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Top 50 Fashion Design Schools and Colleges in the US - 2018 Rankings

Written by FS StaffJune 13, 2018
Top 50 Fashion Design Schools and Colleges in the US - 2018 Rankings

Fashion-Schools.org is excited to bring you our 2018 Fashion Design School rankings.  Every year we compile a definitive ranking of the US’s top fashion design schools, based on factors like the schools’ admission data, graduation success, reputation and an extensive proprietary survey conducted with school & industry stakeholders. Below is our overall Top 50 National rankings of Fashion Design programs.

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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1. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York (top 1% of schools considered) 

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was founded in 1944. A member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, FIT is home to more than 9,000 students enrolled in 37 majors and 12 certificate programs across five schools. They include the School of Art and Design, Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology, the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The School of Art and Design offers a number of fashion programs for aspiring designers of all kinds.

New in 2018, FIT was awarded accreditation of it’s business programs by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and programs. Less than 50% of US higher education institutions with business schools are accredited. Within FIT’s Baker School of Business and technology, programs in Marketing Communications, Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing, Fashion Business Management, Home Products Development, International Trade and Marketing for Fashion Industries, Production Management: Fashion & Related Industries, and Textile Development & Marketing all received accreditation.

Students may choose from multiple degree levels including the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, and MPS. In addition, FIT offers one- and two-year options for AAS students and credit and non-credit Certificates. An international option in Florence is on the menu for fashion design students pursuing an AAS degree, and an option in Milan/New York is available for knitwear and sportswear students pursuing a Baccalaureate degree. AAS degree programs for aspiring fashion designers include Accessories Design, Fashion Design, Illustration – Fashion and General Illustration options, Jewelry Design, Menswear, Textile Development and Marketing, and Textile/Surface Design. Baccalaureate (BFA and BS) degree programs include Accessories Design, Fabric Styling, Fashion Design (Children’s Wear, Intimate Apparel, Knitwear, Special Occasion, and Sportswear, and Knitwear options), Technical Design, Textile Development and Marketing, and Textile/Surface Design.

Graduate programs for aspiring fashion designers include an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice and credit Certificate programs include CAD for Fashion Design - Art, Draping, Gemology, Haute Couture, Ladies Tailoring, Leather Apparel, Millinery, Patternmaking, and Performance Athletic Footwear. Minors are available in Ethics and Sustainability, and Fashion Studies, and Non-credit Certificates include Computer Essentials for Fashion Design, Fashion Styling, Wardrobe Technician and Costume Design Specialist, and Certified Technical Designer. All FIT Fashion Design students have the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, London, Milan, Nottingham, England, Melbourne, Australia, or Hong Kong. Students also have the opportunity to intern at local, national, or international companies, and all students may participate in the Annual FIT Fashion Show. 

2. The New School - Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (top 1% of schools considered)


The New School was founded in 1896 by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Back then, the school was known as The Chase School, and later as New York School of Fine and Applied Art. Today, The New School/Parsons (named after the famous Parsons Table) is home to more than 10,000 students enrolled in 138 degree programs, diploma programs and majors, and more than 50 minors across five colleges. New School colleges include the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, College of Performing Arts, Schools of Public Engagement, The New School for Social Research, and Parsons School of Design.
Located in a major world fashion hub like New York City, gives Parsons’ students access to resources, events and people unattainable in many parts of the country.

The Parsons School of Design consists of 6 separate schools, which include the School of Art & Design History and Theory, the School of Art, Media and Technology, the School of Design Strategies, the School of Constructed Environments, the School of Fashion, and Parsons Paris.

Options for aspiring fashion designers include a Certificate, and AAS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, an AAS in Fashion Marketing, a BFA Integrated Studies, an MA in Fashion Studies, and an MFA in Textiles or Fashion Design and Society. AAS students study Accessories Design, Drawing, Fashion, Materials and Fabrication, Sustainable Design, and Textiles. BFA students will also study Accessories Design, Drawing, Fashion, and Sustainable Design as well as Fashion History, Theory, and Criticism, Materials and Fabrication, and Textiles. BFA Fashion students also have the opportunity to complete the program at Parsons Paris.

BFA in Integrated Studies students can study everything from Fashion and Textiles to Urban Design. MA in Fashion Studies students can study everything from Branding, Fashion and Textiles to Materials and Fabrication. The MFA in Fashion Design and Society highlights Fashion, Fashion History, Materials and Fabrication, Physical Computing/Wearable Technology, Sustainable Design, Textiles, Design Research, and more. All programs offer the opportunity to study at Parsons Paris, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and the opportunity to work with 560—the Parsons School of Design magazine.

Notable program alumni include Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, Narciso Rodriguez, and many others.

3. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 3% of schools considered)

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is home to 4,600 students enrolled in 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools including the School of Architecture, the School of Art, the School of Design, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Information and Library Sciences.

Pratt Institute also houses and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. Programs for aspiring fashion designers are offered through the School of Design and the School of Art – Department of Fine Art. The School of Design offers a BFA in Fashion Design and the School of Art offers a BFA in Fine Art with an Emphasis in Jewelry. Specialized BFA/Jewelry classes include History of Jewelry, Stone Setting, Wax Working and Casting, Raising and Forging, Chasing and Repoussé, Color on Metal, Design and Rendering, and CAD. Fashion Design students have the opportunity to participate in “annual design competitions sponsored by the CFDA and YMA FSF and competitions sponsored by companies such as Cotton Incorporated and Supima Cotton.”

Other program highlights include participation in the annual Pratt Institute Fashion Show, access to coveted internship opportunities with major designers such as Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, and Donna Karan, and study abroad and international exchange programs in more than a dozen locations including London, Milan, Florence, Copenhagen, and Tokyo.

4. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (top 3% of schools considered)

Founded in 1910, Kent State University (KSU or Kent State) is home to more than 23,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The school offers 300 degree programs across 11 colleges and the School of Digital Sciences. The College of the Arts is home to the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, better known as “The Fashion School.”

The school offers BA and BFA degrees in Fashion Design, a BFA in Crafts (Jewelry and Metals or Textile Arts), an MA in Fine Arts (Fashion), and an MFA in Design/Technology – Costume Design. Minors in Accessories, Textiles, Costume Design Technology, and Fashion Media are also on the menu and the College of Business Administration offers an MBA with a Concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising. All fashion students are eligible to participate in The Fashion School's Annual Fashion Show—FS2: Alchemy; which most recently featured 96 single garments and 27 total collections. A total crew of nearly 300 people worked to put on the show. Students also participate in a variety of international programs. According to the school, “study tours to Europe and Asia are offered on a regular basis.” Fashion capitals such as Florence, Paris, London and Hong Kong are often on the menu.

