M.S. in Textile Design

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the MSTD program?

The length of the program will vary depending upon the skills brought in by each individual student. Most typically, a student entering with previous design experience, though little or no exposure to textiles, will attend the university for five full semesters (2.5 years). Those students entering with previous textile and textile design experience will attend for a shorter period, and those with limited formal design or textile experience will attend longer.


Is the program full-time only?

The program can be completed either full-time or part-time. Classes are made available during the day and occasionally in the evenings. The program cannot be completed with evening classes alone.

Graduate students may take a minimum of six credits (two courses) in order to be registered as full-time and eligible for full-time financial aid. Three credits is considered half time for financial aid.

Students are required to complete their program within seven years of enrollment, or may need to satisfy additional requirements.


Do you offer internships?

Internships are strongly encouraged within the program. Internships are supported through the Career Services center. Existing positions are made available, though the student may also explore a self developed internship position.

Internships may be taken for 3 credits, with an additional academic requirement, or for 0.5 credits.


What are the career prospects for graduates?

Textile Design offers a uniquely high potential field for graduates to build a creatively rewarding and successful career. As textile manufacturing has moved away from the US, retail companies have developed their own textile design departments. Over the past years we have worked with and placed students with companies such as Target, Abercrombie & Fitch, the Urban Outfitters group, Nike, Lilly Pulitzer – to name a few.

To see our immediate placement statistics, take a look at our annual Senior Survey Archive.

The statistics for Textile Design are a combination of both undergraduate and graduate reporting.


Are there study abroad opportunities?

Within the Textile Design program we offer a number of Study Abroad opportunities which generally run over the Spring Break period (10 days) and are connected to course work at the university throughout the spring semester.

Recent trips include

Italy – including visits to design studios and printed textiles production facilities in Como & Milan.

 England & Scotland – including a collaboration project between students at Heriot Watt University.

Africa – including a collaboration with ‘SOS’ – (Save Our Skills) to develop lower technology approaches to the handweaving community of Burkina Faso in Western Africa.

Japan – including visiting and attending workshops in traditional Japanese textile crafts in Kyoto.


All the study abroad programs are taken for 3 graduate level credits which are applied into the students program of study as either elective credit or as a studio substitution.


What is the balance between technology & design within the program?

The Textile Design Department of Thomas Jefferson University has a long standing belief in excellence of design being built upon a strong technical underpinning. All of our graduates have a solid understanding of the technology of textiles across each specialization, our reputation with our employers respect this.



Can students enter the program with no previous design experience?

We do understand that there is the potential for successful graduate students in Textile Design to have previously followed a different educational path. Previous students have entered the program with such diverse previous degrees as English Literature and Pharmacology, and have succeeded through the program and into fruitful careers.

However, it is expected that students with such a background will have previously sought out some outlet within which to develop their appreciation of design. This should be a part of the students’ application and submitted in terms of both narrative and illustrated through the application portfolio.


What are you looking for in a portfolio?

Individual student portfolios will vary depending upon each students’ background.

Students who do bring previous work in textile design should include this so as to inform as to the most appropriate starting place within the graduate program.

Students with other design backgrounds should include work from their design area which exhibit their skills in design. All students should include some examples of drawing and work exploring color which are seen as paramount importance for the potential of textile design development.

Students who wish to enter the program with no previous formal design education, should submit images which testify to their interest and any exploration within design.

The portfolio can be submitted as a collection of .jpgs or a .pdf file – approximately 20 images and a file size less than 10MB is suitable, or as a link to a webpage.


Can I visit the department/university?

Visits to the University are encouraged. Please contact the Graduate Admissions office to plan a meeting with an admissions counselor, the program director and a tour of our studios and facilities.

Potential students will also have the opportunity to chat with other professors, receive feedback on their portfolio, meet with current students and to observe classes in progress when encountered on the tour.


Do I have to choose as to concentrate in Knit, Weave or Print?

Students within the Graduate Textile Design program concentrate their work and development within a single area of textile design – Knit, Weave or Print.

Students are encouraged to cross over the boundaries between these areas, working with other design faculty and students within collaborative projects.


How many students are in the MSTD program?

The program averages around 30 students across the different specializations and levels.


What is the diversity of the student body within the MSTD program?

The M.S. Textile program has always had a strong diversity across Nationality, with a current enrollment of 25% International students.


How flexible is the MSTD program for a student to explore other areas of interest?

The program requirements include one 3 credit elective and the potential of substituting two 3 credit studio classes for other courses with the approval of the program director. This allows students to expand the scope of their program and explore within some of the alternative areas of study (fashion, business, sustainability) available within the university.


Can students enter into the program in the spring semester, or just the fall?

Fall entry into the program is encouraged and supported with several orientation sessions. Students may start classes in January and will be advised individually by the program director.


Are classes available in the evenings?

Some of the classes within the program will be offered during evening hours. However, design studio, which counts for the majority of the program study, is only available during the day. It is not possible to complete this program during the evenings.


What kind of additional expenses are needed for studio classes?

Program expenses will typically involve textile design supplies rather than text books. Students within constructed textile design will find a wide supply of yarn available, but will most likely need to purchase in addition to this. Printed textile students will need to purchase fabric for both screen and digital printing. An arrangement with a supplier of pre treated fabric for digital printing has been made so student may purchase fabric at a 50% discount.

Students receive a 500 page allowance each semester for black & white printing, plus 50 square feet of color printing upon the available plotter printers. Additional printing may be purchased through the university.

General art supplies will be required throughout each students course of study. Students should anticipate spending around $300 on supplies per semester.


Are classes offered over the summer semester?

Summer offerings generally involve some technical foundation courses, graduate level studio and internship placements. Students may only take 3 credits of graduate studio over the summer period.

All summer classes within the M.S. Textile Design program involve 12 weeks of study.


Want more information?

Click Here

Fill out our request form >>
Contact Us:

Career Discovery
Student Work