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Top 20 Fashion Merchandising Schools in the Midwest - 2014

Written by FS StaffMay 22, 2014


Our 2014 rankings of the Top 20 fashion merchandising programs in the Midwest. 

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


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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11. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kent State University’s Fashion School (formally known as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising) provides a top-tier program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Kent State offers a BS in fashion merchandising, as well as a five-year program that combines the BS with an MBA from the College of Business Administration. New to the university is the nation’s first Master of Fashion (MFash) degree, a 30-credit program that incorporates technology implementation, management, design, sustainability, and product development.

Fashion students have the opportunity to study in Florence, Paris, and Hong Kong, as well as KSU’s NYC Studio. Located in the famous NYC Fashion District, NYC Studio provides full-semester academic programs for Kent State fashion students during the fall, spring, and
summer terms. Other program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, access to the Kent State University Museum costume collection, the June F. Mohler Fashion Library, the “TechStyleLAB,” and the Fashion School Store (FSStore).

Launched in 2012, FSStore is “a live retail environment” located in downtown Kent that allows “faculty and students to research and test design, production, buying, marketing, sales, and planning models in a live retail setting offering both unique merchandise presentation techniques and unique products to the greater Cleveland metropolitan area.” –

Kent State University was established in 1910 as the “Kent State Normal School.” Also known as Kent, Kent State, or KSU, Kent State University consists of eight campuses with a combined student body of 43,000 students from all 50 states and 100 countries. The school’s eight campuses—Kent, Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Tuscarawas, and Trumbull—offer 240 degree programs.

22.  Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences’ (CHS) Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Department is home to the popular Fashion program. Offerings include BS and MS degrees
in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design, a 5-year BS/MS in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design,  and a concurrent MS/MBA, which is in the process of university approval. Also on the menu is a rare PhD and distance PhD in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. Both PhD programs prepare students to work in the fashion industry, academia, museums and more. The hybrid (distance) PhD features 1 or 2 short on-campus summer coursework sessions.

Apparel, Merchandising, and Design highlights include access to the Department’s Textiles and Clothing Museum, easy access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities such as the Digital Textile Design and Printing Studio, Sourcing Simulator, and OptiTex Computer-Aided Design Software, and internship opportunities. Students have interned at Elie Tahari, BCBG Max Azria, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Target Corporation, Sports Authority, Marie Claire Magazine, Express, Kohl's, Dillards, Lacoste, Coldwater Creek, PacSun, Gap, and Chico's.

Merchandising and Design students also participate in the Annual Fashion Show, they help produce the Department’s award-winning fashion magazine—Trend, and they have access to a number of unique Study Abroad opportunities. A few past destinations include Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Wuhan.

Established in 1858 under the name Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, Iowa State University (ISU) began instruction in a farmhouse that sat on 648 acres. At the time, the school was home to several dozen students. Today, Iowa State University sits on a 1,795-acre campus and it is home 33,241 students enrolled in eight colleges and two schools. Students may choose from more than 100 majors and 800+ student organizations.  

33. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, College of Design is home to one of the region’s most competitive  Fashion programs and a brand new program that allows students to earn their degree faster. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Retail Merchandising and MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Apparel Studies with a Focus in Merchandising, Consumer Behavior, and Material Culture. A Minor in Retail Merchandising is also on the menu.

The new “Degree in 3”program allows Retail Merchandising students to earn their degree in less time, for less money. This pilot program requires the same courses/credits in the same number of credits as the traditional program, but students take full academic loads for two summers. This allows them to complete the program faster. Degree in 3 leads to a BS Retail in Merchandising: General Track or a BS in Retail Merchandising: Apparel Track.
In addition to several unique programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers, the College of Design encourages participation in the Study Abroad program. Fashion students may enroll during their third year of study and possible locations include London (one of the world’s leading cities for fashion), Australia, Fiji, Italy (home to several fashion capitals), and the Netherlands. Students also have the opportunity to participate in global seminars, freshman seminars abroad, and the school’s Work, Intern, and Volunteer Abroad program.

