Courses of Study 2012-2013 
    Jul 21, 2024  
Courses of Study 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fiber Science and Apparel Design

In the College of Human Ecology .

Course Offerings 

The Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) major is unique in the Ivy League, combining a strong liberal arts foundation with excellent training in fashion design, apparel and fibers. FSAD offers a broad range of courses, from the art of designing apparel, fashion and accessories, to the business of manufacturing and marketing them internationally, to the science of textiles and fibers.

All FSAD students receive an introductory exposure to the basics of textiles and design. Students then choose one of three options that emphasize fashion design, management and marketing, or the physical and material sciences. Students may combine courses from more than one option if they choose.

Academic course work is further enhanced by field and international experiences and significant opportunities to do independent projects for credit with individual faculty members. Gallery space provides the setting to display design work. In addition, the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, housed in the department, provides a valuable resource; items from the collection are made available to students for classroom and special study use.


A. Lemley, chair (209 MVR, (607) 255-3151); M. Frey, director of graduate studies; C. Jirousek, director of undergraduate studies; S. Ashdown, C. C. Chu, C. Coffman, J. Hinestroza, V. D. Lewis, A. Netravali, S. K. Obendorf, A. Racine

Academic Advising

All FSAD majors are matched with a faculty advisor by the director of undergraduate studies, Professor Charlotte Jirousek. Students are strongly urged to discuss their goals, course selection and sequence, electives, and career plans with their faculty advisor. Students in apparel design must begin working with their advisors early to develop a professional portfolio of their work. Students are free to change advisors; changes must be recorded with the director of undergraduate studies. Although advisors oversee course selection for the following semester, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of his or her courses and to make sure that the program meets graduation requirements for his or her major and college.

Student Work

All apparel design work done as part of the academic program will be held by the department until it has been released by the instructor. Certain exceptional work may be used by the department to exhibit for academic purposes. The department is not responsible for the loss or theft of student work.

Course Fees

No grade will be given in a course unless the course fee has been paid and equipment returned by the last week of classes.


Students may select options in apparel design, apparel/textile management, or fiber science. Most transfer students will need at least one extra semester to fulfill the requirements of the major. Transfers in the design option should plan on two additional semesters.

Option I: Apparel Design

The Apparel Design option relates the human need for fashionable and functional clothing and accessories to design principles and to the physical properties of textiles. Students take a sequence of studio courses, focusing on the manipulation by hand, eye, and computer of form, color, and fabric, as well as courses in the social, economic, historical, and cultural aspects of design. Many students participate in design competitions sponsored by the fashion industry.

Option II: Fashion Design Management

The Fashion Design Management option applies management and marketing principles to industry and consumer issues in this sector of the economy. Courses focus on the processes used to develop, manufacture, and distribute apparel and textile products and examine topics such as business organizational structures, globalization, product development, communication, advertising and marketing, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. Students combine theory with case studies to find solutions to everyday problems.

Option III: Fiber Science

The Fiber Science option teaches the physical, chemical, and engineering properties of fibrous materials, advanced engineering composites, geotextiles, and protective clothing, as well as the more traditional applications found in apparel interiors. The fiber science option provides a strong base in mathematics and the physical sciences combined with supporting courses in engineering, consumer economics, and the social sciences.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of programs in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design have found challenging employment within the apparel and textile sector, in independent and government-sponsored research, and in community organizations. In addition, the program prepares students for graduate or professional study in apparel design, apparel or textile marketing, business and management, or fiber/polymer science. Some students continue professional study in business, law, or medical school.

Apparel students design for influential fashion houses and under their own labels. Graduates also do specialized design in fields such as military, athletics, and public safety; create innovative clothing for special populations such as children, senior citizens, and the physically challenged; and use their creativity in public-relations firms, theater, publishing, and promotion.

Graduates of the Apparel and Textile Management program are attractive candidates for leadership positions in fashion and other industries. Students who go on to graduate work are well prepared for advanced programs in fields such as business administration, marketing, economics, law, textiles, communication arts, and education.

Recent graduates of the Fiber Science program have begun careers in the fiber and textile industries as well as with government agencies developing and evaluating new products, conducting research, providing technical services, helping to ensure product safety, and coordinating consumer information programs.