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2014 Top 75 Fashion Merchandising Schools in the U.S.
Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.
Our 2014 list of the Top 75 Fashion Merchandising School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York
The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a leader in the worlds of art, design, business and technology. Accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, and Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, FIT offers 43 majors leading to Associates, Bachelors, and Master’s degrees. Part of the popular State University of New York (SUNY), FIT was established in 1944 with just 100 students on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades.
In just seven years, the school increased its student body to 1,400 day and evening students. Today, FIT covers an entire city block, it is home to more than 10,000 students, and it houses five schools. The Jay & Patty Baker School of Business & Design is home to several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include an AAS and a BS in Fashion Merchandising Management (FMM). Students interested in taking their career to the next level might also consider the BS in Entrepreneurship for the Fashion and Design Industries.
The AAS program prepares students for an entry-level position in FMM or for entry into the BS program. The BS program offers advanced study in the areas such as Product Development, Buying and Planning, Fashion Management, and e-Commerce. Courses are designed to broaden students’ global perspective. In addition, FIT offers an endless number of internship and Study Abroad opportunities to complement the FMM degree.
Through FIT’s internship program and connection with major players in the fashion industry, students can expect to work with companies such as Ann Taylor, Guess, Jones Apparel Group, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s, Nike, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, Saks, and more. Students may opt for the five-week summer internship in the fashion capital of London or study in other fashion centers such as Paris, Florence, Rome, Hong Kong, or Australia. Whether pursuing an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, all students may join the Merchandising Society at FIT, which offers the opportunity to manage all operations of the on-campus Style Shop.
2. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University’s Fashion School (formally known as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising) provides a top-tier program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Kent State offers a BS in fashion merchandising, as well as a five-year program that combines the BS with an MBA from the College of Business Administration. New to the university is the nation’s first Master of Fashion (MFash) degree, a 30-credit program that incorporates technology implementation, management, design, sustainability, and product development.
Fashion students have the opportunity to study in Florence, Paris, and Hong Kong, as well as KSU’s NYC Studio. Located in the famous NYC Fashion District, NYC Studio provides full-semester academic programs for Kent State fashion students during the fall, spring, and
summer terms. Other program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, access to the Kent State University Museum costume collection, the June F. Mohler Fashion Library, the “TechStyleLAB,” and the Fashion School Store (FSStore).
Launched in 2012, FSStore is “a live retail environment” located in downtown Kent that allows “faculty and students to research and test design, production, buying, marketing, sales, and planning models in a live retail setting offering both unique merchandise presentation techniques and unique products to the greater Cleveland metropolitan area.” –Kent.edu
Kent State University was established in 1910 as the “Kent State Normal School.” Also known as Kent, Kent State, or KSU, Kent State University consists of eight campuses with a combined student body of 43,000 students from all 50 states and 100 countries. The school’s eight campuses—Kent, Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Tuscarawas, and Trumbull—offer 240 degree programs.
3. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1891, Drexel University sits on a 74-acre campus just minutes from Downtown Philadelphia (Center City). Home to around 21,912 students from 50 states and 100 foreign countries, Drexel University has nine campuses, and it offers more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs across more than dozen colleges and schools. The school’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Design & Merchandising program, which leads to a BS Design & Merchandising.
Concentrations include Retail Buying & Merchandising, Fashion Product Development, Fashion Promotion & Special Events, Merchandising Technologies, and Design Management for Design & Merchandising. Students may also choose a Minor in Business Administration or other area specific to their education and career goals or the Combined Baccalaureate in Fashion Merchandising/Master of Business Administration (MBA) through the College of Business and Graduate School Management. This program offers a concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising
Design & Merchandising program highlights include the Drexel Undergraduate Co-op, which allows students to gain six to 18 months of paid career-related work experience at places such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Coach, and Neiman Marcus. All fashion students have the opportunity to participate in the production of the Annual Drexel Fashion Show, the school's lifestyle magazine D&M, and Drexel’s internship and Study Abroad programs.
The school offers both short- and long-term experiences in fashion meccas such as London and France, as well as Iceland, Prague, Australia, and Greece. Internship opportunities are available at local, regional, and national retailers and companies.
4. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University was established in 1858 under the name Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm. When it opened, the school consisted of a farmhouse, 648 acres, and several dozen students. Today, Iowa State University sits on a 1,795-acre campus and it is home 33,241 students enrolled in eight colleges and two schools. Students may choose from more than 100 majors and 800+ student organizations.
Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences’ (CHS) Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Department is home to the popular Fashion program. Offerings include BS and MS degrees
in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design, a 5-year BS/MS in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design, and a concurrent MS/MBA, which is in the process of university approval. Also on the menu is a rare PhD and distance PhD in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. Both PhD programs prepare students to work in the fashion industry, academia, museums and more. The hybrid (distance) PhD features 1 or 2 short on-campus summer coursework sessions.
Apparel, Merchandising, and Design highlights include access to the Department’s Textiles and Clothing Museum, easy access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities such as the Digital Textile Design and Printing Studio, Sourcing Simulator, and OptiTex Computer-Aided Design Software, and internship opportunities. Students have interned at Elie Tahari, BCBG Max Azria, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Target Corporation, Sports Authority, Marie Claire Magazine, Express, Kohl's, Dillards, Lacoste, Coldwater Creek, PacSun, Gap, and Chico's.
Merchandising and Design students also participate in the Annual Fashion Show, they help produce the Department’s award-winning fashion magazine—Trend, and they have access to a number of unique Study Abroad opportunities. Just a few past destinations include Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Wuhan.
5. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Established in 1868, Oregon State University (OSU) sits on a 400-acre campus just 90 miles from Portland, Oregon. Home to 27,925 students from 50 states and 100 countries, OSU offers more than 200 degree programs across 12 colleges, 15 Agricultural Experiment Stations, 35 county Extension offices, the Hatfield Marine Sciences Center in Newport, and OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon. The OSU College of Business-School of Design and Human Environment is home the Fashion Merchandising program.
The School offers a BS in Merchandising Management and an MA, MAIS (Master of Arts in International Studies), and PhD in Design and Human Environment. All fashion students have access to the Historic and Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection, internship opportunities at local, regional, national, and international (London) retailers, and OSU’s Study Tour program.
The Study Tour program features trips to New York City and MAGIC Market Week in Las Vegas. Also part of the program is the Architecture, Interiors, and Dress of Western Europe Tour where students explore the art, architecture, design, and fashions of London and Bath, England; Paris, and Florence and Rome, Italy.
6. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Established in 1856 as East Alabama Male College, Auburn University is home to 13 schools and more than 25,000 students, enrolled in more than 140 degree programs. The school’s College of Consumer and Design Sciences offers several undergraduate and advanced degrees for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Many of these programs combine elements of fashion design, merchandising, and management, but students may choose to focus in a specific area.
Offerings include a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production Management (BS-AMDP), a Master of Science in Consumer and Design Sciences Apparel and Interiors (MS-CADS), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Consumer and Design Sciences (PhD-CADS). Focus areas for the BS-AMDP include Apparel Merchandising and Apparel Design and Production Management.
Study Tours of Atlanta, New York and other cities, speaking events featuring professionals from the textile, apparel, and retailing fields, and a mandatory internship. According to Auburn, speakers include corporate CEO’s, internationally recognized designers, product developers, store managers, merchandisers, and industry representatives. The mandatory ten-week professional internship occurs during the final year of study. This semester-long program takes place in the small town of Ariccia, Italy located in the Alban Hills near Rome. AU Study Abroad opportunities give students “a global perspective on international trade laws, fashion trends, and the impact of culture and economics on consumer preferences,” says AU.
7. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Established in 1851, the University of Minnesota (U of M) sits on a 1,150-acre main campus featuring green spaces, historic architecture, and views of the Mississippi River. Home to a total student population of 69,221 across five campuses, U of M is the largest university in the State of Minnesota. The school offers more than 180 programs throughout 19 colleges and schools.
U of M’s College of Design is home to school’s competitive Fashion program. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Retail Merchandising and MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Apparel Studies with a Focus in Merchandising, Consumer Behavior, and Material Culture. A Minor in Retail Merchandising is also on the menu.
The College of Design also offers a program called “Degree in 3,” which allows Retail Merchandising students to earn their degree in less time, for less money. This pilot program requires the same courses/credits in the same number of credits as the traditional program, but students take full academic loads for two summers. This allows them to complete the program faster. Degree in 3 leads to a BS Retail in Merchandising: General Track or a BS in Retail Merchandising: Apparel Track.
In addition to several unique programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers, the College of Design encourages participation in the Study Abroad program. Fashion students may enroll during their third year of study and possible locations include London (one of the world’s leading cities for fashion), Australia, Fiji, Italy (home to several fashion capitals), and the Netherlands. Students also have the opportunity to participate in global seminars, freshman seminars abroad, and the school’s Work, Intern, and Volunteer Abroad program.
8. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University (OSU) has been around since 1890. The school, which sits on an 840-acre main campus, is less than 70 miles from the lively cities of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Home to 35,000 students, OSU has five campuses and it offers dozens of degree programs across 10 colleges. OSU’s College of Human Sciences-Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM) is home to the school’s top-rated Fashion program.
Options for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Apparel Merchandising, an MS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (MS DHM), a PhD in Human Environmental Sciences with a Specialization in DHM, and several Minors including Apparel Design and Production (for merchandising students) and Merchandising. Program highlights include Travel Study opportunities in the Fashion Capitals of Paris and New York, as well as Dallas, Mexico, Berlin, and others and excellent internship opportunities.
Merchandising students have interned for BCBG Max Azria, Marie Claire, Ralph Lauren, Dillard’s, Anthropologie, Nordstrom’s, Ethan Allen, and more. Merchandising graduates have obtained positions at many of these companies as well as Neiman Marcus, TJX Corporation, Target, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s.
9. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Established in 1870, Colorado State University (CSU) is home to 30,700 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across eight colleges. The school’s College of Health and Human Sciences is home to several top-rated fashion merchandising programs. Offerings include a BS in Apparel and Merchandising with a Merchandising Concentration, an MS in Design and Merchandising with a Concentration in Apparel and Merchandising, and a Merchandising Minor.
Program highlights include national and international Study Tours to New York City, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and England, special projects with the Denver Merchandise Mart—located just 65 miles away in the City of Denver, and participation in the Textile and International Apparel Association Fashion Show. Internship opportunities are also on the menu and may include work with Betsy Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg, Miss Sixty, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Ralph Lauren are just a few.
Study Abroad opportunities are available as well and may include destinations such as Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Rome, Venice, Chile, New Zealand, and more.
10. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Established in 1785, the University of Georgia (UGA) sits on a 759-acre main campus along the banks of the 220-mile long Oconee River. The school is home to the Peabody Awards, Georgia's State Museum of Art, the State Botanical Garden, the State Museum of Natural History, and the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. UGA is also home to 34,536 students enrolled in well over 200 fields of study, across 17 colleges and schools.
The College of Family and Consumer Sciences-Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors (TMI) is home to UGA’s Fashion Program. Offerings include a BS in Fashion Merchandising with an optional Global Soft Goods Merchandising and Manufacturing Emphasis, a Minor in Fashion Merchandising and a unique Master’s program in Merchandising or International Trade. A Ph.D. in International Trading and Textile Sciences is also on the menu.
Program highlights include access to state-of-the-art-labs, internship with local companies such as Nicole Milles, Macy’s, Escada, and Marc Jacobs, Study Abroad experiences in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Ghana, and access to the Historic Clothing and Textile Collection. The Collection consists of more than 1,500 garments, accessories, and textiles dating from the 1800s to the 1900s.
Graduates of UGA’s TMI program have found employment with top companies such as Bloomingdales, Gap Inc., Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Bergdorf Goodman, Atlanta Apparel Mart and more.
11. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Established in 1890, the University of North Texas (UNT) sits on an 884-acre campus and it is home to a population of 35,778 students. The school, which offers more than 200 programs across 12 colleges and schools, was the first school to offer a Bachelor's degree in e-Merchandising and the first to offer a Master of Science (MS) in Merchandising—completely online.
The school’s College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism also offers a BS in Merchandising and a traditional (on-campus) MS in Merchandising. A Dual MBA/MS in Fashion Merchandising is also on the menu. The Merchandising program features access to the Texas Fashion Collection—a collection of more than 15,000 articles of historic clothing and accessories, the opportunity to study Accessories, Fashion Studio, Fashion in New York, internship opportunities at local, regional, and national fashion companies, and Annual Study Tours to China/Hong Kong and London/Paris.
Graduates have landed positions at major companies such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target, Fossil, J.C. Penney, Havertys, Tuesday Morning, and Zale Corp.
12. Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia University (PhilaU) was established in 1884 as the Philadelphia Textile School.
It sits on a 100-acre campus in the East Falls section of Philadelphia around 145 miles from New York, just 30 miles from Trenton, New Jersey, and only 8 miles from historic Center City Philadelphia. Home to nearly 3,000 students enrolled in 60+ areas of study, PhilaU houses 3 colleges—the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Kanbar College of Design, the College of Engineering and Commerce, and the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.
PhilaU’s Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce is home to a large collection of popular Fashion programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Management with 10 “Clusters” such as Buying and Merchandising, Fashion Retailing Experience, Fashion Technology, Integrated Fashion Communication, Global Brand Marketing, and Fashion Entrepreneurship, to name a few.
Program highlights include participation in fashion shows and events such as The Annual Fashion Show and student-run Pop-Up Stores, and the opportunity to contribute to PhilaU’s fashion publication STYLELINE. Students also have access to internship and employment opportunities in Philadelphia and New York, and Study Abroad experiences in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Rome.
13. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1890 as Columbia School of Oratory, Columbia College Chicago (CCC) is home to 11,000 students enrolled in more than 120 academic majors and programs. Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BA in Fashion Business, which is a flexible program that allows room for students to “pursue interdisciplinary course options, a minor, or a double major,” says CCC. Fashion Business/Fashion Design is a popular double major, and a Minor in Fashion Business is also on the menu.
The BA in Fashion Business is offered through the School of Fine & Performing Arts-Fashion Studies Department. Highlights include participation in the always sold-out Annual Runway Show, “Fashion in the Field” trips to New York City, Los Angeles, and Florence, Italy, access to the Garment Collection, the Research Collection and the Fashion Study Collection (FSC), which consists of more than 6,000 items. The Program also offers access to a state-of-the-art Fashion Lab and other facilities.
Columbia College is located in the heart of Downtown Chicago which offers easy access to the world famous Magnificent Mile (Mag Mile). This 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue is home to more than 460 retail stores and high-end designer boutiques (Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and more), 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and dozens of attractions. Many Columbia students have interned at retailers along the Mag Mile, while many graduates have found permanent employment there.
14. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
The University of Delaware (UD) was established in 1743. The school sits on more than 2,000 acres and it has a student body of more than 21,000 students. The former home of Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, UD offers nearly 350 programs across seven colleges. The University of Delaware College of Arts & Sciences is home to the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies.
Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, an MS in Fashion and Apparel Studies, a Graduate Certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business, and a Minor in Fashion History and Culture. Also on the menu is the popular 4+1 program. This program allows undergraduate Fashion Merchandising majors to complete the Master's degree in Fashion and Apparel Studies in half the time.
All fashion programs offer the opportunity to participate in field study experiences in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and California. One of the most highly desired experiences is The Visiting Student program. This cooperative arrangement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the famed Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) allows students to complete courses at FIT and apply them to the BS in Fashion Merchandising. Upon successful completion of course requirements at both schools, students qualify for an Associate's degree from FIT and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware.
Internship opportunities with top designers such as Marc Jacobs International are also on the menu as well as Study Abroad experiences. Hong Kong and Glasgow, Scotland are just a few popular destinations.
15. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
The Academy of Art University was established in 1929 with just 50 students. Today, the school is home to more than 18,000 students enrolled in dozens of programs at all degree levels. Academy of Art University offers Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Associate of Arts (AA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Architecture (MArch) degrees. The school also offers Certificate programs and Continuing Art Education courses. Majors range from Acting to Illustration to Textile Design.
The Academy of Art’s School of Fashion offers a large collection programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Popular options include AA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Merchandising and Fashion Styling, and an AA or BFA in Visual Merchandising. The Merchandising, Fashion Styling, and Visual Merchandising programs are available online as well and lead to an Online Award of Completion.
Fashion merchandising students participate in the Biannual Fashion Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in New York City, the Annual Graduation Fashion Show in San Francisco, and the production of the School’s magazine projects. Students also contribute to the Fashion School Daily Blog, international publications, and fashion websites.
16. LIM College, New York, New York
Established in 1939 as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM), LIM College prepares students for careers in Fashion Merchandising, Visual Merchandising, Marketing, and Management. LIM College accomplishes this through a combination of classroom study and intensive hands-on experience. All LIM students must participate in the Senior Co-op Internship during their final semester. Students have completed their internships with major labels and companies such as Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, MTV Networks, Teen Vogue, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta, Bergdorf Goodman, and many others.
LIM College consists of three academic buildings in midtown Manhattan. It is home to more than 1,500 students enrolled in 10 degree programs. Options for aspiring fashion merchandisers include an AAS, BPS, and BBA in Fashion Merchandising, a BBA in Visual Merchandising, and an MPS in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management. MPS students will complete a mandatory internship as well.
17. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou) is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri System. The school sits on a 1,262-acre main campus and it is home to more than 35,000 students enrolled in 300+ degree programs through 19 colleges and schools.
The College of Human and Environmental Sciences-Department of Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) is home to MU’s popular collection of fashion merchandising programs.
Offerings include BS degrees in Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) with Tracks in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising or International Apparel Marketing and Merchandising. Students may also consider the Business, Entrepreneurship, or Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) Minor, or the Center for the Digital (CDiG) Graduate Certificate to enhance their education and career opportunities. A Digital Global Studies Undergraduate Certificate is also on the menu.
TAM program highlights include internship opportunities, Study Tours, access to dozens of student organizations, and interaction with award-winning professors and industry experts.
18. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, California
The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) prepares students for professional careers in Digital Media, Entertainment and Fashion. Established in 1969, FIDM is home to 8,000 students enrolled in 22 creative majors leading to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.
Besides nearly two dozen majors, students have access to four colorful campuses, tactically placed in some of the world’s top fashion centers.
Campus locations include Los Angeles (home of the famous LA Fashion District which features the largest selection of textiles and notions in the United States), San Francisco, Orange County (Irvine, America’s most fashionable city for 2012), and San Diego. Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM)-Los Angeles, has been the setting for Project Runway and it is currently the home of the latest Project Runway fashion competition Under the Gunn.
Several FIDM graduate students became contestants and finalists on Project Runway, and one—Leanne Marshall, became a winner (season five). In addition, several FIDM graduates have appeared on TV shows such as NBC’s Fashion Star and The Bachelorette. Considered the “first fashion college of its kind on the West Coast,” FIDM’s list of offerings for fashion merchandisers is impressive as well.
Majors include Merchandise Product Development, Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing, Merchandise Product Development, and Merchandise Marketing. These programs lead to an Associate of Arts (AA) or an AA Professional Designation. The AA Professional Designation is a 51-unit program for students that already hold a college degree. Also on the menu are a BS in Business Management and a BA in Professional Studies for students on the path to business ownership.
FIDM Merchandising program highlights include the Annual DEBUT Runway Show, domestic and international Study Tours to fashion capitals such as New York City, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan, and an excellent employment outlook. According to FIDM, “of the eligible graduates actively seeking work, over 90% of graduates in all majors and programs found employment within six months of graduation.”
19. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, Pomona, California
The College of Agriculture-Department of Apparel Merchandising and Management at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona offers several top-rated programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Apparel Merchandising and Management (AMM) with a Fashion Retailing or Apparel Production Option. Emphasis areas are also on the menu and include Fashion Design Management and International Apparel Management.
Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, access to more than 4,000 apparel companies in the LA area (through relationships with the Department), and access to the latest high-performance materials, equipment, studios, software, and more. Students may also compete for a slot in optional (but highly recommended) Study Abroad Program. Each year, the Department sends a group of students to study in London. During the trip, students will have the opportunity to intern at a variety of local studios, retailers, boutiques, and more.
Established in 1938, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) is part of the 23-campus California State University System. Home to more than 23,000 students, the school sits on a 1,438-acre campus just 30 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles. One of only two polytechnic universities in the State of California, Cal Poly Pomona houses eight academic colleges offering more than 130 degree programs.
20. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
The College of Human Ecology-Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design at Kansas State University is the largest of its kind in the U.S. Home to more than 2,000 students, the College offers an intensive program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The MS in Merchandising is offered in conjunction with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA). The program is offered entirely online. Another option for students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities is the PhD in with a Specialization in Apparel and Textiles. This program is offered on-campus.
Kansas State University is America’s first fully operational Land-Grant University and one of the region’s oldest academic institutions. Also called “K-State,” Kansas State University was established in 1858 with just 53 students. Today, K-State has campuses in Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe, and it is home to more than 24,300 students from 50 states and more than 100 countries. More than 250 undergraduate majors are available as well as 65 Master's degrees, 45 Doctoral degrees, and 22 Graduate Certificates across nine colleges.
21. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
The College of Education and Human Sciences-Department of Textiles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is home to a collection of competitive fashion merchandising programs at all degree levels—including a PhD. Offerings include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, a traditional MS in Merchandising (on-campus), an MS in Merchandising Great Plains IDEA (online), and a Human Sciences PhD in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design.
All fashion students have access to the Kathryn Ericksen Lohr Merchandising Research & Business Development Laboratory (est. 2013), Digital Textile Printing Laboratory, Splinter Laboratory, the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, the Historic Textile & Costume Collection, and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Students also have access to merchandising facilities consisting of a Computer lab with 35 workstations equipped with "industry-grade software" including Visual Retailing Software Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, WindowsWear Pro, SimVenture business planning software package, and Lecture Suite.
The Internship Program at UNL is also on the menu and offers opportunities to intern at Vera Wang, Nicole Miller, InStyle Magazine, Elie Tahari, and more. Study Tours to London, Italy, Paris, Prague, Shanghai, and Beijing are available as well and an excellent employment outlook for graduates. UNL Department of Textiles graduates have accepted positions at Saks Fifth Avenue-NYC, J. Crew-NYC, J.C. Penny-Plano, TX, Kohl’s-Milwaukee, WI, Lerner’s NYC, Anthropologie-Omaha, NE, Nebraska Arts Council-Omaha, NE, Lux Center for the Arts-Lincoln, NE, and many others.
Chartered in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is one of the oldest universities in the Midwest. Home to more than 24,000 students, UNL is also one of the largest universities in the region. The school, which sits on a 600+-acre campus, is just steps from Downtown Lincoln and it offers more than 200 programs across 10 colleges.
22. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Established around 1851, Florida State University (FSU) is one of the oldest universities in the State of Florida—and one of the largest. Home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 275 programs across 16 colleges, FSU sits on 1,550 acres, including the 451.6-acre main campus in Downtown Tallahassee. Among the school’s many programs is a collection of art and design programs that rank among the nation’s best. In fact, FSU is so dedicated to the arts, it manages the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art—one of the largest museum/university complexes in the nation.
Florida State University’s College of Human Services-Department of Retail, Merchandising & Product Development (RMPD) offers nearly 800 majors making it one of the largest programs of its kind in the U.S. Degree options for fashion merchandisers include a BS in Retail Merchandising and Product Development (RMPD), an MS in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising with a Major in Global Merchandising and Product Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Retail Merchandising.
RMPD students have unlimited access to Florida’s second largest employment industry—retailing, they have access to cutting-edge industry technology and the opportunity to join valuable student organizations such as the Collegiate Merchandising Association (CMA) and Fashion Inc. Thanks to Department ties with more than 200 companies, agencies, and trade organizations, students also have access to hundreds of internship opportunities. Past internships include Dillard’s, Macy’s, Chico’s, American Eagle, Burberry, Escada, Marie Claire, AmericasMart, the Home Shopping Network, and more.
Study Abroad opportunities are also on the menu through Florida State University’s International Programs (FSU IP). The school has permanent study centers in the fashion capitals of London and Florence as well as Valencia and Panama. Students may also have the opportunity to study in China, France, Peru, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and many other exciting places.
23. University of Texas-Austin, Austin, Texas
The College of Natural Sciences-School of Human Ecology at the University of Texas-Austin is home to one of the region’s best programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The program, which leads to a BS in Textiles and Apparel (BS TXA), offers an Option in Retail Merchandising. According to the School, the Retail Merchandising Option “incorporates principles from arts, sciences, and humanities and provides specialized instruction for professional careers in merchandising.” The suggested 4-year degree plan consists of four fall semesters, four spring semesters, and two summer sessions.
Program highlights include unique Study Abroad opportunities in China and India, access to the Historical Textiles and Apparel Collection consisting of more than 6,000 textiles and apparel items, accessories and artifacts dating from 1820 to the 80s, internship opportunities at top fashion firms, and the Annual Fashion Show. The show allows all design and merchandising students to showcase their skills and collections to more than 5,000 fashion designers, peers, and media. Graduates have accepted positions at Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Escada, Coach, Cosmo Girl, Vera Wang, Anne Klein, Rodarte, Zac Posen, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Cynthia Rowley, and many others.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is the largest school in the University of Texas system. Established in 1883 with just a single building, eight teachers, two departments, and 221 students, UT Austin is also one of the largest public universities in the U.S. Home to more than 50,000 students, the school sits on a 350-acre main campus and it offers more than 170 undergraduate programs, more than 150 Master’s programs and 80+ Doctoral programs, across 18 colleges and schools.
24. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York
The School of Communications and the Arts at Marist College is home the school’s Fashion Program. Options for aspiring fashion designers include a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a Concentration in Merchandising and Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Business for Fashion Merchandising Students. Students may choose from a number of electives that may help enhance their education and career opportunities. Just a few options include Accessory Merchandising, Product Sourcing, Events/Promotions, Fashion Branding & Licensing, and Product Development.
Program highlights include Marist in Manhattan: Internships in Art, Fashion, and Media (MinM), participation in the Silver Needle Fashion Show, membership in the student club Fashion Inc., and an exceptional Study Abroad program. Students have the option to spend a semester or academic year abroad in one of more than 50 locations such as China (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and France (Marist-Mod’Spe Paris).
The School of Communication and Arts also features short-term Study Abroad options during winter and spring break. Programs include France: Paris Fashion program: From Atelier to Market Place (winter), Italy and France: Fashion Merchandising: Florence and Paris (spring) and Italy and Spain: Global Fashion Trends: Barcelona and Florence (spring).
Marist College received a 4-year charter by the State of New York in 1946. The College, which sits on a 210-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River, is located just 80 miles from New York and Albany. A leader in fusing technology and teaching to “enhance” the learning process, Marist College is “One of the 25 Most Connected Campuses in America.” Home to more than 6,300 students, Marist College offers 44 Bachelor’s, 12 Master’s, and 21 Certificate programs across seven schools.
25. Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University-Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Department of Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design. The Department offers a BS and a Minor in Apparel Merchandising. Merchandising students may add the Kelley School of Business Minor for Apparel Merchandising Majors, a Minor in Fashion Design, or other minor approved by the Apparel Merchandising advisor.
Department highlights include the Annual Retail and Design Forum, the Career Development Center Internship Fair, Study Tours, and an Annual Fashion Show. Students also have access to the Sage Collection (which consists of more than 20,000 pieces of historical and contemporary clothing and accessories) and a number of valuable student organizations including the Retail Studies Organization (RSO) and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Organization.
Founded in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington (IU Bloomington) sits on a 2,000-acre campus, just 54.9 miles from Indianapolis. The school offers more than 180 majors and 330 degree programs across 15+ colleges and schools. IU Bloomington also offers one of the country’s largest Study Abroad Departments. The Department offers 250 programs in 17 languages.
26. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
Founded in 1801, the University of South Carolina (USC) sits on a 570-acre main campus that accommodates 31,964 students enrolled in 324 unique degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) offers one of the largest Retailing Programs in the nation. Home to 2,346 students, the College also offers 11 other programs across four departments and seven centers and institutes.
The Department of Retailing offers a BS in Retailing with Specializations in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management. A Minor in Retailing is also on the menu as well as a competitive Master of Retailing. Program highlights include participation in USC Fashion Week, Field Study in New York, Study Abroad in Paris, Florence, Venice, London, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and paid Retail Management and Fashion Merchandising internships. Nearly all students receive permanent placement offers at the end of the internship.
27. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
The College of Arts and Sciences-Family & Consumer Sciences Department at Baylor University offers six different majors. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BA and a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS) in Apparel Merchandising. Both programs prepare students for a variety of careers including Retail Manager, Visual Display Manager, Merchandise Planner/Allocator, Buyer, Stylist, Global Sourcing, Entrepreneur, and more.
Program highlights include competitive internships with top designers and brands such as Anna Sui, MTC, Betsey Johnson, Quick Silver, XOXO MTV, Haggar, and Rampage, inspiring Study Tours, and access to the Parker Design Center. The Design Center features the latest state-of-the-art apparel software, equipment, and technology—the largest collection of its kind in North America. Short Study Tours allow students to explore apparel manufacturing facilities, designer showrooms, and trend forecasting agencies in New York Canada, and other cities in the U.S. Longer tours feature travel to the fashion capitals of Europe such as London, Paris, Rome, and Milan.
