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Deter­min­ing which degree is best for fash­ion design can be a dif­fi­cult task due to the fact that fash­ion design has many dif­fer­ent branch­es from its main trunk. It cov­ers every­thing from learn­ing how to con­struct gar­ments and cre­at­ing a full col­lec­tion dur­ing the senior year to mer­chan­dis­ing and the busi­ness of fash­ion design.

If you’re seek­ing to become a full-fledged design­er, a bachelor’s degree is the best kind of degree to get in order to work in the fash­ion design indus­try. You should also seek out a bachelor’s degree pro­gram with an intern­ship at a design or pro­duc­tion house to gain prac­ti­cal knowl­edge of how a col­lec­tion is made. Every­thing you learn can be applied to your own design house when you final­ly decide to strike out on your own.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Fashion Degree Programs

For stu­dents who want a seri­ous career in fash­ion, Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter edi­tors have select­ed the best fash­ion bachelor’s degrees from accred­it­ed, trust­ed col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. Pro­grams are ranked by IPEDS and Niche data, includ­ing cost, salary poten­tial, and stu­dent reviews.

1. North Carolina State University

The BS in Fash­ion and Tex­tile Design pro­gram at North Car­oli­na State Uni­ver­si­ty is a lim­it­ed enroll­ment pro­gram that com­bines the art of fash­ion design with math and sci­ence class­es. Stu­dents are taught how to use the lat­est in fash­ion indus­try tech­nol­o­gy, tra­di­tion­al design tech­niques, explore their own per­son­al design phi­los­o­phy, and how to take advan­tage of the prop­er­ties of the lat­est in fibers for cut­ting-edge gar­ment design. The pro­gram includes a semes­ter spent in a for­eign coun­try as a work­ing stu­dent in the fash­ion industry.

North Car­oli­na State Uni­ver­si­ty (NCSU or NC State) is a pub­lic mul­ti­ple grant uni­ver­si­ty that’s part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na sys­tem. An aver­age of 35,000 stu­dents are enrolled at the uni­ver­si­ty each aca­d­e­m­ic year which makes NCSU one of the largest schools in the coun­try. The ath­let­ics teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

What We Like: NCSU fea­tures a sea- and space-grant pro­gram for fur­ther­ing the study of both environments.

Degree: BA in Fash­ion and Tex­tile Design

BS in Fash­ion and Tex­tile Design — North Car­oli­na State University

2. University of Delaware

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware offers a BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Man­age­ment stud­ies that com­bines the tech­ni­cal aspect of fash­ion design with the com­mer­cial aspect of mar­ket­ing. Some of the class­es include the study of cre­at­ing a fash­ion line for mass pro­duc­tion, sales and dis­tri­b­u­tion to retail­ers, how to work with man­u­fac­tur­ers in for­eign coun­tries, and how to choose tex­tiles for use in a cloth­ing col­lec­tion. Upon com­ple­tion of the degree, stu­dents are qual­i­fied to work in a vari­ety of com­mer­cial and mar­ket­ing roles in the fash­ion industry.

Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware (UD) is a pri­vate-pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty with a sea- and space-grant for research in those fields. It fea­tures a main cam­pus in Newark and four satel­lite cam­pus­es in the area. UD is home to eight col­leges and five schools that include the arts, health sci­ences, edu­ca­tion, engi­neer­ing, agri­cul­ture, and more.

What We Like: UD is one of only four schools in the U.S. with an art con­ser­va­tion major.

Degree: BS in​Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Management

Uni­ver­si­ty of Delaware BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Management

3. Iowa State University

The Appar­el, Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design pro­gram at Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty pro­vides stu­dents with a well-round­ed fash­ion edu­ca­tion that pre­pares them for entry in a vari­ety of fash­ion-relat­ed fields. The pro­gram pro­vides the oppor­tu­ni­ty to design and pro­duce the annu­al Fash­ion Show, learn in facil­i­ties that fea­ture the lat­est in tech­nolo­gies for tex­tile con­ser­va­tion, and view a his­tor­i­cal gar­ment col­lec­tion and appar­el pro­duc­tion cen­ter for hands-on oppor­tu­ni­ties. Class­es are taught by edu­ca­tors who have exten­sive real-world expe­ri­ence in the fash­ion design and mar­ket­ing industries.

Iowa State Uni­ver­si­ty (ISU) is a pub­lic land-grant research uni­ver­si­ty and is also the flag­ship uni­ver­si­ty in the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Iowa. The school offers over 100 bach­e­lor’s degree con­cen­tra­tions, 112 mas­ter’s degrees, 83 doc­tor­al degrees and a vet­eri­nary med­i­cine degree. The stu­dent body enroll­ment aver­ages around 33,000 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year.

What We Like: ISU’s ath­let­ics teams are part of the Big 12 Con­fer­ence and com­pete in the NCAA Divi­sion I Foot­ball Bowl Subdivision.

