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Bachelor of Arts (BA): Merchandising Degree Overview

Oct 16, 2019

A Bachelor of Arts in Merchandising program is designed for high school graduates with an interest in fashion who want to decide what items to promote or sell for a company or wholesaler. Learn about the program, career information, and graduate degree options.

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Essential Information

Students working on their 4-year bachelor's degree in merchandising might learn about the impact of culture on clothing and principles of fashion movement and change. Merchandising degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. In addition to completing classroom coursework, they might attend retail conferences, tour retail facilities or participate in a study abroad program. Internship opportunities might be available within major corporations, department stores and buying offices.

Students must have a high school diploma or GED and meet minimum GPA requirements as well as submit a letter of recommendation and statement of goals. Some programs require various coursework related to fashion and clothing.


Bachelor's Degree in Merchandising

Coursework in an undergraduate merchandising program can include communications, accounting, visual merchandising, store development, contemporary fashion and international marketing. Additional courses students may find in a bachelor's in merchandising program include:

  • Global marketing
  • Retailing
  • Buyer behavior
  • Fashion promotion
  • Retail management
  • Speech

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an undergraduate merchandising program can find employment in fields such as retail management, sales, advertising, photography, buying, international marketing or promotions. Career titles may include:

  • Personal shopper
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Special events coordinator
  • Retail manager
  • Showroom sales representative

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Retail managers, classified as first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, will have a slow employment growth of -2% over the 2018-2028 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Their median earnings in May 2018 were $39,630 annually.

Continuing Education Information

A Master of Arts in Merchandising may benefit those who wish to operate a fashion-related business or pursue a doctoral degree in merchandising. Graduates of a master's degree program are prepared for careers in retail buying, merchandise management, product development, store management, teaching or research. Programs may include a thesis or non-thesis option. Coursework in a master's degree program investigates topics such as textile and apparel distribution and the psychological aspects of clothing.

Individuals looking for a career in retail management, sales, or marketing may want to complete a bachelor's degree in merchandising. This program focuses on communications, retail, managing, and marketing, and gives students an opportunity to complete an internship.

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