In addition, The Fashion School has a studio located in New York’s Fashion District. According to the School, the NYC Studio “provides full-semester academic programs for Kent State fashion students in the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms. Guest students, studying fashion at their home school, may also attend the program during Summer Session.”

5. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (top 3% of schools considered)

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or “RIZ-dee”) was founded in 1877. The school offers bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in 19 majors to nearly 2,500 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. Fashion programs are offered through several departments and divisions. The Department of Apparel Design offers a BFA in Apparel Design, the Textiles Department offers both BFA and MFA degrees in Textiles, and The Fine Arts Division offers BFA and MFA degrees in Textiles and Jewelry + Metalsmithing.

Apparel Design students have the opportunity to participate in RISD's Annual Runway Show, which is judged by a panel of guest critics. COLLECTION 18 featured “a unified body of work” that highlighted professional-level conceptual and technical capabilities from all 19 graduating students. A second iteration of the Collection show is presented at NYFW in September, giving new graduates the opportunity to introduce their work to the fashion industry and press, while gaining experience from mounting a professional runway show in New York.

In addition to participation in the Runway Show, students have the opportunity to study abroad in Rome or participate in the World: Exchange Program with partner schools in 26 countries, including the United States and Canada.

6. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (top 3% of schools considered)

Cornell University was founded in 1865. The school established the first four-year schools of hotel administration and industrial and labor relations, and it awarded the world's first degree in journalism and the first doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering. Home to nearly 22,000 students, today the school offers 80 undergraduate majors, 90 minors, and 108 graduate fields of study across 14 colleges and schools and 100 academic departments.

The College of Human Ecology, Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) is home to a unique collection of fashion programs that combine “design, art, biology, chemistry, engineering and social science concepts and methods” with the long-term goal of “effecting change in design, in materials, in people's health and well-being, in manufacturing, in economic vitality, and in the environment.” Undergraduate offerings include BS degrees in Fashion Design, Fiber Science, Fashion Design Management, and a Dual Degree.

The Dual Degree Program allows students to earn a BFA and a BA from the College of Arts and Sciences, a BS from the College of Human Ecology or a BS from the College of Engineering. A Minor in Fiber Science is also on the menu. Graduate offerings include MA and PhD degrees in Apparel Design, MS and PhD degrees in Fiber Science, and an MPS in Human Ecology. The MPS program offers a Focus (graduate field) in Fiber Science and Apparel Design.

The Department of FSAD maintains the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, which features “more than 10,000 items of apparel dating from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as a substantial collection of ethnographic textiles and costume.” The Department is also home to the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation (CIFFI), which was established to “advance knowledge and foster collaborations between academia and industry in the areas of fashion design, marketing and culture, fiber science, technology, and materials testing.”

In addition to access to the Textile Collection and CIFFI, FSAD students have the opportunity to compete for the Cornell Design Award and display their collections at the Cornell Fashion Collective Runway Show. 2018 held the 34th running of the fashion show, which nearly 150 students participated in; with 29 student designers.

7. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (top 3% of schools considered)

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was founded in 1978. The school, which is home to nearly 11,000 students from close to 50 states and 115 countries, offers 40 majors and 60-plus minors. With campuses in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong, SCAD offers a variety of programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Accessory Design, Fashion, Fibers, and Jewelry. The Fashion BFA, MA and MFA are offered at both the Savannah and Atlanta campuses, and the BFA is also offered at SCAD’s Hong Kong campus.

Students are regular participants in national design contests like Walt Disney Imagineering’s 27th Imaginations Design Competition. In 2018, at the 27th annual competition, out of 270 qualified submissions SCAD students took home the top two prizes.

Students may also earn their MA in Fashion online. According to the school, “SCAD is the first art and design university to receive the Instructional Technology Council’s award for Outstanding Distance Education Program and the rank of Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning from the Sloan Consortium.” Other Fashion Program highlights include participation in the Annual SCAD Fashion Show, and internships and study opportunities at local, national, and international fashion companies.

8. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles, California (top 5% of schools considered)

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) was founded in 1969. It is home to 5,300 students, 300 faculty members, and an advisory board that includes “industry giants” such as Fred Segal, Diane von Furstenberg, Tim Gunn (of Project Runway, Filmed at FIDM), and Emanuel Ungaro.  Four Southern California campus locations, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Irvine make the school an attractive place to study fashion as well.

The school offers 26 creative majors leading to an AA, BA or BS in the areas of fashion, graphics, interior design or entertainment.  Degree programs for aspiring fashion designers include a BA in Design, a BS in Apparel Technical Design, and AA degrees in Fashion Design, Fashion Knitwear Design, Jewelry Design, Merchandise Product Development, and Textile Design. Associate of Arts Advanced Study Programs (ADV) programs include Advanced Fashion Design, Film and TV Costume Design, Footwear Design, International Manufacturing & Product Development, Menswear, and Textile Production and Development.

In addition to a wide variety of program offerings, fashion students can collaborate on special ‘Industry Partner Projects’ with brands like Nike, Murad, Athleta, Signal Snowboards, Lacoste, GUESS, and TOMS. Part-time work and internships with companies like J Brand Jeans, Stila, Topshop, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and Adidas are an integral part of the curriculum.   There are also annual study tours that will take students to fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, London, Rome, Milan, and more. Students may also participate in the annual DEBUT Runway Show.

9. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Minnesota (top 5% of schools considered)

The University of Minnesota (U of M) was founded in 1851 in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). The school is home to nearly 63,000 students (system-wide), with 48,770 students at the Twin Cities campus. More than 400 degree programs are offered across 17 colleges and schools.

Among them is the College of Design, which houses the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel. The Department offers a BS in Apparel Design and MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Design with an Apparel Studies Track. A Fashion Studies Minor is also on the menu.
Students have the ability to participate in an annual fashion show, a right of passage among Apparel Design seniors. 2018 marks the show’s 50th anniversary. Every year it gives students a chance to put into practice the work they’ve been learning.

Apparel Design students have access to The Wearable Product Design Center (WPDC), the Wearable Technology Lab, and the Human Dimensioning Lab, as well as the opportunity to show their collections at the College of Design Annual Apparel Design Fashion Show. In addition, all students have the option to study abroad. Study abroad opportunities are available in Sydney, Australia; Florence, Italy; Amsterdam; Istanbul, Turkey; London, England, and Northern Ireland.

10. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (top 5% of schools considered)

Iowa State University (ISU or Iowa State) was officially established on March 22, 1858 as Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm. The school, which is home to 36,660 students from more than 50 states and 100-plus countries, offers 100 majors across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Human Sciences is home to the Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (AESHM) Department, which offers 15 undergraduate majors.

Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include BA, MS, and PhD degrees in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. A Minor is also on the menu. Program highlights include the opportunity to study in “major market areas” such as New York or Chicago, participation in a variety of international study programs in Europe, and the opportunity to help produce Trend Magazine—the completely student-run fashion publication.

Students also have access to the interactive Textiles and Clothing Museum and possible internship opportunities at places such as Anna Sui, Rag & Bone, Fossil Group, Kohl’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Elie Tahari, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, and BCBG.
In addition, all students have the opportunity to display their creations at the campus-based Mary Alice Anderson Reinhardt Gallery and participate in ISU’s Annual Fashion Show—one of the largest student-produced fashion shows in the nation. In 2018, the show attracted over 2,500 guests, who viewed over 150 student designed garments. It was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Event of the Year award. 

11. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York (top 5% of schools considered)

Marist College was founded in 1929. It is home to more than 6,500 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs and minors across seven schools. The School of Communication and the Arts offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BFA in Fashion Design and a BS in Fashion Merchandising with a Product Development Concentration. The Marist College Fashion Program is pleased to offer a Masters of Science degree in Global Fashion Merchandising in collaboration with Mod-Spe Paris, the Fashion Business School.

Short-term studies to Europe and Asia, and full semester abroad studies in London, Paris, Florence & Hong Kong round out the students education. Fashion Design majors may also earn their degree in Florence, Italy or choose a Minor in Merchandising or Product Development

Marist's strength in internship placement, and unusual depth of internship opportunities, derives from our close proximity to New York City. In the fashion capital of the world, students have access to a wide variety of work environments. Fashion students have completed internships at companies such as Michael Kors, BCBG, Chanel, Harpers Bazaar, Macy's, Nordstrom, Ross Stores and Ralph Lauren and the Silver Needle Runway Show.

The School of Communication and the Arts encourages all students to complete two internships, which will give them a strong advantage when it comes to job opportunities. Fashion Program alumni have been hired by companies such as Ann Taylor, BCBG, Chanel, Donna Karan, GAP, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, MTV, Perry Ellis, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tahari, Tory Burch, and many more.

12. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (top 5% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University (NC State) has been in existence since 1887. The school is home to nearly 34,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across 12 colleges and 65 academic departments. The College of Textiles houses the Department of Textile and Apparel Technology and Management (TATM). The Department offers several unique programs for aspiring fashion designers. The schools embrace of innovation is apparent in their increasing inclusion of online study options for students.

Undergraduate offerings include a BS in Fashion and Textile Design and a BS in Fashion and Textile Management with a Concentration in Fashion Development and Product Management. Graduate offerings include both a Master of Textiles (MT) and an MS in Textiles. Design Specializations include Textile and Fashion Design, and Textile Technology. TATM fashion students have access to spacious studios outfitted with the latest technology to design textile products and fabrics as well as prototypes. Students may also participate in TATM’s “study abroad-friendly” semester in their junior year, which prevents students from falling behind in their classes. Study abroad locations may include France, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Australia and India.

13. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 10% of schools considered)

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) was founded in 1866. It is home to 3,590 students enrolled in more than 25 art and design programs across 40 academic departments. The Department of Fashion Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BFA in Studio with a Concentration in Fashion Design or Fiber and Material Studies or an Emphasis in Fashion. A Master of Design (MDes) and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fashion, Body and Garment are also on the menu.

The world-renowned art exhibitions and research facilities of The Art Institute of Chicago are located one block from campus. Undergraduate SAIC Fashion students have the opportunity to participate in study tours of fashion capitals such as Antwerp, London, New York, and Paris as well as display their collections at the SAIC Fashion Show. The show is open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.

The “intensive” two-year graduate program highlights the Fashion Design Studio. Taken each semester, the Studio “provides a place for an expansive investigation of fashion, body, and garment and for deeper individual investigation of fashion within the broader context of community, sustainability, technology, and the industry,” says SAIC. The program also encourages study in other areas such as Fiber and Material Studies, Writing, and Performance.

14. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1870 and located in Fort Collins, Colorado State University (CSU) is home to more than 33,000 students enrolled in over 150 degree programs across 14 colleges and schools.

The College of Health and Human Sciences is home to the Design and Merchandising Program. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BS in Apparel and Merchandising - Apparel Design and Production, and an MS in Design and Merchandising - Apparel and Merchandising.  There is also a Minor concentration available in Merchandising.  Students that pursue a B.S. in Apparel and Merchandising are all exposed to product design and development; promotion, distribution, and retailing; and consumer behavior in the global environments but specific concentrations are available in Apparel Design and Production, Merchandising as well as Product Development.

In addition, the College of Liberal Arts, Department of Art and Art History has several additional offerings for fashion students. Options include BA in Studio, BFA in Studio Art, MA, and MFA degrees with a Concentration in Fibers or Jewelry and Metalsmithing.
Apparel Design students have opportunities beyond on-campus academics as well.  They have the opportunity to participate in the internship program and study abroad opportunities. Past design students have studied in Italy, France, Peru, Ghana, and Australia. Some have also participated in Semester at Sea, which typically enrolls more than 600 students from more than 250 colleges and universities. They also have the opportunity to work with artifacts and 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.

15. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 10% of schools considered)

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was founded in 1918 when General Harrison Gray Otis—publisher of the Los Angeles, “bequeathed his L.A. home to the city for the advancement of the arts.” The school is home to nearly 1,100 students from 43 states and 24 countries, enrolled in more than a dozen art and design programs. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA in Fashion Design with options in Sustainability or Costume Design.

The Costume Design Emphasis focuses on “new directions in character development for film, television, live performance, concept art, and video,” according to OTIS. The Sustainability Minor helps students “develop strategies and systems, as applicable to art and design, which can meet the needs of current generations without compromising those of future generations.” The Continuing Education Department offers a number of single courses for aspiring fashion designers as well. Offerings include Fashion Design, Textile/Surface Design, Jewelry Design, and Illustration.

OTIS Fashion students are mentored by major brands and designers such as Ruben & Isabel Toledo, A|X, Halston, Billabong, Nike, BCBG, Hurley, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Patagonia, and Johnny Was. Internship opportunities with major brands such as Tahari, GAP, Bob Mackie, Armani Exchange, Ralph Lauren, DKNY, and many others provide real world experience, while fashion show events and other prospects offer the opportunity for students to display their designs.

