Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): Fashion Design Degree Overview

A 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Fashion Design program bolsters students' artistic sensibilities and technical abilities through courses in fabrics and fashion design techniques. Considerations for admission likely require a portfolio review and a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design reinforces students' ability to work with varying fabric textures, styles, and techniques. Throughout the program, students build their illustration, aesthetic and production skills through studio and classroom settings.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, portfolio
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Possible Program Specializations: Technology, sustainability, design in global contexts
  • Other Requirements: Showcase and/or portfolio of original designs, thesis, or participation in a fashion show.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design

Admittance into Bachelor's degree programs usually requires a high school diploma or the equivalent. Fashion Design specialization may also require a portfolio or other examples of work. The 4-year program trains students in the history, creation and theory of fashion design. To demonstrate their knowledge of materials and showcase their designs, students are often required to create a portfolio or collection of original work, complete a thesis or participate in a fashion show. Some popular courses include:

  • Color theory
  • Draping
  • Computer-aided fashion design
  • Drawing
  • Textiles
  • History of Fashion

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

With a bachelor's degree in fashion design, candidates might find employment in specialized design services or performing arts, spectator sports and related industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for fashion designers expected to decrease by three percent from 2012-2022 and would remain competitive (

As of May 2014, there were 17,840 fashion designers in the country making an average annual salary of $73,690, according to BLS reports. The BLS also found that some of the highest-paying industries for fashion designers were the management of companies and enterprises, specialized design services, cut and sew apparel manufacturing and motion picture industries.

Continuing Education

Some schools offer Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design programs, which may focus on issues of sustainability, design in global contexts and how technology has changed the industry. These programs generally take two years to complete and require students to spend multiple semesters in design studios, developing their own personal style, meeting industry professionals and, in some cases, taking on a design project for a professional company. Students must complete a thesis of their own professional work as well.

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