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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty is the #1 school for a fast online fash­ion bach­e­lor’s degree.
  • Stu­dents learn a mix of prac­ti­cal and busi­ness skills, includ­ing fash­ion design, mar­ket­ing, and brand devel­op­ment, along­side man­ag­ing fash­ion events and under­stand­ing con­sumer behav­ior.
  • Grad­u­ates are pre­pared for diverse roles with­in the fash­ion indus­try, from design and mer­chan­dis­ing to man­age­ment and mar­ket­ing.

You can get into the fash­ion indus­try with­out hav­ing a degree, but your career prospects look bet­ter if you have one. That’s why peo­ple who start­ed work­ing in the indus­try at the entry-lev­el will often find them­selves going back to school to get a bachelor’s. Accel­er­at­ed online pro­grams make the process much more effi­cient and pain­less for work­ing pro­fes­sion­als and career-chang­ing adults, who need to fin­ish quick­ly and conveniently.

Fash­ion degree pro­grams cov­er a num­ber of things, includ­ing all the prac­ti­cal skills need­ed to give you an in-depth under­stand­ing of the indus­try. Stu­dents learn designs skills such as fash­ion, tex­tile, com­put­er-based design, pat­terns, and cre­at­ing a sig­na­ture look, but they also learn busi­ness skills like mar­ket­ing, how to devel­op a brand, how to put togeth­er and coor­di­nate a run­way show and pro­mote it, con­sumer behav­ior and trends, how to work with sup­ply chains, and of course, inter­na­tion­al fash­ion and their markets.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Fashion Degree Programs

Get­ting a fash­ion degree fast might be the goal, but the edi­tors at Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter know that a qual­i­ty degree – one that gets you a job – takes more than just speed. That’s why BDC fea­tures only accred­it­ed, trust­ed insti­tu­tions, ranked accord­ing to use­ful data such as cost, grad­u­ate salary, and reputation.

1. Arizona State University

The Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Busi­ness Retail Man­age­ment pro­vides stu­dents with the knowl­edge and skills that will assist in a career of lead­er­ship in this area. Stu­dents will obtain real-world expe­ri­ence as a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort with the fac­ul­ty and indus­try pro­fes­sion­als, prepar­ing stu­dents to imme­di­ate­ly assume lead­er­ship roles with­in the retail indus­try. The course­work is designed to show­case real-world experiences.

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty has been rec­og­nized by U.S. News & World Report as the country’s most inno­v­a­tive school six years in a row with over 400+ pres­ti­gious fac­ul­ty mem­bers. Start­ed in 1886, this Uni­ver­si­ty was open almost 30 years pri­or to Ari­zona being grant­ed state­hood. Fac­ul­ty at the W.P. Carey School of Busi­ness include a Nobel lau­re­ate; Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences mem­bers; renowned jour­nal pub­li­ca­tions and speak­ers at nation­al con­fer­ence. Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty is accred­it­ed by The High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion (HLC).

What We Like: The Uni­ver­si­ty offers a vari­ety of schol­ar­ships and finan­cial aid for stu­dents as well as stu­dent sup­port services.

Degree: BA in Busi­ness Retail Management

Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Busi­ness Retail Management

2. University of Wisconsin — Madison

The BS in Tex­tiles and Fash­ion Design at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son com­bines art, design and sci­ence that cov­ers his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary design. The pro­gram focus­es on cul­tur­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty, envi­ron­men­tal design, eco­nom­ic aspects, tech­nol­o­gy and entre­pre­neur­ship. Stu­dents are also pre­pared for reward­ing indus­try careers with oppor­tu­ni­ties to spend their senior year at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy in New York City.

The Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Tex­tiles and Fash­ion Design pro­gram is high­ly rat­ed, with indus­try lead­ers seek­ing out stu­dents grad­u­at­ing from this pro­gram. After stu­dents suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed a year at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (FIT), they not only receive the Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degree, but an addi­tion­al Asso­ciates of Applied Sci­ence degree from FIT. There are many award-win­ning grad­u­ates of this pro­gram, who work with fac­ul­ty who encour­age cre­ativ­i­ty while address­ing real world prob­lems with sus­tain­able solu­tions. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son is accred­it­ed by the High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion (HLC) and has been since 1913.

