Visual Merchandising Graduate Degree Program Options

Visual merchandising is the practice of arranging retail products in a manner designed to increase their attractiveness to buyers. There are few, if any, graduate programs that specifically cover visual merchandising, but the subject is covered in fashion merchandising master's degree programs.

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Essential Information

Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) programs in fashion merchandising cover several topics relevant to the clothing and marketing industry. Students often specialize in an area like textile science, consumer behavior, or apparel design. Programs cover research and statistical methods used to quantify the effectiveness of marketing and merchandising techniques. Students also learn about the history and science of the textile and fashion industries. To complete a graduate program in the field, students will often need to complete a thesis project to graduate. Career outcomes might include retail store manager or merchandise purchaser.

Applicants to fashion merchandising master's degree programs need to complete undergraduate courses in subjects like marketing, textiles and chemistry before beginning any graduate fashion merchandising coursework. Many programs also require applicants to write a personal statement detailing their interest in the program, academic qualifications and employment aspirations.

Master's Degree in Visual Merchandising

The classes in fashion merchandising master's degree programs emphasize the theories behind marketing and merchandising practices used to sell retail products. Students complete a thesis project demonstrating original research into an aspect of the field. Courses in the following subjects are usually offered:

  • Merchandising research methodology
  • Merchandising management trends
  • International merchandising
  • Visual merchandising
  • Online merchandising strategies
  • Brand management

Popular Career Options

People who earn a master's degree in fashion merchandising are qualified for many jobs in retail and marketing. Graduates are often responsible for their store's visual merchandising. The positions noted below are some popular options, such as:

  • Retail store manager
  • Merchandise purchaser
  • Merchandising expert

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that merchandise displayers and window trimmers made an average salary of $29,790 annually in May 2015. Employment in this field was expected to grow 2-4% from 2014-2024.

Continuing Education Information

Some graduates continue their education and earn a doctorate in textile and apparel management. These relatively uncommon programs emphasize practical skills used to sell several types of goods, including clothing and furniture. The visual merchandising component of these programs is usually similar to that of master's degree programs.

While there aren't specific graduate degrees in visual merchandising, students interested in working in this field can enroll in other fashion and marketing related programs to prepare themselves for careers as merchandise professionals and managers.

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