Master of Science in Sustainable Fashion
Admission is open!
GCNYC is not currently accepting applications for academic year 2023-2024.
Time to Complete Degree
Part-time: 19 – 24 Months
Full-time: 16 – 18 Months
The MS in Sustainable Fashion is a STEM designated degree.
About This Program:
Unique among college programs focusing on fashion, this degree prepares students for leadership roles, helping them transform the industry and develop creative strategies to support sustainability, social equity, and ethical practices within fashion. Students in the Sustainable Fashion program will learn the benefits of operating a business under a new paradigm, eschewing the former singular goal of profit for shareholders and replacing that with the need to serve a wide range of stakeholders. This program prepares graduates to understand the full range of business needs from supply chain to merchandising, to marketing messaging.
Careers in Sustainable Fashion
Select job titles of graduates:
Where our graduates are making a difference
of graduates advanced in career or pivoted to a career in sustainable fashion or social impact
Your Professors are Scholars + Practitioners in Their Field
Making Impactful Education Affordable
90% Get Scholarship
33% Less Expensive
GCNYC is committed to sparking systemic change, which is why we’ve developed a curriculum that is in alignment with the UN sustainable development goals. We are proud to be a member of the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, whose collaborations accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more.
Participating in a research-based curriculum, students in the fashion program will write master’s theses designed to address real-world challenges, collaborating with partner companies and organizations.
Thesis partnerships are facilitated by GCNYC’s Center for Social Impact and Innovation, which provides a support network and collaborative research opportunities for students, social entrepreneurs, and leaders in sustainability across industries.
“I feel that the community of peers and mentors I met during my time at GCNYC was fantastic. Being surrounded by people driven by a similar mission was very powerful. The systems thinking course taught by Seisei was very impactful; She opened our minds up to considering how actions affect the system they are within. The course was interactive, insightful, and fun.”
– Natalie Hojell, Sustainability Consultant at Great Forest
“The classes at GCNYC that I was taking were so relevant to what I was teaching in my classes, that I started incorporating everything I was learning into my curriculum.”
– Lorenza Wong, Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneur and Adjunct Instructor, FIT and Parson’s School of Design
Courses & Curriculum
Participating in a research-based curriculum, students in the program will write master’s theses designed to address real-world challenges, collaborating with partner companies and organizations. Thesis partnerships are facilitated by GCNYC’s Center for Social Impact and Innovation, which provides a support network and collaborative research opportunities for students, social entrepreneurs, and leaders in sustainability across industries.
Create a schedule that dovetails with your busy life and additional commitments!
- Join live courses with our expert faculty
- Classes are hosted in the evenings to accommodate busy working professionals
- Students have the option to attend either in-person on campus or via Zoom
- Study at your own pace with our online programs, designed for students who need maximum flexibility
- Same expert faculty, same cutting-edge curriculum
- Courses run over the period of a standard trimester
Values-Based Leadership Skills for an Interconnected World
This course will enable students to identify, understand, develop and articulate their key personal abilities in the context of their future career aspirations. The development of their academic and professional skill set is essential to securing and/or developing fulfilling careers as expert managers and leaders in increasingly diverse and international workplace organizations. (3 credits)
Navigating Global Change: Business Practices for the Common Good
This course reflects the fact that organizations do not operate in a vacuum: they are both shaped by and themselves also shape the geo-political, economic, social and technological environments in which they operate. Understanding the interaction between organizations and their wider contexts is essential to effective management and responsible leadership. This course is designed to equip students with the information and analytical skills required to critically reflect upon some of the most significant issues which pose challenges to business managers and organizational leaders in the modern world. (3 credits)
Business Strategy for the Common Good
This course aims to provide students with academic knowledge and analytical tools with which to discuss and practice strategic management in a world characterized by rapid change and increasing concerns for economic, social and environmental sustainability. The course seeks to address the who, what, why, where and how of strategic decisions, with an emphasis on generating sustainable growth across national boundaries. Students will develop the knowledge and skills required to undertake the necessary research and analysis to advise a firm on the issues that organizations face, and the choices they must make, to develop strategies for sustainable growth. (3 credits)
Introduction to Quantitative Analysis
This course introduces the necessary toolkit for applied research in the sustainability field and takes advantage of the ever-growing volume of data being collected to support decision-making in both the public and private sectors. Students gain practical knowledge on effective data representation, basics of financial accounting and financial metrics to understand the practical language of today’s public and private business, foundational information on national economic statistics, valuation methods for cost-benefit analysis, and statistical techniques for the practical business needs of sustainability. (1.5 credits)