What We Like: Schol­ar­ships are avail­able for stu­dents through the Wis­con­sin Schol­ar­ship Hub.

Degree: BS in Tex­tiles and Fash­ion Design

BS in Tex­tiles and Fash­ion Design — Uni­ver­si­ty of Wisconsin-Madison

3. Fashion Institute of Technology

The Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy BS in Inter­na­tion­al Trade and Mar­ket­ing for the Fash­ion Indus­tries pre­pares stu­dents for careers that span the globe. Stu­dents are tak­en through com­plex glob­al mar­ket­places, includ­ing aspects of the legal, finan­cial, logis­ti­cal and inter­cul­tur­al nuances of import and export. The com­pre­hen­sive accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree pro­gram ful­ly pre­pares stu­dents with course­work in busi­ness strat­e­gy, inter­na­tion­al finance, fash­ion law and mar­ket research.

The only pro­gram of its kind in the Unit­ed States, almost one-third of all stu­dents are from oth­er coun­tries Addi­tion­al­ly, the award-win­ning fac­ul­ty mem­bers are prac­tic­ing pro­fes­sion­als, offer­ing real-world expe­ri­ence to the stu­dent while prepar­ing for these careers. The school prides itself on place­ments for all stu­dents. Stu­dents can apply for pres­ti­gious schol­ar­ships, gain expe­ri­ence through an intern­ship, and enjoy exten­sive net­work­ing and career devel­op­ment through ties with the Inter­na­tion­al Trade Alum­ni Net­work (ITAN).

What We Like: The Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy is accred­it­ed by the Com­mis­sion on High­er Edu­ca­tion of the Mid­dle States Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design, and the Coun­cil for Inte­ri­or Design Accreditation.

Degree: BS in Inter­na­tion­al Trade and Mar­ket­ing for the Fash­ion Industries

Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy BS in Inter­na­tion­al Trade and Marketing

4. Ball State University

The BS or BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing from Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents for a diverse world in fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing. Stu­dents are pro­vid­ed a foun­da­tion in the­o­ry and prac­tice, with addi­tion­al course­work and sub­ject mate­ri­als includ­ing retail buy­ing, appar­el man­u­fac­tur­ing, pro­mo­tion and mar­ket­ing, whole­sal­ing, fash­ion prod­uct analy­sis and inter­na­tion­al appar­el and their markets.

The schol­ar­ship pro­gram at Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty is very gen­er­ous, pro­vid­ing four of every five stu­dents, with the Col­lege of Busi­ness issu­ing sev­er­al awards to its stu­dents. Ball State Uni­ver­si­ty prides itself on being a real-world insti­tu­tion of appli­ca­tion, with expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing and research, intern­ships, and study abroad being an inte­gral part of the cur­ricu­lum. The appar­el design pro­gram is accred­it­ed by the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design.

What We Like: There are a num­ber of schol­ar­ships avail­able for stu­dents based on mer­it and need. Schol­ar­ships vary based on department.

Degree: BA/BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

BS or BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing from Ball State University

5. Old Dominion University

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing at Old Domin­ion Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents for a career to work and suc­ceed in retail, whole­sale or man­u­fac­tur­ing in fash­ion. Stu­dents are giv­en a foun­da­tion in mar­ket­ing, pro­cure­ment and plan­ning while gain­ing knowl­edge in tar­get mar­kets, con­sumer needs and ana­lyz­ing busi­ness information.

A pio­neer in dis­tance learn­ing, their online pro­grams start­ed in the mid-1980s. Their learn­ing net­work includes over 50 part­ners through­out Vir­ginia and around the coun­try. The Uni­ver­si­ty was ranked num­ber 1 for 2019–2020 online col­lege in Vir­ginia by Onlinecolleges.com, and the Uni­ver­si­ty has six pro­grams in the Top 100 Online Pro­grams in the Nation.

