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Top 10 Fashion Merchandising Schools and Colleges in the Southwest – 2017

Written by FS StaffJune 1, 2017

Our 2017 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’s (CSU) College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the Design and Merchandising Program. Degree options for aspiring 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. 

Did You Know.... Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion offers BFA's in Fashion, Fashion Merchandising, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Styling, Costume Design, and Fashion Product Development. Learn more.

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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. 

About CSU: Colorado State University was founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College. The school is home to more than 33,000 students enrolled in more than 150 degree programs across 14 colleges and schools. 

2. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater (OSU-Stillwater) is home to the College of Human Sciences, which houses the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM). The Department of DHM offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers including 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 any degree program 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.

About OSU-Stillwater: Oklahoma State University-Stillwater was established on Christmas Day 1890. It is home to 24,387 students enrolled in 200-plus programs across a five-campus system and 10 colleges. 

3. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 

The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism at the University of North Texas (UNT) offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS, MS, or Graduate Certificate in Merchandising. Program highlights include an internship program that provides the opportunity 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 Gap Inc.’s Design Your Future competition. 

The program also highlights the Executive-in-Residence Program, which brings merchandising executives to UNT for lectures and meetings with students. Per UNT, “recruiters also frequently visit the campus to provide additional insights about career opportunities.” Study abroad opportunities to Hong Kong/China, London and France are also on the menu. 

Graduates of the Fashion Merchandising programs at UNT have worked as merchandisers for companies such as Fossil, J.C. Penney, Havertys, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target, Tuesday Morning and Zale Corp. 

About UNT: University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. The school is home to nearly 38,000 students enrolled in 100 bachelor’s degree programs, 83 master’s programs and 37 doctoral degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. 

4. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is home to the College of Natural Sciences, which houses the School of Human Ecology-Division of Textiles and Apparel (TXA). The Division of TXA offers a BS in TXA with a Merchandising and Consumer Sciences Track. Per the Division, the Track provides “hands-on experience with rapidly evolving retail environments, intercultural practices and customs and consumer behavior.” 

TXA 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. 

About UT Austin: The University of Texas at Austin opened in 1883. The school is home to 50,950 students enrolled in more than 500 degree programs and fields of study across 18 colleges and schools. 

5. Baylor University, Waco, Texas 

Baylor University is home to the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, which houses the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences. Established at Baylor in 1933, the Department offers six different majors including Apparel Design & Product Development, Apparel Merchandising, Child & Family Studies, General Family & Consumer Sciences, Interior Design, and Nutrition Sciences. The Apparel Merchandising Program leads to a BS and includes courses such as Visual Merchandising and Promotion, Apparel in Today’s Society, Fashion Illustration, Costume History and Design, and Fashion Forecasting. 

The program also highlights 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. 

Apparel Merchandising students may participate in the Annual Baylor Fashion Show as well, 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. 

About Baylor: Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. The school is home to around 16,000 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across nine colleges and schools. 

6. Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas 

Texas Woman's University (TWU) is home to the College of Arts & Sciences, which houses 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. 

Program highlights include internship opportunities at companies such as Aldo, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Express, Michael Kors, and Nordstrom, a Global Fashion Study Tour of Paris, and the opportunity to participate in the Annual Montage Senior Fashion Show.  

About TWU: Texas Woman's University was founded in 1901 as The Girls Industrial College. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of more than 15,600 students enrolled in over 150 programs across four colleges and a graduate school. 

7. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas 

The College of Applied Arts at Texas State University (Texas State) is home to the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Undergraduate options include a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS) with a Major in Fashion Merchandising and Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Business Administration. The Minor in Business is a required component of the BSFCS/Fashion Merchandising program. Graduate options include an MS in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (MS MCS). 

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. 

About Texas State: Texas State University opened its doors in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The school is home to nearly 39,000 students enrolled in 200 degree programs across 10 colleges. 

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

Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) was chartered in 1917 and the school opened its doors in 1925. Home to 8,300 students, Texas A&M offers 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, Luna Luz – New York, and Muse, Catos, Nordstrom. 

Per the school, “student involvement in the Fashion and Interiors Merchandising Group is encouraged to provide more complete personal and professional development that enables students to compete successfully in the job market.” 

About TAMUK: Texas A&M University-Kingsville was chartered in 1917. The school opened its doors in 1925. Home to 8,300 students, TAMUK offers hundreds of programs across seven colleges. 

9. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 

The College of Fine Arts at Texas Christian University (TCU) is home to the Department of Interior Design & Fashion Merchandising, which offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising. Program highlights include off-campus study programs in Paris, New York, and Dallas, and access to the TCU Costume Collection, which features more than 2,500 items dating back to the 1850s. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show and complete a full-time 10-week supervised internship. 

Students in the internship program have worked with major brands and retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, JCPenney, Pier 1 Imports, Fossil, Zale Corporation, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Tom Ford, Donna Karan, and Kenneth Cole. 

About TCU: Texas Christian University was founded in 1873 as AddRan Male and Female College. The school is home to 10,394 students, enrolled 118 undergraduate areas of study, 53 master’s level programs, and 25 areas of doctoral study across eight colleges and schools. 

10. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas 

The School of Media and Design at University of the Incarnate word (UIW) is home to the Juren Sullivan Center for Fashion Management. The Center offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA in Fashion Management with options to concentrate in Merchandising or Product Development. Both concentrations allow students to obtain a Minor in Business Administration. 

Other 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). In addition, all fashion students have access to the Lila Bath Gallery. 

Per UIW, the gallery is “designed as an inter-disciplinary venue incorporating fashion design, theatre production and other academic specialties at UIW.” It serves as a teaching and research facility for students, with both visiting and permanent exhibits that address “current issues of society, expressed through works of art and design.” 

About UIW: Home to around 11,000 students, University of the Incarnate Word is the largest Catholic university in Texas and the fourth-largest private university in the state. Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity, the school consists of 10 colleges and schools that provide 100 undergraduate and graduate majors.