Our 2015 rankings of the top 10 fashion merchandising schools in the South.
We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.
For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University was established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. Today, the school is home to a co-ed student population of nearly 26,000 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs through 13 colleges and schools. The College of Human Sciences is home to the Department of Consumer & Design Sciences (CADS). The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.
Programs include a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management (BS-APDP) with an Apparel Merchandising option, an MS in Consumer and Design Sciences – Apparel and Interiors (MS-CAHS), and a PhD in Consumer Design Sciences (PhD – CADS). An accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s with a Merchandising option is also on the menu. The accelerated BS and MS programs may be completed in four terms.
Focus areas for the MS-CAHS and the PhD – CADS program include Consumer Behavior, Interior Design, Functional and Creative Apparel Design, Retail Management, Product Development, Sustainability, Creativity, Forecasting and Trend Analysis, Emerging Technologies, and Multicultural and Global Markets.
All students have the opportunity to intern at local retailers and design houses as well as study in New York (IQLA New York Study Tour) or abroad. Study abroad locations may include Italy, London, Fiji, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, and more.
2. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University was founded in 1851. It is home to more than 40,000 students enrolled in more than 275 degree programs through 16 colleges. The College of Human Sciences is home to the Retail, Merchandising and Product Development Department (RMPD). The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers including a BS in Retail Merchandising and Product Development, an MS Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising with a major in Global Merchandising and Product Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Retail Merchandising.
Program highlights include internship opportunities with more than 250 companies such as American Eagle, Macy’s, Burberry, and Escada; study opportunities in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, New York City, Orlando, Miami, or London, and participation in the annual fashion show.
3. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
The University of Georgia (UGA) was chartered in 1785. It is home to more than 34,000 students enrolled in 170 programs through 17 colleges and schools. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is home the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors. The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include Fashion Merchandising (BS FCS), an MS in Merchandising & International Trade, and a PhD with an Emphasis in International Merchandising. A Fashion Merchandising Minor is also on the menu.
Program highlights include the London Study Abroad Program and opportunities to study in China, Tokyo, Ghana and more; optional membership in the student organizations such as the Student Merchandising Association or the Fashion Design Student Association, and possible internship opportunities at companies such as Macy’s, Nicole Miller, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Escada, Marc Jacobs, Armani Exchange, Target and many others. Students may also participate in the annual UGA Fashion Week.
Graduates of the Merchandising programs at UGA have been hired by companies such as Atlanta Apparel Mart, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Boxercraft Inc., Diane Von Furstenberg, DDI Magazine, Macy's, Oxford Industries, Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Warby Parker, and WWD & W Magazine.
4. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
Founded in 1801, the University of South Carolina is home to nearly 32,000 students enrolled in more than 250 academic degree programs through 16 colleges and schools. The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) offers serval programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include a BS in Fashion Retailing with a Concentration in Fashion Merchandising and a Master of Retailing. An accelerated Bachelor's/Master's program is also on the menu.
Program highlights include the opportunity to complete two internships, participation in USC Fashion Week, access to organizations such as Retail and Fashion Merchandising Graduate Student Organization (RFMGSO), the National Retail Federation, and Fashion Board at USC. Students have the opportunity to attend Fashion Week in New York City and they have access to a wide variety of study abroad opportunities. For example, the College of HRSM has a global exchange program with the University of Aruba (UA), which allows students to study at UA for an entire semester. Other study abroad opportunities include Paris, Italy, London, Macao-China, Punta Cana-Dominican Republic, China, Switzerland, and Germany.
5. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University (LSU) was founded in 1860. It is home to more than 29,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs through 11 colleges and schools. The College of Agriculture, Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (TAM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include a BS in Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (BS TAM) with a Concentration in Merchandising, and MS and PhD Degrees in Human Ecology with a Concentration in Merchandising.
Program highlights include optional membership in the Fashion Association at LSU (FALSU), access to state-of-the art facilities such as an apparel production lab, textiles testing and processing lab, and body scanning lab, and access to the LSU Textile & Costume Museum and Historic & Archaeological Textile and Apparel Research Laboratory. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in the Annual Fashion Show.
6. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
The University of Kentucky was founded in 1865. It is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs through 16 colleges and professional schools.
The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment houses the School of Human Environmental Sciences which offers six undergraduate degree programs, four master’s degree programs, and a Ph.D. in Family Studies.
Programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers are available through the School’s Department of Retailing and Tourism Management. Offerings include BS and MS degrees in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles. Graduate students may choose a thesis or non-thesis track.
Program highlights for BS students include the New York Study Tour, study abroad opportunities to places such as Paris, China, and the UK, and internship opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show and the Target Project. The Target Project allows students to conduct research on the company’s retailing needs.
Program highlights for MS students include access to assistantship and travel opportunities as well as the opportunity to submit articles for presentations at the ITAA yearly conference. Graduate students also have the opportunity to study abroad.
7. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia
Georgia Southern University’s inaugural academic year began in 1908 with 15 students and four faculty members. Today, the school is home to more than 20,500 students enrolled in more than 250 programs through eight colleges. The College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the School of Human Ecology (SHE). The School offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.
Offerings include a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design with an Emphasis in Merchandising and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising & Apparel Design. Program highlights include specialized training in areas such as Pattern Making, Draping Design, Manual and Computer Aided Design, and Fashion Illustration, field experiences, internships, and study tours to the New York and Atlanta fashion markets.
8. O’More College of Design, Franklin, Tennessee
O’More College of Design was founded in 1970. It is home to more than 150 students enrolled in a variety of art and design programs through three schools including the School of Fashion, the School of Visual Design, and the School of Interior Design. The School of Fashion offers one program for aspiring fashion merchandisers—a BFA in Fashion Merchandising.
The well-rounded curriculum prepares students for entry into the fashion industry and/or graduate study. Just a few course titles include Merchandising Planning, Fashion Textiles, Fashion Show Production, Visual Merchandising, Merchandise Simulation, Business and Portfolio Development, and Product Development and Design. Other program highlights include internship opportunities at area designers and retailers, and participation in the O’More Student Fashion Show.
9. Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina
Chartered in 1891, Meredith College opened its doors with just over 200 female students. Today, the school caters to a co-ed population of nearly 2,000 students. Meredith College offers over 80 undergraduate programs and more around 16 graduate and certificate programs through four schools and more than 20 departments. The College of Education, Health & Human Sciences houses the Department of Human Environmental Sciences, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers including a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a Merchandising Concentration, and a Minor in Merchandising.
Program highlights include annual trips to the Garment District in New York City, the Apparel Mart in Atlanta, and the National Fashion Job Fair in Dallas, and participation in the summer program in Paris or Sansepolcro, Italy. According to the Department, students will also work on window displays for local retail stores, and participate in a variety of fashion shows and competitions.
10. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas was founded in 1871. It is home to more than 26,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs through nine colleges and schools. The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences houses the School of Human and Environmental Sciences (H.E.S), which offers four majors and concentrations. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a B.S.H.E.S. with an Emphasis in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development (AMPD) and an MS in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development.
Program highlights include guest lecturers, internship opportunities, participation in fashion show events, and study tours of Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and more.