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Fashion Marketing Degree Programs in Chicago with Course Overviews

Research fashion marketing in Chicago, which currently has four colleges offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admissions info and program requirements for three Chicago schools no more than 30 miles from downtown and decide which program is right for you.

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Chicago-Area Schools with Fashion Marketing Programs

Students who would like to study fashion marketing have a few options in the Chicago, IL, area at schools that offer programs in fashion merchandising or fashion business. This article looks at three of those institutions, all within 35 minutes of downtown, and the relevant programs they offer. It also includes a table of information important to prospective students, such as enrollment, tuition, financial aid availability and graduation rates. At the end of the article are a few facts about one other area school with a related program.

  • Columbia College is less than a mile from the city center and offers a bachelor's degree program in fashion business, which includes studies in all aspects of the fashion industry. The arts school also has degree programs available in fashion design.
  • At Dominican University, students can pursue a bachelor's degree in apparel merchandising and even have the option to take classes in France or Italy. The campus is about 12 miles from downtown Chicago, which is ideal for the fashion events in the city.
  • The College of DuPage offers the opportunity to pursue 1-year certificate and 2-year associate's degree programs in fashion merchandising. It is about 27 miles from downtown.

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Comparison of Schools

There are many factors that a prospective student should know when considering what school to attend. The following table offers important data in a format that makes comparison easy.

Columbia College-Chicago Dominican University College of DuPage
School Type 4-year college, private non-profit 4-year university, private non-profit 2-year college, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 9,440* 3,498* 29,476*
Campus Setting Large city Suburb; large Suburb; large
Tuition and Fees (2015-16) $24,344* $30,670* $5,275 in-district, $10,885 in-state, $12,985 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2013-14) 82%* 93%* 69%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) 89* 61%* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2014) 71% for full-time students* 81% for full-time students* 69% for full-time students*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (2014) 43%* 63% (32% transfer-out rate)* 17% (30% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Columbia College - Chicago

Columbia College's fashion programs address the aesthetics of fashion, the business of fashion and factors that influence fashion. Students are encouraged to complete internship experiences to gain job skills and make connections in the field.

Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Business

The fashion business degree program incorporates marketing, retailing, merchandising and design aspects of fashion. Courses prepare students to identify trends in the industry, assess the quality of a product and display products so customers buy them. They also study accounting, finance, retail management and marketing. The capstone course focuses on making decisions in the business of fashion.

Dominican University

Dominican University, located 10 miles from Chicago, is a private, not-for-profit Catholic university. The school's Apparel Design and Merchandising Department features undergraduate fashion design and fashion marketing degree programs, as well as undergraduate minors in these fields. The department also offers unique study-abroad programs in the fashion capitals of Paris and Milan.

Bachelor of Arts in Apparel Merchandising

Through this program, students can prepare to become business leaders in the fashion industry. They'll discover how to display retail, purchase clothing that people want to wear and manage retail shops and fashion boutiques effectively. Courses include apparel design and structure, the world of fashion, cultural dress, fabrics, clothing history, the fashion market, merchandising clothing, clothing analysis and visual merchandising. They must also complete an internship that is relevant to their studies within the apparel industry. Apparel merchandising is also available as a minor.

College of DuPage

The College of DuPage is committed to helping students acquire a solid foundation in their field of study through a combination of lectures and hands-on experience. In the fashion industry, students explore textiles, garment construction, fashion illustration and fashion show production for a well-rounded glimpse of what the fashion industry is like so they can prepare for it effectively.

Associate in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising

Through the degree program in fashion merchandising, students can explore topics in fashion promotion, fashion merchandising and techniques in marketing fashion. Other courses address the history of costumes, textiles and quality apparel. Business classes include marketing, management, sales, advertising and fashion motivation. They also take electives that can target their studies through courses in fashion promotion, fashion merchandising and visual merchandising.

Certificate in Fashion Merchandising

This 30-credit certificate takes about one year to complete. Students study the principles of marketing, visual merchandising, quality in apparel and textiles. Some classes address specific techniques in fashion marketing and business skills important for fashion professionals, including promotions, sales, retail and supervision.

Other School Options

Associate's degree programs in fashion design and fashion merchandising are available at Harper College, which is located about 27 miles away. Harper also has certificate programs in advanced patternmaking, apparel construction and textiles.

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