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Top 75 Fashion Merchandising Schools in the US

Written by FS StaffMay 9, 2013


26. North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota Top 15% of schools reviewed
North Dakota State University is home to more than 14,000 students. Established in 1890, NDSU is ranked among the top 108 public and private universities in the country by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education and several NDSU programs rank in the Top 100 by the National Science Foundation. NDSU offers more than 100 programs from Architecture to Interior Design.

North Dakota State University’s Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management offers two programs for Fashion majors. Students may major in Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design with a focus in Retail Merchandising or Apparel Studies. Both programs lead to a Bachelor of Science (BS). Students in each program may participate in a number of Study tours to national and international destinations such as New York City, Europe, and more.

27. East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina Top 15% of schools reviewed
Established in 1907, East Carolina University (ECU) is part of the University of North Carolina system. The system consists of 17 institutions. The East Carolina school is home to more than 28,000 students and it offers 103 Bachelor's degree programs, one educational specialist degree program, one certificate of advanced study program, 72 Master's degree programs, 18 Doctoral degree programs, 71 departmental certificates, and First-professional degree programs in medicine and dentistry.

ECU has three campuses—a 530-acre Main Campus (Greenville), the 206-acre Health Sciences Campus, and the 650-acre West Research Campus. In addition to an extensive collection of offerings and campuses, East Carolina University (ECU) has an impressive list of alums. Just a few include Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock, three-time Pulitzer Prize Winner Rick Atkinson, Emily Proctor (Actor, CSI Miami), and former NYT Photo Editor and two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner, Margaret O’Connor.

East Carolina University’s College of Human Ecology offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Merchandising. This unique program requires a minor in Business Administration, Communication, Hospitality Management or Art. Like UNC Greensboro, East Carolina at Polo Ralph Lauren, Hanesbrands, VF, the International Textile Group, and Kayser Roth. Study abroad opportunities are available in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and Europe.

28. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana Top 15% of schools reviewed
Founded in 1918, Ball State University welcomes around 21,000 undergraduates and graduates each year. The school ranked eighth among “up-and-coming" colleges and universities in 2011 by U.S. News & World Report, it is featured on The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition, and BSU was named one of the best universities in the Midwest by The Princeton Review for eight years.

Ball State University, called BSU or simply Ball State, offers around 180 majors—including 12 pre-professional programs, a large number of minors and certificates, and more than 300 study-abroad program options in 50 different cities. BSU also offers customized academic internships in Dublin, Ireland.

Ball State University’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Department offers BS degrees in Fashion Merchandising, Apparel Design, and Interior Design. Students may also earn a The Fashion Merchandising program “focuses on preparing students for the ever-changing retail industry as well as manufacturing, distribution, and other related fashion areas.” Fashion merchandising students must complete the FCS common core and a marketing minor.

29. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas Top 15% of schools reviewed
Texas Christian University (TCU) was founded in 1873, making it one of Texas’s oldest universities. TCU is home to nearly 10,000 students enrolled in 131 undergraduate programs, 49 graduate programs, and 23 areas of Doctoral studies. The school is home to nine schools and colleges including the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, College of Fine Arts, and the College of Science & Engineering to name a few.

Fashion students will find a number of programs in the College of Fine Arts, Department of Interior Design & Merchandising. Programs include Interior Design, Merchandising, and Lighting. All programs lead to a BA.

Merchandising students have the opportunity to complete a 10-week internship with a number of heavy hitters in the fashion industry. Just a few options include Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Henri Bendel, Escada, Zales, Neiman Marcus, Fossil, Nordstrom, and Bergdorf Goodman.

3030. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota Top 15% of schools reviewed
Established in 1851, University of Minnesota (U of M) is home to more than 69,000 students. The school has five campuses (Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester), with more than 180 programs offered at the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) campus alone. U of M has produced 20 Nobel Laureates and 86 Guggenheim Fellows, and it is currently home to two MacArthur “Geniuses.” The school also produced a former Vice President (Walter Mondale) and Super Bowl championship coach Tony Dungy.

The University of Minnesota has one of the top design programs in the country. The school’s College of Design offers seven undergraduate programs, 19 graduate programs, 10 centers, and the Goldstein Museum of Design. The College is home to 1,330 undergraduates, 338 graduates, and more than 240 faculty and staff.