These mentors often participate in The Annual Scholarship and Benefit Fashion Show which is in the 36th offering in 2018. This year’s mentors included Rod Beattie of Bleu, Marisol Gerona Bradford for Universal, Chris Chang for Poesia, Claudia Cividino for Bally, costume designer Louise Mingenbach with Jose Fernandez for Ironhead Studios, Johnson Hartig for Libertine, Davora Lindner for Prairie Underground, and Sapna Von Sick for Alo Yoga.

16. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (top 10% of schools considered)

Auburn University, based in Auburn Alabama, was established in 1856.  In 1872, the school became the first land-grant college in the South. Today, the school is home to a nearly 30,000 students, enrolled in more than 140 degree options across 13 colleges and schools.  Within the university, the College of Human Sciences has the Department of Consumer & Design Sciences (CADS).

CADS offers a BS in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management with an Apparel Design and Production Management Option (BS-APDP).  For those aspiring students they also offer graduate degrees including both Master of Science as well as Ph.D. in Consumer and Design Sciences.  There’s even a Accelerated BS/MS program with specialization areas in design of interiors and apparel.

Apparel Design students have the opportunity to intern at local retailers and design houses as well as opportunities to 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.

CADS curriculum takes an integrated approach to studying apparel throughout the production supply chain and provides students with the education and experiences to become a valued member of firms throughout the apparel and related industries. In addition to academics, the program supports entry level placement in the apparel industry as well as advancement throughout the graduates’ career.

17. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (top 10% of schools considered)

University of North Texas (UNT) was founded in 1890 and is located just North of Dallas in Denton, TX.  It is home to nearly 38,000 students enrolled in 103 bachelor's, 86 master's and 38 doctoral degree programs.  The College of Visual Arts & Design offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers including a Fashion Design Pre-Major, a BFA in Fashion Design, an MFA in Design with a Concentration in Fashion Design, a Studio Art Pre-Major, and BFA degrees in Studio Art with a Concentration in Fibers or Metalsmithing and Jewelry.

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.  Many students can make early impressions on future employers by competing at national and international events, such as: Fashion Group International of Dallas' Career Day, The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Gap Inc.'s Design Your Future competition.  UNT also offers an annual ArtWear fashion show that allows students to showcase your best creations as part of a juried exhibition.  The show offers cash awards and serves as the senior exit review.

18. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (top 10% of schools considered)

The University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is home to over 40,000 students from over 100 countries and all 50 states in the U.S.  There are 4 main schools within DAAP, including School of Design, School of Architecture and Interior Design, School of Art and School of Planning.  DAAP offers ten undergraduate programs, nine graduate programs, five minors and seven certificates.

The School of Design is the focus for aspiring fashion designers. The Fashion Design program prepares students for a career in the world of fashion design and its related industries. Fashion designers communicate ideas by fashion sketching, fashion illustration, and through the creation of three-dimensional finished garments that may appear on the runways or in retail stores.  Offerings include a BS in Fashion Design, a Master of Design, and a Fashion Design Studies Minor.

Students can direct their academic pursuits in either a direction toward Fashion Design (learn how to design and construct garments, thinking about form and function) or Product Strategy (learn whats required to design and create new product lines, working through the process of bringing consumer driven fashion goods to the marketplace.)  In Fashion Design the curriculum includes a mandatory cooperative education component where students work full-time in the fashion industry on alternating semesters. In addition, all students have the opportunity to participate in the popular DAAP Fashion Show.

19. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 10% of schools considered)

Academy of Art University was established in 1929. The school, which had a 2016 fall enrollment of 7,959 students, offers dozens of programs in the areas of art and design. The School of Fashion at Academy of Art offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Undergraduate offerings include an AA in Fashion, a BFA in Fashion with an Emphasis in Fashion Design, Textile Design, or Knitwear Design, BFA degrees in Fashion Product Development and Costume Design, a Certificate in Fashion, and an Online Award of Completion in Fashion Design. A BA degree in Fashion Journalism is also offered. Graduate offerings include MFA degrees in Fashion, Costume Design, Fashion Product Development, Knitwear Design, Textile Design & Fashion Merchandising and Management.

According to the Academy, fashion students have access to facilities that feature “the same leading-edge equipment and resources that top fashion houses enjoy.” Internship opportunities are also available as well as the opportunity to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City and the Annual Graduation Fashion Show in San Francisco. According to the Academy, “the show has been heralded as the ‘Fashion Week of San Francisco’ by both local and national members of the fashion industry.

Graduates of the Academy of Art University have been hired at major companies such as Gap, Kate Spade, Levi Strauss & Co., Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, and many others.

20. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 10% of schools considered)

Drexel University was established in 1891 by Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel. The school, which began as Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry, is home to 25,595 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 15 colleges and schools. The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is home to the Department of Fashion, Product and Design & Merchandising.

The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BS and an MS in Fashion Design. Students may enhance their degree by opting for a Minor in Retail. Administered by the Design & Merchandising (D&M) program, the Minor “provides basic foundations in retail operations, buying and merchandise planning and e-commerce.” A BS in D&M is also on the menu.

Fashion design students also have access to “studios and specialized labs” at the school’s URBN Center, they have access to the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC), and students may enroll in the study abroad program which may take them places such as London (London College of Fashion), England, and Florence. In addition, students may submit their creations to national and international competitions each year, and upon completion of the program, they have the opportunity to show their final collections in the Department’s Annual Fashion Show.

The 2018 show will be held at the headquarters for Urban Outfitters. The show runs to two separate audiences and features designs this year from 34 separate designers; and the show is collaboration with several other Drexel University departments.

21. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas (top 10% of schools considered)

Kansas State University (K-State) was founded in 1863 and has a four-campus system with the main campus being in Manhattan, KS.  Manhattan is known as "The Little Apple" and has avibrant college-town atmosphere.  K-State is home to more than 22,000 students enrolled in 250-plus undergraduate majors and options, and 150-plus graduate study programs, including graduate certificates.

Among K-State’s nine colleges and graduate school, The College of Human Ecology is home to the Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design (ATID).  ATID offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BS and MS degrees in Apparel and Textiles, and a PhD with a Specialization in Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design.

The B.S. undergraduate apparel and textiles program is, “designed to inspire students to envision fresh new approaches to the global challenges facing every aspect of the apparel and textiles industry.”   All apparel and textiles students complete the core professional curriculum and specialize in apparel marketing or apparel design and production.  In addition, the Department features mandatory internships, faculty-led study tours in the U.S. and abroad, and an annual public exhibition of student work.  Graduate offerings include a M.S. degree in Apparel and Textiles and a PhD with a Specialization in Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design.

