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Top Schools for Human and Consumer Science

Read about degree programs in human and consumer sciences, which can lead to a career in business, customer service, merchandising and public relations, among other areas. Find information about the degrees offered by four top-notch universities, and find a list of other U.S. schools that have programs in human and consumer sciences.

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Schools around the country offer undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of human and consumer science subjects. Areas of specialization can include family finance, fashion and retailing or hospitality studies.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Apparel and Textile Manufacturing
  • Apparel and Textile Marketing Management
  • Consumer Economics
  • Consumer Services
  • Fabric and Fashion Specialist
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Family Resource Management Studies
  • Human Sciences Communication
  • Retail Management and Merchandising

School Information

Among the four postsecondary institutions profiled below are the first state-charted school in the United States, two national universities and a state university. Each of the schools has been highly ranked for 2017 by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

University of Wisconsin - Madison

School Highlight: The Kohl's Department Stores Center for Retailing Excellence offers symposiums, lectures, internships and counseling for retailing students.

In 2017, the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the flagship school of the University of Wisconsin system, placed among the top 50 national schools and among the top 10 public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Princeton Review also included the university in its list of the 381 best colleges for 2017. The Department of Consumer Science at the School of Human Ecology offers undergraduate degrees including human development and family studies, retailing and personal finance. Students can also pursue Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in human ecology with a focus on consumer behavior and family economics among others.

Ohio State University in Columbus

School Highlight: The school offers a fashion and retail studies opportunity in which students put on a fashion show at the end of the school year.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2017, Ohio State University ranked among the top 20 public schools in the nation. In the same year, The Princeton Review listed it as one of the best 381 schools in the country. Undergraduate students in the consumer sciences program can choose from among three majors: human ecology, fashion and retail studies; human ecology, consumer and family financial services; or hospitality management. Students seeking a graduate degree can enroll in master's or doctoral programs in consumer sciences.

University of Georgia in Athens

School Highlight: The College of Family and Consumer Sciences offers a study tour in New York, as well as international study in China, Ghana, London, Australia and Costa Rica.

The University of Georgia was the nation's first state-chartered institution of higher education, and according to U.S. News & World Report in 2017, it ranked as the 18th best public school in the country. Additionally, The Princeton Review included it on its list of the best 381 schools in the U.S. for the same year. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences offers a program in housing and consumer economics. Students in this program can choose one of several majors, including consumer economics, housing, consumer journalism and financial planning. The Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors Department also offers an undergraduate degree in fashion merchandising and graduate degrees in merchandising and textile science.

Baylor University in Waco, TX

School Highlight: Apparel merchandising students at Baylor apply their knowledge by planning a yearly fashion show.

Within the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor, the department of Family and Consumer Sciences offers six undergraduate majors, including general family & consumer sciences, nutrition sciences and apparel merchandising. At the graduate level, students can earn a Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences, which can provide a relevant educational background for careers ranging from community nutrition to eating disorder counseling. For 2017, Baylor was ranked #71 among all national universities by U.S. News & World Report and was included in The Princeton Review's list of the 381 best colleges.

Top Human and Consumer Science Schools

The following schools also offer programs relevant to human and consumer science:

  • Iowa State University in Ames, IA, offers an interdisciplinary minor in entrepreneurial studies.
  • At Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, students make use of a modern apparel design and CAD lab.
  • At the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, undergraduate students can choose a concentration in family financial planning or consumer affairs.
  • The University of Arizona in Tucson encourages retailing and consumer sciences students to participate in paid internships.
  • Students in the Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville prepare a world international luncheon each semester.
  • The School of Human Ecology at the University of Texas at Austin offers a variety of student organizations to promote leadership and socialization skill.

Students interested in human and consumer sciences can find highly ranked public and private universities that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in related topics, including consumer economics or journalism, family and consumer sciences and hospitality management.

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