Online Fashion Schools: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online fashion school. Read more to get an overview of the program options, delivery methods, and common topics offered for the field of study.

Online fashion degree programs are readily available in several fields at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Here we discuss some considerations for choosing a school, like the type of program and future career goals, and look at a few of the schools that offer these programs.

How to Select an Online Fashion School

Students considering online fashion schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Online fashion schools are differentiated by a number of factors, including degree levels available and focus of study. Various public and private schools offer online programs in fashion. Students may want to consider their career goals in choosing a school and deciding to pursue and associate, bachelor's or master's degree in fashion online.

Program Type and Focus

Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available online in fields like fashion design, fashion marketing and fashion merchandising. These degree fields typically allow for further specialization in areas such as historical fashion design, textiles or business. Programs offered by some schools are actually degree completion programs with the bulk of fashion-specific coursework available online.

Career Goals

With a degree from an online fashion school, graduates may pursue careers in design, marketing, buying, advertising, development, manufacturing and merchandising. Students completing an associate or bachelor's degree program can also prepare for advanced study, continuing on to a bachelor's or master's degree program as appropriate, which may be available online.

Options for Online Fashion Degrees

Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising

Online fashion merchandising degrees focus on marketing, management and customer service in the fashion industry. Students study the basic principles of fashion design through coursework in dressmaking and sewing. Students typically use tools such as e-mail and instant messenger to communicate with professors. Online programs may be self-paced. Course topics include:

  • Fashion history
  • Social commerce
  • Fashion marketing
  • Color theory
  • Branding

Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing and Management

This degree program typically includes coursework in both the creative aspects of fashion and the business capabilities necessary for working in the industry. Students gain experience using the same software used in fashion merchandising.

Online learning systems may combine e-mail, instant messaging and real-time testing capabilities into a single interface that students can access via the Internet. Some programs may also offer online students the chance to take an active role in planning and executing their own internships under guidance from the school. Coursework covers:

  • Textiles
  • Fashion buying
  • Distribution
  • Integrated marketing communications
  • Principles of advertising

Master of Fine Arts in Fashion

A master's degree program in fashion may offer concentrations such as design or merchandising. A typical course load may also include business-oriented classes like marketing. Degree study can be self-paced or require students to turn in assignments on set dates. Some programs encourage collaborative work among online students. Sample course topics include:

  • Cross-cultural fashion
  • Art history
  • Multimedia communications
  • Forecasting and business trends
  • Fashion materials and structures

Schools With Online Programs in Fashion

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online associate's degree program in fashion merchandising that totals 60 credits and a bachelor's degree program in fashion merchandising management that totals 120 credits. Students take major courses in a wide variety of subjects, including color theory, marketing, accounting, design and more. Students in the associate's program are also required to participate in a fashion merchandising internship that totals 150 hours, while students in the bachelor's program take a marketing internship totaling 150 hours.

Berkeley College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising and Management and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Fashion Merchandising and Management in several locations, including New York, and online. The associate's program requires 60 credits while the bachelor's program requires 120 credits. Both programs require an internship and the bachelor's program also includes a capstone course.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an online masters program in textiles, merchandising and fashion design with a specialization in merchandising. This Master of Science program requires 36 credit hours that includes a practicum, thesis or other creative component. Graduates of this program may find careers in retail management, product development or promotions.

As they are deciding which online school to attend for fashion, students should consider the kind of program that is offered and how that particular focus aligns with their career goals, as well as internship requirements. There are several different schools to choose from that offer online associates, bachelors and masters degree programs in the field.

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