Top School in Denver for a Retail Management Degree

Students interested in studying retail management and merchandising in Denver, CO, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

There are only about three not-for-profit schools offering programs related to retail management in the Denver, Colorado, area. Based on program offerings, student services, and rankings, the schools are ranked as follows:

  • Winner: Colorado State University - Fort Collins takes the top spot based on relevant program offerings and U.S. News & World Report rankings. It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs related to this field; however, it is also the furthest one of these schools from Denver.
  • Runner Up #1: Johnson & Wales University - Denver takes second place since it offers a bachelor's degree related to retail merchandising and retail management facilities for students.
  • Runner Up #2: Arapahoe Community College is the only one of these schools to offer programs actually in retail management. It has both a certificate and an associate's degree program in the field.

School Comparison Chart

Category Colorado State University - Fort Collins Johnson & Wales University - Denver Arapahoe Community College
Rankings #134 among national universities*
#67 public school among national universities*
Location Fort Collins, CO (58.5 miles from Denver) Denver, CO Littleton, CO (6.7 miles from Denver)
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 2-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $8,649 (undergraduate, in-state),
$24,441 (undergraduate, out-of-state);
$9,986 (graduate, in-state),
$22,166 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$26,412 (undergraduate)** $2,898 (in-state)
$11,293 (out-of-state)**
Retail Management and Merchandising Program Levels Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degree Certificate; associate's degree
Retail Management and Merchandising Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 95** 7** 19 (business administration and management)**
Most Popular Retail Management and Merchandising Program (2011-2012) Bachelor's - Apparel and Textile Marketing Management (83 awarded)** Bachelor's - Fashion Merchandising (7 awarded)** N/A
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) 63% (for 2006 entering class)** 51% (for 2006 entering class)** 17% (for 2009 entering class)**
Noteworthy Many scholarships are available for design and merchandising students Fashion merchandising and retail management study abroad opportunities include programs in France and Italy N/A

Sources: *U. S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator.

Winner: Colorado State University - Fort Collins

  • Students and scholars have access to artifacts at the on-campus Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising
  • Graduate students can participate in the Design and Merchandising Graduate Student Association
  • A faculty 'executive in residence' program brings in interior design or apparel and merchandising professionals on an annual basis to provide curricular feedback and inspire students
  • The Department of Design and Merchandising organizes study tours for students to travel to places such as New York City to learn about the design and merchandising industries

Colorado State University - Fort Collins offers a Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Merchandising with concentrations available in merchandising and in apparel design and production. Graduate programs offered include a Master of Science in Design and Merchandising with concentrations in interior design and in apparel and merchandising. CSU also has a minor in merchandising.

The bachelor's degree program teaches students about sourcing, production, retailing and marketing of products. Students also study consumer patterns and historical, cultural and socioeconomic factors in purchasing trends. The apparel design and production concentration focuses on textiles, fabrics, aesthetics, construction and quality assessment. The merchandising concentration teaches the promotion, development, procurement and distribution of consumer goods. Every spring, students have the opportunity to earn awards in the student apparel design show.

The Master of Science in Design and Merchandising program includes research in textiles, merchandising and consumer behavior. A research seminar is mandatory for all students. This program applies contemporary technologies to its research-based curriculum, and its courses offer a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. A master's thesis is required in order to graduate.

Runner-Up #1: Johnson & Wales University - Denver

  • Based on reports by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 99% of full-time beginning students were awarded financial aid in 2011-2012
  • Students involved in CatWalk, the student organization for fashion merchandising, run an annual fashion show
  • Fashion merchandising and retail management facilities include a fashion lab

The Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University offers a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Marketing. This degree program prepares graduates for management and executive trainee positions in retail. Students who complete the program have an understanding of global fashion, fashion goods manufacturing and trends in the retail industry. The curriculum takes four years to finish and includes courses in marketing, management, retail, global influence, quality analysis and merchandise purchasing. Macroeconomics, microeconomics, statistics and communication are some of the general studies classes that are required. A total of 185 credits are needed to attain the degree.

Runner-Up #2: Arapahoe Community College

  • Offers both degree and certificate programs in retail management
  • Has an on-campus child care center for children of students

Arapahoe Community College features a certificate and an Associates of Applied Science in Retail Management for students interested in managerial positions in the retail industry. Students in the program learn to work with vendors, undertake marketing and strategic planning duties and provide leadership to employees. The degree program requires 15 general education credit hours, 30 credits of major courses, and 15 hours of electives. The certificate program only requires 30 credit hours of major courses. Other courses include public speaking, statistics, sales principles, management principles, customer service, accounting, human resources and marketing.

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