Fashion students have a number of degree programs to choose from including a BS in Retail Merchandising and a BS in Apparel Design. The College also offers an MA, MS, and PhD in Design with an Apparel Studies Track. Students may also choose a Minor in Retail Merchandising or Fashion Studies.

3131. West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia Top 15% of schools reviewed
Founded in 1867, West Virginia University (WVU) is located in the nation’s 7th best small place for business and careers, according to Forbes. The school sits on 1,456 acres in Morgantown, WV and it is home to a record 29,707 students. The school ranks among the Top 100 Public Universities by U.S. News & World Report and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching ranks WVU as a Research University (High Research Activity).

West Virginia University is more than a top research university. The school is home to many top art and design programs and one of a growing number of schools that offer programs in Sustainable Design. Aspiring fashion merchandisers have several programs to choose from. WVU offers BS and MS degrees in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising track.

WVU’s Study Abroad program is required for the Interior Design program. Although not required for Fashion students, many choose to enroll in the program. Disegno Italia, is WVU’s signature four-week, six-credit, summer program in Tuscany and Milan. Through these experiences, “students embrace the philosophy of experiencing a different culture through design eyes.” The Fashion and Study Abroad programs are offered through West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, & Design.

3232. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio Top 20% of schools reviewed
Established in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home to more than 20,000 students, enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate majors, across seven colleges. The school, which sits on a scenic 1,338-acre campus just 30 minutes south of Toledo, was named one of the top public universities nationwide by U.S. News and World Report. Famous alums include Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe Systems, Jennifer Higdon, composer and Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Steve Demos, founder of Silk Soymilk.

Among Bowling Green’s top academic programs is the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Apparel Merchandising & Product Development program (AMPD). The program, which leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS), requires the completion of a Marketing option or Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City, NY. Students that choose the FIT option may focus on Advertising and Communications or Textile Development and Marketing.

33. University of Akron, Akron, Ohio Top 20% of schools reviewed
Ohio is home to more than 130 colleges and universities. Among them is the University of Akron—home to more than 28,000 students from 46 U.S. states and 68 foreign countries. Established in 1870 as Butchel College, the University of Akron (UA) stretches across 218 acres within metropolitan Akron and it offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. The school also has an expanding list of online offerings from Art and English to Law and Technology.

University of Akron’s Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, School of Family and Consumer Sciences is home to one of the nation’s best Fashion Merchandising programs. The program offers three specialization tracks including Apparel, Home Furnishings, or Fiber Arts. Students may apply a two-year associate degree toward a Bachelor’s degree. Upon the completion of the program, students will receive a BA in Fashion Merchandising in their chosen specialization track.

34. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio Top 20% of schools reviewed
Established in 1804, Ohio University is the nation’s ninth oldest public university. The school is home to nearly 22,000 students enrolled in more than 250 programs across 11 colleges. Ohio University ranks 65th among public national universities by U.S. News & World Report (2012), and it holds 82 nationally and internationally competitive awards, awards including eight Fulbrights.

Among the school’s 250 programs is the Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development Program. Offered through Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, the Fashion program leads to a Bachelor of Science. Students may earn an advanced degree (MS) in Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising. All students have the opportunity to work, volunteer, or intern abroad on just about every continent. 

3435. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Top 20% of schools reviewed
Founded in 1853 as Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, Louisiana State University (LSU) is one of only 30 universities nationwide designated as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution. The school, which was originally located near Pineville, Louisiana, relocated three times before moving to its current 2,000-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana State University is home to more than 26,000 students, 10 senior colleges and schools, and more than 6,500 faculty and staff. Famous alumni and former students include Hubert Humphrey, Shaquille O’Neal and Harry J. Longwell (former Executive Vice President and Director of ExxonMobil). LSU also has its fair famous fashion alums, such as Suzanne Perron, whose designs have been featured on the cover of Vogue, Modern Bride, and Martha Stewart Weddings.

LSU offers Bachelor's degrees in 72 major fields, Master's degrees in 76 major fields, and Doctoral degrees are in 54 major fields. All degree levels are available to fashion students. LSU offers BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Textiles and Apparel with concentrations in Merchandising, Textile Science, and Apparel Design. LSU fashion students have the opportunity to complete an internship in New York or Los Angeles, and Study Abroad experiences are available in Spain, Ireland, Germany, China, Ecuador, and many other countries.