What We Like: Schol­ar­ships are avail­able to stu­dents based on var­ied cri­te­ria, includ­ing grades and need.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing — Old Domin­ion University

6. East Carolina University

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Con­sumer Stud­ies at East Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty cov­ers the entire scope of the fash­ion indus­try. This accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree focus­es on cours­es that encom­pass qual­i­ty analy­sis, tex­tiles, buy­ing, sourc­ing, pric­ing, con­sumer behav­ior, plan­ning, devel­op­ment, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ing and fash­ion history.

The East Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing and con­sumer stud­ies pro­gram is accred­it­ed by the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Fam­i­ly and Con­sumer Sci­ences (AAFCS). East Car­oli­na Uni­ver­si­ty began in 1908 as a two-year nor­mal school. It is one of the sev­en cam­pus­es of The Uni­ver­si­ty of North Carolina.

What We Like: Mer­it schol­ar­ships are avail­able for stu­dents who are in their fresh­man or mid-year. Exter­nal schol­ar­ships are also available.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Con­sumer Studies

BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Con­sumer Stud­ies — East Car­oli­na University

7. Central Michigan University

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design at Cen­tral Michi­gan Glob­al Cam­pus expos­es stu­dents to all ele­ments of the fash­ion design world. Prepar­ing them for reach­ing a glob­al mar­ket, stu­dents are giv­en chal­leng­ing core cours­es and use of the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy and software.

Michigan’s accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree pro­gram also offers a con­cen­tra­tion in prod­uct devel­op­ment that allows stu­dents to expe­ri­enc­ing what goes on behind the scenes of cre­at­ing and sell­ing a new fash­ion line. This helps pre­pare stu­dents to work with some of the biggest retail­ers with­ing the indus­try. The pro­gram is accred­it­ed by the High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion (HLC).

What We Like: The uni­ver­si­ty pro­vides mer­it schol­ar­ships for stu­dents in need based on GPA. There are instances where oth­er cri­te­ria may be evaluated.

Degree: BAA in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design

8. Lindenwood University

The Bach­e­lor in Fash­ion Busi­ness and Entre­pre­neur­ship at Lin­den­wood Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents how to devel­op their own busi­ness in the fash­ion indus­try. The accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree pro­gram focus­es on prin­ci­ples, the­o­ry, and con­cepts need­ed to suc­ceed. This is an online-only pro­gram, with stu­dents being offered oppor­tu­ni­ties to vis­it dur­ing fash­ion week, as well as par­tic­i­pat­ing in fash­ion week all over.

Lin­den­wood Uni­ver­si­ty has been pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty instruc­tion for over 200 years, and fac­ul­ty from around the world to deliv­er real-world knowl­edge and skills. The Uni­ver­si­ty was ranked #No. 29 Best Online Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties by Intelligent.Com. The school has also been accred­it­ed by the High­er Learn­ing Com­mis­sion and has been con­tin­u­ous­ly since 1921. Addi­tion­al acco­lades include No.17 Best Col­leges in Mis­souri and No. 1 most diverse col­leges in Missouri.

What We Like: Schol­ar­ships are avail­able for stu­dents who demon­strate finan­cial need and main­tain rea­son­able grades.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Busi­ness & Entrepreneurship

Bach­e­lor in Fash­ion Busi­ness and Entre­pre­neur­ship — Lin­den­wood University

9. Berkeley College

The Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Man­age­ment at Berke­ley Col­lege pre­pares stu­dents for longevi­ty in the fash­ion busi­ness under a num­ber of career choic­es. This accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree pro­gram focus­es on the busi­ness side, includ­ing cur­rent tech­nol­o­gy, con­sumer behav­ior, retail dis­tri­b­u­tion, mar­ket­ing, and sales.