The University also offers an impressive Study Abroad program that includes internship opportunities. Overseas study experiences last a summer, semester, or 1 year. Students typically travel to Paris, Florence, or London. Just a few past Study Abroad internships include Ann-Louise Roswald (London), Christopher & LaLou (Paris), Amanda Wakeley (London), and Matthew Williamson (London).
Established in 1845 Baylor University is the oldest continuously operating university in the State of Texas. Home to 15,616 students from every state and more than 80 other countries, Baylor sits on a 1,000-acre campus on the Brazos River in Waco, Texas. The school offers 144 undergraduate programs, 77 Master’s programs, and 32 Doctoral programs across 11 colleges and schools.
28. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Established in 1865, the University of Kentucky (UK) sits on an 800-plus acre campus just 78.2 miles from the state’s largest city—Louisville. Home to 29,385 students, UK offers more than 150 programs across 19 colleges and schools. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (UKAg)-School of Human Environmental Sciences is home to the Department of Retailing and Tourism Management.
Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS and an MS in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles (MAT). Program highlights include industry-focused coursework in Brand Management, Consumerism, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Market Trends, Retailing,
Sourcing, Textiles and Visual Merchandising. Students may also take IF courses such as Electronic Retailing, Merchandise Planning and Control, and Merchandising Strategy Analysis.
MAT Students have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show, in experiential education projects such as The Kentucky Plaid Project, and they may join the MAT Club. Students also have access to the Betty D. Eastin Historic Costume Collection, which consists of 2,500 artifacts from 1870 to the 1970s, the Textile Testing Lab, and a mandatory 8-week internship at a national or international firm.
Study Abroad opportunities are also on the menu. MAT students have studied in fashion capitals such as Paris, London, and Florence, as well as Panama and Scotland. The program also sponsors domestic study experiences in New York.
29. Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas
Founded in 1901 as the Girls Industrial College, Texas Woman’s University is a co-educational university with a student body of 15,000 students. The school, which consists of 200 acres and campuses in Denton, Dallas, and Houston Texas, offers more than 60 programs across four colleges and a graduate school. The Fashion Department at TWU is part of the College of Arts & Sciences-School of Management. Located at the main campus in Denton, the Department sits in the Old Main Building (OMB)—TWU’s original building.
Unique degree plans for aspiring fashion merchandisers include BS degrees in Fashion Merchandising with a Planning Emphasis or a Management Emphasis, a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, a BS/BBA dual degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management, a BS/BBA in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, and a BS/BBA in Fashion Merchandising and Entrepreneurship. A double degree is also on the menu (BA in Fashion Design/BS in Fashion Merchandising) as well as Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Merchandising & Marketing.
Program highlights include the Annual Senior Fashion Show, access to state-of-the-art fashion design laboratories and industrial laboratory equipment, a Career Day event, and internships at top fashion retailers, brands, studios, and publications. Fashion students have interned at such as Rue 21, Aldo, Ann Taylor, Betsey Johnson, Bebe, Dillard’s, Express, Michael Kors, Haggar, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Burberry, BCBG Max Azria, Bergdorf Goodman, Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire Magazine.
Finally, all TWU fashion students attend Career Day each year, which takes place at the Dallas Market Center each spring. Sponsored by the Dallas chapter of Fashion Group International (FGI), Career Day features award segments, information presentations, and an additional fashion show highlighting designs from university students from more than 50 universities and community colleges throughout the Southwest, South, Southeast, and Midwest.
30. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) dates back to 1949, when it operated under the name Los Angeles-Orange County College. Today, the school is known as CSULB, CSU Long Beach or Cal State Long Beach. CSU Long Beach sits on a 322-acre campus just 22 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles and 15.9 miles from Huntington Beach (Orange County). Home to 35,592 students, the school offers more than 150 programs at all degree levels.
The College of Health and Human Services-Department of Family & Consumer Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The Department offers a BA in Fashion Merchandising, a Double Major in Fashion Merchandising and Textiles & Clothing, an MBA with a Specialization in Fashion Merchandising and Design, and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising.
The Department also offers an MA in Family and Consumer Sciences (MA FCS) with a Specialization in Fashion Merchandising. However, the program is not available for the 2014-2015 school year.
Program highlights include the Annual Fashion Show, Fashion Tours of New York City, Los Angeles and Europe, and Study Abroad experiences at more than 70 overseas universities. Just a few destinations include Australia, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and Zimbabwe.
31. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Established in 1853, LSU sits on a 2,000-acre campus in the City of Baton Rouge—just a few miles from historic Downtown Baton Rouge and 80 miles from New Orleans. The school is home to than 29,000 students enrolled in more than 200 majors across multiple colleges and schools. The College of Agriculture-School of Human Ecology is home of the Fashion Program at LSU.
Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Textiles, Apparel, & Merchandising with a Concentration in Merchandising, Textile Science or Apparel Design. A Textiles, Apparel, & Merchandising Minor is also on the menu. All students will complete an internship at a local company or retailers in New York or Los Angeles and most will participate in the Study Abroad Program.
The program offers access to study experiences in unique destinations such as Ecuador, China, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and many others. Upon completion of the merchandising program, the internship, and an optional Study Abroad experience, students will be prepared to work with textile and apparel manufacturers, retailers, media firms, testing laboratories, or government agencies. Many graduates go on open their own boutiques, studios, or other businesses.
32. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
Texas State University opened in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The school sits on a 457-acre main campus, with 5,038 additional acres of ranch, farm, recreational, and residential areas, and another 101 acres at the Texas State Round Rock Park. While San Marcos has its own art active scene, the city is just 29 miles from artsy Austin and 46 miles from spirited San Antonio. Home to 36,568 students, Texas State University offers 194 degree programs across eight colleges and a Graduate school.
The College of Applied Arts-School of Family and Consumer Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in Fashion Merchandising and an MS in Merchandising and Consumer Studies. Program highlights include access to the Historic Textile and Apparel Gallery, internship opportunities at local, regional, and national retailers and fashion companies, and the opportunity to Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as Paris and Florence.
33. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) is home to one of the best art and design schools in the nation—VCUarts. The Department of Fashion offers a top-tier program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The BA in Fashion Merchandising features field trips to New York and the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and short-term international trips to Paris, London, Florence, Rome, Hong Kong, and Australia. Students also have the option to attend VCUQatar where they may earn a BFA in Fashion Design and/or an MFA in Design Studies.
Study Abroad opportunities are also on the menu and last one semester. Florence or Guinea, West Africa are just a few past Study Abroad destinations. Graduates of VCU’s Fashion Merchandising program hold positions at a variety of popular retailers, magazines, and more. Just a few include Lucky Magazine, Rolling Stone, Martha Stewart Bridal, Gap, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Marc Jacobs, Nordstrom, Calvin Klein, Smithsonian Museum Stores, Perry Ellis, Ralph Lauren, and more.
Virginia Commonwealth University was established in 1838 as the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). The school, which sits on a 144-acre main campus in Downtown Richmond, is home to 31,288 students from across the U.S. and 100 countries—with Saudi Arabia, India, China, and Kuwait leading the pack. VCU offers more than 215 programs at all degree levels across multiple campuses and satellite locations—including overseas in Doha, Qatar. Sixty-six programs are unique to VCU.
34. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
The College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) at Central Michigan University (CMU) is home to the Center for Merchandising and Design Technology (CMDT). The Center offers several competitive programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include BA, BAA, and BS degrees in Apparel Merchandising and Design (AMD), an MS in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology, and an Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology (APDMT) accelerated Dual Master’s degree. The accelerated program takes just 5 years to complete. A Minor in Apparel Merchandising and Design is also on the menu.
Program highlights include an internship program that offers the opportunity to work at both national and international companies; industry partnerships with Reebok, Brooks Brothers, and Malden Mills, and membership in The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design (FAMD). FAMD is a student organization that sponsors the program’s Annual Spring Fashion Show. Although not required, students are encouraged to take advantage of CMU’s Study Abroad program. Past Study Abroad locations include Hong Kong, London, and Paris.
Established in 1892, Central Michigan University (CMU) began as Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute. When it opened, the Institute had just 31 students attending classes in several rooms above an office in Downtown Mount Pleasant. Today, CMU is home to 27,000 students and the school sits on a 235-acre campus. The school also has more than 50 locations across North America and it offers more than 200 academic programs across eight colleges.
35. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
Established in 1873, Texas Christian University (TCU) sits on a 277-acre campus just 12 miles from Arlington, 31 miles from Dallas, and 41 miles from Plano. Home to nearly 10,000 students, TCU offers around 215 degree programs across eight colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts-Department of Interior Design and Merchandising is home to the Fashion Merchandising Program.
Options include a BS in Fashion Merchandising. Program highlights include a 10-week supervised internship with designers and retailers such as Jimmy Choo, Donna Karan, Fossil, Louis Vuitton, Escada, Zales, Neiman Marcus, Escada, and Chanel, access to the TCU Costume Collection which consists of 2,500 items, and off-campus Fashion Study excursions to retail, manufacturing, and wholesale centers in Paris, New York, and Dallas. Students also have access to the Center for Merchandising Education & Research, which features a variety of programs and events that attract industry executives from across the U.S.
36. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, California
The Department of Family & Consumer Services at California State University-Northridge offers one of the region’s top Fashion Merchandising programs. The program features domestic fashion industry tours, access to the Historic Costume Collection, and membership in the Apparel and Merchandising Student Organization—TRENDS. This organization is responsible for the Departments Annual Fashion Show and other events that attract spectators and industry professionals from across the region.
Other program highlights include internship and networking opportunities through association and professional organizations such as International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and California Fashion Association (CFA), and the opportunity to enter career fields such as Apparel Design, Fashion Consulting, Textile Analysis, Textile Design, Fashion Journalism, Historic Costume and Textile Preservation, Retail Buying, Wardrobe Stylist, and many others.
