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Fashion Graduate Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Students who are passionate about clothing styles and/or retail may consider a master's or doctoral degree program in the field of fashion. Students can find graduate-level programs in relevant topics such as fashion design, fashion merchandising and textile studies.

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Students in a fashion design program learn about the design and construction of garments, sewing techniques, pattern-making and textiles, while those enrolled in a fashion merchandising program study retail market analysis, forecasting trends, retail buying and visual merchandising. Some graduate programs combine design and merchandising, and students may choose to minor in one or the other.

Schools with Fashion Programs

Here are some schools that offer graduate programs in fashion:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Academy of Art University San Francisco, California 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $22,440
University of North Texas Denton, Texas 4-year, Public Master's In state $5,450 Out-of-state $12,470
Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $31,239
Iowa State University Ames, Iowa 4-year, Public Master's, doctorate In state $8,130 Out-of-state $21,054
Cornell University Ithaca, New York 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, doctorate $29,500
Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, Georgia 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $35,325
Parsons the New School for Design New York, New York 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $23,120 per term (12-19 credits)**

*Source: National Center for Educational Statistics, **School Website

School Selection Criteria

When a student is selecting a school, it helps to think about the following:

  • Students interested in construction and design should find out about the school's facilities, ensuring that computer labs feature the latest computer aided design software.
  • For students who are particularly interested in textile studies, it can help to find a school that offers computerized looms and access to historic costume and textile archives.
  • It can be helpful to find a school that has strong connections to companies and individuals within the industry, as this can lead to networking and professional development opportunities.
  • Aspiring fashion designers may want to find a school that provides students with the opportunity to display their work in on-campus or off-site fashion shows.

Master's Degree Programs

At the master's level, there are several degree options. Students who are interested in the creative aspects of fashion may pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in fashion design or textiles. These programs may cover the design and construction of garments, sewing techniques, pattern-making and the cultural aspects of fashion. There are also Master of Science (MS) programs that focus more heavily on merchandising; students may study retail market analysis, forecasting trends, retail buying and visual merchandising. Some graduate programs combine design and merchandising. At some schools, students in MS programs can choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks.

Doctoral Degree Programs

At some schools, it is possible to earn a PhD in textiles, merchandising and/or fashion design. In these programs, students take advanced seminars and courses in the field, with an emphasis on a particular topic of interest. Based on their specialization, students conduct high-level research that leads to a final dissertation.

There are many schools with graduate programs in fashion. When choosing a program, students should make sure that the school has top-notch technology, mentorships and opportunities for experience.

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