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The Fashion School | Undergraduate Degrees

The Fashion Design Major

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Fashion Design integrate conceptual, technical and production design knowledge and skills, leading to a synthesis of the design process from concept to production. These processes include color, design and trend research; technical sketching and rendered illustration; pattern-making and garment construction; analysis of appropriate fit and fabric selection; and the ability to communicate specifications for production using industry standards appropriate to specific markets.

The B.A. and B.F.A. degrees in Fashion Design prepare students for professional careers by developing technical competency, creative/independent problem solving and conceptual understanding necessary for the challenges of a career in the creative industries. Students in both degree programs will be required to develop portfolios for presentation at industry interviews and are prepared to be strongly competitive for any entry-level design position in the industry.

Prior to senior year, fashion design students will select to complete either the B.A. or B.F.A. degree.

The B.A. degree in Fashion Design promotes an emphasis on the diversity of studio practice and liberal art experiences. Students have the option to select coursework offerings to gain expertise in a variety of specialties that connect directly to fashion design, such as wearable technology applications, garment knitting, illustration and/or accessory design.

The B.F.A. degree in Fashion Design students engage in a focused-study thesis project (collection development) as a capstone experience that results in submitting their collection for formal review by faculty and industry designer-critics, followed by public presentation in a fashion venue.

The Fashion Merchandising Major

Students in fashion merchandising acquire a thorough background in the business aspects of the fashion industry, developing competencies in fashion theory; development and marketing of fashion goods; merchandising for apparel manufacturing; retail operations, management and buying; fashion forecasting and promotion.

Combined Baccalaureate in Fashion Merchandising/Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) with a concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising in the College of Business and Graduate School Management
Fashion Merchandising majors who qualify may enroll in the combined Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising/Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), with a concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising program. Completion of both degrees can be achieved within approximately 5 ½ years, depending on many variables. Careful planning and advising are needed in order to complete the combined programs successfully in a timely way. Students intending to follow this option should work closely with their academic advisor.

In the freshman year, MATH 11012 Intuitive Calculus or MATH 12002 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I is recommended.

In the senior year, 12 credit hours of FDM graduate level coursework which constitutes the M.B.A. concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising will be completed.

When achieving a minimum of 90 credit hours in the fashion merchandising program (beginning of the senior year) and a minimum GPA of 3.30, the student should apply for "conditional admission" to the M.B.A. program. This application should occur no later than July 1 after the junior year. The GMAT exam must be completed with an appropriately high score at the time application is made. Upon completion of the Baccalaureate in Fashion Merchandising and satisfying all M.B.A. eligibility requirements, the student will be admitted into the M.B.A. program. Once admitted, the student will be "cohorted" with other M.B.A. students and continue full-time with the degree requirements of the M.B.A. degree.

Admissions Criteria 

Freshman Students:  Effective Fall 2014, applicants must have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and a minimum ACT composite score of 21 (or an SAT combined critical reading+math score of 980).

Transfer Students:  Effective Fall 2014, transfer applicants need at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA based on 24 or more semester hours of college-level coursework at an accredited institution. Those students meeting this GPA requirement but with less than 24 semester hours will be evaluated as new freshmen.

Career Opportunities

Fashion Designers held about 21,500 jobs in 2010. About 31 percent of fashion designers worked for apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers; and 13 percent worked for apparel manufacturers. Many others were self employed.

Employment of fashion designers tends to be concentrated in regional fashion centers. In May 2010, almost 75 percent of all salaried fashion designers worked in New York and California.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Fashion Merchandising careers require a blend of fashion sense and business expertise.  Loving to “shop” and “style” alone won't lead to a successful career in this field.  Strategy and marketing know-how are an integral part of fashion merchandising.
In a fashion merchandising career, your goal is to make fashion relatable to the consumer.  In order to do this, fashion merchandising careers involve the following:

  • Buying products
  • Negotiating with suppliers and manufacturers
  • Conducting fashion marketing using research methodology
  • Developing new products and brand management
  • Selling and distributing brands as a vendor and wholesaler
  • Analyzing, planning, and allocating of inventory to retail outlets
  • Conducting promotional and public relations campaigns for product
  • Managing retail operations in a single and multi-store environment
Essential skills for a successful career in fashion merchandising include analytical, critical thinking, communication, and computational skills.


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