Program offerings include a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Master of Science (MS) in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) – Apparel Design and Merchandising. Students may also select an Emphasis in Textiles and Apparel or Apparel Design and Production to enhance their education and career opportunities. All options are included in the departmental accreditation by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Established in 1958, California State University-Northridge (CSUN or Cal State Northridge) is
home to 36,208 students and it sits on 353 park-like acres in the San Fernando Valley—just 16 miles from Los Angeles and the famous LA Fashion District. CSUN offers 64 baccalaureate degrees, 58 Master’s degrees, 2 professional doctorate degrees, and 55 teaching credential programs across eight academic colleges.
37. Miami International University of Art & Design, Miami, Florida
Established in 1965, Miami International University of Art & Design (MIU) offers several dozen programs in the areas of Design, Media Arts, Culinary Art, and Fashion. Home to more than 2,000 students from 60+ countries, MIU houses 20 computer labs and classrooms, multiple lecture rooms and studios, a library and media center, and an 800 square foot Main Gallery. MIU also has additional branches in Tampa and Jacksonville.
Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers include an AA and a BA in Fashion Merchandising. All design students have access to Miami’s thriving fashion scene and campus amenities such as multiple studios, 20 computer labs and classrooms, lecture rooms, a library and media center, an 800 square foot Main Gallery, student lounges, and a top-rated Career Services Department. The Department, which hosts a quarterly job fair, attracts some of the best local, regional, and nationwide companies.
Just a few career opportunities for MIU Fashion Merchandising graduates include Buyer, Stylist, Visual Merchandiser, Retail Management, Fashion Show and Event Producer, Trend Reporter,
Marketing Director, Product Developer, and Designer Representative.
38. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota
The School of Business and Professional Studies at St. Catherine University is home to the schools popular Department of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. The Department offers a diverse collection of programs for aspiring fashion mavens of all kinds—even entrepreneurs. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, a BS in Family and Consumer Science with a Concentration/Focus in Textiles/Apparel. Fashion merchandising students may combine any of these degrees with Apparel Design, Small Business/Entrepreneurship or Marketing/Management.
Program highlights include a rigorous curriculum that includes courses ranging from Apparel Construction and Textiles to Management and writing intensive courses such as “Sociocultural Aspect of Dress.” Students will have the opportunity to participate in St. Kate’s Annual Katwalk Fashion Show, interact with guest speakers, and meet with more than 60 companies each year through on-campus career events. Merchandising students may also participate in the Study Abroad program, which features study experiences in London, Paris, New York or Boston. Study Abroad partners include London College of Fashion and Acadia Fashion Institute in Florence. Finally, all fashion students have access to Minneapolis’s thriving fashion scene, which helped inspire Project Runway contestants Katherine Gerdes, Christopher Straub, Danielle Everine and Ra'mon Lawrence-Coleman.
Established in 1905, St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) consists of 2 campuses in the Twin Cities—the St. Paul Campus which is 5 miles from Downtown St. Paul and 7 miles from Downtown Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Campus, which is located in the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east of Downtown. Downtown Minneapolis offers access to shopping, theaters, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and Fortune 500 companies such as Target and Quest.
39. University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island College of Human Science and Services is home to six Academic Departments. The Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design Department (TMD) is one of the College’s most popular Departments. TMD offers several top-rated programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design with Concentrations in Textile Science and Apparel Studies.
An MS in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design is also on the menu as well as a BS in Textile Marketing, a unique Double Major in TMD and Fashion Language (French and Italian), a Certificate in Fashion Merchandising, and a Minor in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD). For students looking to enhance their knowledge of apparel construction, alteration, and repair, URI’s College of Continuing Education also offers a Master Seamstress program.
TMD program highlights include access to URI’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection, which features nearly 20,000 objects, membership in the Fashion Merchandising Society, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and coveted internship opportunities with Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Nordstrom, Christian Louboutin, Tommy Hilfiger, the American Textile History Museum, and Marie Claire Magazine. TMD also offers a Winter Fashion Study Tour of London and Paris, Summer Study at the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France, and Study Abroad experiences for a semester in the fashion capitals of London, Florence, Paris, Sydney, and more.
TMD graduates have accepted positions at a wide variety of companies such as Jones Apparel Group, Saks Fifth Avenue, Luxury Brand Holdings, Gucci, Fitness Magazine, Ralph Lauren, The Lace Museum, Kate Spade, Anne Klein, ROSS Stores, Reebok, Michael Hayes, Ketchum Public Relations, Lord & Taylor, New Balance, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, and TJX Europe, London, UK.
The University of Rhode Island (URI) was established in 1892. It sits on a 1,200-acre campus just 79 miles from Boston and 29 miles from Providence—Rhode Island’s largest city. Home to more than 15,000 students, URI offers 80 majors across 10 schools and 4 campuses.
40. O’More College of Design, Franklin, Tennessee
Established in 1970, O’More College of Design is home to around 200 students enrolled in BFA Programs in five areas including Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and Interactive Design. Fashion Merchandising program highlights include the Eloise Student Fashion Show, O’More Design Week, and exciting internship and Travel Opportunities.
Travel Opportunities include New York, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, and Spain. Internship opportunities run the gamut from designers such Vera Wang, Otis James, Kay Unger, Christian Siriano, and Gustavo Cadile, to publications such as Esquire Magazine, and companies and studios such as Teresa Hays Textile Studio, TJX Companies, Inc. (the brains behind TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and more), and VF Imagewear.
O’More Fashion Merchandising graduates have accepted positions at a wide variety of companies such as Dolly Parton Enterprises, TJX Companies, Disney Event Group, and Fossil and VF Corporation – Imagewear.
41. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
Established in 1872, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) sits on a commanding 2,600-acre campus consisting of a collection of more than 125 buildings, an airport and 31,000 full-time students. The school offers more than 215 programs across eight colleges and a graduate school. The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is home to the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management (AHRM).
The Department offers a BS in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Management (APDM). Home to more than 200 students, the Apparel Program emphasizes computer technology and experiential learning. Students have access to the 5,000-piece Oris Glisson Costume and Textile Collection, they have the opportunity to join the Fashion Merchandising Society (FMDS), and all students may participate in the Spring Fashion Show and contribute to Project Cornerstone—a collaboration between the oldest women’s shelter in Virginia and Virginia Tech Women’s Center.
APDM also offers trips to Study Trips to New York City, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and San Diego, keynote speakers, and internships at local and national companies. APDM graduates have found employment at companies such as Macy’s, Calvin Klein, GAP, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Etienne Aigner, Nordstrom's, and many more.
42. Lasell College, Newton, Massachusetts
Established as the Auburndale Female Seminary in 1851, Lasell College sits on a green 53-acre campus just eight miles from historic Downtown Boston. The school is home to more than 1,900 students, enrolled in more than 40 academic programs. This includes several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.
Options include a BS in Fashion and Retail Merchandising, a BA in Fashion Design & Production, and a BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion. The most popular program for fashion merchandisers is the BS in Fashion and Retail Merchandising. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may consider a Minor in Business or a BS in Marketing, Management or Entrepreneurship.
Fashion and Retail Merchandising highlights include access to the Lasell Fashion Collection (LFC), which consists of more than 1,000 items of clothing and accessories from the 19th and 20th centuries, participation in the Annual Runway Fashion Show, and intern ship opportunities at Gucci, Bebe, Liz Claiborne, Macy’s, MAC Cosmetics, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and more.
Students in good academic standing are also eligible to enroll in the school’s Two-Week Travel/Study Program in Paris or Study Abroad experiences in one of 38 countries.
43. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Established in 1905 as Fourth District Normal School, Missouri State University (MSU) opened with a student population of 543 in off-campus facilities. Today, the school sits on a 450-acre main campus and it is home to more than 20,000 students from 40 states and 70 countries. With additional campuses in West Plains and Mountain Grove, MO, and Dalian, China, MSU offers more than 150 programs across seven colleges.
The Missouri State University College of Business-Department of Fashion and Interior Design (FID) offers a comprehensive BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design, which focuses on global design and the business of fashion. Students looking to start their own businesses might consider several offerings through MSU’s College of Business. Options include a BS in Management, Entrepreneurship or General Business, a Minor in Management, Entrepreneurial Studies, Entrepreneurship, Leadership or Operations Management, or a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.
Fashion Merchandising highlights include the annual MSU Fashion Show at the Springfield Expo Center, which attracts more than 1,000 guests, frequent design and merchandising competitions, Dallas Career Day, Domestic Tours, and “Study Away” experiences in Paris, China (MSU’s campus in Dalian), Italy, and Greece. Domestic Tours take place annually. Students (typically 20) visit New York City to explore fashion businesses and interview for internships. Students have explored and interviewed with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Cotton Incorporated, Kate Spade, and more.
44. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences houses the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) —home of WSU’s Fashion program. The Department offers the only state-supported 4-year Apparel and Textiles program. Options include BA and MA degrees in Apparel and Textiles with Specialization Tracks in Apparel Design and Merchandising. Signature courses include Globalization, Environmental, and Ethical Issues in the Fashion Industry, Fashion Forecasting, and Multicultural Perspectives on the Body and Dress, to name a few.
Program highlights include access to the #3 ranked apparel and textile industry in the U.S. (the State of Washington), Design and Merchandising Competitions, Exhibitions, Guest Speakers, the Annual Moms Weekend Fashion Show, and Internships with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, and more. Students may also become members of the International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA) and/or the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). Study Tours to New York and 1,400+ Education Abroad programs are also on the menu. Destinations include fashion centers such as London, Italy, China and many others.
Graduates of Washington State University’s AMDT programs have accepted positions at a number of top companies. Just a few include Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Juicy Couture, Eddie Bauer, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kenneth Cole, Old Navy, Kohl’s, and many others.
Founded in 1890 as Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, Washington State University (WSU) opened with just 59 students. Today, the school consists of four traditional campuses and a Global Campus (online). Campuses include Pullman (main), Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and WSU Online. With a combined student population of 27,642, WSU offers more than 200 fields of study across 10 colleges and a graduate school.
45. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is home to the bustling College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources-Family and Consumer Sciences Department. The Department manages the school’s well respected Fashion Design and Merchandising Program (FDM), which offers a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising. The FDM curriculum covers Apparel Design and Construction, Textile Properties, Fashion Trend Analysis, Costume History, International Trade Issues, Fashion Sketching, Retail Buying and Merchandise Management, Social and Cultural Aspects of Dress, and more.
Other program highlights include internship opportunities throughout the islands and the contiguous United States, as well as a Study Abroad experiences in fashion capitals such as Paris, London, and Rome. Although optional, all students are strongly encouraged to enroll in both programs.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) was established in 1907. It opened with just 10 students and 13 faculty in Honolulu’s Thomas Square. Today, the school sits on a 300-acre campus and it has a population of more than 20,000 students. Located in Oahu’s Manoa Valley—just 4 miles from Downtown Honolulu and 2.5 miles from Waikiki, UH Manoa offers
200 degree programs across 19 colleges and schools.
46. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
With an 800-acre main campus in Ypsilanti and additional sites in sites in Detroit, Flint, Jackson, Livonia, Traverse City, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is one of the region’s largest schools. Established in 1849, EMU is home to around 23,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across five colleges, an honors college, and a graduate school. The school, which features an art walk, galleries and more, is just 10 miles east of Ann Arbor, 40 miles west of Detroit, and 20 minutes from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
The College of Technology-Department of Apparel Textiles and Merchandising (ATM) at EMU offers BS and MS degrees in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising with Concentrations in Fashion Merchandising, Textiles, and Fashion Design. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may also consider the PhD Concentration in Textiles.
Program highlights include internship opportunities and field experiences at local, regional, and national companies, participation in Fashion Markets, which features trips to domestic and foreign markets, and access to state-of-the-art design, testing, and weaving labs.
ATM students have interned or obtained positions at Kenneth Cole, DKNY, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Betsey Johnson, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aldo, H&M, Guess, Kenneth Cole, Art Van, Target, K-Mart, and more.
47. Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (AI Fort Lauderdale) opened in 1968 with Diploma programs in Interior Design, Commercial Art, and Fashion Illustration. Today, the school is home to more than 3,000 students and it offers several dozen AS and BS degrees in Design, Media Arts, Culinary Arts, and Fashion, as well as Diplomas in selected areas. Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising and a Fashion Retailing Diploma.
Program highlights include access to state of the art software, equipment, and studios, membership in the Fashion Club, the Illustration Club or the Photography Club, quarterly internship and job fairs, and more. In addition, AI Fort Lauderdale graduates have found employment at prominent employers such as Perry Ellis, Pavlik Design Team, and Patty Daniels Photography.
Students wishing to enhance their education and career opportunities have several additional options to consider. Students may choose the AS or BS in Fashion Design or take additional courses offered through these programs.
48. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Ohio University’s Glady’s W. and David H. Patton College of Education is home to the Department of Human and Consumer Sciences. The Department offers an Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising Program (ATM) that leads to an MS in Human and Consumer Sciences with a Track in Consumption and Merchandising or Historic Textiles and Apparel. Suggested areas of Concentration include Art, Art History, Interdisciplinary Arts, Business (Marketing and/or Management), Communication, Education/Statistics, Psychology, or Sociology.
Program highlights include participation in the Ohio University Annual Moms Weekend Fashion Show and access to the Grover Center-based Mary C. Doxsee Historic Costume Collection, textiles laboratory, and apparel analysis and product development laboratory. Students also have the opportunity to become members of the Human and Consumer Sciences Honor Society or the Patton College Graduate Organization, and career opportunities with companies such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Wal-Mart.
Established in 1804, Ohio University is the ninth oldest public university in the Northwest Territory. The school has an enrollment of more than 35,000 students across eight campuses.
The main campus sits on more than 1,800 acres in Athens, Ohio and it is home to 11 colleges offering more than 250 programs.
49. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
The College of Applied Sciences and Technology at Ball State University is home to the popular Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Department. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in FCS with a Major in Fashion Merchandising, an MA or MS in FCS with an Option in Fashion Merchandising, and Minors in Fashion Design and FCS.
Students looking to take their careers a step further might consider the MBA with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship, the Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management, or the Minor in Entrepreneurship. These popular career-enhancing programs are available through the Entrepreneurship Center at the Miller College of Business.
FCS Fashion Merchandising highlights include access to The Beeman Historic Costume Collection, which includes more than 3,000 artifacts related to fashion from 1800 to the present, internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies, and a top-rated Study Abroad program. The program features 300 Study Abroad locations. Just a few include Spain, New Zealand, Japan, and England. Study Abroad experiences are optional, but the FCS Department encourages participation, which will help enhance students’ education and career opportunities.
Established in 1918, Ball State University (BSU) sits on a 731-acre main campus just 57 miles from Indianapolis—the nation’s 12th largest city, and 227 miles from Chicago—the nation’s third largest city. Listed among the nation’s Top 322 Green Colleges, the BSU campus also features 400 acres of research property and it is home to a large population of 22,000 students enrolled in well over 250 academic programs across nine colleges. Many programs are nationally recognized, including the programs offered through the College of Applied Sciences and Technology-Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Department.
50. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across nine colleges. The school, which sits on a 1,338-acre campus just 30 minutes from Toledo, is home to the BGSU College of Education & Human Development-School of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). This multidisciplinary school offers nine programs, including the Apparel Merchandising & Product Development (AMPD) Program. The Program leads to a BS in AMPD.
Program highlights include small classes (AMPD is home to 270 students), enrollment in the FIT Program and/or a Marketing Minor, Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as Paris, London, and Florence, and participation in the AMPD Co-op Program which allows students to “gain experience working with buyers, store managers, or product developers” according to BGSU. Students have completed co-op experiences throughout the State of Ohio and in Chicago, New York, and London. The FIT Program (Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City) allows students to study for one year at FIT NY in the areas of Advertising and Communications or Textile Development and Marketing.
51. Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Established in 1913, Mount Mary University sits on an 80-acre campus in Metropolitan Milwaukee—just 92 miles from Chicago. Home to 1,475 students from across the U.S. and abroad, Mount Mary offers more than 35 programs through the Schools of Humanities; Natural & Health Sciences; Social Sciences; Business & Education, and Arts & Design.
The School of Arts & Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA and a Certificate in Fashion Merchandise Management. The BA program prepares students for a variety of careers such as Visual Merchandise Manager, Buyer, Retail Manager, Fashion Magazine Editor, Product Developer, Stylist, and more.
Program highlights include annual trips to fashion capitals such as New York and Paris to explore textile and apparel museums, attend fabric fairs, and tour design studios, apparel showrooms, and shopping districts. In Paris, students take classes at Paris American Academy; they meet with European designers and trend forecasters, and participate in the Academy’s Runway Fashion Show.
Students also have the opportunity to join student organizations such as the Fashion Association and Studio 455, and they may participate in the Mount Mary University Annual Fashion Show, and in regional, national, and international competitions. Students also have once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to show their work at local museums and galleries such as Villa Terrace Museum, Gallery Night & Day, and Harley-Davidson Museum.
Students on the path to starting their own boutiques, studios, or other companies may consider the BA in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication, the Minor in Entrepreneurship, or a Certificate in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication. These career-enhancing programs are available through the School of Social Sciences, Business & Education.
52. Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania
Established around 1856, Albright College is the oldest college in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Located just 63 miles from Philadelphia just under 125 miles from New York, the school’s 118-acre campus accommodates more than 1,600 students enrolled in 60+ programs. Albright College also offers accelerated programs at 10 locations throughout Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Albright College Fashion Department offers several unique programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA with Major Tracks in Merchandising and Design & Merchandising and Co-Major Tracks in Fashion Design and Costume Design. Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, the chance to contribute to the Fashion Department newsletter—Fashion Lion, and the very successful Fashion & Costume Internship program.
Students have completed internships in New York at Anna Sui, Anthropologie, Eileen Fisher, Donna Karan, Gucci, Isaac Mizrahi, Marie Claire, Michael Kors, and New York & Company. They have also interned at Nordstrom in New Jersey and at QVC, Wet Seal, and Tiffany & Co. in Pennsylvania. Study experiences are also on the menu where students visit legendary fashion capitals such as New York, France, and London as well as China, Argentina, South Africa, and more.
53. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
Established in 1907, East Carolina University (ECU) is one of 17 universities in the North Carolina State University System. When it opened, the school sat on just over 40 acres and it was home to just 174 students. Today, ECU is sits on more than 1,400 acres and it is home to 26,887 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across 20 colleges and schools.
The College of Human Ecology-Department of Interior Design and Merchandising is home to ECU’s impressive fashion and merchandising programs. The College offers a BS in Merchandising with an Interiors or Fashion Concentration. A Minor in Merchandising is also on the Menu. Program highlights include student resources such as state-of-the-art design studios, textile labs, and a computer-aided-design (CAD) lab, Study Trips to companies and apparel markets, and Study Abroad in places such as Paris, Argentina, and Tokyo, and a number of cities in Italy, Germany, and Mexico.
Merchandising graduates have accepted positions renowned companies and publications such as Vogue, Valentino NY, Ann Taylor, Burberry, Kate Spade, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, H&M,
Crate and Barrel, Gap, J. Crew, and more.
54. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Established in 1906, Georgia Southern University (GSU) sits on a 900-acre campus located just 55 miles from Savannah, Georgia. The school is home to more than 19,000 students enrolled in
100+ degree programs across more than a dozen colleges. The Georgia Southern University School of Human Ecology-College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) is home to the popular Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design program.
Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design. Program highlights include participation in field experiences, the GSU Fashion Internship Program, and Study Tours to fashionable cities such as Atlanta and America’s fashion capital—New York City. Students also have the option to enroll in GSU’s Study Abroad program. Past Study Abroad locations include fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid. Students have also studied in Scotland, Ireland, and Russia.
The Fashion Merchandising program at GSU prepares students for a variety of careers such as Merchandising Analyst or Researcher, Visual Merchandiser, Stylist, Fashion Forecaster, Buyer, Apparel Product Engineer, Fashion Consultant, Department Manager and More. Students looking to become fashion entrepreneurs might consider the GSU MBA Program, which is available on-campus or online.
