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PhD Programs Related to Fashion: Program Information

Ph.D. programs in apparel design allow students to study fashion at the doctoral level. Learn more about prerequisites and program requirements so you can decide whether this program fulfills your educational needs.

Essential Information

For students who want a Ph.D. degree in fashion, a program in apparel design is a suitable option, but it is important to note that these programs are rare. They typically combine studies in fashion design with courses such as the history of fashion and textiles, textile science, issues surrounding the apparel industry, and CAD design technologies. Over the course of the program, students can expect to become familiar with using industrial sewing equipment in a studio setting. Most programs last at least two years, and must defend a doctoral thesis prior to graduation.

In order to apply, students must hold a master's degree in a design-related field. Applicants are also required to submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a portfolio of their best design work. International students may be required to take the TOEFL.


PhD. in Apparel Design

Ph.D. programs in apparel design combine intensive classroom instruction with laboratory work and independent research. The curriculum integrates topics in art, business and science to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of apparel design. Common course topics include the following:

  • Fashion theory and aesthetics
  • Fiber science and analysis
  • Quality assessment and the apparel industry
  • Retailing and distribution
  • Portfolio development
  • Color, design and patternmaking

Popular Career Choices

Graduates with a Ph.D. in Apparel Design can find jobs in a wide variety of fashion-related fields, whether in design firms, stores or research and development facilities. Teaching positions in higher education are another option. Some of the most popular careers include:

  • Women's apparel vertical retail buyer
  • Fashion or textile designer
  • Design director or design consultant
  • Senior product developer or visual merchandise manager
  • Professor of apparel design
  • Art or fashion design director

Employment Outlook and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 3% increase in jobs for fashion designers from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also reported that fashion designers earned $63,670 as a median annual wage in May 2015.

Continuing Education

Graduates of a Ph.D. program in apparel design often go on to teach in similar programs. If they are interested in furthering their studies on the scientific side, they may seek a graduate degree in textile science or textile chemistry.

In conclusion, the most common doctoral degree in the field of fashion is a Ph.D. in apparel design. Through lecture-based coursework, practical studies, and independent research, students gain the necessary training for careers in the fashion industry or academia.


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