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Top 10 Fashion Merchandising Schools in the Southwest - 2014

Written by FS StaffMay 20, 2014

Our 2014 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. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State University’s College of Human Sciences-Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM) is home to the school’s top-rated Merchandising 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.

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.

2. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado State University’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. Colorado State University is also home to an outstanding Career Services Department. It offers access to more than 7,000 full-time jobs and internship opportunities, it has hosted 12 career fairs and 10 networking events (which attracted more than 400 employers), and the school has coordinated 3,000+ on-campus interviews and it has more than 11,000 career advising appointments annually. Finally, according to the Department, 63 percent of graduates secure their first destination plans by graduation day.

Established in 1870, Colorado State University (CSU) sits on nearly 5,000 acres, with an additional 4,600 acres for research centers, Cooperative Extension offices, and Colorado State Forest Service stations. The school has a main campus, a foothills campus, an agricultural campus, and a mountain campus (Pingree Park). Home to 30,700 students, CSU offers 150 programs across eight colleges, six schools, an International program, and an Online Division.

3. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
The University of North Texas (UNT) 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. Established in 1890, the school sits on an 884-acre campus and it is home to a population of 35,778 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across 12 colleges and schools.

The UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism 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.

4. University of Texas-Austin, Austin, Texas
Established in 1883, the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is the largest school in the University of Texas system. Home to more than 50,000 students, UT Austin sits on a 350-acre main campus and offers more than 170 undergraduate programs, more than 150 Master’s programs and 80+ Doctoral programs, across 18 colleges and schools.

The UT Austin College of Natural Sciences-School of Human Ecology-Division of Textiles and Apparel is home to one of the region’s best programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The Division of TXA offers a BS in Textiles and Apparel (with Specializations in Retail Merchandising and Apparel Design and Conservation) and a Master of Science in Textile and Apparel Technology (MSTAT). The Apparel Design and Conservation Specialization is the only Textile Conservation program offered in the State of Texas.

Program highlights include unique Study Abroad opportunities in China and India, access to a collection 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 students to showcase their designs and collections to more than 5,000 fashion designers and other industry professionals, peers, media, and more.

Graduates of UT Austin’s Apparel and Merchandising programs 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.

55. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
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 more than 250 degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. 

The College of Arts and Sciences-Family & Consumer Sciences Department 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 one 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).

6. Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas
Texas Woman’s University offers a number of unique degree plans for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Plans 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. 

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.

7. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
The College of Applied Arts-School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Texas State University 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.

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. Home to 36,568 students, Texas State University offers 194 degree programs across eight colleges and a Graduate school. While San Marcos has its own lively arts scene, the city is just 29 miles from artsy Austin and less than 50 miles from festive San Antonio.

8. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
The College of Fine Arts-Department of Interior Design and Merchandising at Texas Christian University 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 and access to the TCU Costume Collection, which consists of 2,500 items.

Merchandising students may also participate in off-campus Fashion Study excursions to retail, manufacturing, and wholesale centers in Paris, New York, and Dallas, and they 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.

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.

9. Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas
Established in 1921, with classes beginning in 1923, Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) sits on a 406-acre campus 150 miles or less from Houston, Garland, and Dallas. Home to 13,000 students enrolled in more than 120 degree programs, SFA houses six colleges including the Colleges of Business, Education, Fine Arts, Forestry & Agriculture, Liberal & Applied Arts, and Sciences & Mathematics. The College of Education (James I. Perkins College of Education-PCOE) is home the School of Human Sciences (SHS).

Offerings include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, a BS in Interior Merchandising, and an MS in Human Sciences with a Focus in Family & Consumer Sciences. Program highlights include domestic and international internship opportunities in New York City, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Missouri, Washington, New York City, Ecuador, and locally and membership in student organizations such as the Fashion Merchandising Club, and others such as the American Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) and the Texas Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (TAFCS).

Students will also immerse in the study of Visual Merchandising and Display, Specialty Merchandising, Fashion Promotion, Merchandising Applications, Merchandising Procedures and of course, Fashion Merchandising. Students on the path to business ownership have the opportunity to study Fashion Entrepreneurship through the program, earn a second degree, or take courses through the Rusche College of Business. Popular options include the BBA in Management, an online BBA in General Business, and an MBA.

10. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
The School of Media & Design at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is home to the popular Juren Sullivan Center for Fashion Management. The Center offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a Bachelor’s in Fashion Management with Concentrations in Merchandising or Design. Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show and coursework in Entrepreneurship, Promotion and Business Administration, which is especially useful for students on the path to business ownership.
Students also have access to the Lila Bath Gallery, which allows students to assist with planning and execution of exhibits and programs, attend events that attract major fashion retailers, and interact with guest speakers and designers from the fashion industry.

The University of the Incarnate Word has international campuses in Mexico and Germany. Campuses include the European Study Center – Heidelberg, Germany and Centro Universitario Incarnate Word. This means, students also have many opportunities to study merchandising and design overseas.

Established in 1881 as Incarnate Word College, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) sits on a 154-acre campus just minutes from Downtown San Antonio. Home to more than 9,000 students, UIW houses nine colleges and schools that offer more than 100 majors.