seeing what you might have, can often be difficult. Exploratory ‘Making’ sits at the heart of this part of the thesis process. This course provides a space in which relevant industry experts are connected to individual students to gain technical support on which to develop realistic working prototypes. Emphasis is placed on exploring the problems and opportunities that present themselves throughout this technical phase, with FOCUS on fabrication, materiality, innovation and invention, user experience, audience and market.
Prerequisite(s): MF 502.

MF 524 — craft:OLOGY

3 credits; 3 lecture hours

The relationship between hand and machine is integral to understanding how technology shapes fashion. This survey course provides an examination of fashion/textile/production history through the lens of craft:OLOGY and examines key innovations in textiles and fibers, clothing manufacturing, and surface embellishments from the past to the present day and into the future.

MF 525 — Design Communication II: Image Capture

2 credits; 4 lab hours

This course is second in the Design Communication sequence and will provide a space in which students can engage with guest speakers and discuss their specialist areas of “Image Capture,” from editorial fashion photography to documentary filmmaking. Students will also experiment in capturing their own fashion imagery through several weeks of in-class assignments.
Prerequisite(s): MF 504.

MF 601 — Fashion Creation III: Design Archaeology

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This is the third course in the Fashion Creation series and adopts practices of the fashion designer as archaeologist with focus on analysis, survey, and translation. For the fashion designer this is primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data, using those artifacts as a starting point to design two contemporary collections of clothes. This course will also examine intellectual property in fashion, appropriation, and plagiarism through design. The final project will be title “Design Archaeology.”
Prerequisite(s): MF 522.

MF 602 — International Making Seminar II: Fashion Farming

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This course provides MFA fashion design students a chance to compare local fashion systems versus distant manufacturing. Students travel to diverse local and global communities providing them an opportunity to examine the complexities of “fast” (Factory Farming) vs. “slow” (Free Range Farming) global fashion production systems. Experiential learning allows students to investigate local and global fashion systems.
Prerequisite(s): MF 506.

MF 603 — Business I: Brand Marketing and Finance

3 credits; 3 lecture hours

Through instructor and guest lectures, discussion and industry networking with fashion professionals students are introduced to two key business areas: 1) brand marketing and communications, and 2) finances. Students will learn to develop a fashion brand marketing strategy using traditional methods and interactive technologies. They will also learn the fundamentals of financial planning and reporting, with a focus on merchandise planning and buying.

MF 604 — Design Communication III: 2D Curation Portfolio

2 credits; 4 lab hours

This course, third in the Design Communication series, will assist students in finding their own personal way of building a portfolio of work that will house all the projects they have completed in the MFA Fashion Design program to date. Each project will be re-evaluated and curated into a readable 2D space with primary focus on the work being laid out in a simple yet thoughtful and methodical order and format.
Prerequisite(s): MF 525.

MF 605 — Thesis Edit

3 credits; 6 lab hours

Students will have generated vast amounts of material in the previous three phases of the thesis process. THESIS-EDIT focuses on the strongest ideas, best initial prototypes and the happy accidents, using them to build the required complete 12-look collection. By the end of this course students will have their complete collections fully prototyped and will present a final lineup in toile in session 15. Every detail is to be considered and almost fully decided upon, however it is acknowledged there will be some further development when the clothes go into the final phase of production in THESIS-CONCLUDE.
Prerequisite(s): MF 523.

MF 626 — Thesis Conclude

4.5 credits; 9 lab hours

This course provides the space for students to fully realize their thesis collection, both visual and written. The visual thesis should equal 8 looks or equivalent that summarizes the total thesis trajectory EXPERIENCE, IDEA, PLAY, FOCUS, EDIT and CONCLUDE. If the work produced meets the standards required it will be showcased in several curated showcases, an exhibition, magazine and runway show. The physical thesis is to be supported by a written thesis that succinctly communicates their thesis concepts, theories, goals and reflections.
Prerequisite(s): MF 605
Corequisite(s): MF 627 and MF 629.

MF 627 — Thesis: Exhibition Design & Portfolio

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This studio course will enable students to research and apply fundamental and innovative exhibition design and branding practices to create an exhibition of their Thesis Collection. Through a series of exercises and design projects, students will conceptualize, produce and install an Exhibition and create a Thesis Portfolio and Collateral including a business card, hang tag, back neck labels, and clothes hangers that complement the work done in the Thesis space throughout the 2 years of study.
Prerequisite(s): MF 605
Corequisite(s): MF 626 and MF 629.

MF 628 — Business II: Supply Chain Production and Retail

3 credits; 3 lecture hours

Through instructor lectures, guest lectures, discussion and industry networking with fashion professionals students are introduced to three key business areas: 1) supply chain, 2) production, and 3) distribution/retail. Students will learn to recognize the complex processes at play in organizing, managing and supporting an apparel and/or accessories brand from sourcing and manufacturing to distribution and sales.
Prerequisite(s): MF 603.

MF 629 — Thesis: Captured/Present

3 credits; 6 lab hours

This course of study consists of two units. Unit one expands on the photography and fashion film explored during semester two’s DESIGN COMMUNICATION 2 - IMAGE CAPTURE course. Students will use the first half of this studio course to capture the final outcomes of their thesis work, the clothing produced in the THESIS-CONCLUDE space. Unit 2 of this course will furnish the students with the necessary tools needed to deliver new and possibly abstract concepts in a way that their audience will understand, and assist them in finding their own creative confidence when presenting and defending their THESIS, when explaining their personal design processes and communicating the rationale behind their decision making and thesis trajectory.
Prerequisite(s): MF 605
Corequisite(s): MF 626 and MF 627.