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The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising

Founded in 1983, the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising has received widespread support from the fashion industry, corporations and the public. Kent State initiated baccalaureate studies in fashion merchandising in 1971 and in fashion design in 1982.

The school offers four-year baccalaureate programs leading to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. The curricula combine professional preparation in fashion design and merchandising with a foundation in the liberal arts and business. Course offerings are regularly supplemented by lectures and seminars, visiting fashion professionals, study tours throughout the United States and abroad and internships in the fashion industry.

Students are encouraged to participate in school governance and develop leadership skills through involvement in student organizations.

Admission to the Fashion Merchandising Program
Admission to the major is selective. Freshman applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.75 in a college preparatory curriculum and a composite ACT score of no less than 21 or SAT combined score of no less than 980. Students with a 3.0 or higher GPA whose ACT or combined SAT score does not meet the minimum may be considered for admission.

Postundergraduate students or transfer students with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 based on 24 or more semester hours from an accredited institution may be considered for admittance to the program. Transfer students meeting the GPA requirements with less than 24 semester hours will be evaluated as new freshmen. Transfer and postundergraduate students should contact the school office once they receive a credit evaluation from the Admissions Office.

Those applying to fashion merchandising and fashion design who do not have the appropriate academic credentials or fashion design applicants who have not yet had their skills assessment evaluated are admitted to the Fashion Design and Merchandising Preparatory category (PFDM) and may remain in that category for two semesters.

Students currently enrolled at Kent State University may be considered for change of major. Approval is based on a minimum of 12 credit hours completed with a 2.50 cumulative GPA excluding developmental courses. Students should schedule an appointment with the school before applying. Freshmen and transfer students who do not meet minimum requirements for admission to the school may be admitted to the fashion preparatory category (PFDM) and should remain in that category for no more than two semesters.

Admission to the Fashion Design Program
All students wishing to be admitted to fashion design must submit a skills assessment, described on the school Web site (

Minimum Requirements:

Incoming freshmen minimum criteria for acceptance:

  • High School GPA of 2.75
  •  ACT 21 or SAT 980

Transfer students minimum criteria for acceptance:

  • 24 nonremedial semester hours of coursework with a cumulative GPA of 2.50
  • Change of major students minimum criteria for acceptance.
  • 12 nonremedial semester hours of coursework at Kent State University with a GPA of 2.50
  • Students with a 3.0 or higher GPA whose ACT or combined SAT score does not meet the minimum may be considered for admission.

Admissions Procedure:
The school admits students on a rolling basis corresponding with the University’s Admission calendar. Concurrently with the submission of the application for admission to the University, students interested in the fashion design major should submit the skills assessment as indicated in the instructions accompanying the assignment (see the school Web site Do not send any information other than what is required in the skills assessment. To keep the review process fair, letters of recommendation or additional artwork submitted will not be considered as a basis for admission to the fashion design program.

Based upon academic criteria and skills assessment evaluation, 90 students are selected for admission to the program in the fall semester.


  • Students who do not meet the academic criteria will not be accepted to the fashion design major; however, they may be admitted to the University as fashion preparatory majors (PFDM). They may submit the skills assessment at any time, and it will be held for one year.
  • Students who do not meet the academic criteria may initiate the process for declaring the fashion design major after completing at least 12 hours of nondevelopmental coursework at Kent State University with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50.
  • Students who are not admitted based on evaluation of the skills assessment may be admitted to Kent State University as fashion preparatory majors (PFDM) an may resubmit the skills assessment the following year for consideration.
  •  Courses for fashion design begin in the fall of each academic year, and the curriculum requires eight semesters of study; therefore, students admitted to the fashion design program can expect at least four years of study from the time they begin the coursework in their major.

Selection of a Concentration

  • Upon acceptance into the Fashion Design Program, students will be admitted under the classification of “Fashion Design,” with no selection of  a concentration.
  • First-year fashion design majors must enroll in FDM 10140 Foundations of Fashion Drawing during the spring semester.
  • During the spring semester, the fashion design faculty teaching FDM 10140 Foundations of Fashion Drawing will meet with students to advise them on which concentration they should pursue in the subsequent fall semester. This meeting will be completed in a time frame that allows students sufficient time to register for the appropriate courses in the fall semester.

Combined Baccalaureate/Master’s program
Fashion merchandising majors who qualify may enroll in the combined Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising/Master’s of Business Administration program and complete both degrees within five years. Careful planning and advising are needed in order to successfully complete the programs in a timely way. Students should work closely with their faculty advisor if they intend to follow this plan.

In the freshman year, the math choice should be MATH 11012 or MATH 12002. When the student has achieved 90 hours or more in the merchandising program (beginning of the junior year) and has a GPA of 3.30 or higher, he or she should apply for conditional admission to the M.B.A. program. This application must occur no later than April 1 of the junior year. The GMAT exam must be completed with an appropriately high score at the time application is made. Students accepted into the program may use 12 hours chosen from the following courses to meet both support core requirements in their undergraduate program and program requirements within the M.B.A.:

BAD 63037 Financial Accounting (in lieu of ACCT 23020)
BAD 63038 Accounting for Managerial Action and Evaluation
BAD 64042 Management Information Systems
Two of the following (the one not taken will be taken later):
•  BAD 66061 Financial Management I
•  BAD 64271 Human Resource Management
•  BAD 64005 Statistics for Management

The international elective required in the M.B.A. program may be waived if the FDM student has participated in the Hong Kong or Florence fashion experiences. The M.B.A. internship may be waived if the FDM student has done a business-related fashion internship. Thirty-three hours of M.B.A. coursework is required after the completion of the undergraduate degree in fashion merchandising.

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