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Top 10 Fashion Merchandising Schools and Colleges in the Southwest – 2015

Written by FS StaffJuly 1, 2015

Our 2015 rankings of the Top 10 schools for fashion merchandising in the Southwest US. 

We define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Colorado State University (CSU) was founded in 1870 and it is home to around 30,000 students enrolled in more than 150 degree programs through 14 colleges and schools. The College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the Design and Merchandising Program. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Apparel and Merchandising - Merchandising, and an MS in Design and Merchandising - Apparel and Merchandising. A Minor in Merchandising is also available.

Fashion merchandising students have the opportunity to work with more than 18,000 artifacts and view collections at the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising (formerly the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection). Special collections include designer garments from Calvin Klein, James Galanos, Carolina Herrera, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Versace, as well as ethnographic holdings, and The Ruth Payne Hellmann Lace Collection, which features more than 1,500 pieces of historic lace and lacemaking tools.

Fashion merchandising students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual fashion show, internship programs, the study abroad program, and domestic and international study tours of New York, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, and England. Past students have studied abroad in Italy, France, Peru, Ghana, and Australia and some have participated in Semester at Sea. Students have completed internships with major companies and brands such as Betsy Johnson, Crocs, BornFit, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, Sierra Designs, Target, Icelandic Design, Pearl Izumi, and many others.

2. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Established in 1890, Oklahoma State University is home to more than 35,000 students across five campuses and 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences’ Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include a BS in Human Sciences with a Major in Design, Housing & Merchandising – Option: Merchandising (BS DHM), an MS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (MS DHM) with a Merchandising Research Option, and a PhD in Human Sciences with a Specialization in Design, Housing and Merchandising (PhD – DHM).

Fashion merchandising students have the opportunity to complete an internship with designers and brands such as BCBG, Lands’ End, Max Azria, Vera Wang, Liz Claiborne, and Victoria’s Secret. In addition, travel-study programs allow students to explore the fashion scenes in places such as New York, Dallas, Mexico, Paris, Berlin, and many others.

3. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

University of North Texas was founded in 1890. It is home to more than 36,000 students enrolled in 99 bachelors, 83 masters and 36 doctoral degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include BS, MS, and dual MBA/MS degrees in Merchandising and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Merchandising. A BS in Home Furnishings Merchandising is also on the menu.

Program highlights include participation in the internship program, which allows students to work at fashion houses in Dallas and Fort Worth as well as apparel companies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual ArtWear Fashion Show as well as national and international events such as Fashion Group International of Dallas’ Career Day, and The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Gap Inc.’s Design Your Future competition.

Graduates of the Fashion Merchandising program at UNT have been hired by major companies such as Fossil, J.C. Penney, Havertys, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target, Tuesday Morning, Zale Corp, and more.

4. Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. It is home to more than 16,000 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across nine colleges and schools. The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences houses the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences. The Department offers six different majors including one for aspiring fashion merchandisers—the BS in Apparel Merchandising.

The BS program features access to the Parker Design & Technology Center which “provides students with the latest state-of-the-art software, equipment, and technology,” summer study tours, and internship opportunities at home and overseas. Students have interned at Betsey Johnson – NY, Anna Sui - NY, Quick Silver – Los Angeles, XOXO and Rampage – Los Angeles, and Haggar - Dallas. Internships abroad have included Ann-Louise Roswald - London, UK, Amanda Wakeley - London, UK, Christopher & La Lou - Paris, France, and others.

The program also offers the opportunity for fashion students to show their collections at the Annual Baylor Fashion Show, which takes place at the end of spring semester each year. Field experiences are on the menu as well and may include trips to Dallas Market, Studios of Apparel Designers, Apparel Manufacturing Firms, and Fashion Group International (FGI) Dallas Career Day, which takes place at the Apparel Mart.

5. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) opened in 1883. It is home to more than 51,000 students enrolled in more 300 academic programs across 13 colleges and schools. The Division of Textiles and Apparel of the School of Human Ecology offers a BS in Textiles and Apparel (TXA) with an Option in Retail Merchandising and Consumer Sciences.

