Top-Rated Fashion Merchandising Degree Programs in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA, has roughly 5 schools with programs in fashion merchandising. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

School and Ranking Information

Aspiring fashion merchandisers in San Francisco, CA, can find about five school options within a 20-mile radius for degree and certificate programs related to the field. The top three of these schools are ranked as follows, based on program offerings, graduation and tuition rates and degrees awarded:

  • Winner: San Francisco State University is regionally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and is the only school of the three to offer a bachelor's degree program.
  • Runner-Up #1: City College of San Francisco offers associate's degree and certificate programs. It grants more degrees and certificates in the field and has a higher overall graduation rate than the second runner-up, per statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • Runner-Up #2: Skyline College offers certificate and associate's degree programs. Although it offers the lowest tuition rate of these three schools, it's also the furthest from San Francisco.

School Comparison Chart

Category San Francisco State University City College of San Francisco Skyline College
Rankings in 2013 Ranked 50th among regional universities and 15th among public schools in the West*, ranked 36th nationally among schools with highest Hispanic enrollment*** Ranked 65th nationally among schools with highest Hispanic enrollment*** N/A
Location San Francisco, CA San Francisco, CA San Bruno, CA (10.4 miles south of San Francisco)
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees in 2012-2013 $6,440 (in-state); $18,098 (out-of-state)** $1,238 (in-state); $6,270 (out-of-state)** $1,111 (in-state); $7,471 (out-of-state)**
Fashion Merchandising Programs Offered Bachelor's degree Certificate and associate's degree Certificate and associate's degree
Fashion Merchandising Degrees and Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 49 (in apparel and textiles, general)** 20 (in apparel and textile marketing management)** 1 (in apparel and textile marketing management)**
Most Popular Fashion Merchandising Programs in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (49 awarded)** 1- to 2-year certificate (11 awarded)** Associate's degree (1 awarded)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) 46% (9% transfer-out rate) (for 2005 entering class)** 26% (14% transfer-out rate) (for 2008 entering class)** 20% (16% transfer-out rate) (for 2008 entering class)**

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Hispanic Outlook Magazine.

Winner: San Francisco State University

  • Students can join the school's Fashion Network Association
  • The university hosts an annual fashion show for students to exhibit fashion merchandising skills

SFSU offers its Bachelor of Science program in apparel design and merchandising through the College of Health and Social Sciences. Students can select a concentration in fashion merchandising or apparel design, but all participants take some classes in color and design, textiles and apparel, apparel product development and fashion industry studies.

In the fashion merchandising emphasis, learners take classes that include topics in fashion consumerism, fashion merchandising, visual merchandising, fashion research, fashion computer applications and promotions, as well as completing 9 credits in electives. Students who participate in the Fashion Network Association might have opportunities to earn non-credit, hands-on experience in event production, fashion marketing and styling.

Runner-Up #1: City College of San Francisco

  • Annual school fashion show demonstrates skills of students in the fashion merchandising program
  • Largest school within 50 miles of San Francisco

The Business School at CCSF houses the fashion department, which has certificate and associate's degree programs in fashion merchandising. The fashion merchandising certificate program has 37-41 required credits. It can help those already working in the field improve their skills or train individuals for a new career in fashion. Some of the fashion courses include textiles, buying, show production, forecasting and styling. Students must also complete a field experience class.

For those wishing to earn a 2-year degree, the Associate of Science (A.S.) program in fashion merchandising also prepares graduates for a variety of careers in the fashion industry, including visual merchandising, showroom coordination and fashion show production. In addition to the same coursework required in the certificate program, students complete mandatory general education.

Students interested in fashion might like to know that CCSF also has certificate programs in textiles, fashion design, fashion styling and image consulting, plus a fashion design degree.

Runner-Up #2: Skyline College

  • The business division, which offers fashion merchandising programs, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Students participate in a public fashion show during a course in visual merchandising

Skyline offers certificate and associate's degree programs in fashion merchandising. The 1-year certificate program includes classes in retailing and buying, textiles, visual merchandising, fashion analysis and fashion shows. During the 30-credit program, students also complete a co-op class to learn hands-on fashion merchandising skills. The A.S. program in fashion merchandising includes the same coursework as the certificate program, along with general education requirements.

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