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Top 10 Fashion Merchandising Schools and Colleges in the Southwest – 2016
Our 2016 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
Founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, Colorado State University (CSU) is home to 32,236 students enrolled in more than 150 degree programs across 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 enrolled in 200-plus programs across a five-campus system and 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences, Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM) offer 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). Students may enhance their degree by with a Minor in Apparel Design and Production (ADP).
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
Founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute, University of North Texas (UNT) is home to 37,000 students enrolled in around 220 degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism is home to the Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing, which offers BS degrees in Merchandising and Home Furnishings Merchandising. In collaboration with the Department, the Toulouse Graduate School offers an MS and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Merchandising. The Merchandising MS is also offered online.
Merchandising program highlights include participation in the internship program, which allows students to work at fashion houses in Dallas and Fort Worth, and apparel companies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual ArtWear Fashion Show, and 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 many others.
4. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas, Baylor University is home to 16,787 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, which offers six different majors. Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a 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 students to participate in 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 50,950 students enrolled in more than 500 degree programs and fields of study across 18 colleges and schools. The College of Natural Sciences, School of Human Ecology houses the Division of Textiles and Apparel (TXA), which offers a BS in TXA with an Option in Merchandising and Consumer Sciences.
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 Women's University, Denton, Texas
Founded in 1901 as The Girls Industrial College, Texas Women's University (TWU) is home to more than 15,303 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 including a BS in Fashion Merchandising with an Emphasis in Planning or Management and dual degrees including a BA/BS in Fashion Design/Fashion Merchandising, a BS/BBA in Fashion Merchandising/Marketing, a BS/BBA in Fashion Merchandising/Management, and a BS/BBA in Fashion Merchandising/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 A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, Texas
Chartered in 1917 and open for business in 1925, Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) is home to 8,300 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across seven colleges. The Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences houses the Department of Human Services, which offers a BS in Human Sciences with a Concentration in Fashion Merchandising.
Program highlights include small class sizes which “allows blending of theory and practice through “hands on” learning,” participation in Fashion Group International’s Dallas Career Day, and Teen Vogue Fashion U in New York. The Department also has an internship program that has placed students at Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, Three Fleur De Lys - New York, ShowOne - Shanghai, China, Javier Vicente/MAFE’s - Salamanca, Spain, and many others.
8. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
Founded in 1873 as AddRan Male and Female College, Texas Christian University (TCU) is home to 10,323 students enrolled 118 undergraduate areas of study, 53 master’s level programs, and 25 areas of doctoral study across 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, which features more than 2,500 items, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. In addition, students will complete a 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.
9. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
Texas State University opened in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The school is home to nearly 40,000 students enrolled in close to 200 undergraduate and post-graduate degree programs across 10 colleges. The College of Applied Arts, School of Family and Consumer Sciences offer several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.
Options include a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS) with a Major in Fashion Merchandising and a Minor in Business Administration, an MS in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (MS MCS), and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising. Please note that 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, 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.
10. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) was founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Home to nearly 10,000 students, UIW is the largest Catholic university in Texas and the fourth-largest private university in the state. The school houses nine colleges and schools that offer 100 undergraduate and graduate majors. The School of Media and Design, Juren Sullivan Center for Fashion Management offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.
Options include BA degrees in Fashion Management with a Concentration in Merchandising or Product Development. Program highlights include internship opportunities in San Antonio and the surrounding areas, study abroad experiences at sister schools such as London College of Fashion, Tainan Fashion School in Taiwan, and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and participation in the annual fashion show—The Cutting Edge (est. 1980).