22. University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware (top 10% of schools considered)

The University of Delaware (UD) was chartered in 1833 and it is currently home to more than 20,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across seven schools. Within the College of Arts & Sciences you will find the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies (FAS).  The FAS department is home to approximately 400 undergraduate majors, split between studies in Apparel Design and Fashion Merchandising.  The department also offers minors in Fashion History and Culture, Fashion Management, and Sustainable Apparel and Textile Innovation.   In the area of graduate studies, the department offers a Master of Science in Fashion and Apparel Studies with thesis and professional project options.  There is even an online graduate certificate program Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business.  This award winning degree addresses labor and environmental problems in the global supply chains for the apparel, textile, and footwear industries. 

Program highlights include the opportunity to complete an internship at home, overseas, or both and the UD Visiting Student Program. This “cooperative arrangement between the University of Delaware (UD) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)” allows students to attend FIT for one year and apply coursework towards the BS program at UD. In addition, the Department of Fashion & Apparel Studies introduced its very first Fashion Week this year. Students have the opportunity to participate in Fashion Week as well as the annual Synergy Fashion Group Student Fashion Show.

23. Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia University), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 10% of schools considered)

In 2017 Philadelphia University leadership decided to merge with Thomas Jefferson University (PhilaU), another local Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Institution.  The new combined school is simply called Jefferson.  Thomas Jefferson University was founded in 1824 and Philadelphia University was founded in 1884. Both were ahead of their time and focused on the importance of experiential learning. The new Jefferson was established on July 1, 2017 as a result of the merger of these two renowned universities.

Within Jefferson, remains the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce,  Kanbar was retained as a legacy college from the days of PhilaU, and still is home to two schools — the School of Design and Engineering and the School of Business. The School of Design and Engineering offers a number of undergraduate and advanced degree programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include BS degrees in Fashion Design, Textile Design, and Textile Materials Technology, MS degrees in Global Fashion Enterprise, Textile Design, and Textile Engineering, and a PhD in Textile Engineering and Sciences.

Program highlights include internships with companies such as Vogue, Betsey Johnson, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch, and study abroad opportunities in London, Rome, Hong Kong, Seoul, Melbourne, Dominican Republic, Scotland, New Zealand, and Denmark. Students also have access to PhilaU’s Historic Textile and Costume Collection as well as “specialized space for individual programs including, engineering labs, fashion design studios, textile studios with state-of-the-art machinery, and industrial design studios.” The Textile and Costume Collection features “museum-quality garments, accessories, and textiles as sources of design inspiration for the modern-day design and product-development process.”

24. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California (top 15% of schools considered)

San Francisco State University (SFSU) was founded in 1899 as San Francisco State Normal School. According to the school’s most recent enrollment report, SFSU is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in more than 140 undergraduate and graduate programs, 17 credential programs, and 38 certificate programs across seven colleges.

The College of Health and Social Sciences is home to the Department of Family, Interior, Nutrition & Apparel (FINA) (formerly the Department of Consumer and Family Studies/Dietetics), which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. 

Offerings include a BS in Apparel Design and Merchandising with an Emphasis in Apparel Design and an MA in Family & Consumer Sciences that can be developed around Apparel studies. Program highlights include internship opportunities, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, and study abroad opportunities in Italy, London, and Sydney.

25. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)

Texas Tech University (TTU) was founded in 1923. It is home to more than 36,500 students enrolled in 300 degree programs across 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences is home the Department of Design (DOD). The Department offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BS in Apparel Design and Manufacturing (ADM). Fashion students may also choose a minor to enhance their degree. Possible study areas include Art, Business, Retailing, Mass Communications, and Theater.

The fashion design bachelor's degree program includes a 180-200-hour internship where they place students with major apparel design companies in Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and London.  Additionally TTU boast the experience of using state of the art fashion design technology.  Students design clothing with the aid of [TC]2 body scanners, state-of-the-art software, and other innovative technologies such as a3D OptiTex virtual design tool.

26. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri (top 15% of schools considered)

Missouri State University’s (MSU) main campus was founded in 1905. The state’s second largest university, MSU is home to more than 24,000 students, with a total of 26,000 system-wide. The school offers more than 180 undergraduate majors and 48 graduate programs across six academic colleges, the School of Agriculture, and the Graduate College.

The College of Business is home to the Department of Merchandising and Fashion Design, which offers one program for aspiring fashion merchandisers—a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design with three-year and four-year options. Both options require completion of four credit hours’ worth of internship experience. In addition, all fashion students have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as London and Paris, and participate in the Annual Spring Fashion Show.

27. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina (top 15% of schools considered)

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Bryan School of Business at the University of North Carolina (UNCG) is home to the Department of Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS).  Clothing and textiles have been a part of UNCG’s history since its beginning in 1892 and has a long and interesting history through the years.

Today CARS offers B.S., Masters and PhD degrees in Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies.  Concentrations are available in Apparel Design or Global Apparel and Related Industry Studies. A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in both areas or in Global Apparel Supply Chain Management is also available.

All CARS students have access to an Historic Costume Collection with garments and artifacts dating from 1776-2003, internship opportunities at major companies such as Anna Sui, Anne Klein, Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s, Calvin Klein, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tommy Hilfiger, and a Global Experience program which offers the opportunity to study in fashion capitals such as Paris and London. Fashion students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual THREADS Fashion Show.28. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 15% of schools considered) California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907. It is home to nearly 2,000 students enrolled in more than 30 degree programs. Options for aspiring fashion designers include BFA degrees in Fashion Design, Jewelry/Metals Arts, and Textiles.

Program highlights include CCA’s internship program, which offers the opportunity to work at San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Levi Strauss & Co, Athleta, and TEA Collection, the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show, and unique study abroad opportunities in places such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Italy.

Many CCA graduates have found success in the world of design. Some have started their own businesses, while others have landed positions with major companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Athleta, Forever 21, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, GUESS, Kate Spade, and many others.

28. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 15% of schools considered)

California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907. It is home to nearly 2,000 students enrolled in more than 30 degree programs. Options for aspiring fashion designers include BFA degrees in Fashion Design, Jewelry/Metals Arts, and Textiles.

Program highlights include CCA’s internship program, which offers the opportunity to work at San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Levi Strauss & Co, Athleta, and TEA Collection, the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show, and unique study abroad opportunities in places such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Italy.

Many CCA graduates have found success in the world of design. Some have started their own businesses, while others have landed positions with major companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Athleta, Forever 21, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, GUESS, Kate Spade, and many others.

29. Baylor University, Waco, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)

Chartered in 1845, Baylor University is currently home to 16,787 students enrolled in more than 250 degree programs across nine colleges and schools. The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences houses the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, which offers one program for aspiring fashion designers—a BS in Apparel Design & Product Development as well as a BS in Apparel Merchandising.