Fashion merchandising students have access to study abroad opportunities in places such as India and China as well as internship opportunities with major companies such as Anne Klein, Betsey Johnson, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Zac Posen, and more. All UT students with upper-division standing are eligible for the UT in NYC Program, which “brings apparel design, conservation and merchandising students together for a broad look at the apparel industry with an entrepreneurial focus,” says the school. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual UT Fashion Show.

6. Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas

Texas Woman's University (TWU) was founded in 1901. It is home to more than 15,000 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across four colleges and a graduate school. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to the School of Management. The School offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include BS and Post-Baccalaureate degrees in Fashion Merchandising with several Emphasis options including Planning and Management.

Dual degree programs include a BA in Fashion Design/BS Fashion Merchandising, BS Fashion Merchandising/BBA Marketing, BS Fashion Merchandising/BBA Management, and a BS Fashion Merchandising/BBA Entrepreneurship. A Fashion Merchandising Minor is also on the menu.

In addition to a variety of programs for fashion merchandisers, the School of Management offers internship opportunities at companies such as Aldo, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Express, Michael Kors, and Nordstrom. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Montage Senior Fashion Show and the Global Fashion Study Tour of Paris.

7. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas

Texas Christian University was founded in 1873. It is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs through eight colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts is home to the Department of Interior Design & Fashion Merchandising. The Department offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising.

Program highlights include off-campus study programs in Paris, New York, and Dallas, access to the TCU Costume Collection featuring more than 2,500 items, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. In addition, students will complete 10-week supervised internship with companies such as Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Donna Karan, Escada, Fossil, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren, and Zales.

8. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

Texas State University opened its doors in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The school is home to 36,739 students enrolled in nearly 200 undergraduate and post-graduate degree programs through 10 colleges. The College of Applied Arts’ School of Family and Consumer Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.

Options include a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS)/Fashion Merchandising with a Minor in Business Administration, an MS in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (MS MCS), and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising. The Minor in Business is a required component of the BSFCS/Fashion Merchandising program.

Program highlights include a required internship with companies such as Dillard’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nike; educational tours and trips such as Fashion Career Day in Dallas, and participation in The Market Center Fashion Study course that takes students to fashion capitals such as Paris, London, Milan or Florence as well as fashion centers in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas and others.  Students may also become members of The Fashion Merchandising Association and all students will have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show.

9. Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas

Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) was chartered in 1917 and opened in 1925. The school is home to around 8,300 students enrolled in more than 80 degree programs through seven colleges. The Dick & Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Human Sciences is home to the Department of Human Sciences. The Department offers a BS in Human Sciences-Major: Human Sciences with a Concentration in Fashion and Interiors Merchandising.

Program highlights include participation in extracurricular activities such as Group International’s Dallas Career Day and Teen Vogue Fashion U in New York; internship opportunities at a variety of major companies such as Ralph Lauren, and participation in the Fashion and Interiors Merchandising Group. Students also have the opportunity to attend off-campus fashion shows and expos, participate in competitions, learn from guest speakers who have been successful in the industry, and participate in campus-based fashion show events.

10. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

Established in 1879 as Sam Houston Normal Institute or School, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) is home to more than 19,000 students enrolled in 170 fields of study through seven colleges and schools. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences houses the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers including a BA or BS in Fashion Merchandising and an MS in Family and Consumer Sciences with a Focus in Merchandising. The MS program may be completed 100% online.

According to the Department, fashion merchandising students will be “exposed to three major components” including “the business side of the fashion industry, product knowledge aspects (textiles, patternmaking, and apparel production), and visual merchandising/promotion.” Other program highlights include a 300-hour internship with major companies and designers such as Nordstrom’s, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, and Dillard’s, the option to purse a foreign (fashion) language such as French or Italian, and study abroad opportunities in places such as Paris, Spain, Ireland, Australia , and more.