Email Response-Going to Grad School?



I get lots of email via Worn Through and personally about all things dress. Every morning, over my latte I scan through all of it, make some quick responses, and set aside the ones that need a little more time. Pre-latte going through my blood stream, I cannot respond with great thought, and so I need to contemplate for a few hours how to write back, how to help out, and what is the best response. FYI-I do eventually write EVERYONE back and this post was stimulated by the fact I am, as we speak, gathering a snail mail package of syllabi and reading lists for a reader.

A lot of the emails are about grad school and about fashion/dress/costume research. So, I thought I’d invite the WT readers to comment on some of the topics that come my way as it’d be best to have varied opinions. 

Recently I was asked by two people about the best PhD programs and where a would-be student should consider going to grad school for apparel studies.

I wrote back about how few programs there really are as compared to undergrad programs; about how the programs all have their niche and their highs and lows; how programs around the country are shifting more toward retail and design and away from history/culture; and about how it really depends what you want to do post-graduation. I highlighted what I think are the best programs, based on word of mouth, publishing, who is teaching there, etc. I also wrote about the importance of funding, as that is a highly complicated matter. Funding of course is tied to how long the program will take to go through, which is another complicated matter. 

I know my thoughts on all of these thing–and I’m curious of yours. 

Please write a coment about where you think are the best places for aspiring grad students to consider applying and why.

Curious to see your opinions.


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  • Kat July 13, 2009 05.09 pm

    Hey WT readers!

    I’m starting fresh in this field, headed towards a Masters in the fall but as far as fashion culture/history studies is concerned, I think it’s important to broaden the horizons when applying to grad schools. No, there really aren’t many schools that focus specifically on our field; however, things like Anthropology, Sociology, History, Psychology and other humanities are other subjects that umbrella what we do. Seek out professors who may not necessarily work with fashion, but do research with what you are interested in because they will help you with resources and allow you to develop your own theories.

    As far as schools are concerned, the London College of Fashion welcomes international students as research associates and does award PhD’s. The CUNY graduate center does not have a specific fashion history/culture PhD but they have interdisciplinary studies in fashion culture open to candidates of the social sciences/humanities nature.

    Hope this helped a little!

  • Sandra July 13, 2009 07.30 pm

    fascinating post Monica! I really like Kat’s response because I agree that having a well rounded education in all fields that influence fashion is even more important than the study of fashion itself. I’m going to speak as probably the most undereducated reader here, but here it goes.

    I had no idea what my degrees in Sociology and Communications would do for me, but in hindsight, they were the perfect foundation for all of my current work in blogging, writing, teaching, and fashion history. I am by no means as accomplished as most of the writers and readers here, but I feel that my education has prepared me to be able to pursue what could’ve been a mere hobby and make an actual career of it.


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