The Apparel Design program provides a “diversified educational experience, encompassing academic excellence in a Christian environment that prepares students to enter the apparel industry profession.”  The program also offers the opportunity to participate in the Annual Baylor Fashion Show, 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 FGI Dallas Career Day, which is held at the Apparel Mart.

The Apparel Merchandising program at Baylor focuses on developing skills, including communication, analytical thinking, teamwork, and ethical behavior. These skills help graduates as they apply management, marketing theory and business principles to the global apparel industry. 

30. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) opened in 1883. It is home to over 51,331 students enrolled (Undergraduate 40,168 /Graduate 11,163) in more than 500 degree programs and fields of study across 18 colleges and schools.The College of Natural Sciences, School of Human Ecology houses the Division of Textiles and Apparel, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

UT’s program offers multiple streams and specializations to students studying for their Bachelor of Sciences in Textiles and Apparel (TXA).  The streams highlighted on their website include Stream 1 Apparel, Functional and Technical Design, Stream II: Merchandising and Consumer Sciences, and Stream III: Textiles and Apparel Honors (Dean's Scholars).  The specializations offered include Apparel Design, Conservation, Functional and Technical Design, Merchandising and Consumer Sciences, Retail Merchandising, Textiles and Apparel Honors, Textile Conservation and Museum Studies.  Graduate program offers an MS in Textile and Apparel Technology (MSTAT).

Program highlights include access to study abroad opportunities in places such as India and China, internship opportunities with major companies such as Anne Klein, Betsey Johnson, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, and Zac Posen, and the UT in NYC Program. The NYC program “brings apparel design, conservation and merchandising students together for a broad look at the apparel industry with an entrepreneurial focus.” Students also have the opportunity to participate in the annual fashion show and exhibition. Past sponsors have included Sephora Cosmetics, Cobalt Blue Hair Salon, and Tribeza.

31. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana (top 15% of schools considered)

Indiana University (IU) was founded in 1820. It houses more than 114,000 students, eight campuses, and 20,000-plus faculty and staff. Students have access to more than 180 majors, 330 degree programs, and more than 190 master’s, doctoral, and professional degree programs through 15 colleges and schools.

Within the School of Art, Architecture + Design offers fashion students either a BA in Fashion Design or a BS in Apparel Merchandising.  The fashion design program offers a well-rounded education in the art, philosophy, theory, and process of fashion design in the 21st century. The curriculum addresses the design process and its relationship to the retail cycle, while also providing hands-on materials learning—including gaining knowledge of fibers, weaves, and finishes used in garment design.  The BS in Apparel Merchandising is best suited for those interested in fashion and design but have an aptitude for business.

The program(s) highlight the ability to study abroad.  IU students can travel for a semester to Paris where they examine European fashion markets, leading designers, and retailing practices. Paris, known for being a capital of high fashion, is an ideal location for this program.

32. Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas (top 15% of schools considered)

Texas Women's University (TWU) was founded in 1901 as The Girls Industrial College. It is home to co-ed population of 15,655 students enrolled in more than 150 programs across four colleges and a graduate school.

The College of Arts & Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Offerings include a BA in Fashion Design, a BA/BS Dual Degree in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising, a BA/BBA Dual Degree in Fashion Design and General Business-Entrepreneurship, and a BA/BS in Fashion Design and Marketing. A Minor in Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising is also on the menu.

In addition to a variety of programs that teach students how to design, produce and sell their own products, the School of Management offers internship opportunities at companies such as Aldo, BCBG Max Azria, Coach, Express, Michael Kors, and Nordstrom. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Montage Senior Fashion Show.

33. Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri (top 15% of schools considered)

Stephens College, located in Columbia Missouri, was founded in 1833 and is currently home to around 700 female students enrolled in more than 20 programs.  It is the second oldest women’s college in the country and continues an unwavering dedication to women's undergraduate education.   The college consists of four schools including the Schools of Design, Health Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Performing Arts.

The School of Design offers degree programs for aspiring fashion designers: including a BA in Apparel Studies and a BFA in Fashion Design & Product Development.   Academic concentrations are available within Apparel Studies, Event and Convention Management, Fashion Communication, Fashion Design and Product Development, Fashion Marketing and Management, Graphic Design Communications and Integrated Marketing Communications.

Program highlights include study trips to international fashion capitals, the opportunity to intern at companies such as Escada, Cosmopolitan, Baby Phat, and WWD, and participation in The Collections Annual Fashion Show (est. 1944). Past jurors have included supermodel Karlie Kloss and alumna Brianne Ratliff ’03 from Armani Exchange. In addition, students have access to the School of Design Historic Costume Museum and Research Library, which consists of more than 13,000 pieces and designer garments. Bill Blass, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino are just a few.

34. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska (top 15% of schools considered)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was founded on February 15, 1869. It is home to nearly 23,000 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across 12 colleges. The College of Education and Human Sciences (CHES) houses the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design (TMFD), which offers a variety of unique programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Undergraduate offerings include BS degrees in Textiles & Fashion Design, Textile Science, and Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design/Communications. Graduate offerings include MA, MS, and PhD degrees in Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design (TMFD). Aspiring fashion designers may concentrate their coursework in design-related areas such as Textile Science, Textile Design, or Apparel Design. Quilt Studies is another option as well as a Graduate Certificate in TMFD.

Fashion Program highlights include study tours and international experiences in New York, Paris/Milan, London/Paris, Paris/Prague, Shanghai, and Beijing, and  internship opportunities with major companies such as Vera Wang, Tahari, Nicole Miller, and InStyle Magazine. Students also have the opportunity to show their creations at the biennial Student Runway Show.

35. Maryland Institute College of Art, MD (top 20% of schools considered)

Despite keeping a lower profile than some of the other fashion and art institutes on this list the Maryland Institute College of Art, or MICA, has a lot to boast about. They have been named by several press as among the top design schools in the nation. They are also the oldest college of art to continuously grant degrees, graduating design students since 1826.

MICA offers undergraduate students a BFA in Fiber with a concentration in Experimental Fashion. According to the school, the program “... is intended for fiber majors with a strong interest in fashion as a cultural phenomenon and expressive medium.”
In addition to the normal course of study, students have the opportunity to participate, and run, the annual Fashion week, where student designers bring their creations to life.


36. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (top 20% of schools considered)

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University (MSU) is the prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862. The school is home to more than 50,000 students from 82 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States, and 133 other countries. MSU consists of 17 degree-granting colleges that provide more than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study. The school also offers over 275 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents.

Within the College of Arts & Letters, Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) students can pursue a BFA or a BA in Apparel and Textiles. Per the Department, “the Apparel and Textile Design (ATD) program emphasizes creativity and experimentation that mingles design with art. Students combine fine art, couture and technical design to create original garments, which reflect an understanding of global issues such as sustainability and cultural dress.”

The BFA provides professional preparation in Apparel and Textile Design. The core of the program emphasizes aesthetics and creativity; two- and three-dimensional Apparel and Textile Design skills; design technologies; the historical and cultural aspects of dress and textiles; sustainable design; and the role of Apparel and Textiles in a global context.

The BA degree provides students with a foundation in art with fundamental skills in Apparel and Textile Design.  It includes exposure to design technologies; sustainable design; Art History and Visual Culture; the historical and cultural aspects of dress and textiles; and the role of Apparel and Textiles in a global context. Two years proficiency in a foreign language is required.

37. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (top 20% of schools considered) 

Louisiana State University (LSU) opened its doors in 1860. The school is home to more than 31,500 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Agriculture, Department of Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising (TAM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers.

LSU offers a BS in Textiles, Apparel & Merchandising (BS TAM) with a Concentration in Apparel Design, Textile Science, or Merchandising.  The curriculum provides an integrated, multi-functional academic experience.  Textile and apparel students focus on the design, development, and marketing of products and are encouraged to develop a broad based problem solving perspective through synthesis of concepts, course work, and work experiences.

On the graduate side, TAM offers both MS and PhD Degrees in Human Ecology with Concentrations in Apparel Design, Textile Science, and Historical/Cultural Aspects of Textiles and Apparel.

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.

38. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (top 20% of schools considered)

Based in Stillwater, OK and established in 1890, Oklahoma State University (OSU) is home to more than 21,000 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 10 colleges. The College of Human Sciences, Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising (DHM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. The main course areas as highlighted by the university are Interior Design, Fashion Design and Production as well as Fashion Merchandising.

As part of the offerings, the Apparel Design program (ADP) at OSU is, “one of only thirteen apparel programs in North America to receive the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) approval.”  This means that the “curriculum and facilities have met the rigorous standards” of the AAFA.

Program offerings include a BS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (BS DHM) with an Option in Apparel Design and Production (ADP) and an MS in Design, Housing and Merchandising (MS DHM) with a Research Thesis Option or Design Thesis Option in Apparel Design & Production (ADP). A PhD in Human Sciences with a Specialization in Design, Housing and Merchandising (PhD DHM) is also on the menu as well as a Minor in Apparel Design and Production (ADP).

OSU’s fashion merchandising programs focus on the business of fashion. Students are exposed to both global and domestic learning experiences and complete a required internship to gain professional work experience prior to graduation.  Highlighted on the schools website, Fashion Merchandising program recently moved into a new state of the art facility that includes a 1600 sq. foot Mixed Reality Lab and a 330 sq. foot Eye-Tracking Lab.  The Mixed Reality Lab allows students and faculty to focus on research in augmented reality, virtual reality and digital prototyping.  The Mixed Reality Lab is funded in part through the College of Human Sciences.

39. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan (top 20% of schools considered)

Established in 1892 as Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute, Central Michigan University (CMU) opened with just 31 students and several rooms above an office in Downtown Mount Pleasant. Today, CMU sits on 235 acres and it is home to 27,000 students at its main campus in Mount Pleasant, online, and at more than 50 locations across North America. The main campus offers more than 200 academic programs across eight colleges.

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 designers. Fashion design offerings include BA, BAA, and BS degrees in Apparel Design, 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. Minor programs are also available. As are online degree programs are also available in both Fashion Merchandising and Design.

Fashion program highlights include a top-rated 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 locations include Hong Kong, London, and Paris.

40. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington (top 20% of schools considered)

Washington State University (WSU) was founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grant university. The school’s main campus is located in Pullman, Washington, and it has regional campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland), Vancouver, and Everett.

WSU-Pullman is home to more than 20,000 students enrolled 95 undergraduate majors and 85 minors, 120 graduate and professional programs, and 100-plus certificates and in-major specializations across 11 colleges. The College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Science (CAHNRS) is home to the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT). The Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, and Textiles with a Specialization Track in Apparel Design and an MA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles offered in collaboration with the Department of AMDT and the Graduate School.

Program highlights include study abroad opportunities in more than 70 countries, access to the third largest apparel and textile industry in the country, and optional membership in student chapters of two major industry associations—the International Textiles and Apparel Association (ITAA) and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). Study tours to places such as Los Angeles are also on the menu as well as the opportunity to contribute to Cougar Couture—WSU’s AMDT Newsletter. Students may participate in several campus events including exhibitions, design and merchandising competitions, and the popular Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show.

41. University of Alabama, AL (top 20% of schools considered)

The Apparel and Design program at the University of Alabama prepares students for entry-level work in the fields of apparel and textiles, including design, production, and management. The curriculum teaches the traditional body of knowledge through studio classes as well as art and design history courses. University of Alabama’s fashion retailing program is tailored for individuals interested in fashion merchandising and management in the retail industry.  Students with a focus in international retailing have the option of taking additional coursework to complete a general business minor.

The University offers a Bachelor of Science in Apparel & Textiles with two concentrations in Fashion Retail and Apparel Design. Over the course of the program, students both manually and digitally create an original line for a specific target market, articulate the design philosophy underlying the line, execute the pattern work, and prepare the technical flats and specification package for the line items.In there senior year their senior year, students will complete an internship with a regional or national retailer, manufacturer, or buying office. Typical internship sites include New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte, and Birmingham.


42. University of Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as the state's agricultural school in 1888. The school became the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1892, and the first class of 17 members graduated two years later. Today, URI is home to nearly 18,000 students enrolled over 80 majors across nine colleges and The Graduate School of Oceanography.

The College of Business, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design offer several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include BS and MS degrees in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) with a Fashion Merchandising Concentration, a Certificate in Fashion Merchandising, and Minor in TMD. A double major in TMD and a “fashion” language, either French or Italian, is also on the menu.

Program highlights include internships with major companies and brands such as Gucci (New York), Nordstrom (Providence, RI), Donna Karan (New York), Marc Jacobs (New York), Rhode Island Design Center (Warwick, RI) and Green Envy (Newport, RI). Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in London, Paris (at Mod’Spe), Firenze, Italy (at Accademia Italiana), Barcelona, or other fashion capitals. 
Summer Study at the Universite de la Mode in Lyon, France is also on the menu as well the New York Experience, the Winter Fashion Study Tour of London and Paris, access to the Historic Textile and Costume Collection and participation in the Annual Fashion Show.

43. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon (top 20% of schools considered)

Oregon State University (OSU) was founded in 1868.  OSU, located about an hour and a half South of Portland, is an international public research university that draws people from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.   It is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in over 200 undergraduate and 80-plus graduate degree programs across 11 academic colleges. The College of Business recently restructured the design major under the School of Design and Innovation Management.