Established in 1851, the University of Minnesota (U of M) sits on a 1,150-acre main campus featuring green spaces, historic architecture, and views of the Mississippi River. Home to a total student population of 69,221 across five campuses, U of M is the largest university in the State of Minnesota. The school offers more than 180 programs throughout 19 colleges and schools.

44. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Established in 1890, Columbia College Chicago (CCC) is home to 11,000 students enrolled in more than 120 academic majors and programs—including several unique programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA in Fashion Business, a Fashion Business/Fashion Design double major, and a Minor in Fashion Business. The BA in Fashion Business is a flexible program that allows room for students to “pursue interdisciplinary course options, a minor, or a double major,” says CCC.

The BA in Fashion Business is available through the School of Fine & Performing Arts-Fashion Studies Department. Highlights include participation in the always sold-out Annual Runway Show, “Fashion in the Field” trips to New York City, Los Angeles, and Florence, Italy, access to the Garment Collection, the Research Collection and the Fashion Study Collection (FSC), which consists of more than 6,000 items. The Program also offers access to a state-of-the-art Fashion Lab and other facilities, as well as one of the world’s most famous shopping districts—the Magnificent Mile.

Located in the heart of Downtown Chicago, Columbia College is walking distance from this 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue, which features more than 460 retail stores and high-end designer boutiques (Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, and more), 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and dozens of attractions. Many Columbia students have interned at retailers along the Mag Mile, while many graduates have found permanent employment there.

55. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
The College of Human and Environmental Sciences, Department of Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) at the University of Missouri is home to a notable collection of fashion merchandising programs. Offerings include BS degrees in Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) with Tracks in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising or International Apparel Marketing and Merchandising. Students may also consider the Business, Entrepreneurship, or Textile and Apparel Management (TAM) Minor, or the Center for the Digital (CDiG) Graduate Certificate to enhance their education and career opportunities.

A Digital Global Studies Undergraduate Certificate is also on the menu. TAM program highlights include internship opportunities, Study Tours, access to dozens of student organizations, and interaction with award-winning professors and industry experts.

Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou) is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri System. The school sits on a 1,262-acre main campus and it is home to more than 35,000 students enrolled in 300+ degree programs through 19 colleges and schools.

66. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University (K-State) is one of the region’s oldest academic institutions. Established in 1858 with just 53 students, K-State is now home to more than 24,300 students from 50 states and more than 100 countries. With campuses in Manhattan, Salina, and Olathe, K-State
offers more than 250 undergraduate majors, 65 Master's degrees, 45 Doctoral degrees, and 22 Graduate Certificates across nine colleges.

The College of Human Ecology-Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design at Kansas State University is the largest of its kind in the U.S. Home to more than 2,000 students, the College offers an intensive program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The MS in Merchandising is available in conjunction with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA). The program is available entirely online. Another option for students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities is the PhD in with a Specialization in Apparel and Textiles. This program is available on-campus.

77. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska
Chartered in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is one of the oldest universities in the Midwest. With more than 24,000 students, UNL is also one of the largest universities in the region. The school, which sits on a 600+-acre campus, is just steps from Downtown Lincoln and it offers more than 200 programs across 10 colleges. The College of Education and Human Sciences-Department of Textiles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is home to several top-tier fashion merchandising programs at all degree levels—including a PhD.

Offerings include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, a traditional MS in Merchandising (on-campus), an MS in Merchandising Great Plains IDEA (online), and a Human Sciences PhD in Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design. All fashion students have the opportunity to enroll in the popular Internship Program at UNL where students have interned at Vera Wang, Nicole Miller, InStyle Magazine, Elie Tahari, and more.

