Schools for Aspiring Fashion Buyers: How to Choose

Dec 08, 2019

In fashion merchandising programs, aspiring fashion buyers learn to analyze inventory and sales trends to determine what merchandise stores should sell. Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in fashion merchandising.

Aspiring fashion buyers will need an undergraduate or graduate degree in fashion merchandising. These programs are typically offered by art and design schools and 4-year universities.

Fashion Buyer Schools

The following universities offer various fashion merchandising degree programs. Tuition rates are from the 2015-2016 school year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $11,830 (in-state); $30,404 (out-of-state)
Herkimer County Community College Herkimer, NY 2-year, Public Associate's $5,320 (in-state); $8,250 (out-of-state)
Ursuline College Pepper Pike, OH 4-year, Private Bachelor's $32,390
Immaculata University Immaculata, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $27,350
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 4-year, Public Associate's $5,902 (in-state); $13,959 (out-of-state)
Baylor University Waco, TX 4-year, Private Bachelor's $45,542
Lasell College Newton, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's $36,000
Harding University Searcy, AR 4-year, Private Bachelor's $19,845
Hinds Community College Raymond, MS 2-year, Public Certificate and Associate's $3,130 (in-state); $6,170 (out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Fashion merchandising degree programs prepare potential fashion buyers through an exploration of fashion, business and marketing. Consider these tips when looking for a fashion merchandising school or program:

  • Aspiring fashion buyers will likely benefit from schools that have associations with the fashion industry, such as faculty who are working professionals, student organizations and internships.
  • When deciding between degree programs, remember that certain programs may focus on market analysis, visual research and product development, while other programs may focus more on retail application.

Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Because buyers can work in teams, students may benefit from associate's degree programs that emphasize teamwork and group projects. Many associate's degree programs also allow time for internship experience within the curricula, and some actually require an internship.

Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Typically, 4-year bachelor's degree programs have the most options for student-run organizations and usually require an internship. Fashion programs may have students create a portfolio displaying their work as a capstone project. Additionally, many schools put on fashion shows at the end of the year to highlight student work and attract recruiters.

Master's Degree in Fashion Merchandising

Master's degree programs may require students to complete a thesis project based on original research relating to fashion or market trends. Other programs require a capstone project and internship. Graduates may find employment as a store planner, product developer or fashion buyer. They could also matriculate into merchandising doctoral programs.

In order to become a fashion buyer, you can earn an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in fashion merchandising from a reputable institution. Make sure to explore a degree program's curriculum and connections to the industry as well as the tuition associated with the program before enrolling.

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