The B.S. degree allows students to tailor their major to meet their career needs; students will choose one of three options available under the major: apparel design, interior design and design management. The apparel design major is a four year program with a redesigned curricular that has an emphasis on outdoor and performance wear with an integration of business principles.  Graduates learn about the apparel industry that dominates the Pacific Northwest. All students follow the common design core program, designed to be completed in two years and provides a comprehensive foundation of design concepts. The major still requires admission to the OSU COB pro-school. 

44. Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 20% of schools considered)

Moore College of Art & Design was founded in 1848. It is the first and only visual arts college for women in the U.S. The school is home to 440 students enrolled in 10 majors leading to a BFA. Moore also offers five graduate programs, certificate programs, and 17 tracks leading to one of 11 minors to complement the major courses of study. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include a BFA and a Minor in Fashion Design, and a Certificate in Fashion Studies with two tracks including Apparel Construction and Technical Design.

Program highlights include opportunities to work several shows during NYC Fashion Week, both paid and unpaid internships at major companies such as Ana Sui, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Halston, Marc Jacobs, Nordstrom, Rag & Bone, and Zac Posen, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. Students may also participate in the “Fashion Critic Program,” which gives students the opportunity to work with a designer from the fashion industry. This ensures that the students’ creations are “professional and marketable.”
Graduates of the Fashion Program at Moore College of Art have worked for major designers and companies such as Adrienne Vittadini, Anne Klein Studio, Badgley Mischka, Fila, Jones New York, Liz Claiborne, Sean John, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, and many others.  Dom Streater, a ‘10 alum, took home the prize, and join the rising fashion elite winning season 12 of Project Runway.

45. California State University Northridge, Northridge, California (top 20% of schools considered)

California State University Northridge (CSUN) was founded in 1958 as San Fernando Valley State College. The most recent enrollment figures show that school is home to nearly 45,500 students enrolled in 175 programs through nine colleges. The College of Health and Human Development, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences houses the Apparel Design and Merchandising program. Degree offerings for aspiring fashion merchandisers include a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences with an Option in Apparel Design and Merchandising-Emphasis Apparel Merchandising.

Program highlights include access to the Historic Costume Collection, internship opportunities at The California Merchandise Mart, design showrooms, textile and apparel manufacturers, major department stores, museums, and textile testing labs, and networking opportunities through the student organization TRENDS. Students also have the opportunity to develop professional relationships through domestic fashion industry tours and organizations such as the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) and the Fashion Industry Association (FIA). 

46. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) was founded in 1907. The school is home to 13,689 undergraduate students and 5,176 graduate students enrolled in more than 230 programs across 14 colleges and schools. The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), Department of Family and Consumer Sciences houses the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program. Degree options include a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a Fashion Design or Merchandising Emphasis. Students are also able to earn a minor is Fashion Design & Merchandising.

Classroom work is enhanced by one of the largest costume collections at a university in the U.S., giving students and faculty a rich source of items to draw upon for their classes and projects.

According to the school, “the curriculum teaches cutting-edge skills in computer 2-D and 3-D fashion design; apparel product development; entrepreneurship; retailing; and consumer behavior, attitudes, and consumption of textile and apparel products around the world.” Program highlights include optional membership in the Fashion Club and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. Graduates of the program are prepared to compete for positions such as Textile and Fashion Designer, Technical Designer, Visual Merchandiser, Costume Designer, Curator, and Fashion Forecaster. 

47. The Art Institute of California, San Francisco, CA (top 25% of schools considered)

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco was established in 1997. The school sits in the heart of San Francisco near Civic Center Plaza, art museums, shopping, an arts and crafts market and more. Home to around 1,600 students, the Art Institute of California-San Francisco offers around 25 programs in the areas of Design, Media Arts, Culinary Art, and Fashion. Offerings for aspiring fashion designers include AS and BFA degrees in Fashion Design and a Fashion Retailing Diploma.

Besides an impressive collection of art and design programs, the Art Institute offers an exceptional career services center. According to AU, The Department of Career Services features “individual and group advising, workshops, a Career Development Class, opportunities to network with industry professionals through The Art Institute of California—San Francisco Speaker Series, field trips to companies, Portfolio Show, career fairs, and networking events.”

48. California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California (top 25% of schools considered)

Home to more than 37,000 students, California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is the third largest member of the 23-school California State University (CSU) system. Established in 1949, CSULB offers more than 300 programs across eight colleges. 

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), Department of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS), and the College of Business Administration offer several programs for aspiring fashion designers. FCS offerings include a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences with Options in Fashion Design or Textiles & Clothing, a Minor in Textiles, and a Certificate in Textiles. Program highlights include the Annual Spring Fashion Show and Fashion Study Tours of New York City offered every January and July, and tours of Paris luxury fashion industries offered every June.

The College of Business Administration offers an MBA with a Specialization in Fashion Merchandising and Design. The MBA is a self-paced, 48-unit evening program designed for part-time, full-time, domestic or international students. An undergraduate degree in business is not required to enter the program. 

49. Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania (top 25% of schools considered)

Albright College dates back to the founding of Union Seminary in 1856. The school, which is home to more than 2,000 students, offers over 60 programs of study. The Fashion Department offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers including a BA in Fashion with Tracks in Fashion Merchandising or Design and Merchandising. A Combined Fashion Major with a Fashion Merchandising Track is also on the menu.

Program highlights include study abroad opportunities in Italy, France, the UK and South Korea as well as internship opportunities at companies such as Donna Karan, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Tiffany’s, and more. Fashion merchandising students also have the opportunity to participate in the Department’s Annual Fashion Showcase & Runway Show. Graduates of the Fashion and Costume programs at Albright have been hired by companies such as DKNY, Macy’s, Berkshire Theater Festival, David’s Bridal, Anthropologie, and many others. 

50. Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi (top 25% of schools considered)

Mississippi State University was established February 28, 1878 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi. The school is home to 21,622 students enrolled in more than 175 programs across 12 colleges and schools.

The School of Human Sciences houses the Fashion Design & Merchandising program. Students in the BS program concentrate in one of two areas—Apparel Production & Design or Merchandising. The Apparel Production & Design curriculum “emphasizes the total design and production process from inception to finished product and its ultimate sale to the consumer.”

Each summer FDM faculty lead intensive study abroad tours to New York, London, Paris, Milan, Florence, Rome, and/or Venice. These unique learning opportunities allow students to experience different cultures while building their personal global network with fashion industry professionals. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of fashion show events and showcases.