General Information

(Active as of Fall 2021)
  1. Program Description:

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 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. 

  1. Certificate Requirement/Program Specifics:

15 credits 
(At least 3 courses (9 credits) must be taken in the Department of the History of Art and Design.) 

Core Courses:
(A minimum of 1 course (3 credits) required from the core menu.)

HAD613  History of Industrial Design  - This course takes a critical approach to the history of industrial design through an exploration of objects, practices and practitioners within their social, cultural, economic, political and technological contexts. Three-hour classes will be primarily student-led through discussion, presentations, and group work.

HAD641  Origins of Contemporary Communication Design  -  This course will investigate the relevance of major historical movements in relation to contemporary communications design practice, not simply as legacy, but as a means to understand the contexts and formal principles that drive design today. The course will cover major design concepts developed during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

HA664  History of Interior Design  - This course presents a non-linear investigation of interior design history spanning the ancient world to the present day. It addresses typological and thematic topics globally, over time, place, and culture -- examining politics, economics, and cultural influences alongside spatial planning, scale, form, technical shifts, decoration and materiality -- in order to make connective relationships. Class format includes powerpoint lectures, seminar sessions, reading discussions, presentations, and research projects. Students will write an analytical research paper employing appropriate methodologies and critical approaches, as well as footnotes and bibliographies. 
(Please note: This course can be replaced by HAD609/HAD610 until officially included in the Interior Design Department’s curriculum)

Current HAD elective list:*
(Up to 4 courses (12 credits) can be taken from the elective menu)

HAD606  Topics in Design History  - In this seminar course, students study theories and concepts of design. Issues important to all fields of design will be discussed in the historical context based on original writings and theories of the most influential thinkers/ designers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Individual examples of design, including students' own designs, will be considered in relation to these theories. Field trips will provide opportunities to explore libraries and to apply the theories to practical examples.

HAD644  Design in the Age of Impressionism  - This course examines European decorative arts and design during the second half of the nineteenth century, period that coincided with the rise to fame of the Impressionist art movement. It reevaluates the artistic achievement and material culture of this oft-studied period in light of new modes of productions associated with a rapidly industrializing world.

HAD648  Consuming Design, From Pleasure to Politics  - This course examines design from the point of view of its dissemination and reception in various historical contexts and geographical locations. It acknowledges that there is not just one audience for design; rather, the consumption, advertising and selling of designed objects has always differed in time and place based on socio-economic, political, cultural, or religious factors. We will examine design and its circulation in relation to medium and materiality, identity politics, including gender, sexuality, race, and class, the rise of the nation state, and the move towards cross-cultural networks of consumption. While the focus of the course will mostly be on Western and modern design consumption, we will juxtapose the conditions of its emergence in industrialized, capitalist societies against the circulation, reception and display of material culture objects in the early modern world and across a variety of geographical locations. Students are encouraged to pursue research projects of their own choice and related to any period or geographical location, upon prior consultation with the instructor.

HAD651  Problems in Design History  - Offered to graduate students and focused on the in-depth study of problems in design history. The seminar format of the course may also include lectures, class discussions, and student presentations. Course topics vary as determined by the instructor and the department chair.

HAD652  Architecture & Landscape in the Ancient Americas  -  An investigation of the monumental architecture and urbanism of the PreColumbian civilizations of the Andes and Mesoamerica, with particular consideration to the relationship of the built environment to the natural landscape and the ways it served to reflect and reproduce social, political, and cosmological structures.

HAD660 Crafting Modern Craft - History, Theory, Politics  - This course thematically investigates issues in modern craft across different geographic regions and cultures. Weekly topics address questions such as: changing definitions and understandings of what constitutes craft; labor, production and economies of craft; the accumulation and display of craft objects in private collections and museum displays; and the politics and purposes of craft as they operate on individual and collective levels. 

HAD667  Gender and Sexuality in Fashion and Interior Design History (formerly listed as Daughters of Eve: Fashion and Interiors From Versailles to Today)  - This course provides a historical understanding of the interplay between fashion and interiors as they have interacted with and influenced each other throughout time. Furniture makers around the world produced wide chairs mindful of ladies' spatially-expanding attires, while lower-back seats were designed to accommodate the towering hairdos often sported at the court of Marie Antoinette. Colorful robes were preferred to better set off their wearers against one particular background or another, while late nineteenth-century Gesamtkunstwerk theories dictated that female inhabitants - through their clothes and posture - become one with their interiors. Twentieth-century fashion designers are known for their interior decoration schemes, and many couture houses are now incorporating interior design offices. Daughters of Eve: Glamorized Femininity, Fashion, and Interiors from Versailles to Today attempts to understand the central role that style and glamor have played in every-day life from the Renaissance to today and to question long-held beliefs that have held decoration and physical adornment as 'minor arts,' subservient to architecture.

