Master's degree programs in merchandising are typically 30-36 credits in length and are available as both online and on-campus programs. While programs teach students to purchase on a wholesale level, they also include in-depth research into consumer behavior, supply and demand procedures, promotion of goods and consumer buying habits. Specialization options can include fashion merchandising, international apparel, evaluation of textiles, and forecasting fashion trends. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores.
Merchandising Master's Degree
The curriculum in merchandising master's degree programs covers purchasing, consumer behavior and trends. Graduate students can often choose between thesis and non-thesis options. Common course titles include:
- Merchandising tactics
- Promotional methods
- International merchandising
- History of merchandising
- Product creation and assessment
- Retailing domestically and globally
Graduates of master's degree programs in merchandising often work in career fields such as purchasing, visual merchandising, retail management and fashion communications. Specific job titles include:
- Retail buyer
- Visual merchandiser
- Apparel consultant
- Product development specialist
- Fashion publicist
- Wholesale sales manager
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported employment of buyers and purchasing agents was expected to grow 2 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than the national average for all occupations. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $59,620 in 2015. According to the BLS, wholesale and retail buyers earned a median yearly salary of $52,940 in May 2015, while purchasing managers made a median salary of $108,120 in the same year.
Continuing Education Information
Graduate certificates in merchandising are available for students seeking additional education in specific areas, such as retail issues and practices, development and design implementation, consumer decision-making processes and merchandising promotion techniques. Doctoral degree programs with concentrations in merchandising are also available. These research-based programs are designed for those who wish to work as college merchandising professors or as merchandising and consumer behavior researchers.
If you are interested in a merchandising career, you may consider a master's degree in the field. These programs provide advanced training in merchandising and retail and may be offered in either on-campus or online formats. Students are prepared for a variety of careers, including those of retail buyers and purchasing managers.