Textiles programs prepare students to work in apparel marketing, clothing design, and apparel retailing. At an undergraduate level, Bachelor of Science programs are available, and most allow students to choose an area of specialization, such as apparel design, production, marketing, or textile technology. Graduate degrees available are Master of Science and doctoral programs. In addition, these programs are available in an online format. Internships and hands-on experience are important parts of these programs at every level.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Apparel and Textiles
An apparel and textiles bachelor's degree program focuses on the intersection between apparel design and business. Students learn about the design of apparel, marketing, behavior patterns of consumers, production, and textile evaluation.
Programs are structured differently and some may include a selection process that only admits those who have excelled in first and second year courses. Prospective students who have taken high school business and design courses will have the best chance of being admitted. Many bachelor's degree programs offer internships and require the completion of final projects. The senior year project is especially important for those students who plan on continuing their studies at the graduate level.
A bachelor's degree curriculum requires completion of core courses in textiles and apparel design. Some possible core classes include:
- The textile industry
- Apparel and textiles aesthetics
- Society and consumers
- Fashion illustration
- Two-dimensional design
Master of Science in Textiles
A Master of Science program in textiles allows for a number of specializations and requires the completion of a thesis project. Some common areas of emphasis include nonwovens, medical textiles, textile technology management, textile technology, and advanced fibrous structures. Students must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in engineering, management, textiles, or design.
Classes vary according to the area of specialization, and before students choose an area of concentration, they must complete courses that introduce various fiber-based processes and products. Some possible classes include:
- Biomaterials engineering
- Textile product development, comfort, and structures
- Light and color
- Structure of medical textile products
- Nonwovens and bonding principles
- Nonwoven fibers, polymers and materials
Doctor of Philosophy in Textile Technology Management
A Ph.D. program in textile technology management prepares graduates for managerial positions with government organizations and private companies.
Prospective students must have earned bachelor's degrees or higher and have had some exposure to courses in textile development and management. Some applicants already have masters' degrees in the field. Prospective students with strong problem-solving and analytical abilities will have the best chance of succeeding in doctoral degree programs.
Classes are interdisciplinary and combine the fields of business, management and textile technology. The first year focuses on textile manufacturing and management, sourcing activities to uncover new textile products, distribution and marketing, and laws regarding international trade. These courses apply the science of management and the use of technology to textile production, the development field, and the manufacturing process. Students begin their dissertation after completing these courses. Some courses may include:
- Textile processes and control
- Aesthetics of textiles
- Textile evaluation and production systems
- Statistics for management
- Operations research
- Textile marketing
Popular Career Options
An undergraduate degree in textiles prepares graduates for a wide variety of careers in the textile and fashion industries. Marketing and retail in particular provide grads with opportunities outside of fashion design. Some possible careers include:
- Fashion designer
- Fashion buyer
- Fabric development specialist
The career paths for graduates of a master's degree program in textiles depend heavily on their area of specialization. Employment opportunities exist with fashion design firms, community colleges, and manufacturing companies. Some possible careers include:
- Marketing manager
- Textile conservationist
- Design technician
- New product development manager
- Fashion designer
- Community college instructor
A majority of the graduates of a Ph.D. program in textile management enter research and teaching positions with universities. However, some enter the textile industry and work for companies involved in the production of textiles and textile-based products. Some possible careers include:
- University professor
- Product development manger
- Textile operations manager
At the undergraduate level, students in textiles programs are able to focus on various areas within the field, such as apparel design or marketing, while graduate students focus on more advanced, in-depth courses like biomaterials engineering and operations research. There are many career options open to graduates of each degree program level.