Fashion as Culture / Culture as Fashion
We are all curators, with endless content to consider. As visual language becomes dominant in an online consumer marketplace, how do we understand the provenance, relevance, value, worth, and cultural power of fashion? By interrogating the exchange between consumer desire and corporate fashion marketing, this course proposes further investigation of their inherent duopoly. We will consider fashion as an indicator of social affinities, aspirations, privileges — and also of personal, societal, and environmental costs and benefits. As traditional notions of value shift, we’ll envision how we might redefine “luxury” in the context of both climate change and intersectionality. Brand identity is a conceptual and paradigmatic force; we’ll examine its impact on consumerism and ask the question: What are the politics of aesthetics and how are they changing? (3 credits)
Sustainable Fashion Strategy
This module covers the range of considerations specific to operating with a common good lens but general to every fashion business, focusing on product creation including designing for reduced impact, material sourcing for sustainability and ethics, supply chain considerations, tools and metrics by which to manage sustainability/ethics/impact in your business, brand voice and impact messaging, circular economy considerations, risk management, positive impact opportunities, best business structures for positive impact, and shifting stakeholder perspectives. Through readings, lectures, class discussion, guest speakers, and development of a sustainability focused business outline students will develop the toolset needed to function at any level of a business – from independent contributor to CEO – to support positive impact. (3 credits)
Sustainability Policy & Metrics
Sustainability Policy & Metrics prepares students to discern the variety of influences on policy in the sustainability space and to map out ways that companies and NGOs can successfully participate in the policy-making process. Measurement of environmental and social impacts is critical to (i) assess policy-making needs, (ii) track progress, and (iii) speak a shared language to facilitate collaboration, and this course focuses on the case of carbon footprinting as an exemplar of the methods, challenges, and potential of impact measurement and how participants in sustainability policy-making translate such metrics into practice. (3 credits)
Material Considerations in the Fashion System
This course considers through a systems-thinking lens the challenges of materials used in fashion manufacturing for advancing sustainability and positive impact considerations. Students will study the complicated colonial history of fashion materials, the current global landscape, material innovation, the economic dynamics of materials, transparency, metrics and measurement tools, materials within the global fashion supply chain, and how best to affect change. Through readings, lectures, class discussion, guest speakers, and development of a materials strategy, students will develop the toolset needed to function within a fashion sustainability role leveraging materials to support positive impact. (1.5 credits)
Social Considerations in the Fashion System
This course covers the social considerations for advancing sustainability and positive impact considerations for a fashion business through a systems-thinking lens. Students will analyze the complicated colonial history of labor in the fashion supply chain, the current global landscape, the economic dynamic of labor within the capitalist system, costing, transparency, metrics and measurement tools, the structure of the global fashion supply chain, and how best to affect change. Through readings, lectures, class discussion, guest speakers, and development of a labor strategy, students will develop the toolset needed to function within a fashion sustainability role leveraging labor strategies to support positive impact. (1.5 credits)
Sustainable Fashion Proseminar
This module connects students directly with leading practitioners of sustainable and impact-focused fashion, who confront sustainability management issues daily within their respective organizations. Through guest presentations from ten different industry practitioners, students will engage in dynamic discussion, readings, and writing assignments in order to understand real challenges, current motivations, and shifting stakeholders for sustainable-focused fashion businesses. The expert guest presenters, who work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and in a wide variety of organizations all focused on driving change within the global fashion industry, will make presentations in each class followed by interactive question and answer sessions with students. Student will reflect on the presentations and subsequent discussions through weekly assignments and group projects. (1.5 credits)
Research Methods I, II, and III
This course sequence aims to develop foundational skills in social science research that are needed for basic and applied research at the master’s level. Students will be introduced to research design, measurement and sampling, methods of data collection and analysis, and research ethics. Students should be able to critically evaluate new concepts, ideas, evidence, and empirical data from a range of sources and transfer their skills into practice.
Research Methods I: 1.5 credits
Research Methods 2: 1.5 credits
Research Methods 3: 3 credits
The aim of this course is to conduct business research/consultancy and report on the findings. Drawing on the proposal developed in Research Methods, the course focuses on the business research project, which involves an investigation of a substantial business issue or problem. Students are required to demonstrate critical awareness of business practice, relevant theories and research techniques and approaches. The project element of the course in particular offers students the opportunity to apply course concept, theories and techniques, draw on internationally published literature and good practice, and develop and interpret knowledge about management practice in their area of study. (6 credits)