Study Tours to London, Italy, Paris, Prague, Shanghai, and Beijing are also on eth menu as well as excellent employment opportunities for graduates. UNL fashion graduates have accepted positions at Saks Fifth Avenue-NYC, J. Crew-NYC, J.C. Penny-Plano, TX, Kohl’s-Milwaukee, WI, Lerner’s NYC, Anthropologie-Omaha, NE, Nebraska Arts Council-Omaha, NE, Lux Center for the Arts-Lincoln, NE, and many others.

Other program highlights include access to the Kathryn Ericksen Lohr Merchandising Research & Business Development Laboratory (est. 2013), Digital Textile Printing Laboratory, Splinter Laboratory, the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery, the Historic Textile & Costume Collection, and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Students also have access to merchandising facilities consisting of a Computer lab with 35 workstations equipped with "industry-grade software" including Visual Retailing Software Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, WindowsWear Pro, SimVenture business planning software package, and Lecture Suite.

88. Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana
The Indiana University-Bloomington, College of Arts and Sciences is home to the respected Department of Apparel Merchandising & Interior Design. The Department offers a BS in Apparel Merchandising and a Minor. Merchandising students may add the Kelley School of Business Minor for Apparel Merchandising Majors, a Minor in Fashion Design, or other minor approved by the Apparel Merchandising advisor.

Department highlights include the Annual Retail and Design Forum, the Career Development Center Internship Fair, Study Tours, and an Annual Fashion Show. Students also have access to the Sage Collection (which consists of more than 20,000 pieces of historical and contemporary clothing and accessories) and a number of valuable student organizations including the Retail Studies Organization (RSO) and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Organization.

Founded in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington (IU Bloomington) sits on a 2,000-acre campus, just 54.9 miles from Indianapolis. The school offers more than 180 majors and 330 degree programs across 15+ colleges and schools. IU Bloomington also offers one of the country’s largest Study Abroad Departments. The Department offers 250 programs in 17 languages.

99. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Established in 1892, Central Michigan University (CMU) opened with just 31 students attending classes in several rooms above an office in Downtown Mount Pleasant. Today, CMU sits on a 235-acre campus, it has more than 50 locations across North America, and it offers more than 200 academic programs across eight colleges. CMU’s student body has also grown to an impressive 27,000 students.
The College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) at Central Michigan University (CMU) is home to the Center for Merchandising and Design Technology (CMDT). The Center offers several competitive programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include BA, BAA, and BS degrees in Apparel Merchandising and Design (AMD), an MS in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology, and an Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Technology (APDMT) accelerated Dual Master’s degree. The accelerated program takes just 5 years to complete. A Minor in Apparel Merchandising and Design is also on the menu.

Program highlights include an  internship program that offers the opportunity to work at both national and international companies; industry partnerships with Reebok, Brooks Brothers, and Malden Mills, and membership in The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design (FAMD). FAMD is a student organization that sponsors the program’s Annual Spring Fashion Show. Although not required, students are encouraged to take advantage of CMU’s Study Abroad program. Past Study Abroad locations include Hong Kong, London, and Paris.

1010. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) was established in 1905. The school is home to 5,075 students and it has 2 campuses in the Twin Cities including the St. Paul Campus (which is 5 miles from Downtown St. Paul and 7 miles from Downtown Minneapolis), and the Minneapolis Campus, which is located in the west bank of the Mississippi River—just east of Downtown Minneapolis. St. Kate’s convenient location offer access to Fortune 500 companies such as Target and Quest, points of interest such as Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, shopping, theaters, and more.

The School of Business and Professional Studies at St. Catherine University is home to the schools popular Department of Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. The Department offers a diverse collection of programs for aspiring fashion professionals—including fashion entrepreneurs. Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Fashion Merchandising, a BS in Family and Consumer Science with a Concentration/Focus in Textiles/Apparel. Fashion merchandising students may combine any of these degrees with Apparel Design, Small Business/Entrepreneurship or Marketing/Management.

