Advanced Certificate in Design History 

(Active as of Fall 2021)

Offered through the Department of the History of Art and Design, the Advanced Certificate in Design History is a 15-credit program that provides deepened study of the histories and theories of design to those pursuing a Pratt graduate degree in any discipline as well as Master’s Degree holders interested in a stand-alone certificate. The Advanced Certificate in Design History addresses the recognition that students and professionals flourish with cross-disciplinary experience and expertise. 

  • The Program offers students a rigorous foundation in the questions particular to the field of design history as well as flexibility to pursue more focused study through a range of electives that span the history and theory of interior, industrial, fashion, illustration, graphic, and communications design.  It offers students and professionals expertise and insights that will increases students’ professional knowledge and skills whether teaching, making, writing or administrating. 

  • Courses are dynamic; they are continually updated to reflect contemporary concerns and scholarship in design history, especially in regard to sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Graduates of the program will be able to:
  • Analyze, interpret, and connect, in written and oral presentations, processes and networks of production, circulation, sustainability, and display of designed objects, spatial sensibilities, and critical discourses around the various design disciplines across cultures and histories;

  • Employ the questions, vocabulary and perspectives specific to design history and theory;

  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct skilled and creative research using a variety of materials, resources and methods specific to the fields of interior design history, industrial design history, fashion history, illustration, as well as graphic and communications design history;

  • Critically engage in the ongoing dialogue about the methodology of design history. 

  • Articulate the complexities and ambiguities of multiple perspectives in design history and theory based on coursework that foregrounds inclusivity, diversity as priorities. 

See Design History, Advanced Certificate Curriculum Overview and Academic Requirements

Faculty Highlights for the Design History Advanced Certificate:

Anca I. Lasc 

Professor Lasc’s recent book publications include Interior Decorating in Nineteenth-Century France: The Visual Culture of a New Profession, single-authored monograph (Manchester: Manchester University Press, Studies in Design and Material Culture Series, 2018); Revisiting the Past in Museums and at Historic Sites, co-edited with Andrew McClellan and Änne Söll (London and New York: Routledge, 2021); Architectures of Display: Department Stores and Modern Retail, co-edited with Patricia Lara-Betancourt and Margaret Maile Petty (London and New York: Routledge, 2018; paperback 2020); Visualizing the Nineteenth-Century Home: Modern Art and the Decorative Impulse, edited volume (London and New York: Routledge, 2016; paperback 2018); and Designing the French Interior: The Modern Home and Mass Media, co-edited with Mark Taylor and Georgina Downey.

Erica Morawski 

Professor Morawski’s recent publications include “Havana’s Early Modern Hotels: Accommodating Colonialism, Independence and Imperialism,” in Imperials Islands: Art, Architecture, and Visual Experience in the US Insular Empire after 1898, edited by Joseph R. Hartman (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming November 2021); “Redefining Modern Design: William Pahlmann and ‘A Matter of Taste’,” written with Marianne Eggler and Sara Desvernine Reed in Design History Beyond the Canon, edited by Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, Victoria Rose Pass and Christopher Wilson (London: Bloomsbury, 2019; );“The Tropicana Cabaret: Designing Cosmopolitan Cubanidad,” Journal of Design History, Special Issue on Latin American Design 32, no. 1 (Feb. 2019), 52-68; and “The Hotel Nacional de Cuba: Making Meanings and Negotiating Nationalism,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 78, no. 1 (March 2019), 98-108.

Karyn Zieve 

Professors Lasc, Morawski and Zieve are also co-coordinators of the annual symposium, Interior Provocations, along with Professors Schneiderman, Suh and Tehve from Pratt’s Department of Interior Design. The symposium, founded in 2017 by Pratt Faculty in the History of Art and Design and Interior Design Departments, provides a public forum for critical thinking about the design, theory and history of the interior. Comprised of provocative and boundary-expanding presentations by design practitioners, historians and theorists, the symposium is dedicated to furthering the scholarship of the expanding fields of Interior Design and Interior Design History through the collaboration of these disciplines. Thus far the symposium also produced two publications: Appropriate(d) Interiors, co-edited by Deborah Schneiderman, Anca I. Lasc and Karin Tehve, with contributions from Erica N. Morawski, Keena Suh, and Karyn Zieve (London and New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2022) and Interior Provocations: History, Theory and Practice of Autonomous Interiors, co-edited by Anca I. Lasc, Deborah Schneiderman, Keena Suh, Karin Tehve, Alexa Griffith Winton, and Karyn Zieve (London and New York: Routledge, 2021). For further information,

Read more about faculty from the History of Art and Design department here

Admissions Requirements

This advanced certificate can be pursued while in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ MA in History of Art and Design program, MA/MS in History of Art and Design/Library and Information Sciences, or within any MA, MFA, MS, MLA or MArch program at Pratt Institute more broadly. See our admissions requirements here.

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