Top Fashion Design Degree Programs in Los Angeles

Students interested in studying fashion design and marketing in Los Angeles, CA, have several 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 about 12 schools within 20 miles of Los Angeles offering fashion design and marketing programs. Based on rankings, graduation rates and program content, the top three non-profit schools in the area are Woodbury University, Otis College of Art and Design and California State University - Los Angeles.

  • Winner: Woodbury University was ranked among the top 65 regional universities in the West in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report. It offers a bachelor's degree program in fashion design, as well as a bachelor's program in fashion marketing.
  • Runner-Up #1: Otis College of Art and Design offers an undergraduate major in fashion design, and it tied Woodbury for the highest graduation rate. Its graduate fine arts program has been nationally ranked in the top 30.
  • Runner-Up #2: California State University offers a bachelor's degree and a certificate in fashion design and was ranked among the top 90 regional universities (West) by U.S. News & World Report.

School Comparison Chart

Category Woodbury University Otis College of Art and Design California State University - Los Angeles
Rankings 62nd for regional universities in 2013 (West)* 27th for graduate fine arts program in 2012* 89th for regional universities in 2013 (West), 38th for top public schools in 2013 (West)*
Location Burbank, CA (14.4 miles from downtown Los Angeles) Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles, CA
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $31,444 (undergraduate)** $38,300 (undergraduate)** $6,101 (undergraduate, in-state), $17,759 (undergraduate, out-of-state)**
Fashion Design and Marketing Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's degrees Certificate; bachelor's degree Certificates; bachelor's degree
Fashion Design and Marketing Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 16** 46** 91 in arts/arts studies general (fashion and textiles not specified)**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 52%** 52%** 36%**
Noteworthy The school offers an annual Woodbury Fashion Show Member of the National Association of Colleges of Art and Design Students have access to the Fine Arts Gallery and internships

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

Winner: Woodbury University (WU)

  • Woodbury Fashion Study Collection available to students
  • Students are required to complete a fashion internship

WU's School of Media, Culture & Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design program aimed at preparing students to fully participate in the fashion industry. Students begin by taking an interdisciplinary design foundation program. They learn the basic methods and techniques common to all art pursuits. Within their major, students take courses in costume history, design and color principles, fashion drawing, draping, couture and the business side of fashion. Students' best work is judged during the annual juried fashion show. Before graduation, seniors can have their work reviewed by a jury of professionals and also can explore other design categories, like footwear or children's clothing. The program offers a costume emphasis.

The School of Business offers a bachelor's program in fashion marketing. In this program, students learn about product development, consumer behavior, advertising, buying, store management and international businesses. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Los Angeles' renowned fashion and entertainment industries by undertaking internships that match their career goals.

Runner-Up #1: Otis College of Art and Design

  • Student-faculty ratio of 7:1, according to NCES
  • The college features the 40,000-square-foot Galef Fine Arts Center
  • Fashion design program occupies a floor of the California Market Center

The Otis College of Art and Design offers a bachelor's program in fashion design that covers all facets of fashion design, including how to create clothes following the seasonal calendar marked by the industry. Courses include fashion illustration, digital design, model drawing, marketing and portfolio development. Students can take advantage of the mobility/exchange program through which they take a semester at another accredited institution, be it in the USA, Canada or Europe.

A fashion design certificate is also offered. This 18-course program is geared toward adult students that wish to enhance their design knowledge or pursue a different career path. Through intensive courses, students can become design assistants, designers or patternmakers and learn about the manufacturing aspect of the industry.

Runner-Up #2: California State University - Los Angeles (Cal State LA)

  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • During 2011-2012, NCES reported that 88% of incoming freshmen received some type of financial aid

Through the College of Arts and Letters, Cal State LA has several options available to the student interested in fashion. Certificates are offered in fashion design and fashion merchandising. In fashion design, students learn about textiles, color theory, computers and textiles, patterns and art fundamentals, while the fashion merchandising program includes courses in textile and apparel analysis, merchandising, salesmanship and retailing.

Cal State LA's Bachelor of Arts program with an option in fashion and textiles includes specialized courses in fashion design, fashion merchandising and textiles. This concentration provides students with the social and cultural elements to understand clothing and accessories and prepares them to participate in the world of fabric design, retailing and manufacturing. Courses include apparel construction, social aspects of fashion, history of textiles, marketing, management and merchandising.


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