Program highlights include a rigorous curriculum that includes courses ranging from Apparel Construction and Textiles to Management and writing intensive courses such as “Sociocultural Aspect of Dress.” Students will have the opportunity to participate in St. Kate’s Annual Katwalk Fashion Show, interact with guest speakers, and meet with more than 60 companies each year through on-campus career events. 

Merchandising students may also participate in the Study Abroad program, which features study experiences in London, Paris, New York or Boston. Study Abroad partners include London College of Fashion and Acadia Fashion Institute in Florence. Finally, all fashion students have access to Minneapolis’s thriving fashion scene, which helped inspire Project Runway contestants Katherine Gerdes, Christopher Straub, Danielle Everine and Ra'mon Lawrence-Coleman.

1111.  Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
The Missouri State University College of Business-Department of Fashion and Interior Design (FID) offers a comprehensive program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design focuses on global design and the business of fashion. Students looking to start their own businesses might consider several offerings through MSU’s College of Business as well. Options include a BS in Management, Entrepreneurship or General Business, a Minor in Management, Entrepreneurial Studies, Entrepreneurship, Leadership or Operations Management, or a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

Fashion Merchandising highlights include the annual MSU Fashion Show at the Springfield Expo Center, which attracts more than 1,000 guests, frequent design and merchandising competitions, Dallas Career Day, Domestic Tours, and “Study Away” experiences in Paris, China (MSU’s campus in Dalian), Italy, and Greece. Domestic Tours take place annually. Students (typically 20) visit New York City to explore fashion businesses and interview for internships. Students have explored and interviewed with Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Cotton Incorporated, Kate Spade, and more.

Established in 1905 as Fourth District Normal School, Missouri State University (MSU) opened with a student population of 543 in off-campus facilities. Today, the school sits on a 450-acre main campus and it is home to more than 20,000 students from 40 states and 70 countries. With additional campuses in West Plains and Mountain Grove, MO, and Dalian, China, MSU offers more than 150 programs across seven colleges. 

1212. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Established in 1849, Eastern Michigan University EMU is home to around 23,000 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across five colleges, an honors college, and a graduate school. With a large student population, an 800-acre main campus in Ypsilanti, and additional sites in sites in Detroit, Flint, Jackson, Livonia, Traverse City, EMU is one of the region’s largest schools. The school, which features an art walk, galleries and more, is just 10 miles east of Ann Arbor, 40 miles west of Detroit, and 20 minutes from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The College of Technology-Department of Apparel Textiles and Merchandising (ATM) at EMU offers BS and MS degrees in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising. Concentrations include Fashion Merchandising, Textiles, and Fashion Design. Students looking to enhance their education and career opportunities may also consider the PhD Concentration in Textiles.

Program highlights include internship opportunities and field experiences at local, regional, and national companies, participation in Fashion Markets, and access to state-of-the-art design, testing, and weaving labs. Fashion Markets features trips to domestic and foreign markets and the internship program has provided work experiences at Kenneth Cole, DKNY, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Betsey Johnson, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aldo, H&M, Guess, Kenneth Cole, Art Van, Target, K-Mart, and more. Many interns have also obtained permanent positions at these popular designer boutiques and retailers. 

1313. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Established in 1804, Ohio University has an enrollment of more than 35,000 students across eight campuses. The main campus sits on more than 1,800 acres in Athens, Ohio and it is home to 11 colleges offering more than 250 programs. The Glady’s W. and David H. Patton College of Education is home to the Department of Human and Consumer Sciences which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.

The Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising Program (ATM) features a distinctive MS in Human and Consumer Sciences degree with a Track in Consumption and Merchandising or Historic Textiles and Apparel. Suggested areas of Concentration include Art, Art History, Interdisciplinary Arts, Business (Marketing and/or Management), Communication, Education/Statistics, Psychology, or Sociology.

Program highlights include participation in the Ohio University Annual Moms Weekend Fashion Show and access to the Grover Center-based Mary C. Doxsee Historic Costume Collection, textiles laboratory, and apparel analysis and product development laboratory. Students also have the opportunity to become members of the Human and Consumer Sciences Honor Society or the Patton College Graduate Organization, and career opportunities with companies such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Wal-Mart.

