• Lighting Design MFA

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    Program Contact
    Craig Bernecker, Program Director

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  • The MFA Lighting Design program at Parsons, the first of its kind in the world, has trained leaders in this rapidly evolving field for more than 45 years. With a solid foundation in the intellectual, aesthetic, and technical dimensions of light, the interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on human experience, sustainability, and the social impact of lighting design. You explore the relationships between theory, technical application, energy conservation, and social and environmental aspects of electric and natural light.

    Program Highlights

    • Rigorous Studio Experience

      Integrate research, conceptual design, representation, technical analysis, and full-scale study to uncover the experiential and social implications of illumination.

    • Urban Focus

      Explore the role of light in cities, relevant to zoning and building, traffic and pedestrian safety, neighborhood integration, and other urban planning matters.

    • New York City Opportunities

      Study in the birthplace of architectural lighting design, with access to important built projects, industry events, trade shows, conferences, and internship opportunities.

    • Creative Collaboration

      Share shops and studio spaces with students from graduate programs in Architecture, Industrial Design, and Interior Design, fostering interdisciplinary work.

    • Multidisciplinary Options

      Expand your expertise through a three-year double major with Interior Design or a four-year dual degree with Parsons’ NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture.

    • Degree Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
    • Format Full-time, on campus
    • Credits 60
    • Duration 2 years
    • Other program status STEM-designated
  • Curriculum

    The unique course of study is anchored in an integrated studio experience in which students interact with peers in architecture, interior design, and product design disciplines. Students work collaboratively on complex problems ranging from single interior environments to comprehensive architectural volumes, outdoor public space, and urban planning.

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  • Career Paths

    Graduates are prepared for careers in architectural and interior lighting design, exhibition lighting, and equipment design and manufacturing.

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    Explore Our Community

    Discover what our students, alumni, and faculty are doing in NYC and worldwide.


  • Student Work

  • Parsons faculty represent a broad range of expertise and are acknowledged as leading practitioners and scholars in their fields.

  • Beyond the Classroom

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      Research Labs

      Research is integral to the Parsons learning experience, and students and faculty work together to challenge existing paradigms and advance emerging scholarship and practice. Explore the thematic research laboratories housed at Parsons and throughout The New School.

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      Industry Engagement

      Connect to the organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs driving global creativity and commerce. In classes, internships, and extracurricular projects, you gain marketable problem-solving skills in sectors ranging from government and nonprofits to tech and creative industries.

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      New York City’s thriving creative industry and cultural institutions are part of your Parsons education. Our Career Services Office is enmeshed in the art and design industries and can help you advance your career with industry-oriented internships. 

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      Funded Opportunities

      Funds are earmarked for graduate travel, research, and work to support your study. Opportunities include paid teaching assistantships, research fellowships and assistantships (including ones offered throughout The New School), ample student employment, and other grants available to U.S. domestic and international students alike.

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      Making & Academic Resources

      Enjoy access to extensive resources including New School libraries, computer labs, archives, and studios, along with Parsons’ state-of-the-art Making Center, facilities offering a broad array of tools to support your creative and academic growth.

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