Degree: Appar­el, Mer­chan­dis­ing, & Design

Appar­el, Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design — Iowa State University

4. The Ohio State University

The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Fash­ion and Retail Stud­ies pro­gram that focus­es on the con­sumer sci­ence aspect of fash­ion, and has two dif­fer­ent degree tracks that include prod­uct devel­op­ment and mer­chan­dis­ing. The pro­gram teach­es stu­dents how to engage in the psy­cho­log­i­cal aspect of con­sumerism, under­stand­ing how prod­ucts are cre­at­ed and dis­trib­uted, and ful­ly under­stand­ing the prod­uct that’s being mar­ket­ed. Stu­dents also take class­es to learn more about tex­tiles, sta­tis­tics, fash­ion busi­ness, and oth­er top­ics that sup­port the Fash­ion and Devel­op­ment degree.

The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty (OSU) is a pub­lic land-grant research uni­ver­si­ty and is the flag­ship school for the Ohio pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem. An aver­age of 50,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents and 15,000 grad­u­ate stu­dents attend the school each aca­d­e­m­ic year. The ath­let­ic teams, known as the Buck­eyes, com­pete in the NCAA Divi­sion I Big Ten Conference.

What We Like: Ohio State car­ries a sea- and space-grant to pro­vide research in both fields of study.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion and Retail Studies

Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Fash­ion and Retail Studies

5. Michigan State University

Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BFA in Appar­el and Tex­tiles pro­gram that pre­pares stu­dents to work in the fash­ion indus­try by teach­ing impor­tant skills need­ed to suc­ceed in the field. The pro­gram core puts empha­sis on teach­ing two- and three-dimen­sion­al design, cre­ativ­i­ty, design tech­nol­o­gy, tex­tiles, and the role of cloth­ing in cul­tures around the world. One class is devot­ed to the devel­op­ment and exhi­bi­tion of a stu­den­t’s port­fo­lio in order to aid them in their even­tu­al job search. The cur­ricu­lum puts empha­sis on fash­ion class­es in his­to­ry, cul­ture, and sus­tain­able design.

Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty (MSU) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty that’s part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Michi­gan. It has mul­ti­ple aca­d­e­m­ic affil­i­a­tions includ­ing a sea- and space-grant for research in those fields. Its ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I and belong to the Big Ten conference.

What We Like: Michi­gan State is rich in edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties and is one of the top-rank­ing schools for aca­d­e­m­ic research.

Degree: BFA in Appar­el and Textiles

Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty BFA in Appar­el and Textiles

6. University of South Carolina

The BS in Retail­ing: Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions pro­gram at Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na offers two dif­fer­ent cur­ricu­lums that focus on the busi­ness and visu­al design side of the fash­ion indus­try. The Retail Man­age­ment cur­ricu­lum pro­vides stu­dents with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to enter into the sup­ply chain and retail sales side of the fash­ion indus­try. The Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions com­bines mul­ti­ple aspects that include legal issues, ana­lyz­ing fash­ion prod­ucts for saleabil­i­ty, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ing, and the eco­nom­ics of the retail fash­ion industry.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na (USC) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty and is the flag­ship school of the Uni­ver­si­ty of South Car­oli­na Sys­tem. The school enrolls over 34,000 stu­dents each semes­ter who enroll in one of 350 pro­grams of study. The school offers bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s, and doc­tor­al degrees from 14 col­leges and schools on its cam­pus. The ath­let­ics pro­grams com­pete in the NCAA Divi­sion I and par­tic­i­pate in the South­east­ern Conference.

What We Like: USc has a sea-grant aca­d­e­m­ic affiliation.

Degree: BS in Retail­ing: Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Dig­i­tal Innovations

BS in Retail­ing: Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Dig­i­tal Inno­va­tions — Uni­ver­si­ty of South Carolina

7. Georgia Southern University

The B.S. Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Appar­el Design pro­gram at Geor­gia South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty fea­tures two areas of empha­sis in mer­chan­dis­ing and design. Both pro­grams over­lap each oth­er so that stu­dents learn skills and tech­niques from both areas of focus. The appar­el design empha­sis teach­es fash­ion illus­tra­tion, pat­tern drap­ing and draft­ing, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ing, and gar­ment con­struc­tion. The fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing empha­sis focus­es on learn­ing how to fore­cast fash­ion trends, mar­ket­ing fash­ion designs to retail buy­ers and the pub­lic at large, pro­duc­tion of tex­tiles and gar­ments and the prin­ci­ples of merchandising.

Geor­gia South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty (GS) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty with a space-grant affil­i­a­tion and is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem of Geor­gia. The school offers over 140 major pro­grams at the bach­e­lor’s degree, mas­ter’s degree and doc­tor­al lev­els. The school’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I in the Sun Belt conference.

