Fiber Science & Apparel Design

About the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design

Our students and faculty study apparel design and fiber science through the art of design, the science of chemistry and physics, the application of management principles, and the perspective of history.

The Undergraduate Major has three concentrations: fashion designfashion design management, and fiber science. Students learn the basics of design, apparel, and fibers and then focus on one concentration for upper level course work. They complement these courses with others in the College of Human Ecology, across Cornell and through Study Abroad opportunities.

The Graduate Program in Fiber Science & Apparel Design offers five graduate degrees.  In the M.S. and Ph.D. in fiber science, students learn the basics of fiber chemistry, engineering and physics and can apply this knowledge to nanotechnology, sustainable materials, biomedical materials and more.  The M.A. and Ph.D. in apparel design integrate principles in the application of design, technology, physical sciences, the humanities, and social sciences to meet basic human needs for clothing and offer students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to topics that include functional and fashion apparel design, the meaning of dress and fashion, and apparel technology. The Master of Professional Studies in Human Ecology, with concentrations in both Fiber Science and Apparel Design, is a one-year program intended for for professionals who need further academic training but whose career goals are not oriented to research and teaching at an advanced level.

The Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) provides an opportunity to study and research fibers, fabrics, apparel, and the apparel industry from design, management, historical, and scientific perspectives. The department faculty in addition to other academic and nonacademic support staff  serve approximately 130 undergraduate and 25 graduate students.

The department has a broad outreach effort that includes programs related to the apparel industry, personal pesticide protection, textile programs for youth, and water quality. These outreach efforts take the research knowledge of the department and extend it into the broader community. A significant part of the FSAD outreach effort makes use of the Cornell Cooperative Extension network and partners with a variety of state and non-profit organizations throughout New York State and in New York City.

The department has an outstanding Costume Collection with over 10,000 items, including apparel and accessories dating from the eighteenth century to the present as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costume.  In addition to being the source for mulitple exhibits throughout the year, the collection is used extensively for teaching and research.