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Parsons School of Design

Parsons's Spring 2017 MFA Runway Show. Photo: Imaxtree

Parsons's Spring 2017 MFA Runway Show. Photo: Imaxtree

Locations: New York, New York, USA and Paris, France


Undergraduate: Fashion Design (BFA and AAS); Fashion Marketing (AAS); Fashion Marketing and Communication (AAS)

Graduate: Textiles; Fashion Design and Society; Fashion Management (launching fall 2019)

Annual Tuition: 

Undergraduate: $50,460

Graduate: $51,750

Famous Alumni: Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, Bill Blass, Anna Sui, Jason Wu, Jenna Lyons, Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez, Prabal Gurung, Zac Posen, Tracy Reese, Sophie Buhai, Lisa Mayock

New programs and partnerships of note: A new Fashion Management Master's program, available both in the classroom and online, launched to address the rapidly changing nature of the fashion industry. In 2017, Parsons partnered with a number of companies including Yoox, Hugo Boss and Kering to improve education around sustainability.

Enrollment: 5,500

Graduation Rate: 90% 

Class size: 15 students

Student/Teacher Ratio: 9:1

Classes are taught in: English

Percentage of International Students: 40%

What the Students Say:

Parsons has some of the best, if not the best, resources and connections when it comes to fashion. However, it comes at a hefty price tag and for lower-income students financial aid is minimal. In this sense it can be quite elitist with many students coming from international and/or wealthy backgrounds.

"Parsons is an extremely rigorous school, no matter which program you enter. Foundation year can be brutal, as the tendency is to want to jump straight into your major classes. But the skills you learn in foundation year translate directly into your major classes, even if you think there's no way they possibly will."

"No campus, so it's tough to make friends."

Donna Karan and Rihanna at the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The New School

Donna Karan and Rihanna at the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The New School

The Bottom Line: 

One of the only top-tier design schools within a comprehensive university (The New School), Parsons is a fashion design powerhouse, and the school has turned out tons of marquee talent. Its New York City location is a major draw as students are able to not only take internships during the summers, but during semesters, too (if they have the time). The school has also partnered with many retailers and corporations, like LVMH and Kering; it works with the latter on a huge initiative to make fashion more sustainable. Parsons has also been the quickest among fashion schools to devote significant resources to sustainability, working to incorporate it throughout the fashion design program.

It also has a campus in Paris where U.S. students often study for a semester. No other university in the U.S. has as much access or prestige. That said, it will cost you, and it won't be easy: Students tended to say that the workload was overwhelming at times, but that they were given plenty of hands-on training and help with securing internships.

More Info:

The 25 Best Fashion Schools in the World in 2019: See the full list.

Last updated December 2019.