What We Like: GSU fea­tures a strong Greek fra­ter­ni­ty and soror­i­ty sys­tem on its campus.

Degree: B.S. Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Appar­el Design

B.S. Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Appar­el Design — Geor­gia South­ern University

8. Oregon State University

Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Fash­ion and Retail Stud­ies pro­gram with a spe­cial­iza­tion in either fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing or project devel­op­ment. Stu­dents learn about the pro­duc­tion pipelines for tex­tiles and fin­ished gar­ments, mar­ket­ing research for fash­ion con­sumers, sourc­ing prod­ucts, plan­ning mer­chan­dise, and oth­er relat­ed top­ics. The pro­gram requires all stu­dents to enter into an intern­ship and also offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study in major cities with an estab­lished fash­ion design indus­try. Grad­u­ates of the pro­gram enter into career fields that include prod­uct devel­op­ment, mar­ket­ing, trend fore­cast­ing, glob­al sourc­ing and more.

Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty (OSU) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty that has affil­i­a­tions includ­ing a sea-grant, space grant, and is a nation­al par­tic­i­pant in the sun-grant pro­gram. It’s one of only four schools in the U.S. to par­tic­i­pate in all four research con­sor­tiums. Its ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I in the Pac-12 Conference.

What We Like: Ore­gon State enrolls over 31,000 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion and Retail Studies

9. San Francisco State University

San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Appar­el Design and Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram with two con­cen­tra­tions. The Design con­cen­tra­tion teach­es stu­dents how to bring a fash­ion sketch into being through the pat­tern­ing and con­struc­tion of the design, learn how the fash­ion indus­try devel­ops, pro­duces, ships and sells designs on a large scale, learn about the his­to­ry of fash­ion, and under­stand how to respond to the needs of con­sumers. Stu­dents who take the he Mer­chan­dis­ing con­cen­tra­tion learn about the mass pro­duc­tion of gar­ments, how to pro­duce gar­ments eth­i­cal­ly, how cloth­ing relates to top­i­cal issues and cul­tur­al norms, and learn how to design mer­chan­dis­ing dis­plays and make them appeal to a broad audience.

San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty (SFSU) is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty and is part of the Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem. The uni­ver­si­ty offers 118 bach­e­lor’s, 94 mas­ter’s, 5 doc­tor­al degrees, and 26 teach­ing cre­den­tials among six col­leges. The school has an aver­age enroll­ment of over 27,000 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year.

What We Like: SFSU’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion II in the Cal­i­for­nia Col­le­giate Ath­let­ic Association.

Degree: BS in Appar­el Design and Merchandising

San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Appar­el Design and Merchandising

10. Colorado State University

The BS in Appar­el Design & Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram at Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents to begin their career in the fash­ion design indus­try either as a mer­chan­dis­er, appar­el design and pro­duc­tion, or prod­uct devel­op­er. The pro­gram allows stu­dents to select the career path that suits them best via class­es that help them under­stand the chal­lenges they face and how to make their voice heard in a high­ly com­pet­i­tive indus­try. Each fash­ion design con­cen­tra­tion teach­es stu­dents how to behave pro­fes­sion­al­ly and eth­i­cal­ly in their cho­sen field in order to be sen­si­tive to the demands of the world at large.

Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty (CSU) is a pub­lic land-grant research uni­ver­si­ty and is the flag­ship uni­ver­si­ty of the Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem. It also has a space-grant affil­i­a­tion and is one of the top schools in research. The school’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I Moun­tain West conference.

What We Like: Col­orado State offers 65 bach­e­lor’s degrees and 55 mas­ter’s degrees and 40 doc­tor­al degrees in dif­fer­ent fields of study.

Degree: BS in Appar­el Design & Merchandising

BS in Appar­el Design & Mer­chan­dis­ing — Col­orado State University

11. Missouri State University — Springfield

The BS in Mer­chan­dis­ing and Fash­ion Design at Mis­souri State Uni­ver­si­ty — Spring­field, com­bines both mer­chan­dis­ing and fash­ion design cours­es into one degree. Stu­dents learn the tech­ni­cal skills required to design, cre­ate a pat­tern, then con­struct a com­plet­ed gar­ment along with learn­ing how to per­form the same skills using the lat­est in fash­ion design tech­nolo­gies. They also learn about the mer­chan­dis­ing side of fash­ion, how to per­form math­e­mat­i­cal equa­tions used in the mer­chan­dis­ing indus­try, and how to engage in visu­al merchandising.

Mis­souri State Uni­ver­si­ty (MSU) is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty with a space-grant affil­i­a­tion and is part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem in Mis­souri. It’s the sec­ond-largest uni­ver­si­ty in terms of enroll­ment with an aver­age of 23,000 stu­dents attend­ing each aca­d­e­m­ic year.