HAD668  Leisure in the Empire City: Modernity and the Interior Architecture of Entertainment  - This course introduces students to the new decorative themes and modern interior design practices developed in the public spaces of entertainment that were born in large cities such as Paris, London, Berlin, and New York beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century. From cafes and cabarets to restaurants, movie palaces, dance halls, and amusement parks, the residents of large metropolitan areas liked to party. We will explore the architecture and interior design of nightlife spaces in parallel with the glamorous architecture and interior displays of museums, hotels, railroad cars, and large shopping centers. Using New York as our laboratory, we will meet on campus for half of our classes while spending the other half in the city. Some of the sites that we will visit include: the Four Seasons restaurant, the Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Bergdorf Goodman department store, the Coney Island Museum, and the Radio City Music Hall.

HAD669  Modern Latin American Design  -   This course explores major issues in modern Latin American design history through a number of thematic units. Covering graphic design, interior design, industrial design, fashion and architecture, classes will be primarily student-led through discussion, presentations, and group work.

*Additional electives from the History of Art and Design Department as well as other departments may be permitted with special approval from the Program Director.

For more information about the program - whether you are a current Pratt student or interested in applying for a stand-alone Certificate, please contact the Chair of the History of Art and Design Department.

  1. Faculty Highlights 

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,

  1. Why an Advanced Certificate in Design History at Pratt?

An Advanced Certificate in Design History offers students and professionals expertise and insights into design history that bolster their skills and knowledge no matter their field. The program increases students’ professional knowledge and skills that will benefit them whether they pursue academic, research, administrative, and/or managerial work.

This program fulfills the need and demand for domain knowledge in design history across a variety of fields and professions. Moreover, it provides graduate students with the opportunity to enhance their degree with a complementary concentration that not only deepens their work while at Pratt but distinguishes them in their professional field. The Advanced Certificate in Design History addresses the recognition that students and professionals flourish with cross-disciplinary experience and expertise.

  1. Admissions Requirements for students not enrolled in a Pratt MA Program

Applicants must have completed master’s level study prior to application and show records of superior scholastic performance  or otherwise provide evidence of ability to work effectively and professionally on the graduate level. All applicants must apply using the online application. Upload the following  items and submit requests for online recommendations as well as the nonrefundable application fee.

  • Official transcripts of all previous college/university education

  • A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s scholarly interest in the program as well as professional goals (no more than 500 words)

  • An academic writing sample (of 6-10 pages)

  • Resumé

  • Two online recommendations from academic and/or professional sources

International students whose first language is not English must submit the TOEFL, TOEFL ITP Plus for China, TOEFL Home Edition, IELTS Indicator , Pearson, Duolingo, or IELTS score.A TOEFL of 85 (internet and home test), TOEFL ITP Plus for China of 563, IELTS of 6.5, Duolingo of 110, or PTE of 57 is required for international students.

  1. Admissions Requirements for students enrolled in a Pratt MA Program

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.

  1. FAQ’s

Who is eligible to apply?
Anyone with a Masters Degree or who is enrolled in a Master’s program at Pratt..

How do I apply?
For all questions regarding the application process, please see

How many credits are required?
15 credits (or 5 3-credit courses)

Can courses in departments outside of HAD count towards the completion of the certificate?
Any course that is approved by the Program Director, from any department at Pratt, can count towards the completion of the Certificate so long as the courses required within HAD, including all core course requirements, have been fulfilled.

Does the program require previously taken undergraduate design history classes?
There are no prerequisite undergraduate courses or majors.

Do you accept students in the Fall and Spring semesters?
Yes, see  for deadlines and application details.

How long will the certificate take to complete?
Anywhere from 1-2 years.

Can one attend the program part-time? While working?

Can I pursue the advanced certificate in design history while pursuing other degrees?
Yes, simultaneously, you can pursue any masters program at Pratt as well as an Advanced Certificate in Museum History.

What is the tuition and fees?
Tuition and fees are subject to change but for current information see

Who can I contact if I have further questions?
The Chairperson of the History of Art and Design at

VIII.  Image - TBD