1414. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
Established in 1918, Ball State University (BSU) sits on a 731-acre main campus just 57 miles from Indianapolis—the nation’s 12th largest city, and 227 miles from Chicago—the nation’s third largest city. Listed among the nation’s Top 322 Green Colleges, BSU is home to a population of 22,000 students enrolled in well over 250 academic programs across nine colleges. Many programs are nationally recognized, including the fashion programs offered through the College of Applied Sciences and Technology-Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Department.

Department offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in FCS with a Major in Fashion Merchandising, an MA or MS in FCS with an Option in Fashion Merchandising, and Minors in Fashion Design and FCS. Students looking to take their careers to the next level might consider the MBA with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship, the Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management, or the Minor in Entrepreneurship. These popular career-enhancing programs are available through the Entrepreneurship Center at the Miller College of Business.

FCS Fashion Merchandising highlights include access to The Beeman Historic Costume Collection, which includes more than 3,000 artifacts related to fashion from 1800 to the present, internship opportunities at local, regional, and nationwide companies, and a top-rated Study Abroad program. The program features 300 Study Abroad locations. Just a few include Spain, New Zealand, Japan, and England. Study Abroad experiences are optional, but the FCS Department encourages participation, which will help enhance students’ education and career opportunities.

1515. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Founded in 1910, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in 200+ programs across nine colleges. The school, which sits on a 1,338-acre campus just 30 minutes from Toledo, is home to the BGSU College of Education & Human Development-School of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). This multidisciplinary school offers nine programs, including the Apparel Merchandising & Product Development (AMPD) Program leading to a BS in AMPD.

Program highlights include small classes (AMPD is home to 270 students), enrollment in the FIT Program and/or a Marketing Minor, Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as Paris, London, and Florence, and participation in the AMPD Co-op Program which allows students to “gain experience working with buyers, store managers, or product developers” according to BGSU.  Students have completed co-op experiences throughout the State of Ohio and in Chicago, New York, and London. The FIT Program (Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City) allows students to study for one year at FIT NY in the areas of Advertising and Communications or Textile Development and Marketing.

1616. Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The School of Arts & Design at Mount Mary University offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA and a Certificate in Fashion Merchandise Management. The BA program prepares students for a variety of careers such as Visual Merchandise Manager, Buyer, Retail Manager, Fashion Magazine Editor, Product Developer, Stylist, and more. 

Program highlights include annual trips to fashion capitals such as New York and Paris to explore textile and apparel museums, attend fabric fairs, and tour design studios, apparel showrooms, and shopping districts. In Paris, students take classes at Paris American Academy; they meet with European designers and trend forecasters, and participate in the Academy’s Runway Fashion Show.

Students also have the opportunity to join student organizations such as the Fashion Association and Studio 455, and they may participate in the Mount Mary University Annual Fashion Show, and in regional, national, and international competitions. Students also have once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to show their work at local museums and galleries such as Villa Terrace Museum, Gallery Night & Day, and Harley-Davidson Museum.

Students on the path to business ownership may consider the BA in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication, the Minor in Entrepreneurship, or a Certificate in Business Administration or Business/Professional Communication. These career-enhancing programs are available through the School of Social Sciences, Business & Education.

Established in 1913, Mount Mary University sits on an 80-acre campus in Metropolitan Milwaukee—just 92 miles from Chicago. Home to 1,475 students from across the U.S. and abroad, Mount Mary offers more than 35 programs through the Schools of Humanities; Natural & Health Sciences; Social Sciences; Business & Education, and Arts & Design.

1717. Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, Ohio
Established in 1871, Ursuline College (Ursuline) was one of the first colleges for women in the U.S. and the first in the State of Ohio. Today, the school is home to a co-ed population of around 1,500 students. Located on a 100-acre campus, just 13 miles east of Cleveland, 31 miles from Akron, and less than 125 miles to Pittsburgh, Ursuline offers more than 40 academic programs across several schools.