What We Like: MSU oper­ates a satel­lite cam­pus that offers asso­ciate degrees, runs a fruit research sta­tion, and fea­tures a Depart­ment of Defense and Strate­gic Stud­ies program.

Degree: BS in Mer­chan­dis­ing and Fash­ion Design

BS in Mer­chan­dis­ing and Fash­ion Design — Mis­souri State Uni­ver­si­ty — Springfield

12. University of Alabama

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma offers a BS in Appar­el and Tex­tiles pro­gram for stu­dents who are seek­ing to become ful­ly-fledged fash­ion design­ers. The pro­gram begins by instill­ing foun­da­tion­al design prin­ci­ples into stu­dents before mov­ing onto more tech­ni­cal work. Stu­dents learn how to sketch designs, then turn those designs into fin­ished gar­ments through pat­tern draft­ing, con­struc­tion and final gar­ment fit and fin­ish. Course­work also includes learn­ing how to use fash­ion design tech­nol­o­gy for pat­tern and tex­tile design.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma (Alaba­ma or UA) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty and is the flag­ship school of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma Sys­tem. It’s the old­est and largest of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties in the state of Alaba­ma. The uni­ver­si­ty offers bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s, edu­ca­tion spe­cial­ist and doc­tor­al degrees through its 13 aca­d­e­m­ic divi­sions. The ath­let­ics teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I.

What We Like: Bama also fea­tures the only pub­licly-sup­port­ed law school in the U.S.

Degree: BS in Appar­el and Textiles

Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma BS in Appar­el and Textiles

13. Western Michigan University

West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­si­ty offers a Bach­e­lor Degree in Fash­ion Design pro­gram that pre­pares stu­dents to work in the fash­ion design indus­try as a mer­chan­dis­er or design­er. The fash­ion design and devel­op­ment con­cen­tra­tion teach­es stu­dents how to devel­op their designs from ini­tial sketch to fin­ished gar­ment, fash­ion his­to­ry, how to devel­op their fash­ion lines, and use CAD/CAM for pat­tern draft­ing. The mer­chan­dis­ing con­cen­tra­tion involves learn­ing how to buy for retail­ers, visu­al mer­chan­dis­ing, pro­mo­tion, and also includes 18 cred­it hours in the Haworth Col­lege of Business.

West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­si­ty (WMU) is a pub­lic research facil­i­ty with a space-grant affil­i­a­tion and is part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Michi­gan. The school enrolls an aver­age of 21,000 stu­dents per aca­d­e­m­ic year and offers 147 under­grad­u­ate degree pro­grams, 73 mas­ter’s degree pro­grams, and 30 doc­tor­al degree programs.

What We Like: WMU’s ath­let­ics team par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion and com­pete in the Mid-Amer­i­can Conference.

Degree: Bach­e­lor Degree in Fash­ion Design

West­ern Michi­gan Uni­ver­si­ty Bach­e­lor Degree in Fash­ion Design

14. Southern Illinois University — Carbondale

The BS in Fash­ion Design and Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram at South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty offers two dif­fer­ent career path­ways: Fash­ion Design and Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing. Stu­dents have the option to take one spe­cial­ty or the oth­er for their degree con­cen­tra­tion. The Fash­ion Design pro­gram teach­es and trains stu­dents how to cre­ate a com­plete cloth­ing line from sketch to fin­ished pieces, learn about the his­to­ry of fash­ion, and how to use the lat­est in fash­ion design tech­nol­o­gy. The Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing con­cen­tra­tion focus­es on fash­ion-relat­ed busi­ness cours­es, mar­ket­ing, man­age­ment, and merchandising.

South­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty — Car­bon­dale (SIUC) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty and is part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Illi­nois. The school offers over 300 degree pro­grams that include bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s, PhD, and doc­tor­al degrees. The uni­ver­si­ty has 10 col­leges and schools that include busi­ness, agri­cul­tur­al sci­ences, sci­ence, law, med­i­cine, and more.

What We Like: The ath­let­ics teams com­pete in the NCAA Divi­sion I.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Design and Merchandising

BS in Fash­ion Design and Mer­chan­dis­ing — South­ern Illi­nois University

15. Dominican University

Domini­can Uni­ver­si­ty offers a Fash­ion Design BA degree to stu­dents who aspire to become a full-fledged fash­ion design­er. Class­es in the pro­gram include appar­el struc­ture and design, pat­tern draft­ing and drap­ing, learn­ing how to use com­put­er-aid­ed design pro­gram, fash­ion illus­tra­tion and more. The final out­come of the pro­gram for stu­dents is the abil­i­ty to cre­ate a vir­tu­al and phys­i­cal port­fo­lio as a senior cap­stone project. Domini­can Uni­ver­si­ty has exten­sive con­nec­tions with the fash­ion design indus­try in the Chica­go area and offers a diverse array of intern­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties on top of edu­ca­tion in a cut­ting-edge fash­ion lab.

