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

Written by FS StaffJune 15, 2018

Fashion-Schools.org is excited to bring you our 2018 Fashion Merchandising School rankings.  Every year we compile a definitive ranking of the US’s top fashion merchandising 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 Merchandising 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. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (top 1% 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.

3. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (top 3% 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.

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. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (top 3% 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.

6. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Minnesota (top 3% 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.

7. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (top 5% 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.

8. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (top 5% 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.

9. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (top 5% 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.

10. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 5% 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.

11. 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.

12. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon (top 10% 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.

13. LIM College, New York, New York (top 10% of schools considered)

LIM College was founded by Maxwell F. Marcuse in 1939 as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM). The school, which became LIM College in 2009, is home to ~1,700 students enrolled in associates, bachelor’s & master's degree programs in several fashion-focused majors.

There are a variety of programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include Associate in Applied Sciences (AAS), Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS), and Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees (BBA) in Fashion Merchandising, and Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in International Business & Fashion Media. Bachelor of Business Administration BBAs in Visual Merchandising, Marketing & Management are also available.

Graduate offerings include Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degrees in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management, the Business of Fashion, and Global Fashion Supply Chain Managemnt.

Concentrations are available for all majors and include Cosmetics, Digital Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Event Planning, Fashion Media, Fashion Publishing, Home Fashions, International Business, International Marketing, Responsible Business Practices, Retail and Merchandise Management, and Styling.

Program highlights include participation in the Annual Fashion Show, optional membership in the Fashion Show Production Club, the Fashion Styling Club and other organizations, and study abroad opportunities. Just a few past locations include France, Italy, Spain, Australia, China, and England.

14. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles, California (top 10% 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.

15. Baylor University, Waco, Texas (top 10% 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.

16. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri (top 10% of schools considered)

Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri (MU or Mizzou) was the first public university west of the Mississippi River. It is home to 33,266 students enrolled in more than 300 degree and certificate programs through 15 colleges and schools. The College of Human and Environmental Sciences (HES) is home to the Department of Textile & Apparel Management (TAM), which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.

Undergraduate programs include a BS in Textile & Apparel Management with Options in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising, and International Apparel Marketing and Merchandising and a Minor in TAM. Graduate programs include an MS and a PhD in TAM.

Program highlights include access to the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection (MHCTC), which features more than 5,500 artifacts, the New York Study Tour, participation in the Annual Fashion Show, internship opportunities, and study abroad experiences. Study abroad locations have included India and El Salvador, and TAM has a partnership with Study Abroad Italy (SAI), which offers fashion-based programs in Florence, Milan, and London.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina (top 10% 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.

20. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 10% of schools considered)

The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. The school is home to more than 66,000 students enrolled more than 485 majors and degrees across 15 colleges and schools. The College of Education and Human Ecology is home to the Department of Human Sciences, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in Fashion and Retail Studies with a Specialization in Merchandising or Product Development, and an MS or PhD in Consumer Sciences with a Concentration in Fashion and Retail Studies.

Program highlights include participation in the Fashion Production Association, the opportunity to volunteer at the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection, internship opportunities, study abroad experiences from China to Thailand, and the opportunity to work with OSU’s fashion publication—Scarlette Magazine. Students will also benefit from the Fashion and Retail Studies Speaker Series with past guests such as Ed Razek, executive producer of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and chief marketing officer of Limited Brands, and Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy's Inc.

Finally, merchandising students will have the opportunity to travel to New York City to attend the National Retail Federation's annual student event. This major affair offers networking opportunities with retail professionals and the chance to meet with recruiters that do not routinely recruit at OSU. Graduates of the program have been hired by companies such as Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, L Brands, Macy's, Anthropologie, Chico's and Abercrombie & Fitch.

21. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (top 10% of schools considered)

The University of Georgia (UGA) was chartered in 1785, making Georgia the first state in the U.S. to charter a state-supported university. The school is home to 36,574 students enrolled in 170 majors and academic programs across 17 colleges and schools. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) is home the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors.

The Department offers a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences - Fashion Merchandising (BS FCS) optional specialties such as Product Development & Design, International Merchandising, or Merchandising and International Trade. A Fashion Merchandising Minor is also available and the Department encourages students to supplement their Fashion Merchandising degree with an Entrepreneurship Certificate to “successfully run” their own business. Graduate offerings include an MS in Merchandising & International Trade and a PhD with an Emphasis in International Merchandising.

Program highlights include the six-week London Study Abroad Program, Maymester programs that include 10 days in China and three weeks in Ghana, and optional membership in student organizations such as the Student Merchandising Association or the Fashion Design Student Association. Internship opportunities are available at retailers and brands such as Macy’s, Nicole Miller, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Escada, Marc Jacobs, Armani Exchange, Target and many others. Students may also participate in the annual UGA Fashion Week.

Graduates of the Merchandising programs at UGA have been hired by companies such as Atlanta Apparel Mart, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Boxercraft Inc., Diane Von Furstenberg, DDI Magazine, Macy's, Oxford Industries, Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, Warby Parker, and WWD & W Magazines.

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. Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York (top 15% 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. Jefferson (formerly Philadelphia University), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 15% 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.”

27. 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.

28. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California (top 15% of schools considered)

California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly Pomona) was founded in 1938. It is home to 23,717 students enrolled in hundreds of programs through eight academic colleges and the College of the Extended University. The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture, Department of Apparel Merchandising and Management (AMM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include a BS in AMM with an option in Apparel Production or Fashion Retailing. A Minor and a Certificate in AMM are also available.

AMM is one of 13 colleges that have been endorsed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). Other program highlights include hands-on lab activities, industry tradeshows and visits, industry internships, and field and study abroad opportunities. Students have completed internships at major companies such as BCBG, GUESS, Nordstrom, Bebe, Forever 21, Quicksilver, Lucky Brand jeans, Disney, Hurley, True Religion, and many others. New York, London, Paris, Milan, Rome, and Florence are just a few of the places past AMM students have studied.

AMM students also have the opportunity to participate in industry competitions, the Annual Fashion Show, AM2—the product line developed by Apparel Production students, and ApparelScapes—AMM’s retail microbusiness established in 2001. According to Cal Poly, ApparelScapes “retails AM2 and BLDG45 branded clothing through its own retail venues on the campus.”

29. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (top 15% of schools considered)

Florida State University (FSU) was founded in 1851. It is home to nearly 42,000 students enrolled in more than 275 academic programs through 16 colleges. Established in 1905 and home to nearly 3,000 students, the College of Human Sciences houses the Retail, Merchandising and Product Development Department (RMPD)—one of the largest programs of its kind in the U.S. The Department offers nearly 800 majors, including several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in Retail Merchandising and Product Development, an MS in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising with a major in Global Merchandising and Product Development, and a Graduate Certificate in Retail Merchandising.

The BS in Retail Merchandising and Product Development “integrates an understanding of design, textiles, and retail merchandising,” while the MS program prepares graduates to “serve in management positions in production, distribution and consumption areas.” The Certificate program “provides graduate level competency in retail store management and buying for academically talented students who are completing an undergraduate degree in merchandising.”

Other RMPD highlights include internship opportunities with more than 250 companies such as American Eagle, Macy’s, Burberry, and Escada, study opportunities in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, New York City, Orlando, Miami, or London, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show.

30. 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.

31. 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.

32. Washington State University, Pullman, Washington (top 15% 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.

33. 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.

34. Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois (top 20% of schools considered)

Dominican University is a private, not-for-profit institution that was established in 1901.  It is home to more than 3,470 students enrolled in more than 100 programs. The school, which consists of 939,000 square feet of buildings, 5 residence halls, 2 theaters and a 70,000+ square-foot library, is just 10 miles from Downtown Chicago—home of the famous Magnificent Mile.

The Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising offers majors or minors in either Fashion Design or Fashion Merchandising.  The fashion design program includes primary study in design, pattern making, research, appropriate fit and fabric selection, fashion trending, and illustration. It prepares students to work in the fashion design industry or as entrepreneurs in the design field.  The fashion merchandising program appeals to the business oriented student that is interested in the fashion industry.  Courses focus on retail buying, visual display, and other merchandising courses, students take coursework in business administration, economics, and art.

One of the Fashion Design program highlights, according to their website, is access to the latest computer-aided technology that is used to create textile prints, visualize them on garment designs in 3-D, and print on fabric.  On the Fashion Merchandising side, the Retail Buying course gives students an opportunity to work at Style Max, a women’s apparel trade show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

35. University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of South Carolina (USC) was founded in 1801 as South Carolina College. The school home to 33,772 students enrolled in more than 250 academic degree programs through 16 colleges and schools.

The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Options include a BS in Retailing with a Concentration in Fashion Merchandising, a Master of Retailing (M.R.), and an accelerated Bachelor/Master of Retailing.

Program highlights include two mandatory internships prior to graduation, participation in USC Fashion Week, access to organizations such as Retail and Fashion Merchandising Graduate Student Organization (RFMGSO), the National Retail Federation, and Fashion Board at USC. Students have the opportunity to attend Fashion Week in New York City and they have access to a wide variety of study abroad opportunities. For example, the College of HRSM has a global exchange program with the University of Aruba (UA), which allows students to study at UA for an entire semester.  Other study abroad locations include Paris, Italy, London, Macao-China, Punta Cana-Dominican Republic, China, Switzerland, and Germany.

36. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (top 20% of schools considered)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838. It is home to more than 31,000 students enrolled in around 226 degree and certificate programs across 15 colleges and schools. The School of the Arts is home to the Department of Fashion and Merchandising which has over 300 students enrolled in two educational tracks: the Fashion Design (BFA) and Fashion Merchandising (BA).

Each year, the school offers the Summer Luxury Program where students have the opportunity to study the luxury industry through an intense four week program, including a two week stay in New York City.

Program highlights include optional membership in The VCU Stiletto Club, internship opportunities in the U.S. and overseas, and study abroad opportunities including Fashion in Florence, VCU Qatar, and options in Paris, London, Scotland, and more. Fashion students also have the opportunity to participate in the VCU Annual Fashion Show.

37. Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia (top 20% of schools considered)

Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech University more than 250 degree programs to more than 33,000 students across 10 colleges and schools. The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences offers several programs for aspiring fashion designers. Options include a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design, a BS in Consumer Studies, and Minor in Dress, Culture, and Society. Fashion Merchandising and Design students will complete a core professional curriculum in apparel and textiles and specialize in Apparel Merchandising or Apparel Design and Production.

Fashion students will study product and promotion, product analysis, and business fundamentals, and complete three credits of action learning via study abroad, field study, independent study, or undergraduate research. The 18 credit hour Dress, Culture, and Society program highlights the study of clothing and dress within the global society, three credits of applied learning via field study, study abroad, or the New York Study Tour, and the option to complete an elective of their choice.

38. Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts (top 20% of schools considered)

Founded in 1839, Framingham State University (FSU) was the first public teacher’s college in the country. Today the school is home 6,400 students enrolled in 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and professional fields.  The College of Arts and Humanities is home to six academic departments, including the the Fashion Design and Retailing Department (FDRD).

The department offers one program for aspiring fashion merchandisers—a BS in Fashion Design and Retailing.  Students may concentrate in either Apparel Design or Merchandising.  There are two Minors available as well, including Apparel Design or Museum Studies.  FSU is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Program highlights include small class sizes and individual attention, state-of-the-art computer technology, “dynamic” merchandising and design opportunities, study tours, and business and industry partnerships. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship.

39. University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky (top 20% of schools considered)

The University of Kentucky (UK) was founded in 1865. It is home to more than 30,000 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs through 16 colleges and professional schools. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment houses the School of Human Environmental Sciences which offers six undergraduate degree programs, four master’s degree programs, and a PhD in Family Sciences.

Through UK’s Department of Retailing and Tourism Management, fashion students can pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles. Beyond the undergrad BS degree, graduate students can pursue a Masters of Science degree in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles.  Applicants for the MS program are expected to have an undergraduate degree in merchandising, apparel, and textiles or a closely related field.

UK offers an accelerated Masters for students currently enrolled and working toward their BS in Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles.  Motivated students have the option to begin their graduate school education while still an undergraduate student! The University Scholars Program, as its called provides an opportunity to acquire a Master’s degree on a fast track.

Additional program highlights for BS students include the New York Study Tour, study abroad opportunities to places such as Paris, China, and the UK, and internship opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show and the Target Project. The Target Project allows students to conduct research on the company’s retailing needs.  Program highlights for MS students include the option to choose a thesis or non-thesis track, access to assistantship and travel opportunities, and the opportunity to submit articles for presentations at the ITAA yearly conference. Graduate students also have the opportunity to study abroad.

40. 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.

41. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (top 20% of schools considered)

Texas State University opened its doors in 1903 as Southwest Texas State Normal School. The school is home to nearly 39,000 students enrolled in 200 degree programs across 10 colleges. The College of Applied Arts houses the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers.

Options include a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS) with a Major in Fashion Merchandising and a Minor in Business Administration, an MS in Merchandising and Consumer Studies (MS MCS), and a Minor in Fashion Merchandising. A Minor in Business is a required component of the BSFCS/Fashion Merchandising program.

Program highlights include a required internship with companies such as Dillard’s, Saks, and Nike; educational tours and trips such as Fashion Career Day in Dallas, and participation in The Market Center Fashion Study course that takes students to fashion capitals such as Paris, London, Milan or Florence as well as fashion centers in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas and others.  Students may also become members of The Fashion Merchandising Association and all students will have the opportunity to participate in the Annual Fashion Show.

42. 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).

43. 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.

44. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California (top 25% 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.

45. California State University - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 25% of schools considered)

California State University – Los Angeles (Cal State LA or CSU LA) was founded in 1947 as Los Angeles State College. The school is home to nearly 28,000 students enrolled in hundreds of programs across eight colleges. The College of Arts & Letters is home to the Department of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring fashion merchandisers. Offerings include a BA in Art with an Option in Fashion and Textiles/Specialization Fashion Merchandising, MA and MFA degrees in Art with an Option in Fashion and Textiles, and an undergraduate Certificate in Fashion Retailing.

Program highlights include internship opportunities at places such as The Getty Center and Alternative Apparel Los Angeles, participation in the Annual Senior Fashion Show, access to International Programs with more than 50 universities in 18 countries, and participation in the Fashion Association of Design Students.

46. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio (top 25% of schools considered)

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), new workshop and classrooms in the Gertrude Eppler Complex and a graduation requirement of two program options;.  The first option is an AMPD Major with a Marketing Minor.  Option two is acceptance and participation in the FIT Program (Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City).  The FIT option allows students to study for one year at FIT NY in the areas of Advertising and Communications or Textile Development and Marketing.

BGSU faculty encourage students to visit domestic fashion hubs such as Columbus, Chicago, New York City and/or international hubs such as Paris, London, Milan, Tel Aviv and Sydney.

47. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas (top 25% of schools considered)

Texas Christian University (TCU) was founded in 1873 as AddRan Male and Female College. It is home to 10,394 students, enrolled 118 undergraduate areas of study, 53 master’s level programs, and 25 areas of doctoral study across eight colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts is home to the Department of Interior Design & Fashion Merchandising. The Department offers a BS in Fashion Merchandising.

Program highlights include off-campus study programs in Paris, New York, and Dallas, access to the TCU Costume Collection, which features more than 2,500 items dating back to the 1850s, and participation in the Annual Fashion Show. In addition, students will complete a full-time 10-week supervised internship with companies such as Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, JCPenney, Pier 1 Imports, Fossil, Zale Corporation, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, Tom Ford, Donna Karan, and Kenneth Cole.

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

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is the third largest member of the 23-school California State University (CSU) system.  Established in 1949, CSULB is home to more than 37,000 students and offers more than 300 programs across eight colleges.  The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) offers programs for aspiring fashion designers.

Within CHHS, the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) offers a BA in Family and Consumer Sciences with options to get a BA in Fashion Design or BA in Fashion Merchandising.  One program highlight is the annual Spring Fashion Show.  Its coordinated by the students themselves and features the designs created by the students.  The show serves as a network for future career opportunities for students.

FCS also offers several opportunities for students to learn about the international fashion industry outside of the classroom through “study tours” in New York.

49. Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky (top 25% of schools considered)

Established in 1906, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is a regional, coeducational, public institution located in Richmond, Madison County Kentucky. The campus is just 23 miles from Lexington-Fayette, KY, 87 miles from Louisville, KY, and 98 miles from Cincinnati, OH. The school is home to nearly 16,000 students, enrolled in more than 100 undergraduate degree programs. The school has one main campus, seven regional campuses, and five colleges.

The Eastern Kentucky University, College of Health Sciences, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences offers a BS in Apparel Design & Merchandising (BS ADM). Program highlights include studio and lecture courses, the opportunity to gain co-op experience, and participation in the Spring Fashion Show. The BS ADM program prepares students for careers in Fashion Marketing, Clothing Design, Retail Promotions, Merchandise, Buying, Quality Assurance, Visual Merchandising, and more.

In addition to the program highlights listed, the EKU website mentions that students have a variety of study abroad options such as exchange opportunities, joint programs, and third party providers. EKU has partnerships with Daegu Haany University in South Korea, Pontifica Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais (Brazil), and University of Yamanashi in Japan, to name a few.

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.