55. West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
Rated the 12th overall “Hottest Small City” by Inc., Morgantown, West Virginia is home to one of the region’s top schools—West Virginia University (WVU). Founded in 1867, WVU sits on a 1,456-acre campus and it is home to 29,466 students from across the U.S. and 113 nations. The entire WVU System enrolls 32,348 students and it offers 191 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools (including Potomac State College of WVU and WVU Institute of Technology).
The West Virginia University, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Design is home to the Division of Design & Merchandising. DDM offers a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) with a Fashion Design Track and an MS in Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM). Also on the menu are Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Family and Consumer Science (FCS). The Minor in FCS offers the opportunity to study Merchandising, Fashion Design, and Interior Design.
WVU’s Study Abroad program is not a requirement for Fashion Merchandising students, (it is for Interior Design students), but the College encourages all design students to participate. Disegno Italia is WVU’s signature 4-week, 6-credit summer program in Milan and Tuscany. Students in their sophomore, junior, or senior year are eligible to apply.
56. Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, Ohio
The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College offers a one-of-a-kind program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The competitive BA in Fashion Merchandising
offers a F.I.T. Track. What this means is, students have the opportunity to spend their third year of study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (FIT), where they will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) from FIT upon graduation from Ursuline College.
In addition to the F.I.T. Track, Fashion Merchandising program highlights include internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, and access to the latest technology and facilities including the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Lab, industry-standard pattern drafting tables, Wolf dress forms, multi-thread sergers, and more. Many Ursuline Fashion Merchandising graduates have gone on to accept positions in the industry such as Fashion Forecaster, Stylist, Buyer, Retail Manager, and Consultant, while others have enrolled in graduate school.
Students looking to start their own fashion business typically enroll in Ursuline’s accelerated MBA Program after completing the Fashion Merchandising Program. The 15-month program is available entirely online.
57. Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Human Sciences offers several respected programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS or a Minor in Textiles, Merchandising, & Design (TMD or TXMD) with a Concentration in Fashion Merchandising. A Minor in TXMD is also on the menu. Program highlights include internship opportunities with major worldwide brands and local retailers, participation in fashion shows and other fashion events, and Study Abroad in China, Egypt, Italy, and Paris.
Fashion Merchandising students also have their pick of short (but valuable) Study Tours.
TXMD Study Tours feature exploration of fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Paris. Tours typically last 5 to 10 days or more, depending on the destination and program.
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) was established in 1911. The school, which consisted of 100 acres, opened with just 125 students and 19 instructors. Today, MTSU sits on more than 1,000 acres and it is home to a population of 24,000 student and 900+ faculty. The oldest and largest public university in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, MTSU houses nine colleges that offer more than 240 programs.
58. Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina
Chartered in 1891 as an independent, private women’s college, Meredith College began with just 200 students. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of 1,872 students enrolled in more than 85 academic programs across four schools. Situated on a 225-acre campus in the heart of Raleigh, Meredith College is conveniently located near Durham (21 miles), Greensboro (68 miles) and Charlotte (129 miles).
The School of Education, Health & Human Sciences houses five departments, including the
Human Environmental Sciences Department—home of the Fashion Merchandising program. Offerings for aspiring merchandisers include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a Concentration in Merchandising or Design. Minors in Merchandising and Fashion Design are also on the menu.
Program highlights include internship opportunities with top designers, retailers, and publications such as Michael Kors, Vogue Magazine, Ella Moss, and America’s Mart, frequent trips to the Garment District in New York, the Apparel Mart in Atlanta, and the National Fashion Job Fair in Dallas, and Study Abroad experiences in Paris, Italy, the UK, Africa, East Asia, South America, and more.
Recent Meredith graduates hold a variety of positions in the fashion industry and many are entrepreneurs. Graduates have accepted positions at places such as Belk Store Services, Cato Fashions, Bloomingdales New York, Findings Wholesaler and Meg’s Place in Burlington, NC (owner).
59. Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois
Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the only public university in the State of Illinois to offer three popular Fashion Specializations. The SIU College of Applied Sciences-School of Architecture offers a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with Specializations in Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Stylist, and Fashion Design. Highlights for all Specializations include participation in the Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show, a professional internship, and the opportunity to Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, and Milan.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale) is the flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University system. Founded in 1869, the school sits on a 1,000-acre campus that accommodates around 18,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. SIU Carbondale offers more than 200 areas of study across 11 colleges and schools.
60. North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota
Established in 1890, North Dakota State University (NDSU) has an enrollment of 14,629 students from 47 states and 78 countries. The school offers more than 100 majors across nine colleges and a graduate school. The College of Human Development and Education-Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management (ADHM) offers several respected programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA and BS in Apparel, Retail Merchandising & Design (ARMD) with an Apparel Studies Option OR a Retail Merchandising Option-Textile Product Merchandising Focus OR an Interior Merchandising Focus. ADHM also offers three-year retail merchandising B.S. degree that combines on-campus and online courses for busy students looking to complete a four-year degree in three years.
ADHM Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion, Apparel & Business Organization (FABO) Fashion Show, access to the Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, and Study Tours to New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Students have the opportunity to become involved with numerous organizations such as the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA), American Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA), the Costume Society of America, and more.
The Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management is also involved with the one-year Visiting Student Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT New York). The FIT Program allows students to earn an Associate's Degree from FIT and a Bachelor of Science from NDSU. Most ARMD students choose FIT’s Fashion Design and Retail Merchandising programs.
61. Brenau University, Gainesville, Georgia
Established in 1878, Brenau University sits on a 43-acre campus just 45 miles northeast of Atlanta. The school has a population of 2,777 students enrolled in more than 100 academic programs. The main campus in Gainesville houses four colleges and a Graduate school. However, Brenau has additional campuses in Norcross (North Atlanta Campus), Fairburn (South Atlanta Campus), Martinez (Augusta Campus), and Kings Bay (Kings Bay Campus).
The College of Fine Arts & Humanities-Art & Design Department at the main campus offers a BA and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising. Merchandising students may also choose a Minor in Fashion Design. Program highlights include internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, participation in design events and competitions, and an exciting Study Abroad Program.
Although Study Abroad experiences are optional, the Department highly recommends participation. These experiences will help enhance the Fashion Program and career opportunities. Past locations include France, Belgium, China, Spain, the UK, and Greece. Graduates of the Fashion Merchandising program will be prepared to pursue careers as Buyers, Retail Managers, Visual Merchandisers, Marketers, Stylists, and many others.
62. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Founded in 1930, Old Dominion University (ODU) sits on a 250-acre campus just 17 miles from Virginia Beach—the state’s largest city, two miles from Chesapeake—the 3rd largest city in Virginia, and 148 miles from Washington, D.C. Home to more than 24,670 students, ODU offers more than 220 programs across 7 academic colleges. Old Dominion University also has extended campus centers in Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Portsmouth VA, and it offers more than 70 distance degree programs.
The Darden College of Education-Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies is home to the ODU Fashion Merchandising Program. Options include a BS and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising. Program highlights include a domestic or international internship at American Intercontinental University in London, Fashion Market Trips to Italy and MAGIC in Las Vegas, and Summer Fashion Academy.
While the goal of many ODU Fashion Merchandising students is to become a Buyer, the program prepares students for a variety of careers in the fashion industry such as Visual Merchandiser, Fashion Writer, Retail Manager, Marketing Coordinator, and Fashion Coordinator.
63. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Founded in 1903, Western Michigan University (WMU) is home to 25,000 students enrolled in more than 240 academic programs through the Doctorate level. The school, which consists of more than 1,200 acres and 143 buildings, is located near Downtown Kalamazoo, less than 150 miles from Detroit and Chicago, and just 50 miles from Grand Rapids—the state’s 2nd largest city. Western Michigan University offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers through the school’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (DFCS).
Offerings include a BS in Textile and Apparel Studies with Concentrations in Product Development, Merchandising, and Fashion Design. The Department also offers an MA in Family and Consumer Science with a Textile and Apparel Studies Concentration. Program highlights include 300 hours of supervised field experience, membership in the Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association (MODA), and the opportunity to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York or American Intercontinental University in London and earn credit toward a WMU degree.
DCFS Fashion Merchandising graduates have accepted positions such as Brand Manager, Retail Buyer, Stylist, Store manager, and more at companies such as Tory Burch, Zappos, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Under Armour, Target Corporation, True Religion, and many others.
64. Virginia Marti College of Art and Design, Lakewood, Ohio
Virginia Marti College of Art and Design (VMCAD) opened in 1966 as “Virginia Marti College of Fashion and Art.” The school had just five students enrolled in several fashion courses. Today, Virginia Marti College of Art and Design offers Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Digital Media, and Graphic Design programs.
The school is popular thanks to small class sizes, access to a variety of internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies, and access to state-of-the-art production spaces. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), all VMCAD programs lead to an Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B).
VMCAD graduates have accepted a variety of positions at popular retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M, American Apparel, Bath & Body Works, Crocs, and Shoe Carnival. Others have started their own businesses in the State of Ohio and as far away as Hollywood.
65. University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
The Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences-School of Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Akron offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA in Fashion Merchandising with three Specialization Tracks including Apparel, Fiber Arts, and Home Furnishings, a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences (BA FCS) and MA in FCS-Clothing, Textiles, and Interiors. Both programs offer access to state-of-the-art Textile, Fiber Arts, and Computer Laboratories, the Historic Costume Collection, and a very successful internship program.
FCS Merchandising students have interned at the Gap, DKNY, Gucci, Prada, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Marie Claire, and Cosmo Girl Magazine. Many graduates have accepted positions such as Assistant Buyer, Visual Merchandiser, Department Manager, and Assistant Store Manager.