Domini­can Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate Catholic uni­ver­si­ty in Illi­nois and is affil­i­at­ed with the Sinsi­nawa Domini­can Sis­ters. The school offers cer­tifi­cates, bach­e­lor’s and mas­ter’s degree pro­grams, and a PhD in infor­ma­tion stud­ies. The school’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion III in the North­ern Ath­let­ics Col­le­giate Conference.

What We Like: Over 50 major pro­grams are offered through the Rosary Col­lege of Arts and Sci­ences and 20 pro­grams are pro­vid­ed through five grad­u­ate aca­d­e­m­ic divisions.

Degree: Fash­ion Design BA

Domini­can Uni­ver­si­ty Fash­ion Design BA degree

16. Illinois State University

The Fash­ion Design and Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram at Illi­nois State Uni­ver­si­ty is part of the Fam­i­ly and Con­sumer Sci­ences depart­ment. The pro­gram designed to pre­pare stu­dents to work in the retail, dis­tri­b­u­tion and prod­uct devel­op­ment areas of the retail fash­ion indus­try. Some of the class­es include basic appar­el pro­duc­tion tech­niques, fun­da­men­tals of tex­tiles, fash­ion pro­mo­tion, eco­nom­ics of fash­ion and more. Stu­dents haved the option to enter into a tra­di­tion­al fash­ion design pro­gram or fash­ion mar­ket­ing. Seniors get to par­tic­i­pate in the school’s fash­ion show that’s held every aca­d­e­m­ic year.

Illi­nois State Uni­ver­si­ty (ISU) is a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty and is part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Illi­nois. The school offers bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s, and doc­tor­al degree pro­grams offered through col­leges that include applied sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, arts and sci­ences, busi­ness, edu­ca­tion, fine arts, and nurs­ing. The school’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I.

What We Like: Over 20,000 stu­dents attend Illi­nois State each aca­d­e­m­ic year.

Degree: Fash­ion Design and Merchandising

Fash­ion Design and Mer­chan­dis­ing — Illi­nois State University

17. Mount Mary University

Mount Mary Uni­ver­si­ty’s BA in Fash­ion Design pro­gram is the first four-year fash­ion design pro­gram of its kind in the U.S. Its fac­ul­ty are indus­try pro­fes­sion­als who have worked at major brand names and designed for major celebri­ties. Stu­dents engage in a tra­di­tion­al fash­ion design pro­gram to learn the tech­ni­cal and busi­ness aspects of the indus­try. They also have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to trav­el to New York City or Paris to go behind-the-scenes and vis­it major fash­ion hous­es to learn more about how gar­ments get made at the high end of the industry.

Mount Mary Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate Catholic lib­er­al arts uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in Mil­wau­kee, Wis­con­sin. The school has an aver­age enroll­ment of 1,500 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year and offers bach­e­lor’s degrees in over 30 degree pro­grams along with eight mas­ter’s and doc­tor­al programs.

What We Like: Mount Mary’s all-female ath­let­ics teams com­pete in the NCAA Divi­sion III.

Degree: BA in Fash­ion Design

Mount Mary Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Fash­ion Design

18. Kent State University

Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram that’s designed to impart a thor­ough under­stand­ing of the mer­chan­dis­ing and busi­ness aspects of the fash­ion indus­try. Stu­dents gain skills and com­pe­ten­cy in areas that include mer­chan­dis­ing for appar­el man­u­fac­tur­ing, devel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing of fash­ion goods, fash­ion the­o­ry, retail oper­a­tions, man­age­ment and more. The pro­gram also offers a study abroad semes­ter in New York City, Flo­rence, Italy, Lon­don, U.K., and oth­er major cities with a fash­ion indus­try. Kent State also offers a com­bined degree pro­gram with a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion degree.

Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty and is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty Sys­tem of Ohio. The school enrolls an aver­age of 26,000 under­grad­u­ates and 21,000 post­grad­u­ates at its Kent cam­pus. The school offers over 300 degree pro­grams includ­ing 23 doc­tor­al pro­grams. The school’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I Mid-Amer­i­can Conference.

What We Like: Kent State has a space-grant affil­i­a­tion for research in space exploration.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

19. Thomas Jefferson University

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Man­age­ment at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents to have pro­fi­cien­cy in all aspects of the fash­ion design indus­try. The pro­gram encour­ages stu­dents to focus on their inter­ests through dif­fer­ent cur­ric­u­lar options and how to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with oth­er stu­dents. A stu­den­t’s first year involves the cre­ation, pro­duc­tion and mer­chan­dis­ing of the prod­uct they designed and helps a stu­dent under­stand how a gar­ment or item goes from inspi­ra­tion to pro­duc­tion. The pro­gram has an option to study abroad in a major city with a large fash­ion indus­try and stu­dents have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to help with the pro­duc­tion of a school mag­a­zine and the annu­al fash­ion show.

