A number of degree programs can provide the technical knowledge and business skills necessary to enter the fashion merchandising field, including those in fashion, retail or apparel marketing and merchandising, fashion marketing and management or fashion communication. Most commonly available are bachelor's degree programs, though relevant associate, master's and doctoral degrees are also offered. In addition to classroom studies, students are often able to gain practical skills through internship experiences. Below is information about several 4-year public and private schools as well as one community college in Missouri that offer relevant degree programs.
Fontbonne University, located in Saint Louis, offers a bachelor's degree program in fashion merchandising through its Human Environmental Sciences Department. Students in this 128-credit program gain expertise in the technical aspects of the fashion industry, while developing their creative skills. Coursework includes sewing technology, textiles, marketing, apparel production, visual merchandising and fashion forecasting. Students can participate in fashion events to enhance their education outside of the classroom; study abroad opportunities are also available. Required internships in retail and corporate settings provide hands-on experience in the field.
Students interested in fashion merchandising careers can pursue a bachelor's degree program in retail management at Saint Charles' Lindenwood University. This liberal arts institution's School of Business and Entrepreneurship blends business and retail coursework in a 128-credit program. Students take courses in retail communications, retail buying, statistics, human resources management, organizational behavior and retail operations. In addition to the retail management core, students complete 39 credits in general business administration.
Missouri State University - Springfield
Springfield-based Missouri State University offers the opportunity for students to learn technical and business skills related to fashion merchandising through a bachelor's degree program in fashion merchandising and design. For individuals interested in the business side of the fashion industry, the program features an emphasis area in merchandising and management. Students explore marketing, retailing, fashion construction, visual merchandising and entrepreneurship. Internship, study abroad and networking opportunities are also available to students. The program can be completed with a traditional four-year plan or a three-year plan in which students take courses during fall, spring and summer semesters.
Southeast Missouri State University
Southeast Missouri State University is a four-year, public school located in Cape Girardeau. Offered through the College of Health and Human Services, the bachelor's degree program in human environmental science includes a concentration area in fashion merchandising. Coursework examines fashion retailing, professional behavior, costume design, apparel aesthetics, fashion trends, merchandising and management. Some courses include a lab work component. Students are also required to complete an internship and retail management minor. Other learning tools and experiences available include the school's instructional clothing collections and summer trips to apparel facilities in Europe.
Stephens College, located in Columbia, has an annual enrollment of roughly 1,000 students, yet it offers a wide range of baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. Two fashion degree programs with relevant coursework are available: a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Communication and Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing and Management.
The bachelor's degree program in fashion communication is offered within the School of Design and Fashion. It qualifies students for occupations including visual merchandiser, fashion journalist, fashion advertiser and special event planner. This program includes coursework in visual merchandising, fashion show production, art direction, media and culture, consumer behavior and marketing.
The bachelor's degree program in fashion marketing and management is tailored to students who are most interested in learning how to sell fashion merchandise at wholesale and retail levels. The curriculum draws on courses from the School of Design and Fashion, as well as the business department. Courses expose students to the basics of fashion promotion, fashion buying, marketing and global trends in the fashion merchandising industry. To meet graduation requirements, students complete classes in economics, accounting, business and fashion.
University of Central Missouri
The Warrensburg-based University of Central Missouri offers a bachelor's degree program in fashion with a concentration in textiles and clothing business through its School of Technology. This four-year program requires 120 credit hours to graduate. Students pursuing bachelor's degrees in fashion take courses in fashion merchandising, marketing, apparel design and fashion promotion. An internship is also required.
In addition to learning in the classroom, students can take advantage of the university's Helen Ball Historic Costume Collection, along with the Evelyn Louise Sims Collection of high-end fashion. Through these collections, students have the chance to study genuine designer apparel from the 19th and 20th centuries and participate in community service, trunk and fashion shows. In addition to access to faculty with experience in the field, fashion students have the opportunity to study abroad.
University of Missouri - Columbia
Located in Columbia, the University of Missouri offers a variety of degrees to students interested in fashion merchandising and the business aspects of the fashion industry. The Department of Textiles and Apparel Management offers undergraduate and graduate programs. At the undergraduate level, students can complete a bachelor's degree program in apparel marketing and merchandising or a bachelor's degree program in international apparel marketing and merchandising. Both programs provide students with a background in textile science and retailing knowledge. The international apparel marketing and merchandising program also includes a ten-credit requirement in a foreign language.
In addition to the bachelor's degree programs, the University of Missouri offers a master's degree program and a PhD program in textile and apparel management. Both programs open the door to careers in merchandising, buying and product development. Students focus on individualized study and research, as well as advanced coursework. The master's degree program requires a thesis, while students in the PhD program focus their research activities on a doctoral dissertation.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Fashion Merchandising Degree Programs||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Fontbonne University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising||$23,790*|
|Lindenwood University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; small city||Bachelor of Arts in Retail Management||$16,022*|
|Missouri State University - Springfield||Four-year, public; midsize city||Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and Design: Fashion Merchandising and Management|| $7,060 in-state;
|Southeast Missouri State University||Four-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Studies: Fashion Merchandising|| $6,990 in-state;
|Stephens College||Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Communication,
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing and Management
|University of Central Missouri||Four-year, public; distant town||Bachelor of Science in Fashion: Textiles and Clothing in Business|| $7,322 in-state;
|University of Missouri - Columbia||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising,
Bachelor of Science in International Apparel Marketing and Merchandising,
Master of Science in Textile and Apparel Management,
PhD in Human Environmental Science: Textile and Apparel Management
| $9,509 in-state;
Source: *NCES College Navigator