Established in 1870 as Butchel College, the University of Akron (UA) opened its doors in 1872 with 217 students. Today, UA sits on a beautiful 218-acre campus (including 34 acres of green space), and it is home to more than 28,000 students, enrolled in 300+ programs. The school, which also offers courses online, has additional locations in Lakewood, Brunswick, Medina, Orrville, and Millersburg, OH.
66. Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois
The Department of Merchandising & Design at Dominican University offers a BA and a Minor in Apparel Merchandising. Many Apparel Merchandising students also Minor in Business or Communications. Program highlights include access to fashion studios and art galleries, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, Study Abroad in Paris or Milan, optional membership in the Fashion Club, and internship opportunities at local, regional, and national fashion companies, publications, and more.
The Merchandising and Design programs at Dominican University prepare students for careers such as Merchandiser, Retail Buyer, Merchandise Manager, Fashion Show Coordinator, Visual Display Merchandiser, Boutique Owner, Market Researcher, and many others.
Established in 1901, Dominican University is home to more than 3,470 students enrolled in more than 100 programs. The school, which consists of 939,000 square feet of buildings, 5 residence halls, 2 theaters and a 70,000+ square-foot library, is just 10 miles from Downtown Chicago—home of the famous Magnificent Mile.
67. Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia
The School of Arts and Sciences at Marymount offers the only Fashion Merchandising program in the Washington DC area, an international retail center. Options include a BA and a minor in Fashion Merchandising. The program teaches buying, product development, public relations and fashion events, writing and media, visual merchandising and international trade. Students produce the annual (televised) Portfolio in Motion Fashion Show, examine costumes in Marymount's historic collection, and have opportunities to study abroad and do internships in Europe, Central and South America, Oceania, Africa and the Middle East. They intern domestically with Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Burberry, Nordstrom, Theory and the US Department of Commerce. They travel to the NYC fashion market and the MAGICShow, the sourcing market in Las Vegas.
Founded in 1950, Marymount University consists of four schools including the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Education and Human Services, and the Malek School of Health Professions. Home to 3,286 students enrolled in more than 75 programs Marymount University sits on a convenient 21-acres campus just 3 miles from Washington DC, less than 40 miles from Baltimore, and around 127 miles from Philadelphia. Marymount's membership int he Consortium of Universities in Washington DC gives students the opportunity to take courses at the other universities in the metro area.
68. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California
The College of Health and Social Sciences (CHSS) at San Francisco State University is home to the Department of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics. The Department offers a BS in Apparel Design and Merchandising. Program highlights include internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and Study Abroad experiences in Paris, Milan, London, Florence, Germany, Australia, China, and more.
Established in 1899 as the San Francisco State Normal School, San Francisco State University (SFSU) is one of 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system. It is home to 30,500 students making it one of the largest schools in the U.S. The school sits on a 141-acre campus in a residential area of the city and it has an additional campus in Downtown San Francisco. San Francisco State University houses nine colleges and departments that offer more than 200 academic programs.
69. Fontbonne University, St. Louis, Missouri
Fontbonne University was established in 1923. The school has an enrollment of 1,997 students from across the U.S. and 27 foreign countries. Situated on a 16-acre campus in Suburban St. Louis, Fontbonne University offers more than 100 programs. One of the school’s most popular programs is Fashion Merchandising.
Program highlights include participation in both domestic and international fashion events, Career Days sponsored by The Fashion Group International, Industry Study Tours to Chicago, New York, and Dallas, and Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as Paris and London. Internship opportunities are also on the menu where students have the opportunity to work in corporate, retail, and manufacturing environments. Students have interned at Chanel Boutique, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael Kors, and Anthropologie.
Graduates of the Fashion Merchandising program receive a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Fashion Merchandising. Many graduates have accepted positions such as Merchandise Manager at Nordstrom, Buyer’s Assistant at Brown Shoe Company, Brand Manager at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Merchandiser/Team Assistant at Weismann’s Dance Company.
70. Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
Established in 1839, Framingham State University (FSU) sits on a 73-acre campus just 20 miles west of bustling Boston. The school is home to more than 6,426 students, enrolled in more than 90 programs across several dozen departments. The Department of Fashion Design and Retailing offers a BS in Fashion Design and Retailing with a Concentration in Merchandising or Apparel Design. Program highlights include participation in the Annual Student Fashion Show, access to the Costume and Textile Resource Center, membership in The Style Magazine Club and/or the Fashion Club, study trips to New York, and the internship program.
The Fashion Design and Retailing Program prepares students for a variety of careers including Fashion Designer, Retail Buyer, Technical Designer, Theatrical Costumer, Retail Merchandising, Patternmaker, Market Researcher, Fashion Coordinator, Costume Curator, Visual Merchandiser, Fashion Merchandiser, and more. Graduates of the program hold positions at companies such as New Balance, Gap, Reebok, TJX, Stride Rite, and the US Army Research Center.
The Graduate Studies and Continuing Education and the Department of Fashion and Retailing offer another program for individuals seeking a short-term program of study or individuals already employed in the field that may be looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in a specific area. The Graduate Certificate in Merchandising is open to individuals that already have an undergraduate degree.
71. Immaculata University, Immaculata, Pennsylvania
Founded in 1920, Immaculata University (IU) sits on a 375-acre campus overlooking historic Chester County, Pennsylvania and just 20 miles from Philadelphia. The school is home to 3,600 students enrolled in more than 60 programs. The most popular programs are the Nursing, Exercise Science, Education, Psychology, Health Care Management, and Fashion Merchandising.
The Fashion Merchandising program is part of the Fashion/Family & Consumer Sciences Department. The Program, which leads to a BS in Fashion Merchandising, is “customizable” with eight Minors including Visual Merchandising, Buying, Marketing, Product Development, Entrepreneurship, Graphic Arts for Fashion, Communication, and Public Relations & Journalism. Other program highlights include field experiences at places such as QVC, GAP, Carolina Apparel, Ann Taylor Loft, Talbots, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and trips to fashion capitals such as New York City. Students may also join a variety of organizations such as the IU Fashion Group and Kappa Chi Chapter of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society.
Depending on the students customized curriculum, career options include but are not limited to Account Executive, Merchandise Manager, Purchasing, Senior Buyer, Visual Merchandiser, Fashion Forecaster, Fashion Marketing Coordinator, technical Designer, Product Line Developer, Fashion Magazine Editor, and Product Campaign Specialist.
72. Mount Ida College, Newton, Massachusetts
The School of Design at Mount Ida College offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Marketing. Students may build on their degree by pursuing an MS in Fashion Studies or Management.
Merchandising & Marketing program highlights include participation in the Annual Spring Fashion Show and Boston Fashion Week, the opportunity to show a collection or exhibit your skills at the upscale Natick Mall, and Study Abroad opportunities in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Barcelona, and Milan.
Graduates of the School of Design have found immediate employment in a variety of positions such as Retail Buyer, Visual Merchandising, Fashion Forecasting, Store Management, Promotions and Public Relations, and Fashion Product Development.
Established in 1899, Mount Ida College sits on a 72-acre campus just a few miles from Cambridge and Downtown Boston. Home to 1,430 students from more than 25 states and 25 countries, the school offers dozens of programs from Animation to Veterinary Technology. Mount Ida houses four schools including the School of Applied Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Social and Human Sciences, and the School of Design.
73. Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania
Established in 1926, Mercyhurst University (MU) began with 75 acres of farmland “on the bluffs overlooking Lake Erie.” Today, the school spans six blocks and it is the “largest piece of unbroken real estate in Erie.” Home to more than 3,000 students enrolled in more than 60 programs, MU is less than 100 miles from Buffalo, NY, Cleveland, OH, and London, Canada.
Mercyhurst University houses 30 academic departments. The Fashion Merchandising Department offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising and a Fashion Studies Minor. Program highlights include access to Mercyhurst Fashion Club, internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, and the opportunity to visit fashion capitals of the world such as London, Paris, and Milan.
Fashion Merchandising students may also live and learn in New York through the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Visiting Student Program. Upon completion of the program, students will receive an Associate Degree from FIT to complement the MU BS in Fashion Merchandising.
74. Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia
Clark Atlanta University (CAU) formed in 1988 when Atlanta University (est. 1865) and Clark College (est. 1869) merged. The school, which sits on a 126-acre campus, is just 1.5 miles from the heart of Metro Downtown Atlanta. Home to 3,458 students, Clark Atlanta University offers 38 major areas of study across four schools including the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Social Work.
Clark Atlanta University’s School of Arts and Sciences-Department of Art offers a BA in Fashion Design/Merchandising with Concentrations in Fashion Merchandising or Fashion Design. Fashion Merchandising highlights include a wide variety of education and career enhancing electives such as Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, Computer Graphics, Creative Writing, Photography, Personnel Management, and Advertising, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and Study Abroad opportunities in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, Milan, and Florence. Guest speakers, field trips, and study tours are also on the menu.
After graduating, students are prepared to enter a wide variety of career fields such as Merchandise Manager, Fashion Stylist, Visual Merchandiser, Fashion Editor, Buyer, Fashion Coordinator, Advertising Manager, Public Relations Director, and many others.
75. Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington
Central Washington University (CWU) opened in 1891 with a goal to educate future elementary and junior high teachers. Today, the school offers more than 150 majors across eight university center locations in Edmonds, Everett, Des Moines, Steilacoom/Puyallup, Kent, Yakima, Moses Lake, and Wenatchee, Washington. CWU also offers more than 125 student associations, clubs and organizations, and 11 athletic teams.
Central Washington University houses five colleges including the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Business, the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of Sciences, and the William O. Douglas Honors College. The College of Education and Professional Studies is home to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, which offers a BS in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising (ATM). A Minor in ATM is also on the menu.
Program highlights include participation in the Annual Wild & Free Fashion Show, field experiences, Study Abroad opportunities in Paris and Milan, and summer internships. After graduating from the ATM program, students are prepared for careers such as Buyer, Stylist, Trend Analyst, Operations Manager, Visual Merchandising, Merchandise Planner, Merchandiser, Fashion Advertising and Promotion, Showroom Manager, and many others.