Thomas Jef­fer­son is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in Philadel­phia, Penn­syl­va­nia. It offers over 160 under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate pro­grams in col­leges that include archi­tec­ture, design, engi­neer­ing and com­merce, sci­ence, health and lib­er­al arts, and con­tin­u­ing and pro­fes­sion­al stud­ies. The ath­let­ics teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion II in the Cen­tral Atlantic Col­le­giate Conference.

What We Like: Jef­fer­son enrolls over 3,600 under­grad­u­ates and over 4,200 post­grad­u­ates each aca­d­e­m­ic semester.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Management

BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Man­age­ment — Thomas Jef­fer­son University

20. Northern Illinois University

North­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram that cov­ers mul­ti­ple facets of the fash­ion design indus­try. Mer­chan­dis­ing stu­dents engage in tra­di­tion­al fash­ion design such as tex­tile sci­ence and fash­ion illus­tra­tion and class­es that relate to the mer­chan­dis­ing field such as omni-chan­nel retail­ing, eco­nom­ics of appar­el and tex­tile indus­tries, and social psy­chol­o­gy of dress and appear­ance. Stu­dents are required to com­plete any­where from 73 to 78 cred­it hours in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing. The pro­gram is also designed to accom­mo­date stu­dents who have earned an AAS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and wish to earn their BS.

North­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty (NIU) is a pub­lic research uni­ver­si­ty and is part of the pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem of Illi­nois. The school fea­tures a space-grant affil­i­a­tion and offers over 60 bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams, 70 minors, 79 grad­u­ate pro­grams, and 24 areas of study for doc­tor­al degrees. NIU has a total of sev­en col­leges that include busi­ness, health and human sci­ences, law, lib­er­al arts and sci­ences, edu­ca­tion, engi­neer­ing and engi­neer­ing tech­nol­o­gy, and visu­al and per­form­ing arts.

What We Like: NIU’s ath­let­ic teams par­tic­i­pate in the NCAA Divi­sion I and com­pete in the Mid-Amer­i­can Conference.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

North­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

21. Brenau University

Bre­nau Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BA in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing degree pro­gram to pre­pare stu­dents to work in the retail fash­ion indus­try. The pro­gram con­sists of fash­ion design and busi­ness class­es to help stu­dents build a strong port­fo­lio that helps them find employ­ment. Course­work includes class­es that teach the basics of fash­ion design, tra­di­tion­al busi­ness edu­ca­tion, fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing tech­niques, and an intern­ship with employ­ers in the fash­ion indus­try. Stu­dents are encour­aged to find their own voice in the pro­gram and pur­sue what inter­ests them most with­in the fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing field.

Bre­nau Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in Geor­gia. It enrolls over 3,500 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year and offers asso­ciate, bach­e­lor’s, mas­ter’s, doc­tor­al and spe­cial­ist degrees in over 50 areas of study. The uni­ver­si­ty has four col­leges includ­ing health sci­ences, fine arts and human­i­ties, busi­ness and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and education.

What We Like: Bre­nau also offers a 2+2 part­ner­ship with Anhui Nor­mal Uni­ver­si­ty in China.

Degree: BA in Fash­ion Merchandising

Bre­nau Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Fash­ion Merchandising

22. Meredith College

The Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design pro­gram at Mered­ith Col­lege offers stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take one of two fash­ion-relat­ed career path­ways. Stu­dents who want to become Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ers share some class­es with the Fash­ion Design majors such as cloth­ing con­struc­tion and tex­tiles, but also take class­es that focus on mar­ket­ing, learn­ing how to use mar­ket­ing soft­ware, how to buy for retail employ­ers, and more. The Fash­ion Design cur­ricu­lum includes some Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing class­es as well, and focus­es on how to con­struct gar­ments, make pat­terns, cre­ate fash­ion sketch­es and how to use appar­el design software.

Mered­ith Col­lege is a pri­vate wom­en’s lib­er­al arts col­lege that fea­tures a coed­u­ca­tion­al grad­u­ate school. The col­lege enrolls around 2,000 stu­dents each aca­d­e­m­ic year for under­grad­u­ate stud­ies and about 300 in the post­grad­u­ate pro­gram. A total of 37 majors are offered along with licen­sure pro­grams, grad­u­ate stud­ies and pre-pro­fes­sion­al programs.

What We Like: Mered­ith Col­lege offers nine dif­fer­ent ath­let­ics pro­grams that com­pete in the USA South Ath­let­ic Conference.

