A few colleges, primarily in Southern California, offer fashion degree programs at the master's level. These programs generally focus on a specific area of fashion or offer additional areas of specialization within the degree. Learn about the different program options and typical program requirements.
California Schools with Graduate Programs in Fashion
California State University-Los Angeles
California State University-Los Angeles offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Art degree program with an option in fashion, fiber and materials. It requires 30 units, and students take core courses in art history, research methods and art perspectives along with required seminar and studio courses for the specialization. The program also requires a final project or thesis that results from individual research into a problem within fashion, fiber and materials. Students in this option are also expected to display pieces of their work in the Fine Arts Gallery each year and present a statement about their design project.
Academy of Art University
San Francisco's Academy of Art University has several MA and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs pertaining to fashion that are available on campus and online. Students can pursue an MA in Costume Design, Fashion Merchandising, Design, Fashion Journalism or Fashion with an emphasis in fashion design. The MA in Fashion with an emphasis in fashion design requires a final portfolio.
The MFA in Fashion requires a thesis or portfolio and internship experience. It offers options in a range of subjects, including knitwear design, fashion marketing and brand management, textile design, and footwear and accessory design.
California State University-Northridge
California State University-Northridge provides a Master of Science (MS) in Family and Consumer Sciences with an apparel design and merchandising (ADM) option. The program totals 33 units and requires a final experience where students can choose from a thesis, comprehensive exam or project. Students who choose the final exam usually take an elective in supervised field study that allows them to pursue internship opportunities, while students pursuing a thesis or project take an elective in research. Other required coursework in the program discusses topics in leadership, family and consumer science, research methods, design and merchandising theory, textile technology and public policy concerning family and consumer issues.
Common Entrance Requirements
Students applying to fashion graduate programs in California generally need to apply to the individual institution as well as the Art Department or department that offers the fashion program. Applicants usually need to hold a bachelor's degree, and some programs require that the bachelor's be in the field of art or design. Typically, students need to include their official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a detailed portfolio that may include multiple images of their work in the field. Specific requirements for the portfolio may vary by school but could require students to submit detailed information about each piece in the portfolio, such as the title, date and dimensions. Some programs also expect students to meet a minimum GPA requirement, include a resume with their application and/or participate in a personal interview.
Graduate programs in fashion are generally available as MA or MFA degrees in California. These programs usually require a final project and may offer a range of specializations to meet students' personal interests.