A master's degree program in fashion merchandising focuses primarily on the business skills and marketing principles needed to work as a retailer, purchaser or buyer in the fashion industry. These programs also offer courses related to fashion design, textiles and emerging trends. Specialization options include global manufacturing and merchandising. Over the course of these two-year programs, students participate in classroom lectures, studio and lab experiences, and individualized research that leads to a final thesis paper or project. In order to apply, students must have a bachelor's degree in a field relating to marketing or entrepreneurship, as well as experience in the fashion or retail industry. Students must also submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a portfolio of previous work.
Master's Degrees in Fashion Merchandising
A master's degree program in fashion merchandising includes courses both business and fashion principles. Possible classes include:
- Apparel production
- Fashion retailing
- Contemporary fashion
- Fashion merchandise buying
- Fashion theory and analysis
- Fashion market trends
- Operations control
- Textile markets
- Fashion promotion
- Consumer behavior in fashion retailing
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates of master's degree programs are prepared to work in manufacturing, product development, fashion promotion and retail management. Common job titles include:
- Fashion purchasing manager
- Retail store operator
- Visual merchandiser
- Merchandising manager
- Retail store manager
- Fashion design planner
- Fashion marketing manager
Purchasing managers in general earned an average annual salary of $114,130 as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Fashion designers earned an average annual salary of $73,180. Job openings for buyers and purchasing agents were predicted to rise at a slower-than-average rate of 2% between 2014 and 2024. Employment for fashion designers was predicted to increase at a rate of 3% during the same decade.
A master's degree in fashion merchandising provides students with the business skills and fashion know-how necessary for a successful career in the fashion merchandising world. Employment prospects are expected to be competitive, with a slower than average job growth predicted for the next few years.