Degree: Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design

Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing and Design — Mered­ith College

23. University of Bridgeport

The BS in Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bridge­port is designed to meet the needs of exec­u­tive train­ing pro­grams in fash­ion-relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions. The cur­ricu­lum pre­pares stu­dents to work in the cre­ative and exec­u­tive lev­els of buy­ing, retail man­age­ment, fash­ion mar­ket­ing, tex­tiles and tex­tile design, and more. The pro­gram is also designed to give stu­dents the option to declare a minor in a relat­ed area of study that includes tex­tile design, busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, mar­ket­ing and fash­ion design. Stu­dents are required to par­tic­i­pate in an intern­ship with retail orga­ni­za­tions that are approved by the department.

Uni­ver­si­ty of Bridge­port (UB) is a pri­vate­ly owned uni­ver­si­ty and has a space-grant aca­d­e­m­ic affil­i­a­tion. The school enrolls an aver­age of 3,100 under­grad­u­ates and 2,200 post­grad­u­ates each aca­d­e­m­ic year. Some of the schools include a chi­ro­prac­tic col­lege, acupunc­ture insti­tute, pub­lic and inter­na­tion­al affairs, edu­ca­tion and busi­ness. The school’s ath­let­ics teams par­tic­i­pate in NCAA Divi­sion II.

What We Like: Bridge­port has 14 schools and insti­tutes along with three colleges.

Degree: BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

Uni­ver­si­ty of Bridge­port BS in Fash­ion Merchandising

24. St. Catherine University

The Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing pro­gram at St. Cather­ine Uni­ver­si­ty com­bines fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing with required minors in com­mu­ni­ca­tions and busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion for a well-round­ed fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing edu­ca­tion. The course teach­es stu­dents how to use cre­ative soft­ware to aid in their designs as well as the lat­est fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing soft­ware used by the fash­ion indus­try. Stu­dents also take class­es in envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies and social jus­tice issues in order to address the pol­lu­tion and human rights issues that are asso­ci­at­ed with gar­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing. A 10- to 21-day off-cam­pus study pro­gram in major fash­ion cen­ters is offered as part of the course.

St. Catharine Uni­ver­si­ty (St. Kate’s) is a pri­vate Catholic wom­en’s lib­er­al arts uni­ver­si­ty locat­ed in St. Paul, Min­neso­ta. The school has three schools that include the School of Busi­ness, Hen­ri­et­ta Schmoll School of Health, and the School of Human­i­ties, Arts and Sciences.

What We Like: St Kate’s was found­ed by the Sis­ters of St. Joseph of Caron­delet and focus­es on wom­en’s empow­er­ment as well as a lib­er­al arts education.

Degree: Fash­ion Merchandising

Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing — St. Cather­ine University

25. Albright College

The Fash­ion and Cos­tume pro­gram at Albright Col­lege is a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree that trains stu­dents how to become a fash­ion and/or cos­tume design­er. Stu­dents learn how to design gar­ments for both indus­tries, how to cre­ate fin­ished gar­ments that sat­is­fy dif­fer­ent needs, draft and drape designs for pat­tern­ing on soft­ware and tra­di­tion­al drafting/draping tech­niques. Course­work also includes tak­ing mar­ket­ing and busi­ness class­es to round out a fash­ion and cos­tume design education.

Albright Col­lege is a pri­vate lib­er­al arts col­lege and is affil­i­at­ed with the Unit­ed Methodist Church. The col­lege offers Bach­e­lor of Arts and Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence degrees along with Mas­ters of Arts and Mas­ters of Sci­ence. The Prince­ton Review has ranked Albright Col­lege as one of the Best North­east­ern schools for 14 years in a row.

What We Like: U.S. News and World Report has named Albright Col­lege as one of the most eth­ni­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly diverse schools in the country.

Degree: Fash­ion and Costume

Fash­ion and Cos­tume — Albright College

What Kind of Degree Should I Get to Work in Fashion and Design?

Stu­dents who want to work on the busi­ness side of fash­ion are best served by start­ing out with an associate’s degree in their pre­ferred branch of the fash­ion indus­try. An associate’s degree cov­ers the top­ics that employ­ers are look­ing for in an employ­ee who wants to work as a buy­er, mar­keter, or mer­chan­dis­er. A stu­dent who wants to know more about the con­struc­tion of gar­ments and how to build a col­lec­tion should look into a four-year fash­ion design pro­gram to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The best majors for fash­ion indus­try employ­ment include fash­ion man­age­ment, brand man­age­ment, art his­to­ry, graph­ic design, and entre­pre­neur­ship. Degrees in fash­ion can look very dif­fer­ent, from visu­al arts to busi­ness and even engi­neer­ing. Fash­ion-relat­ed majors may also include acces­sories design, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, fash­ion styling, and pat­tern-mak­ing. An exhaus­tive fash­ion majors list could go on and on.

