Online Colleges with Textile Art Programs: How to Choose

Review this article to learn about what to look for in a textile program, then explore some of the different types of online textile programs. Once you've learned about these types of programs look at a couple online schools that offer them.

How to Select an Online Textile Art School

Students considering online textile art schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Due to the equipment required, textile art programs are rarely offered in an online format. Tools such as large floor looms, digitized screen-printing equipment and large dye bins are some of the items not easily obtained by the average student for private use. Most, if not all, programs in this field require an on-campus studio environment to complete the degree. Students may also need to complete other studio art requirements, such as printmaking or two-dimensional design, in order to earn a degree in textile arts.

Textile Concentrations

Outside of arts programs, there are many fields involving textiles that can be completed through online study. Clothing and design programs focused on the production and merchandising of apparel, blending topics in business and statistics with courses such as advanced fiber art or textile dyeing. Students can also study textile science, history and quilt making.

Program Format

Different textile specializations differ in the ability be taught entirely online. Emphasis in history or quilt making will generally require some on-campus attendance. Science-focused programs, such as textile chemistry, can be in fully online formats.

List of Online Textile Programs

Online Graduate Certificate in Textiles

This 15-credit hour certificate program in textiles offers students an opportunity to learn advanced concepts in cotton fibers and textile production. Though these programs are incredibly rare, they can be found entirely online. This graduate certificate typically requires students to possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Accessing online course management systems requires a computer and Internet access. Examples of course topics include:

  • Cotton genotypes and phenotypes
  • Economics of the cotton-textile industry
  • Advanced studies in cotton fibers
  • Contemporary issues in craft theory

Online Master's Degree in Textiles

Master's degrees in textiles offer students a variety of specialization options. These programs entail approximately 30 credit hours and can vary in focus from textile chemistry to textile history. Some curricula can found fully online, but certain programs will require as many as nine credits of on-campus coursework. Lectures are generally presented using online video-conferencing software, requiring a webcam and headset. Courses can include:

  • Advanced studies in cotton fibers
  • Theory of dyeing
  • Biopolymers and bioproducts
  • Textile wet processing

Schools with Online Programs in Textile Art

Through North Carolina State, the University of North Carolina Online (UNC Online) offers three online programs in textiles; including, a Certificate in Fabric Manufacturing, a Certificate in Textile Fundamentals and a Master of Science in Textiles. All these programs require incoming students to have a bachelor's degree in a textile related field. The fabric manufacturing and textile fundamentals certificates are in place to help students improve their understanding of textiles, while the master's degree program allows graduates to pursue careers in textile supply chains, research laboratories, government agencies and higher education.

North Carolina State itself offers additional online programs, including an undergraduate Textiles Fundamentals Certificate, a Master of Science in Textile Chemistry and a Graduate Certificate in Nonwoven Science and Technology. An undergraduate certificate may help students gain the knowledge they need to be competitive in the textile industry.

The Master of Science in Textile Chemistry program prepares students for career advancement, by improving their understanding of the chemistry of polymers, color science, dyeing and fiber formation. This master's program as well as the Master of Science in Textiles, which is also available through UNC online, requires students to complete a plan of graduate work. The Graduate Certificate in Nonwoven Science and Technology gives graduate students the knowledge they need to specialize in nonwoven science and technologies.

There are a few schools that offer online textiles programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Students may pursue these programs to improve their general knowledge of the field and be more comparative, or to learn about and specialize in a particular area of the industry.

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