Berke­ley Col­lege pro­vides per­son­al atten­tion from pro­fes­sors; hands-on expe­ri­ence with com­mu­ni­ca­tion between well-known design­ers. Indus­try experts are a sta­ple with­in the pro­gram, giv­ing stu­dents real-life sce­nar­ios and oppor­tu­ni­ties. There are numer­ous schol­ar­ships avail­able, with intern­ships and place­ments fre­quent­ly occur. Stu­dents can also par­tic­i­pate in intern­ships and get hands-on learn­ing. Tutor­ing, work­shops, sem­i­nars and sup­port ser­vices are avail­able to all students.

What We Like: Berke­ley Col­lege is accred­it­ed by the Mid­dle States Com­mis­sion on High­er Edu­ca­tion, and the Lar­ry L. Luing School of Busi­ness has received spe­cial­ized accred­i­ta­tion through the Inter­na­tion­al Accred­i­ta­tion Coun­cil for Busi­ness Edu­ca­tion (IACBE). Schol­ar­ships are available.

Degree: BBA in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Management

BFA in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Man­age­ment — Berke­ley College

10. Johnson & Wales University

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Retail­ing at John­son & Wales Uni­ver­si­ty is an online degree pro­gram designed to pre­pare stu­dents for a host of careers with­in the fash­ion indus­try through con­cepts and foun­da­tion­al knowl­edge in the areas of fash­ion mar­ket­ing, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ing and mer­chan­dise buy­ing. Stu­dents will also learn how to com­mu­ni­cate effec­tive­ly and make good deci­sions sur­round­ing con­tem­po­rary busi­ness issue, apply cre­ative and ana­lyt­i­cal com­pe­ten­cies and fore­cast future indus­try trends as it relates to man­u­fac­tur­ing and prod­uct acquisition.

The accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree pro­gram at John­son and Wales is designed to pro­vide pro­fes­sion­al com­pe­tence, a foun­da­tion for life­long learn­ing, and pro­mo­tion of glob­al and com­mu­ni­ty cit­i­zen­ship. Fac­ul­ty at the uni­ver­si­ty have decades of indus­try-relat­ed work and expe­ri­ences to pro­vide a real­is­tic pic­ture of the cur­rent pulse of the indus­try. John­son & Wales Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed in 1914 as a busi­ness school. Since then, it has grown into a junior col­lege, senior col­lege, and now a university.

What We Like: John­son & Wales is accred­it­ed by the New Eng­land Com­mis­sion of High­er Edu­ca­tion (NECHE) through the Com­mis­sion on Insti­tu­tions of High­er Edu­ca­tion (CIHE). Schol­ar­ships are avail­able to all stu­dents with cri­te­ria of ful­fill­ing a need and mak­ing good grades.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing & Retailing

BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Retail­ing — John­son & Wales University

How Fast Can I Get a Fashion Degree?

If you’re look­ing to get an accel­er­at­ed fash­ion degree fast, you may want to con­sid­er going an alter­na­tive route than a Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts in Fash­ion, espe­cial­ly if you already have a degree. Fast fash­ion degree alter­na­tives include a cer­tifi­cate, which gives you the clout and stand­ing while using the degree you already have. Fash­ion has always been a strong sta­ple in com­merce and adding this type of foun­da­tion to your back­ground can be advantageous.

Great fash­ion design pro­grams offer stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study abroad to ful­ly under­stand what goes into devel­op­ing brands and how dif­fer­ent cul­tures respond to cer­tain fash­ion styles. This career includes fash­ion design­ers, mer­chan­dis­ers, tex­tile design­ers, pat­tern mak­ers, fash­ion buy­ers, fash­ion jour­nal­ists, styl­ists, retail man­agers, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ers, mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ists and more.

What if I Already Have a Bachelor’s Degree?

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may not need a fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing bach­e­lor degree online. Pur­su­ing a cer­tifi­cate in fash­ion design is the next best thing. In fact, fash­ion design cer­tifi­cates can be obtained in a vari­ety of ways. The fash­ion design cer­tifi­cate online option helps indi­vid­u­als in get­ting the cer­tifi­cate, and the online fash­ion design cer­tifi­cate holds the same weight as a cer­tifi­cate obtained from a brick-and-mor­tar insti­tu­tion. An online fash­ion design cer­tifi­cate is more flex­i­ble, allow­ing the stu­dent to study at their school of choice on their sched­ule. There are many high­ly rat­ed fash­ion design cer­tifi­cate pro­grams, includ­ing one at Cor­nell University.