Whether it’s sports­wear or cou­ture, fash­ion stu­dents in a design school should work to build prob­lem solv­ing skills. A fash­ion career involves a lot of cre­ative think­ing. Fash­ion schools will use sem­i­nars and cri­tiques to build com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and networking.

A four-year fash­ion design pro­gram shows you how to use indus­try-stan­dard tools, teach­es you how to design pat­terns through flat­work, drap­ing and CAD/CAM, sewing by hand and machine, and how to fit gar­ments. The more robust your gar­ment design knowl­edge upon grad­u­a­tion, the bet­ter your work opportunities.

How Do I Get a Job with a Fashion Degree?

Find­ing jobs with a fash­ion degree require­ment some­times goes beyond look­ing at job list­ings on a web­site. The types of fash­ion degrees you’ve earned can affect the type of jobs you can get with a fash­ion degree. Fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing, buy­ing and mar­ket­ing roles are more inter­est­ed in your abil­i­ty to make good deci­sions, fol­low instruc­tions for lay­outs, antic­i­pat­ing trends, and sourc­ing gar­ments that are most like­ly to sell. Jobs with a fash­ion design degree are more com­pet­i­tive than oth­er roles due to the fact you have to prove your abil­i­ty to come up with a design idea, then exe­cute it as flaw­less­ly as pos­si­ble pri­or to offer­ing it for sale.

Regard­less of which area of fash­ion you want to work in, you have to have a sol­id port­fo­lio that high­lights your strengths, shows a clear design style, and dis­plays your sam­ple work if nces­sary. An employ­er wants to see a pro­fi­cien­cy in fash­ion that goes beyond the abil­i­ty to sketch a design. The stronger your port­fo­lio, the bet­ter you look dur­ing a job inter­view and increase your odds of land­ing a posi­tion. These are things you will build in your fash­ion design bach­e­lor degree program.

The impor­tance of net­work­ing in the fash­ion indus­try can­not be over­stat­ed. The fash­ion indus­try is one of tight dead­lines, intense pres­sure, and keep­ing costs down. An employ­er who is already aware of your capa­bil­i­ty to oper­ate in this envi­ron­ment is one who can be con­fi­dent in your skills and train­ing. A fash­ion indus­try employ­er prefers to have a reli­able, steady and eas­i­ly trained employ­ee that can keep up with the con­stant pres­sures and not make major mis­takes. Net­work­ing is that foot in the door for jobs in the fash­ion industry.

What Kinds of Jobs are in the Fashion Industry?

Job titles in the fash­ion indus­try are many and var­ied. You can work as a fash­ion design­er, fash­ion mer­chan­dis­ing, fash­ion buy­er, fash­ion pro­duc­tion and man­age­ment, and even fash­ion jour­nal­ism. It’s a field where you can find an employ­ment niche and focus on improv­ing your skills and tal­ents as time pass­es. Often­times, the dif­fer­ent kinds of jobs in the fash­ion indus­try over­lap which enables you to move from one career into anoth­er with­out a lot of adjust­ment. Fol­low­ing is a look at some of the jobs avail­able in the fash­ion industry:

Fash­ion Design
A fash­ion design degree offers jobs that include work­ing as a design assis­tant, pat­tern drafter, tex­tile design­er, and sam­ple mak­er. Most fash­ion design­ers start out as assis­tants to estab­lished design­ers in order to put their tech­ni­cal skills to the test before decid­ing on where their future lies in the fash­ion industry.

Fash­ion Mer­chan­dis­ing
These roles are pri­mar­i­ly found at cloth­ing retail­ers and depart­ment stores. The mer­chan­dis­er plans, sources, designs and plans out dis­plays for the lat­est in sea­son­al fash­ion. The mer­chan­dis­er can be some­one who cre­ates a cam­paign to be exe­cut­ed at retail out­lets in a chain or is the per­son who sets up the displays.

Fash­ion Mar­ket­ing
Fash­ion mar­ket­ing com­bines a pas­sion for the lat­est fash­ions and get­ting the word out to the con­sumer. Some of the duties of a fash­ion mar­keter include cre­at­ing cam­paigns, iden­ti­fy­ing mar­kets, posi­tion­ing a brand for a spe­cif­ic demo­graph­ic, and sell­ing fash­ion lines to retail­ers. Today, social media is cru­cial to a fash­ion brand as well.

Fash­ion Pro­duc­tion
Clothes start on the design board, then make their way into pro­duc­tion. Some design­ers and retail­ers have gar­ments made in mass quan­ti­ty. Fash­ion pro­duc­tion involves over­see­ing the con­struc­tion of clothes from start to fin­ish and using the lat­est in con­struc­tion tech­nolo­gies to reduce waste and stay envi­ron­men­tal­ly friendly.

Relat­ed Rankings:

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion

10 Fastest Online Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Fashion