The School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College offers a one-of-a-kind program for aspiring fashion merchandisers. The competitive BA in Fashion Merchandising
offers a F.I.T. Track. What this means is, students have the opportunity to spend their third year of study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (FIT), where they will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) from FIT upon graduation from Ursuline College.

In addition to the F.I.T. Track, Fashion Merchandising program highlights include internship opportunities at local, regional, and national companies, and access to the latest technology and facilities including the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Lab, industry-standard pattern drafting tables, Wolf dress forms, multi-thread sergers, and more. Many Ursuline Fashion Merchandising graduates have gone on to accept positions in the industry such as Fashion Forecaster, Stylist, Buyer, Retail Manager, and Consultant, while others have enrolled in graduate school.

Students looking to start their own fashion business typically enroll in Ursuline’s accelerated MBA Program after completing the Fashion Merchandising Program. The 15-month program is available entirely online. 

1818. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois
Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale) is the flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University system, which consists of three other members and multiple satellite campuses throughout the region. Founded in 1869, the school sits on a 1,000-acre main campus that accommodates around 18,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. SIU Carbondale offers more than 200 areas of study across 11 colleges and schools.

Offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers are available through SIU’s College of Applied Sciences-School of Architecture. SIU Carbondale is the only public university in the State of Illinois to offer the following three Fashion Specializations under one roof. Options include a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with Specializations in Fashion Merchandising, Fashion Stylist, and Fashion Design.

Highlights for all Specializations include participation in the Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show, a professional internship, and the opportunity to Study Abroad in fashion capitals such as London, Paris, and Milan.

1919. North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota
North Dakota State’s College of Human Development and Education-Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management (ADHM) offers several respected programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BA and BS in Apparel, Retail Merchandising & Design (ARMD) with an Apparel Studies Option OR a Retail Merchandising Option-Textile Product Merchandising Focus OR an Interior Merchandising Focus. ADHM also offers three-year retail merchandising B.S. degree that combines on-campus and online courses for busy students looking to complete a four-year degree in three years.

ADHM Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion, Apparel & Business Organization (FABO) Fashion Show, access to the Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, and Study Tours to New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Students have the opportunity to become involved with numerous organizations such as the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA), American Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA), the Costume Society of America, and more.

The Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management is also involved with the one-year Visiting Student Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT New York). The FIT Program allows students to earn an Associate's Degree from FIT and a Bachelor of Science from NDSU. Most ARMD students choose FIT’s Fashion Design and Retail Merchandising programs.

Established in 1890, North Dakota State University (NDSU) sits on a 250+-acre campus roughly 80 miles from Grand Forks—the state’s third largest city. The school is home to 14,629 students from 47 states and 78 countries. NDSU offers more than 100 majors across nine colleges and a graduate school.

2020. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
The Western Michigan University Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (DFCS), offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in Textile and Apparel Studies with Concentrations in Product Development, Merchandising, and Fashion Design. The Department also offers an MA in Family and Consumer Science with a Textile and Apparel Studies Concentration.

Program highlights include 300 hours of supervised field experience, membership in the Merchandising Opportunities and Design Association (MODA), the opportunity to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT), and an excellent employment outlook for graduates. WMU-DFCS Fashion Merchandising graduates have accepted positions such as Brand Manager, Retail Buyer, Stylist, Store manager, and more at companies such as Tory Burch, Zappos, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Under Armour, Target Corporation, True Religion, and many others.

Founded in 1903, Western Michigan University (WMU) is home to 25,000 students enrolled in more than 240 academic programs through the Doctorate level. The school, which consists of more than 1,200 acres and 143 buildings, is located near Downtown Kalamazoo, less than 150 miles from Detroit and Chicago, and just 50 miles from Grand Rapids—the state’s second largest city.