With a bachelor’s degree under your belt, obtain­ing the cer­tifi­cate will not take the four years required to obtain the bachelor’s in fash­ion design. While the cer­tifi­cate may take up to two years for full-time online stu­dents, many peo­ple have most of the required course­work, espe­cial­ly if they have fash­ion pro­grams with a con­cen­tra­tion in busi­ness. The out­look for careers in fash­ion is very good, con­tin­u­ous­ly grow­ing year over year.

Some of the online cours­es fash­ion stu­dents study include:

  • fash­ion management
  • social media and fashion
  • busi­ness of fashion
  • com­put­er-aid­ed design
  • fash­ion brands
  • fash­ion illustration
  • fash­ion journalism
  • fore­cast­ing fash­ion trends
  • his­to­ry of fashion

Fash­ion career paths may take many direc­tions. Good fash­ion schools will pro­vide stu­dents with men­tors, part­ner­ships, and intern­ships that go well beyond usu­al cred­it hours. Enroll­ment in a fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing degree or sim­i­lar program

Is a Fashion Degree Worth It?

Many peo­ple won­der if get­ting a degree in fash­ion worth it. There are a few things to con­sid­er about fash­ion degrees online, because becom­ing the next big thing doesn’t hap­pen overnight. If you’re pur­su­ing a career in fash­ion, you must have the right per­son­al­i­ty to back up the foun­da­tion of an online fash­ion degree. The fash­ion world is full of cre­ative peo­ple who don’t have online fash­ion degrees. While you may want to work on the busi­ness side of things, you must have the per­son­al­i­ty to deal with tons of dif­fer­ent peo­ple and all their nuances. Addi­tion­al­ly, you want to be able to talk your­self into a high-pro­file intern­ship when the oppor­tu­ni­ty arises.

It’s impor­tant to know what you want and how hard you are will­ing to work to get there. Fash­ion is def­i­nite­ly not a 9 to 5 career, and it usu­al­ly entails long hours. You should also con­sid­er your pas­sion. Have you always dreamed of work­ing in fash­ion, or is a hob­by you’ve recent­ly picked up? If you pos­sess that raw tal­ent that gets peo­ple talk­ing, an online fash­ion design degree will def­i­nite­ly be worth it.

When search­ing for schools that offer a fash­ion degree online, it’s impor­tant to pick the right school. There are some fash­ion school pro­grams that have real design­ers com­ing in to work with the stu­dents. Then, there are online fash­ion pro­grams that are strict­ly cur­ricu­lum based and there isn’t too much inter­ac­tion in the field. Do your research. What famous design­ers went there? Is the pro­gram well-known? Will you have oppor­tu­ni­ties to show­case your work? What are you expect­ing in your port­fo­lio? Is the school accredited?

Anoth­er aspect to con­sid­er is the finan­cial aspect of online fash­ion degree pro­grams. It may be very expen­sive depend­ing on the insti­tu­tion you choose. While grants and schol­ar­ships may be an option, you must be ready for what­ev­er comes with a high­ly regard­ed fash­ion design pro­gram. The costs can be over­whelm­ing if you aren’t prepared.

If your dream has always been to work in the world of fash­ion, giv­ing your­self a firm foun­da­tion should be at the top of your list. It’s not all walk­ing the cat­walk in fash­ion shows. Whether you’re pur­su­ing the busi­ness side of things, or have a cre­ative flair, the best thing you can do is learn the busi­ness so you’ll be able to have the con­ver­sa­tions that can launch your career. The over­all goal is to make sure you stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion, which is pret­ty stiff depend­ing on which job mar­ket you are in. Obtain­ing a degree or cer­tifi­cate in fash­ion design lev­els the play­ing field.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion