Application Requirements

The admission deadline for fall 2015 is January 9, 2015.

Apply to the BGC

The following should be submitted via the online application form:

1. A personal statement of roughly 750 words explaining why the applicant has chosen the decorative arts, design history, and material culture as a field of graduate study. The statement should be specific, especially as to career goals.

2. A sample of written scholarly work (e.g., a college research paper, published article, or extended catalogue entry). Applicants to the doctoral program must submit a copy of a Master’s Thesis or a Qualifying Paper. This writing sample should be a research paper, academic in form and tone. Please include illustrations if relevant. Students who do not have a term paper to submit should consult the Academic Programs Office about the kind of work that is appropriate.

3. Three letters of recommendation from instructors or professional colleagues. These can also be sent separately via mail, if preferred. If so, the letters should be addressed to the Graduate Committee, signed across the seal, and sent directly to the BGC by the authors. Copies sent by the applicant will not be accepted. 

4. A CV outlining the applicant’s education, current and previous employment, and experience, if any, in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture.

The following should be sent separately:

1. Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. Please note that copies are considered official only if they are sent directly to the BGC from the issuing institution. Unofficial transcript copies sent by the applicant will not be accepted.

2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score report, sent by the Educational Testing Service to the BGC at the applicant’s request. The applicant is required to take the General Test. The BGC’s score report code number is 2020. Only official copies will be accepted. For information, call 609.771.7670. All applicants must take the GRE by December 15, 2014. The GRE submitted for admission consideration must not be more than three years old. Applications without GRE scores will make the applicant ineligible for interview consideration.

3. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English and should take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores should be sent to the BGC by the Educational Testing Service. Other evidence of English proficiency will be accepted only with the approval of the Graduate Committee. The BGC’s TOEFL number is 5034.

After an initial review of applications and prescreening by a faculty committee, a number of candidates will be invited to interview, either in person or via telephone, with the Graduate Committee.

Applicants are contacted during February to arrange an appointment with the committee and are strongly encouraged to interview in person.

All application materials submitted become the property of the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture.

Potential applicants are encouraged to attend an open house at the BGC during the fall term to meet with faculty, senior staff, and students and to learn more about our programs and areas of special interest. We welcome questions about the program and about the admission process. If you have further questions, please contact Dean Elena Pinto Simon via e-mail at or by telephone at 212.501.3057.

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Att: PhD Program or MA Program
Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
38 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024

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